Survival of the Fittest: Habakkuk and the Changing Trail of the Prophetic Tradition

In Jeremiah 28, there is a dispute between the prophets Jeremiah and Hananiah over the (il)legitimacy of prophecies of salvation concerning Judah and prophecies of judgement regarding Babylon. On the eve of Jerusalem’s fall to the Babylonians, the prophet Jeremiah, who proclaims judgement on Judah at the hands of Babylon, appears to be the true, genuine, canonical voice of God. While this text does not preclude the eventual authenticity of prophecies of salvation in the event that they are proven valid by being fulfilled, it nevertheless is rather strange that the book of Jeremiah ends with a collection of prophecies against the Chaldaeans. The anti-Babylonian statements in Jeremiah 50-51 are ascribed to the very same prophet who had once dismissed Hananiah for uttering similarly worded – and presumably uninspired – invectives before the people of Jerusalem.

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