The Original Description of Jeremiah’s “Confessions”?

Jeremiah (not Tim Bulkeley)

Tim Bulkeley wrote a post today asking when the passages in Jeremiah 11:18–12.6, 15:10–21, 17:14–18, 18:18–23, and 20:7–18 were first referred to as “confessions”. When were these passages, and not a wider section of the book of Jeremiah or the book as a whole, first referred to as the “confessions” of Jeremiah?

I think  the description of these passages  as “confessions” is Wellhausen’s gift to us. In Israelitische und Jüdische Geschichte, he refers to various passages which, in his Romantic assessment, disclose Jeremiah’s heartfelt and profound personal religiosity (a much disputed interpretation today).

Sein Buch enthält nicht bloß seine Reden und Weissagungen, sondern mitunter auch Konfessionen über seine Leiden und Anfechtungen
(“His [Jeremiah’s] book contains not only his speeches and prophecies, but sometimes confessions about his sufferings and temptations”).

– Wellhausen, Israelitische und Jüdische Geschichte, p. 149
(I refer here to the 1904 edition, which I accessed at this site:

I assume that Wellhausen must have had at least Jeremiah 11:18–12.6, 15:10–21, 17:14–18, 18:18–23, and 20:7–18 in mind. And in his recent monograph, Die Konfessionen Jeremias: eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie, Hannes Bezzel believes this is where the terminology began (p. 1):

In ihnen, denen er den Namen, Konfessionen verlieh, unter dem sie seitdem firmieren, sei Jeremia zur höchsten Form persönlicher Religiosität durchgebrochen und habe “das tiefste Wesen der Frommigkeit“.
(“In them [the passages in Jer 11-20], which he [Wellhausen] gave the name “confessions” and under which they have operated ever since, Jeremiah had broken through to ‘the highest form of personal religiosity and the profoundest essence of piety'”; the quote within the quote is also from p. 149 of Wellhausen).

But does anybody have an alternative opinion about who started to call these select passages the “confessions” of Jeremiah?

And how does Wellhausen’s one-off mention of “confessions” in his Israelitische und Jüdische Geschichte become established as the main term for the analysis of Jeremiah 11:18–12.6, 15:10–21, 17:14–18, 18:18–23, and 20:7–18 in particular?


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