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Unfaithful Passions: Coding Women Coding Men in Jeremiah 2-3 (4:2)

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image of Biblical Interpretation

This close reading of Jeremiah 2:1-4:2 uses critical theory on narrative, metaphor and reader response to investigate the gender symbolism in the text in order to assess its governing symbolic grammar, rhetorical function and reception. Jeremiah's metaphor of the broken marriage functions as a root metaphor that unifies and narratizes the disparate materials in these chapters. The variants between the MT and the LXX Vorlage appear as alternative performances of Jeremiah's metaphor. The majority of variants cluster around the female addressee as a means to ruin the latter's image and sharpen national application of the metaphor. Jeremiah re-encodes Hosea's version of the marriage metaphor to serve new circumstances and create a new configuration of readers. The essay concludes with a contemporary, feminist assessment of Jeremiah's gender symbolism in relation to violence against women.

Affiliations: 1: Columbia Theological Seminary


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