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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Good Figs, Bad Figs: Judicial Differentiation in the Book of Jeremiah
Plant, R. j. r.

London: T&T Clark, 2008 pp. xv + 224. $140.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 483

Description: Israel. Three broad categories of judicial action are identified: selective, unselective, and national. It is noted that more than one of these may be juxtaposed within the same text, and that each is a corollary of a wider theological frame of reference.The rest of the study focuses on the concept of judicial differentiation in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1 – 20 announce wrath upon all Judah, while chs. 30 – 33 prophesy restoration for the entire Diaspora. Elsewhere, however, YHWH’s judicial action is more nuanced. Jer. 21 – 24 differentiates between those who stay in Jerusalem and those who surrender (21.1-10), between Israel’s leaders and people (23.1-8), and between the exiles and non-exiles (24.1-10). Jeremiah 27 – 29 also distinguishes between exiled and non-exiled communities, but adds a ‘people and prophets’ polarity. Finally, Jer. 37 – 45 offers hope to those who surrender (38.1-3) or remain in the land (42.1-22), alongside salvation oracles for two individuals who do not conform to these conditions (39.15-18; 45.1-5).Three main conclusions are drawn. Firstly, the polarities of judgement and salvation in Jer. are more varied than has generally been appreciated. Secondly, this diversity of perspective is theologically significant; it is suggested that each polarity offers a valid though incomplete lens through which to interpret God’s judicial action. Thirdly, the concepts of judicial differentiation and non-differentiation may offer a helpful framework in which to read the book of Jeremiah as a whole.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Jeremiah, Literature

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Review by C.a. Strine
Published 4/18/2009
Citation: C.A. Strine, review of R. J. R. Plant, Good Figs, Bad Figs: Judicial Differentiation in the Book of Jeremiah, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

Review by Mark Brummitt
Published 10/4/2008
Citation: Mark Brummitt, review of R. J. R. Plant, Good Figs, Bad Figs: Judicial Differentiation in the Book of Jeremiah, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2008).

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