Foreword to Ross and Gloria Kinsler, editors, God’s Economy: Biblical Studies from Latin America

Saturday, 1 January 2005

Orbis Books. 3 pp.

There is an extraordinary story in Jeremiah 36 that the great Jesuit radical Daniel Berrigan drew our attention to not long ago in a retreat with Christian peace and justice activists. It concerns how the prophet’s condemnation of Judah’s economic and military policies earned him an official “cease and desist” letter by the authorities of his time, and how he turned to his amanuensis Baruch to be his “voice.” Baruch was commissioned not only to write down Jeremiah’s testimony, but also to proclaim it in contested public spaces, at crucial political moments (36:2f).

Baruch listened carefully to the prophetic oracles, inscribed them lovingly, and declared them faithfully. He even accompanied the banished Jeremiah underground when the “Word of the Lord” was pronounced subversive to the logic of national security (36:15-19). The story goes on, however, to relate the following grim scene:

The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll…and Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials… Now the king was sitting in his winter apartment…and there was a fire burning in the brazier before him. As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a penknife and throw them into the fire. (36:21-23)

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.