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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 

An Annotated Bibliography on Jeremiah Commentaries

I wanted to apologize for the lack of content lately, as I was preparing for a sermon I recently preached this past Lord's Day. I preached from Jeremiah 23:1 - 8, and I thought it might be helpful to give some comments on some of the works I found helpful.

The following comments are practically meant to only regard the above eight verses, and commentaries may be weaker or stronger elsewhere. Also, I say some things below that make me sound like I'm an expert passing judgment. That is false; I am not the expert, the following are. I'm just trying to call 'em like I see 'em.

Dearman, J. Andrew. Jeremiah and Lamentations ed. T. Muck The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 2002).
Dearman's commentary is straightforward and helpful for drawing out explicit applicatory ideas. Due to the nature of the series, he cannot devote too much space to any given pericope. Dearman properly located Jeremiah's prophecy of chapter 23 to the judgment of Judah's leaders, and for the most part gets the broad sweep of Jeremiah. One curious note was how Dearman personalized Jeremiah's prophecies - thus, Jeremiah's tirade against the false prophets isn't so much that the prophets are false ones but that they stood against Jeremiah. Hence, some of the applications seem more individualistic and contemporary. Not a big weakness, but noteworthy. A general, straightforward commentary.

Achtemeier, Elizabeth. Jeremiah ed. J.H. Hayes Knox Preaching Guides (Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1973).
This delightful little monograph was my dark horse. Achtemeier proved a delight with an amazingly succinct, yet complete discussion of the pericope. Dealing with the text in a loose manner by organizing only broadly by sequence and giving weight to topical content, Jeremiah 23 is discussed directly after ch. 12 and preceding ch. 27. She, more than most, properly exegeted the relationship between kings, prophets, and exile. She also had some good application. Kudos. (I sort of hate it when the liberals get it sooooo right...)

Caulvin, Jean Sermons on Jeremiah tr. B. Reynolds (Dyfed, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990).
These are translated sermons by John Calvin on his preaching from Jeremiah. However, the sermons only cover Jeremiah 14:19 - 18:23. So, not exactly germane, but still helpful. Calvin's sermons are succint, immensely applicable and hortatory. Next time, check the table of contents before you check the book out of the library.

Brueggemann, Walter. A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile & Homecoming (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmanns Publishing, 1998).
This is actually Brueggemann's second and more recent contribution to Jeremiah. I'm not sure how it stacks up to his previous work, but I assumed that it portrayed any progression he has made himself on the subject. Brueggemann correctly grasps, but is less confident, of the flow of the text. He above all the other commentaries most adequately addresses various scholarly aspects of the text, including various forms of critical reading. His exegesis gives the strongest punch to the narrative thrust. He also interacts critically with Holladay's acclaimed monograph on the same subject. He is not overly cowed by academia, and pushes the text to give solid answers. In my view, Brueggemann is a necessary, but not sufficient, resource to address.

Fretheim, Terence E. Jeremiah "Smith & Helwys Bible Commentary" (Macon, GA: Smith & Helwys Publishing, 2002).
I've already noted one caveat I had with Fretheim. Other than this, however, I think this commentary was my favorite. He was solid historically, linguistically, and exegetically. I really appreciated his skill at biblical theology and working within redemptive history. Fretheim knew the arguments well, and tipped his hand often enough to give the readers time to keep up. Though on the face of it Fretheim is not trying to produce a homiletical commentary, his own insights, rabbit trails, and "Connections" sections give several insights. I was very thankful for this commentary.

In conclusion, I would be remiss not to note that it was Tremper Longman's analysis of OT commentaries that led me to the above monographs. I hope this can be helpful to anyone else studying these passages.


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hey is your sermon available online?

I don't know about that particular sermon, but Brian does have one on sermon audio. It's an excellent sermon that he delivered at an evening service a few months ago. It's on the difficult text in 1John about being born of God and not able to sin. I loved it, even if the person who delivered it didn't.

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Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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