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The Laments of Jeremiah and Their Contexts: A Literary and Redactional Study of Jeremiah 11-20
Mark S. Smith
Publication Date
January 1997


This work examines the literary and theological interplay of the laments of Jeremiah, and their respective contexts, found in Jeremiah 11–20. Although the laments were originally composed to defend Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry, Smith argues that subsequent redactions served to announce divine judgment against all Israel, to show the people’s responsibility in that judgment, and to present Jeremiah as a symbol of Israel’s relationship to Yahweh. Concluding remarks reflect on theodicy and the broader context of Jeremiah’s laments.

Mark S. Smith is Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. He has been a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and has also taught at the École Biblique in Jerusalem, Yale University, and Saint Joseph's University. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Early History of God (Eerdmans), The Ugaritic Baal Cycle, Volume 1 (Brill), The Origins of Biblical Monotheism (Oxford University Press), The Memoirs of God (Fortress), and The Rituals and Myths of the Feast of the Goodly Gods of KTU/CAT 1.23 (Society of Biblical Literature).