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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

A Letter of Jeremiah - Introduction

This harangue against idolatry is repetitious, sarcastic, and impassioned. Possibly it originated as a synagogal sermon. Following a tradition known from 2 Macc. 2.1–4 , the author attributed it to Jeremiah, who actually did write a letter to the exiles in Babylon (Jer. ch. 29 ). The writer drew upon Jer. 10.1–16 and other sources, mainly Isa. 44.9–20 .

The period in which the book was written, according to v. 3 , was seven generations after the beginning of the Babylonian Exile; that date could be about 317 B.C.E. Some scholars, however, tend to date the book in the Maccabean period, between 165 and 110 B.C.E.

If “Babylon” is taken as a cryptic name for the area outside Judea, the letter could have been intended for the Jews in the Greek dispersion.

The language of the original seems to have been Hebrew (v. 72 n. ); since there are no extant Hebrew manuscripts, some scholars think it could have been Aramaic or Greek. A fragment in the Greek (vv. 43–44 ) turned up in one of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; scholars date the manuscript to around 100 B.C.E.

The Latin Vulgate and the Authorized Version consider A Letter of Jeremiah to be ch. 6 of Baruch.

Two series of refrains divide the letter into paragraphs: v. 16, 23, 29, 65, 69 and vv. 40, 44, 52, 56 .

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