Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (MA)


Chet Roden


Jeremiah, epigraphy, Hebrew, Northwest, Semitic, epigraph




This thesis examines recent finds in Northwest Semitic epigraphy in an effort to determine their effectiveness for speaking to the historical validity of the prose sections of the Book of Jeremiah. In light of the book’s complex compositional issues, many models for understanding its development have been published over the last century; one foundational theory, expounded primarily by Robert P. Carroll, argues that material in Jeremiah apart from chapters 2–26 (Source A) fail to provide an accurate picture of the Historical Jeremiah. This claim is examined in light of Hebrew epigraphy. Chapter one introduces the issues involved in the study while chapter two provides an assessment and history of, as well as a limited response to, the views mentioned above. Chapters three and four examine relevant Semitic epigraphy, including onomastic evidence, and highlight potential correspondences with the Book of Jeremiah. Chapter five is a summary and conclusion of the study, relating each point to the original issue posed by Carroll and others. The position defended in this work is that Northwest Semitic epigraphy, though limited with regards to some redactional issues, is generally relevant to the discussion of the historicity Jeremianic prose, namely in the way it fits the historical context of the late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE. It is concluded that onomastic evidence provides the greatest support for historicity of the biographical narratives in Jeremiah on the basis of strong correspondence with data from the epigraphic record.

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