New Covenant, New Identity: A Social-Scientific Reading of Jeremiah 31:31-34

J. Coleman Baker


Interpretations of Jeremiah’s New Covenant passage have tended toward its use in Christianity. In light of the work that asserts ancient Israel was a tribal coalition, Social Identity Theory can be a useful heuristic tool in understanding how this oracle may have been heard by those who first encountered it. This social-scientific model, first developed by Henry Tajfel and modified by John Turner, is summarised and demonstrated to be a beneficial method for understanding group identity in the Ancient Near East. Against this backdrop, Jeremiah's New Covenant passage is examined and thereby understood as the prophet’s attempt to create a new common in-group identity for the post-exilic Israelite community.


covenant; Jeremiah 31:31-34

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391