A new heart to know the lord : rhetorical analysis of Jeremiah 21-24
The purpose of the present study is an application of rhetorical analysis to the interpretation of Jeremiah 21-24. Chapter 1 reviews previous studies of the book of Jeremiah in modern scholarship. This thesis claims that there is a need for text-centered and holistic approaches to the interpretation of the book. Chapter 2 proposes that rhetorical analysis will be fruitful as a new hermeneutical method in Jeremiah research. It explains the application of classical rhetorical theory in modern biblical studies. The thesis claims that the application of rhetorical theory helps explain the structure of Jeremiah 21-24, and also the prophetic techniques of persuasion which are used. Chapters 3-7 are the heart of the thesis. Jeremiah 21-24 are divided according to the principle of rhetorical arrangement into five units: Prologue, Proposition, Confirmation, Refutation, and Epilogue. These divisions will be treated in turn in chapters 3-7, which conduct a detailed analysis of Jeremiah 21-24 through a close reading of the text. The argument of Jeremiah 21-24 is that God's salvation plan requires the exile of Judah; the experience of exile will help the people's future understanding of the covenant. The thesis demonstrates that Jeremiah's rhetorical techniques of persuasion are an effective method of communication to address the argument to the audience of Jeremiah 21-24. The rhetorical techniques build up a persuasive argument that the traditional institutions of Israel (the Davidic dynasty, Jerusalem, the land) must be destroyed before there can be a new beginning. God's future plan is for a community that knows him because he has given them a heart to do so. This thesis concludes that Jeremiah 21-24 is a coherent persuasive discourse, which aims to convince its audience that the experience of exile is a necessary condition for the renewed covenant. The contribution of this thesis is in its application of rhetorical theory to Jeremiah 21-24. This theory applies both to the arrangement of the text as a whole, and to the language used in it.