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      Patience, presence and promise: A study of prophetic realism in Jeremiah 29:4-7

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          Abstract

          We tend to think of prophetic proclamation simply in terms of prophecies of doom or judgement and salvation or promise. Jeremiah is often regarded as a prophet of doom with rarely any positive proclamation. This view is contested by contending that Jeremiah was also a prophet of realism. He did not shy away from proclaiming prophecies of judgement but also embraced Yahweh's promises of restoration. Jeremiah's brief was to proclaim messages that will 'pluck up' and 'break down' and 'overthrow', but also 'to build' and 'to plant' (Jr 1:10). As much as this is true of Jeremiah's ministry, the focus of this article is on a neglected aspect of his prophetic ministry namely 'prophetic realism'. Jeremiah 29:4-7 is an example of prophetic realism as the prophet pastorally pays attention to the people of Judah in exile, calling on them to exercise patience whilst in exile and to contribute positively to their exilic society. This they should do whilst still holding onto Yahweh's promises. Amongst the many confusing prophetic voices to the exiles, Jeremiah's message is one of realism calling for patience, but also for constructive presence in their situation. Whilst Jeremiah's message exudes prophetic realism, he still emphasises that Yahweh's promise of restoration will play out in time (Jr 29:10-14). INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Traditionally prophecy is either regarded as judgement or promise. An argument is promoted for a third category of prophetic realism. This view is not only relevant for Old Testament science, but also for the disciplines of Systematic and Practical Theology. Jeremiah's prophetic realism compels researchers to broaden their views on what prophecy entails.

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          Most cited references37

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          The book of Jeremiah

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            Jeremia

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              Jeremiah

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Journal
                vee
                Verbum et Ecclesia
                Verbum Eccles. (Online)
                Centre for Ministerial Development of the Dutch Reformed Church (Exelsus) - University of Pretoria (Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa )
                1609-9982
                2074-7705
                2016
                : 37
                : 1
                : 1-7
                Affiliations
                [01] orgnameUniversity of South Africa orgdiv1Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies South Africa
                Article
                S2074-77052016000100035
                10.4102/ve.v37i1.1584
                83dd591b-a175-40e9-84e9-5fd09577283f

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                History
                : 16 June 2016
                : 01 February 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 36, Pages: 7
                Product

                SciELO South Africa


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