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Friedman's suggestion that Jeremiah could have been the Deuteronomist is quite interesting, though I have been told that in a subsequent edition of Who Wrote the Bible? that he backs down from that claim. I have the second edition, not the third.

In his second edition claims that Jeremiah agrees with Deuteronomy on “every major point.” Friedman cites several parallel passages, arguing that the ‘language and outlook” is “so similar that is hard to believe that they are not by the same person.”

On the other hand, Ben McGuire pointed me to an essay by Holliday claiming that Deuteronomy and Jeremiah quote and respond to each other.
(William L. Holliday, “Ellusive Deuteronomists, Jeremiah, and Proto-Deuteronomy (Catholic Biblical Quarterly; Jan 2004.)

And on my own, I've noticed that Jeremiah's call comes in the 13th year of Josiah's reign. If the reform started in the 12th year (with the King 20), Jeremiah's call comes after the reform begins. I found it interesting that Jeremiah is called (1:18) against the kings, the people of the land (who installed Josiah as King when he was eight), the priests, and the sarim (elders or princes), who happen to be the people and institutions who were at that time implementing the reform. Ezekial 22 provides a further, more extensive and near contemporary denunciation of these same groups.

Jeremiah clearly does agree with the reformers on various political issues and the evils of idolotry. But eventually I noticed that Jeremiah contradicts Deuteronomy on exactly the theological points that Margaret Barker sees as key to the reform, in which "Josiah's changes concerned the high priests and where thus changes at the very heart of the temple." For example, Deuteronomy 4 depicts Moses as informing Israel:

Keep therefore and do them [that is, the statutes and judgments of the law] for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. (Deut. 4:6)

Jeremiah seems to be commenting on this very passage:

How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.
The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? (Jer. 8:8-9)

Friedman and Bright both offer stronger translation. “How can you say, “Why we are the wise, For we have the law of Yahweh”? Now do but see—the deception it’s wrought, the deceiving pen of the scribes.” (Bright, 60)

Friedman, of course, argues that Jeremiah here is thinking of the deceptive Torah as the P source, and he makes some interesting arguments. However, he doesn't discuss the passages where Jeremiah and D conflict.

Deuteronomy explains that “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven and bring it unto us that we may hear and do it?” (Deut. 30:11-12)

Compare these arguments with Jeremiah’s protest that the nation has “forsaken the fountain of living waters,” and adopted a form of Torah-based wisdom that involves “rejecting the word of the Lord.” In 1st Enoch and in 1 Nephi the tree and the fountain, both temple symbols, and are understood to be interchangeable symbols of the LORD.
Against this, Jeremiah speaks as one who has been invited to learn and declare the secret things:

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jer. 33:3)

These differences (and others) relate specifically to the actions and attitudes of the reformers.

Also, there is the issue of who edited and transmitted Jeremiah? The dubious explanation in 2 Kings about the long dead King Manessah being the cause of wrath of the LORD falling on Judah appears in Jeremiah (Jer. 15:4). But in Jeremiah it contradicts everything else the prophet says.

RUN ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. (Jer. 5.1)

Jeremiah constantly rebukes Jerusalem for its own immediate wickedness, warns of the coming judgment for such behavior, and constantly insists that the only remedy would be Jerusalem’s immediate repentance. (Ezekiel, a temple priest and contemporary of Jeremiah, is consistent with Jeremiah’s overall view on Jerusalem’s immediate accountability and the opportunity for repentance.) The passage about Manessah alone is enough to raise the issue about who transmitted Jeremiah’s writings and what might have been done with them.

Marvin Sweeney writes that:
"The matter is complicated by the fact that two forms of the book of Jeremiah are extant in the Masoretic and Septuagint forms, and that both were clearly composed into their present forms in the aftermath of the Babylonian exile. Scholars have noted that the books are heavily influenced by later theological viewpoints that play major roles in the presentation of the book and the prophet. There is extensive evidence of redaction and composition by hands that appear to be closely associated with or influenced by Deuteronomistic circles and outlooks. Overall, the present form of the book is shaped by a concern to address the problem of the Babylonian exile." (King Josiah of Judah: Lost Messiah of Israel., 208-9)

Kevin Christensen
Pittsburgh, PA

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