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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 325 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EPISTLE OF JEREMY, an apocryphal book of the Old Testament. This letter purports to have been written by Jeremiah to the exiles who were already in Babylon or on the way thither. The author was a Hellenistic Jew, and not improbably a Jew of Alexandria. His work, which shows little literary skill, was written with a serious practical purpose. He veiled his fierce attack on the idol gods of Egypt by holding up to derision the idolatry of Babylon. The fact that Jeremiah (xxix. i sqq.) was known to have written a letter of this nature naturally suggested to a Hellenist, possibly of the 1st century B.C. or earlier, the idea of a second epistolary undertaking, and other passages of Jeremiah's prophecy (x. I-12; xxix. 4-23) may have determined also its general character and contents. The writer warned the exiles that they were to remain in captivity for seven generations; that they would there see the worship paid to idols, from all participation in which they were to hold aloof; for that idols were nothing save the work of men's hands, without the powers of speech, hearing or self-preservation. They could not bless their worshippers even in the smallest concerns of life; they were indifferent to moral qualities, and were of less value than the commonest household objects, and finally, " with rare irony, the author compared an idol to a scarecrow (v. 70), impotent to protect, but deluding to the imagination " (MARSHALL). The date of the epistle is uncertain. It is believed by some scholars to be referred to in 2 Mace. ii. 2, which says that Jeremiah charged the exiles " not to forget the statutes of the Lord, neither Ili. 59-64a, however, is a specimen of imaginative " Midrashic " history. See Giesebrecht's be led astray in their minds when they saw images of gold and silver and the adornment thereof." But the reference is disputed by Fritzsche, Gifford, Shiirer and others. The epistle was included in the Greek canon. There was no question of its canonicity till the time of Jerome, who termed it a pseudepigraph. See Fritzsche, Handb. zu den Apok., 1851; Gifford, in Speaker's Apoc. ii. 286-303; Marshall, in Hastings' Dict. Bible, ii. 578-579. (R. H. C.) JERtZ DE LA FRONTERA (formerly XERES), a town of southern Spain, in the province of Cadiz, near the right bank of the river Guadalete, and on the Seville-Cadiz railway, about 7 M. from the Atlantic coast. Pop. (1900), 63,473. Jerez is built in the midst of an undulating plain of great fertility. Its whitewashed houses, clean, broad streets, and squares planted with trees extend far beyond the limits formerly enclosed by the Moorish walls, almost entirely demolished. The principal buildings are the 15th-century church of San Miguel, the 17th-century collegiate church with its lofty bell-tower, the 16th-century town-hall, superseded, for official purposes, by a modern edifice, the bull-ring, and many hospitals, charitable institutions and schools, including academies of law, medicine and commerce. But the most characteristic features of Jerez are the huge bodegas, or wine-lodges, for the manufacture and storage of sherry, and the vineyards, covering more than 150,000 acres, which surround it on all sides. The town is an important market for grain, fruit and livestock, but its staple trade is in wine. Sherry is also produced in other districts, but takes its name, formerly written in English as sherris or xeres, from Jerez. The demand for sherry diminished very greatly during the last quarter of the 19th century, especially in England, which had been the chief consumer. In 1872 the sherry shipped from Cadiz to Great Britain alone was valued at 2,500,000; in 1902 the total export hardly amounted to one-fifth of this sum. The wine trade, however, still brings a considerable profit, and few towns of southern Spain display greater commercial activity than Jerez. In the earlier part of the 18th century the neighbourhood suffered severely from yellow fever; but it was rendered comparatively healthy when in 1869 an aqueduct was opened to supply pure water. Strikes and revolutionary disturbances have frequently retarded business in more recent years. Jerez has been variously identified with the Roman Municipium Seriense; with Asido, perhaps the original of the Moorish Sherish; and with Hasta Regia, a name which may survive in the designation of La Mesa de Asta, a neighbouring hill. Jerez was taken from the Moors by Ferdinand III. of Castile (1217-1252); but it was twice recaptured before Alphonso X. finally occupied it in 1264. Towards the close of the 14th century it received the title de la Frontera, i.e. " of the frontier," common to several towns on the Moorish border.

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