Old Testament Prophecy Recent Publications -- By: David W. Baker

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 33:0 (NA 2001)
Article: Old Testament Prophecy Recent Publications
Author: David W. Baker


Old Testament Prophecy
Recent Publications

David W. Baker

David W. Baker (Ph.D., University of London) is Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at ATS.

Over the last several years, numerous studies of various elements of the Old Testament prophetic books have appeared. In this essay, a number of these will be reviewed and evaluated. This article is not intended to be comprehensive.1

Introduction

E.W. Heaton is a British Old Testament scholar whose 1977 introduction to the prophets has recently appeared in a new edition.2 The author self-consciously addresses the needs of the lay reader rather than the scholar, so the footnotes rarely cite secondary sources, mainly indicating scriptural passages supporting the claims made in the text. There is a useful bibliography at the end of the book, so those who wish to pursue matters raised further may do so. It has been updated with works as recent as 1993.

Heaton, in a very readable, and very English, style, divides his book into ten chapters. ‘Making Sense of the Old Testament’ explores the history of OT interpretation from the early period through the middle ages to today. He sees it best understood as the records of a peoples encounter with their God, and the reinterpretation of these stories as time went on. In chapter 2, the writing prophets are briefly introduced in the context of their times, which for Daniel is the second century BC, making him not properly one of the regular prophetic books, and for Isaiah is three distinct periods, since it is seen as a composite rather than a unity. ‘The Vocation of the Prophets’ explores their societal roles as both individuals and institutional functionaries. Here he overviews various topics such as ancient Near Eastern parallels and the puzzling

    urim and thummim.
‘The Preaching of the Prophets’ looks at the prophetic message forms and the righteousness of their person.

In an analysis of individual prophetic books, Heaton divides the chapters into ‘judgment without promise’ (Amos., Isaiah, Micah). He sees these as lacking hope, so needing to relegate passages of promise such as Amos 9:11–15 to an addition by a later author. This is a more liberal approach to Scripture where what should be found in it based on some interpretive preunderstanding controls what is actually written in it. ‘Salvation through judgment’ (Hosea,

Jeremiah), ‘Salvation after Judgment’ (2nd Isaiah, Ezekiel), and ‘Salvation in the Restored Community’ (Haggai and Z...

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