Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.
Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
Although the prophet Jeremiah’s teachings are aligned with the other prophets of the Old Testament, his symbolic messages regarding the tensions between assimilation and religious identity during the Exile renders the reader of the book dubious about his teachings. Although there are differing views among the scholars and critics about the political and religious contradictions found within the book of Jeremiah, this work will focus on the struggles of the Israelites in the Babylonian exile based on the socio-historical criticism. Jeremiah’s wearing of the yoke in chapter 27 illustrates the strange behaviors associated with the biblical prophets, which continues the assertion that the book of Jeremiah creates confusion, rather than clarity for its readers. The ambiguity of Jeremiah in terms of his strange behaviors are significant components when not only analyzing the experiences of the Israelites, but the trials of many Catholic cultures around the world, in particular the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. When I look at the struggle of the Israelites while they were in exile, I am reminded of the struggle of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, an offshoot of the Eastern Oriental Church in North India, who encounter severe atrocities in relation to their assimilation to the North Indian culture while preserving their original identity.
This study is begun by connecting my analysis with a summary of the perceptions and instructions Jeremiah gives to the Israelites in exile in the book of Jeremiah, which covers the downfall of Judah and the Israelites at the hand of Babylon. I will further consider what agreements and disagreements one might find among the prophet’s perceptions of the process of assimilation and preservation within the Babylonian exile. Once my findings have been established, they will be utilized to compare the struggle of the Israelites with the Syro-Malabar Catholics of north India. The study is concluded with a synthesis of Jeremiah’s teachings on assimilation within the domestic culture and the preservation of Israelite identity, which will then be connected to the struggles and prospects of the Syro-Malabar Catholic church within Northern India.
Chirayath, Sijo George, "Jeremiah and the Conflicting Interpretations of the Exile: Religious Identity in the Context of Religious Diversity" (2021). Jesuit School of Theology Dissertations. 81.