Textualization and the Book of Jeremiah

Joachim Schaper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Textualization implies the emergence of the concept of a “text” as a specific object that needs to be handled in a specific way: an object that is conceptualized as part of a tradition of reading and interpreting—indeed, an object that is constituted by the desire to preserve and make available a specific utterance (irrespective of whether that utterance was originally produced orally or in writing). Written texts therefore are the results of the desire of an individual or a community to establish a tradition for a speech act that the individuals or the community intend to preserve. As is the case with oral texts, written texts can give rise to ritualized or otherwise significant uses of the text-object. This is the key to the understanding of prophetic collections in the Bible, and especially in the book of Jeremiah. While “tradition” (Überlieferung) is the aim of textualization, that tradition comes in various shapes and forms. The growth of prophetic books is an excellent illustration of Konrad Ehlich’s analysis of the characteristics of textualization and its purposes, especially with regard to the fact that prophetic oracles were, in ancient Israel and Judah, textualized for the purpose of being preserved and performed and of serving as the basis for Fortschreibungen.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Jeremiah
EditorsLouis Stulman, Edward Silver
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780190693091
ISBN (Print)9780190693060
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Fortschreibung
  • interpreting
  • Jeremiah
  • oracle
  • oral text
  • prophecy
  • prophetic text
  • reading
  • ritualization
  • written text


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