We're still waiting for the eschaton, but Messiah has come!
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
We're still waiting
The notion of the disappearance of prophecy coincides with the end of literary production in the prophetic books during the Hellenistic period. The tradition itself draws the line in the Persian period. The latest dates refer to the building of the temple under Darius and the two prophets Haggai and Zechariah (cf. Ezra 5:1; 6:14). After them, only Malachi as well as Ezra and Nehemiah are seen as replete with the prophetic or Mosaic spirit. Everyone else is a “false prophet.” This demarcation, however, does not reflect a feeling of inferiority with respect to the older tradition but instead a certain consciousness of living at the end of time. After the change from the Persian period to the Hellenistic period, the authors of the prophetic books expected the end of the world. The closure of prophecy and the compilation of the tradition in the prophetic corpus helped to provide self-clarification and orientation for the pious as they faced the eschatological age.—The Prophets of Israel, page 79