The Life and Witness of Jeremiah introduces the general reader to the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah. As such it provides an overall sketch of his life and times and serves as a portal into his thought world. Jeremiah is among the most eloquent and passionate prophets in the Hebrew Bible. For readers who enjoy evocative poetry and harrowing accounts of near-death experiences, Jeremiah merits careful reading. One of the primary purposes in writing this book is to assist the reader in negotiating its anthology format and disorderly arrangement. To this end, the author provides in six chapters a thematic and topical approach to important aspects of Jeremiah’s career and message that speak powerfully to our own day. In other words, this book focuses on applied theology. How does what Jeremiah said then relate to readers now? The book of Jeremiah is remarkably relevant, especially in its interface between faith and politics. The author also approaches this exposition of Jeremiah from a biblical theology perspective by connecting his preaching with the canon of sacred Scripture. A major concern is to place Jeremiah's prophecy within the broader context of redemptive history.
Larry Helyer’s accessible book accomplishes two important tasks. First he shows why Jeremiah, of all the biblical prophets, cannot be safely disregarded by those who want faith connected to lived reality in our society. Second, he provides an introduction to the rich resources of the book of Jeremiah and shows us in compelling ways how to engage Jeremiah and link his stunning words to our own societal crisis. Helyer takes up some of the most important themes and texts of Jeremiah and does so with an alert eye concerning connections to the ministry of Jesus.
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
The prophetic voice isn’t supposed to be comfortable. In this imminent and clear analysis of the message of Jeremiah, Larry Helyer deftly walks the fine homiletical line between specific context and eternal truth. By doing so, he helps us see more clearly ways that we can engage the trends and tendencies of our world with the claims of the Word of God.
—Paul H. Wright, President, Jerusalem University College
In a very readable book Helyer discusses Jeremiah the prophet by focusing on: 1) the profile of a prophet; 2) the celebrated ‘temple oracles’ of 609; 3) Jeremiah’s symbolic actions; 4) Jeremiah and the false prophets; 5) Jeremiah’s personal laments; and 6) Jeremiah’s vision for the future. The prophet’s hard message of judgment is laid out in all its complexities; nevertheless, a strong message of hope is discerned for the future, yet with the caution that Christians ought not ‘get on the bandwagon to advocate for a third temple.’ There is no temple or need for one in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:22). Jeremiah’s message finds numerous parallels in the New Testament, Church History, preaching of New England Puritanism, and other sources. Though a small book, this is one eminently worthy of critical reflection.
—Jack R. Lundbom, author of Deuteronomy: Law and Covenant (Cascade, 2017)
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