Benjamin Sommer argues that there are many allusions to Jeremiah in Deutero-Isaiah.

Oct 1999
Academic / Technical Report
Benjamin Sommer

Benjamin D. Sommer, "New Light on the Composition of Jeremiah," in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 4 (October 1999), 646-666

The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Benjamin Sommer
Reading Public

I. Identifying Allusions in Isaiah 40-66 and Isaiah 34-35: A Brief Overview

The influence of the Book of Jeremiah on Isaiah 40-66 and Isaiah 34-35 has long been noted, and scholars have collected many examples of parallels they attribute to the use of the former by the author or authors of the latter. In order to bring such parallels to bear on questions relating to Jeremiah's composition, however, one must be reasonably certain that one has collected all the relevant parallels. Moreover, one must distinguish between parallels that constitute genuine literary allusions and parallels that result from some other cause or from coincidence. The study of intrabiblical allusion, then, can contribute to investigations of the history of the Book of Jeremiah's composition; but before it can do so, tools must be developed that allow one to ascertain that a particular parallel occurs because the author of a later text borrowed from an earlier one. I attempt to do so elsewhere. Here I shall summarize very briefly some criteria for identifying an allusion in Isaiah 40-66 and Isaiah 34-35.

When one ponders whether a similarity between two texts represents a borrowing, three questions require attention. First, What is the depth and density of the parallel? Clearly the more items shared by the texts, and the more complex the relationship between them, the more likely it is that the later text depends on the earlier. Second, Are the shared items associated with a vocabulary cluster used by Israelite prophets or poets or with a Gattung appearing often in the Hebrew Bible? If so, one cannot conclude with any confidence that the later writer used the earlier, since both writers are likely to be drawing from the common tradition. Third, Does the ostensible case of allusion display features that occur in other cases of allusion in these chapters? Allusions in Isaiah 40-66 and Isaiah 34-35 fall into a limited number of thematic categories, and they display unique stylistic features. When a parallel between a passage in Isaiah 40-66 or in Isaiah 34-35 and another text displays these features, one can assert with confidence that the parallel results from borrowing. Because these features of allusion in the Book of Isaiah are not limited to chaps. 40-55 or 56-66 but are evenly distributed among chaps. 40-66 and 35 (though not 34), it is legitimate to treat all these chapters as a unified literary corpus. If only for convenience, I shall refer to the author or authors of this corpus as "Deutero-Isaiah."

Significant verbal parallels between Jeremiah and Deutero-Isaiah fall into three groups: solid cases of allusion, doubtful cases of allusion, and that should not be classified as allusions at all. Before turning to the composition of Jeremiah, it will be useful to give examples from each group.

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