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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Authorship, Date, and Place of Composition.

1.

The work is traditionally ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah (cf. 2 Chr 35:25 , and affinities with the so-called ‘Confessions of Jeremiah’). We read in the Babylonian Talmud (B. Bat. 14b–15a) that ‘Jeremiah wrote the book which bears his name, the book of Kings and Lamentations’. This view is rarely defended today, since the style and thought are somewhat different from the book of Jeremiah. Nevertheless, the consensus view remains that the work takes its starting-point from the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587 BCE. A minority of scholars have looked to the Maccabean period (e.g. Treves 1963 ), whilst Morgenstern (1956, 1957, 1960 ) proposed a date of 485 BCE. More recently, Provan has adopted an agnostic view with regard to dating (Provan 1991a : 7–19; cf. S. J. D. Cohen 1982 ).

2.

The work was probably written in Jerusalem during the months and years immediately following the destruction of the temple in 587. There is evidence that people gathered to mourn on the site of the ruined temple during this period (Jer 41:5 ; cf. Jones 1963; Ackroyd 1968: 26, 47); it is likely that the work was shaped by liturgical use in such a setting (cf. Zech 7:2–5; Joel 2:15–17 ).

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