Study Guide

Book of Jeremiah Allusions

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

Martin Buber

  • Buber was one of the most (probably the most) influential Jewish thinker of the 20th century. The Book of Jeremiah influenced him, not so much because Jeremiah was a prophet of doom but because Jeremiah so eloquently represented human suffering and suggested a way of escaping it by adopting a more inward spirituality. And inward spirituality just happened to be Buber's #1 All-Time Jam. (Source.)

Abraham Joshua Heschel

  • Another major 20th century Jewish rabbi and scholar, Heschel wrote such classic works as The Sabbath and God in Search of Man. Influenced by Jeremiah (and, really, every other important Hebrew prophet), Heschel observed that Jeremiah was actually a compassionate and sensitive soul: "To a soul full of love, it was horrible to be a prophet of castigation and wrath." (Source.)

The Letters of St. Paul

  • Paul's Letter to the Romans was influenced by Jeremiah, particularly Romans 2:29, which discusses the "circumcision of the heart." The term alludes to Jeremiah 4:4. Once the early Christians began preaching to the Gentiles (non-Jews), the idea of circumcision of the heart (vs. circumcision of the you-know-what) made their message more universal. The idea of more inward spirituality pervades Paul's thought, so it would be appropriate to say that Jeremiah influenced him beyond this one reference. (Source.)

The Book of Revelation

  • Revelation's "Whore of Babylon", who drinks from a cup containing the blood of martyrs and saints, alludes to Jeremiah 51:7.

Pop Culture References

"Jeremiah was a Bullfrog," by Three Dog Night

  • This Three Dog Night pop anthem originally began with the words "Jeremiah was a prophet" but the rest of the band voted it down. The songwriter was forced to change it to the now famous line, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog." Honest.
  • All that You Can't Leave Behind, by U2. On this album, Bono connects Jeremiah with Aung San Suu Kyi, the great Burmese advocate of liberty and democracy. The album itself has "J33-3" printed on the cover—it stands for Jeremiah 33:3, which reads, "Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and hidden things you have not known." (Source)

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