Biblical Prophecy—A Scribal Enterprise. The Old Testament Prophecy of Unconditional Judgement considered as a Literary Phenomenon

in Vetus Testamentum
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Abstract

At the heart of the biblical prophetic books is scribal reinterpretation of earlier prophetic legacies. These legacies testify to prophetic activity in Israel and Judah—kinds of prophecy which in essence resembled prophetic and other divinatory activity found elsewhere in the ancient Near East. It was however the scribal reception, revision, and elaboration of these earlier legacies that gave rise to “biblical prophecy” and prompted the development of the prophetic books. In this process of reinterpretation the ‘prophets’ were removed from the realm of divination. They became to be portrayed as isolated figures, contra society, commissioned by Yahweh to declare his message of unconditional and total destruction. Through their ‘message’ the disastrous events that had befallen the states of Israel and Judah were explained (ex eventu) as being due to divine anger. This was in fact the common explanation for calamities, used throughout the ancient Near Eastern world.

Biblical Prophecy—A Scribal Enterprise. The Old Testament Prophecy of Unconditional Judgement considered as a Literary Phenomenon

in Vetus Testamentum

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