“I am putting my words as a fire in your mouth; these people are tinder and it will consume them” (Jeremiah 5:14). In the book of Jeremiah, not only is the vocabulary of “word” and “words” uniquely prevalent, but formulae marking divine speech also play an unprecedented role in giving the book’s final form its narrative and theological shape. Indeed, “the word of the Lord” is arguably the main character and a theology that is both distinctive and powerful, which can be seen to emerge from the unfolding narrative.
Andrew Shead examines Jeremiah’s use of “word” language. He sees the prophet’s formation as an embodiment of the word of God. A Mouth Full of Fire examines Jeremiah’s covenant preaching and the crisis it precipitates concerning the recognition of true prophecy. Shead shows, in the “oracles of hope,” how the power of the word of God is finally made manifest. He forces this reading of Jeremiah to bear on some issues in contemporary theology, including the problem of divine agency and the doctrine of Scripture. He then engages Jeremiah’s doctrine of the word of God in conversation with Karl Barth, and concludes that the prophet’s major contribution emerges from his careful differentiation of “word” and “words.”
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This is a very significant book for the study of Jeremiah specifically, as well as for its contributions to biblical theology and the doctrine of Scripture.
—Ray Van Neste, Preaching
Shead’s book is an important contribution to the theological interpretation of the Bible. Those in the evangelical and confessional wings of the church will especially appreciate this illuminating engagement of the World of God in Jeremiah.
—Larry R. Helyer, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
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