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EPISTLE OF JEREMY

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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
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book of the Old Testament . This letter purports to have been written by
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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
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work, which shows little
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literary skill, was written with a serious
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practical purpose . He veiled his fierce attack on the idol gods of
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Egypt by holding up to derision the
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idolatry of Babylon . The fact that Jeremiah (
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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
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life; they were indifferent to moral qualities, and were of less value than the commonest household
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objects, and finally, " with rare irony, the author compared an idol to a scarecrow (v . 70), impotent to protect, but deluding to the
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imagination " (MARSHALL) . The date of the
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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
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Ili . 59-64a, however, is a specimen of imaginative " Midrashic "
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history . See Giesebrecht's monograph.to be led astray in their minds when they saw images of gold and
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silver and the adornment thereof." But the reference is disputed by Fritzsche, Gifford, Shiirer and others . The epistle was included in the Greek
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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
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Speaker's Apoc. ii . 286-303; Marshall, in Hastings' Dict . Bible, ii . 578-579 . (R . H .

C.) JERtZ DE LA FRONTERA (formerly XERES), a

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town of
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southern Spain, in the province of Cadiz, near the right
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bank of the
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river Guadalete, and on the Seville-Cadiz railway, about 7 M. from the
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Atlantic coast . Pop . (1900), 63,473 . Jerez is built in the midst of an undulating plain of
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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
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principal buildings are the 15th-century church of
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San Miguel, the 17th-century collegiate church with its lofty bell-tower, the 16th-century town-hall, superseded, for official purposes, by a
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modern edifice, the bull-ring, and many hospitals, charitable institutions and
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schools, including
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academies of law,
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medicine and commerce . But the most characteristic features of Jerez are the huge bodegas, or wine-lodges, for the manufacture and storage of
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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
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staple trade is in wine . Sherry is also produced in other districts, but takes its name, formerly written in
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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
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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

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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
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water . Strikes and revolutionary disturbances have frequently retarded business in more
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recent years . Jerez has been variously identified with the
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Roman Municipium Seriense; with Asido, perhaps the
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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
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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,"
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common to several towns on the Moorish border .

End of Article: EPISTLE OF JEREMY
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