Friday, October 28, 2016

Those pesky prophets!

Nowhere else in the entire ancient Near East did prophets or other men of God ever proclaim such a message. True, outside Israel, gods could be angry and bring disaster upon their cities, countries, and people. Yet the foundations on which the relationship between God and his king, his city, or his people rested was never questioned. What the prophets of Israel, in turn, announced was outrageous and new in the ancient world. Quite rightly, they have been described as Männer des ewig Neuen “men of the eternally new” (Bernhard Duhm). This is not contradicted by the fact that they really did not intend “to say anything new, they are only proclaiming old truth” (Julius Wellhausen). But since they made this ancient truth—namely, the relationship to God mediated by kings, judges, priests, seers, and sages—dependent on God’s desire for justice, they reversed the traditional order.—The Prophets of Israel, page 8

<idle musing>
A new book started. I hope you enjoy the excerpts as we go along. I'm a bit ambivalent about the book—there aren't any footnotes! How can he defend some of his statements without documentation? So it's more like a series of long lectures on the subject of the Hebrew prophets and the prophetic books. He takes a far more critical stance than I do, but the insights he offers are great, as the preceding paragraph shows.

Enjoy the ride!
</idle musing>

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