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Jeremiah

shown hence medieval prefiguration

One of the four major *prophets, Jeremiah was born in the midseventh century B.C. and lived through the tumultuous period of the collapse of the monarchy and the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, making insistent and dramatic predictions of the necessity of submission to defeat and exile. Initially, the youth Jeremiah was a reluctant prophet, but *God encouraged him by touching him on the mouth (a subject which appears in art) and providing him with a vision of a flowering almond branch (understood by medieval theologians as a prefiguration of the Christian *church). During the seige of Jerusalem in 587 under *Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah preached surrender and was thrown into an abandoned cistern; hence, he may be shown in art with the legendary manticore, a human-eating beast which lives underground. Extrabiblical tradition suggests that he was rescued by an Ethiopian, but later, against his will and advice, was forced along on the Hebrew flight to Egypt where he was stoned to *death because of his predictions. Medieval Christians saw in the dire tone of Jeremiah’s prophecies a prefiguration of the sufferings of *Christ; hence (apart from the narratives mentioned above) he may be shown with a *cross. He is also depicted as an elderly bearded figure holding a scroll.
Jerome, Saint [next] [back] Jensen, Joan M. (1934–) - U.S. Western, Women’s, and Rural History

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