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Israelite Prophecy and the Deuteronomistic History

Israelite Prophecy and the Deuteronomistic History: Portrait, Reality, and the Formation of a History

Mignon R. Jacobs
Raymond F. Person
  • Book Info
    Israelite Prophecy and the Deuteronomistic History
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays examines the relationship of prophecy to the Deuteronomistic History (Deuteronomy–2 Kings), including the historical reality of prophecy that stands behind the text and the portrayal of prophecy within the literature itself. The contributors use a number of perspectives to explore the varieties of intermediation and the cultic setting of prophecy in the ancient Near East; the portrayal of prophecy in pentateuchal traditions, pre-Deuteronomistic sources, and other Near Eastern literature; the diverse perspectives reflected within the Deuteronomistic History; and the possible Persian period setting for the final form of the Deuteronomistic History. Together the collection represents the current state of an important, ongoing discussion. The contributors are Ehud Ben Zvi, Diana Edelman, Mignon R. Jacobs, Mark Leuchter, Martti Nissinen, Mark O’Brien, Raymond F. Person Jr., Thomas C. Römer, Marvin A. Sweeney, and Rannfrid Thelle.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-750-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Mignon R. Jacobs and Raymond F. Person Jr.

    At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Deuteronomistic History section and the Israelite Prophetic Literature section held a joint session devoted to the exploration of the Deuteronomistic History as prophetic literature. The steering committees of these two sections understood that the changing discussions concerning prophecy and concerning the Deuteronomistic History required our coming together to explore the areas of common interest, and invited four distinguished scholars with different backgrounds and approaches to give substantive papers on the topic. Revisions of these four papers—the chapters by Marvin Sweeney, Diana Edelman, Ehud Ben Zvi, and Thomas...

  4. Reflections of Ancient Israelite Divination in the Former Prophets
    (pp. 7-34)
    Rannfrid Thelle

    The words and acts of figures called prophets are described both in passing and in some detail in Joshua–2 Kings. Even after a very superficial glance at some of the narratives of the Former Prophets,¹ one might be forgiven for thinking that texts that speak of prophetic figures should provide a rich source of knowledge about ancient Israelite prophecy. The debates of the last several decades show, however, that the situation is not that simple. Descriptions and systematic presentations of prophets and prophecy in the literature of the Former Prophets are numerous. Yet, as the history of research on...

  5. Prophets and Priests in the Deuteronomistic History: Elijah and Elisha
    (pp. 35-50)
    Marvin A. Sweeney

    King Jeroboam ben Nebat of Israel is roundly condemned in the Former Prophets, or Deuteronomistic History, for a number of alleged sins, such as his rejection of the Jerusalem Temple, his promotion of the golden calves for worship at Bethel and Dan, his changes to the liturgical calendar of Israel, his appointment of non-Levites to the priesthood, and others. Nevertheless, it is striking that Jeroboam’s actions are largely defensible. The Jerusalem temple is the house of David’s royal sanctuary; the golden calves function as a mount for YHWH much as the ark of the covenant does in the south; Num...

  6. Court Prophets during the Monarchy and Literary Prophets in the So-Called Deuteronomistic History
    (pp. 51-74)
    Diana Edelman

    The kings of Judah had a range of cultic specialists at their disposal to use to determine the divine will; the ecstatic was only one alongside the interpreter of dreams, the omen priest, and practitioners of other forms of divination. The Deuteronomistic History has tended retrospectively to collapse many of these practitioners into a single category, the ecstatic, and to insist that kings were never without a person who could convey YHWH’s will to the king directly. The implications of this literary construct will be explored.

    In the Iron II period in the kingdom of Judah, a range of cultic...

  7. Prophetic Memories in the Deuteronomistic Historical and the Prophetic Collections of Books
    (pp. 75-102)
    Ehud Ben Zvi

    This essay is not about what monarchic or, for that matter, premonarchic prophets might have been or what they did or did not do. It is about how they were imagined by Persian period Jerusalem-centered literati whose memories of prophets of old were based on their readings of the Deuteronomistic historical and the prophetic collections of books. This essay is about why these prophets of old were imagined and remembered in certain ways and about the basic, general conceptual prototypes of prophecy and prophets that these literati shared among themselves, and about their social mindscape, which was underlying, generating, and...

  8. Prophets and Prophecy in Joshua–Kings: A Near Eastern Perspective
    (pp. 103-128)
    Martti Nissinen

    Prophecy is one of the major literary ingredients of the multilayered narrative in the so-called Deuteronomistic History. Whether the result of a specific redaction (DtrP)¹ or continuing textual growth, stories of prophets span over large textual entities and play a crucial ideological role in the overall design of the work. The significant role given to prophets in the historical narrative raises the question of the relation of the narrative to the historical phenomenon of prophecy and the familiarity of its writers² with it. Fictitious as the stories on prophets probably are for the most part, they nevertheless represent the storytellers’...

  9. Moses, Israel’s First Prophet, and the Formation of the Deuteronomistic and Prophetic Libraries
    (pp. 129-146)
    Thomas C. Römer

    “Is Moses also among the prophets?”—This question may sound astonishing, but when we look at the Hebrew Bible more closely, we see that he is very seldom identified as a nābîʾ. In fact, this title is attributed to him directly only in two or three passages of the Hebrew Bible. In Deut 18 he seems to inaugurate the prophetic office in Israel, since the text states that YHWH will from now on raise other prophets like Moses (18:15). In Deut 34:10–12 Moses is distinguished from the prophets that follow, who cannot compare with him (“Never since has there...

  10. Samuel: A Prophet Like Moses or a Priest Like Moses?
    (pp. 147-168)
    Mark Leuchter

    In the late seventh or early sixth century b.c.e., the prophet Jeremiah lamented that he was completely unable to intercede on behalf of the nation to YHWH.¹ In a particularly dramatic manner, Jeremiah declared that Israel was past the point of no return: “Then YHWH said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people; cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth” (Jer 15:1). The Jeremiah tradition attests to efforts by the Judahite elite to elicit a positive oracle from the prophet in the face of...

  11. Prophetic Stories Making a Story of Prophecy
    (pp. 169-186)
    Mark O’Brien

    The aim of this essay is quite straightforward: to examine how ancient Israelite authors did what all authors seek to do; how they made creative use of limited literary resources in order to give meaning to experience. Its focus is specific: the portrayal of prophets and their preaching in a selection of prophetic stories in the books of Samuel and Kings.¹ Its premise is self-evident: all literary forms are, to a greater or lesser degree, limited. Each provides an opportunity to communicate something in a creative way, but also imposes limitations. Hence, societies in all ages have found it necessary...

  12. Prophets in the Deuteronomic History and the Book of Chronicles: A Reassessment
    (pp. 187-200)
    Raymond F. Person Jr.

    The current consensus model states that the relationship between the Deuteronomistic History and the book of Chronicles is sequential, with the Deuteronomistic History preserving preexilic and exilic materials, using standard biblical Hebrew, serving as the primary source for the later book of Chronicles, which is a major postexilic revision of Samuel–Kings and other sources in the language of late biblical Hebrew. Thus, any place where the book of Chronicles lacks material found in Samuel–Kings must be a deliberate omission of the earlier material, any place with unique material must be an addition, and any place where the wording...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-224)
  14. Contributors
    (pp. 225-226)
  15. Scripture Index
    (pp. 227-237)
  16. Author Index
    (pp. 238-244)