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Abstract (For book reviews see instructions below)

From an anthropological perspective, the acts of war and worship share similarities. Both are mission-driven, exercise rituals and liturgies, use songs, and have calls to duty. As such, the ultimate legitimization of war uses elements of sacred language usually found in the context of worship. The study of Jeremiah’s language usage provides a critical perspective on this typical anthropological phenomenon: the legitimization of war employing sacred language. When tracing Jeremiah’s vocabulary with the help of valence analysis, it can be argued that the prophet purposefully unmasks human war as a potential form of idol worship. Human war can, therefore, be under- stood as the most cruel form of idol worship, and war rhetoric can consequently be understood as an act of demonic language confusion. In analogy to the work of Wiinikka-Lydon on moral injury as inherent political critique, the prophet portrays death on the battle- field as an inherent critique of religion and its political appearance.1 While warmongers conceal the true nature of war under a layer of noble and religious language, the prophet makes this layer visible to show that war is often motivated by the longing for progress and the dissatisfaction with the status quo. Going to battle is often an act of false religion, were one ultimately bows down before the altar of progress. When beloved sons are sent to war, Jeremiah sees innocent, young, spotless lambs sent to be sacrificed on the altars of idols.

Available for download on Sunday, December 08, 2024