Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Prophets

Overview

The Writings of The Prophets of Israel Mame Up Over a Quarter of the Old Testament. But perhaps no other portion of the Old Testament is more misunderstood by readers today. Prophecy conjures up for us knotted enigmas, opaque oracles and terrifying visions of the future. Who were the Old Testament prophets? How were their sayings, sermons and oracles formed into books? For whom were these books composed? And what are the main themes of the prophets? To read and understand the prophets, we need a guide. When we ...
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Overview

The Writings of The Prophets of Israel Mame Up Over a Quarter of the Old Testament. But perhaps no other portion of the Old Testament is more misunderstood by readers today. Prophecy conjures up for us knotted enigmas, opaque oracles and terrifying visions of the future. Who were the Old Testament prophets? How were their sayings, sermons and oracles formed into books? For whom were these books composed? And what are the main themes of the prophets? To read and understand the prophets, we need a guide. When we read and study the prophets today, we must understand their historical context, their artful use of language and their place within the chorus of Old Testament voices. J. Gordon McConville's informed, illuminating and interactive introduction to the prophets is an ideal starting place for students of the Old Testament who want to become familiar with the text and context of the prophets and see their contribution to the tapestry of Scripture. Here is a critically informed and theologically sensitive introduction to the prophets of Israel and the literary masterpieces that go by their names.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830825547
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Exploring the Bible Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Gordon McConville is senior lecturer in Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham, England. He is the author of several books and studies on Old Testament topics, including Law and Theology in Deuteronomy (JSOT Press), Time and Place in Deuteronomy (with J. G. Millar, JSOT Press) and Judgment and Promise: An Introduction to the Book of Jeremiah (Apollos).

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Table of Contents

The dates of kings and prophets viii
Key to panels ix
Introduction xi
Abbreviations xxxi
List of maps xxxii
1 Isaiah 1
Date and Destination 1
Critical Interpretation of Isaiah 3
Identifying Isaiah of Jerusalem 3
The message of Isaiah of Jerusalem 4
The composition of Isaiah 1--39 7
Isaiah 1--39 and 40--66 10
Reading Isaiah as a unity 11
Structure and Outline 12
Structure 12
Outline 12
Theological Themes 32
The story behind the book 32
Zion, city of God 34
King and Messiah 35
The Servant and the nations 36
Trust in God 37
Rhetorical Intention 38
Isaiah in the Canon 40
Further Reading 42
2 Jeremiah 45
Date and Destination 45
Critical Interpretation of Jeremiah 47
Prophecy as poetry? 47
'Deuteronomistic' sermons? 48
A deuteronomistic edition? 48
Is Jeremiah from Jeremiah? 49
Structure and Outline 51
Structure 51
Outline 52
Theological Themes 63
Sin as falseness 63
Judgement and salvation 64
The New Covenant 65
The individual 67
The Messiah 68
Rhetorical Intention 68
Jeremiah in the Canon 70
Further Reading 72
3 Lamentations 75
Date and Destination 75
Critical Interpretation of Lamentations 75
Structure and Outline 76
Structure 76
Outline 76
Theological Themes 78
Covenant curse and confession of sin 78
Lamentation and bitter suffering 79
'The steadfast love of the LORD' 79
Waiting for God 79
A comforter 80
Rhetorical Intention 80
Lamentations in the Canon 81
Further Reading 81
4 Ezekiel 83
Date and Destination 83
Place 83
Time 83
To whom is he speaking? 84
Critical Interpretation of Ezekiel 85
Structure and Outline 86
Structure 86
Outline 87
Theological Themes 98
Sovereignty of God and human responsibility 98
The presence of God 99
Sin, judgement, purification 100
Salvation: a radically new beginning; Zion and Eden 101
Political/formal and spiritual religion: Ezekiel as prophet and priest 102
Rhetorical Intention 103
Ezekiel in the Canon 105
Further Reading 106
5 Daniel 109
Date and Destination 109
Critical Interpretation of Daniel 111
Genre 112
Unity 113
Structure and Outline 113
Structure 113
Outline 115
Theological Themes 125
The kingdom of God 125
Divine and human rule 126
Messiah 127
God's faithfulness, human faithfulness 127
Rhetorical Intention 128
Daniel in the Canon 130
Further Reading 131
The Book of the Twelve 133
Further Reading 134
6 Hosea 135
Date and Destination 135
Religion in Hosea's time 137
Critical Interpretation of Hosea 137
Structure and Outline 139
Structure 139
Outline 139
Theological Themes 144
'No other gods' 144
Faithfulness and steadfast love 144
Judgement and love: God's dilemma 146
Rhetorical Intention 147
Hosea in the Canon 149
Further Reading 150
7 Joel 153
Date and Destination 153
Critical Interpretation of Joel 154
Structure and Outline 155
Structure 155
Outline 155
Theological Themes 157
All-powerful God 157
The 'Day of the Lord' 158
Repentance 158
Nature and history 158
The spirit 158
Rhetorical Intention 159
Joel in the Canon 160
Further Reading 161
8 Amos 163
Date and Destination 163
Critical Interpretation of Amos 165
Structure and Outline 166
Structure 166
Outline 166
Theological Themes 172
Justice and righteousness, and the 'good' of God's people 172
Justice and creation 173
The universal God and the election of Israel 173
Rhetorical Intention 174
Rhetorical devices 174
Rhetorical levels 175
Amos in the Canon 176
Further Reading 177
9 Obadiah 179
Date and Destination 179
Subject matter 179
Vocabulary and ideas 179
Critical Interpretation of Obadiah 180
Structure and Outline 180
Structure 180
Outline 180
Theological Themes 181
Rhetorical Intention 182
Obadiah in the Canon 182
Further Reading 183
10 Jonah 185
Date and Destination 185
Dating and genre 185
Critical Interpretation of Jonah 186
Structure and Outline 187
Structure 187
Outline 187
Theological Themes 189
Working out the sovereignty of God 189
Worship and thanksgiving 189
Retribution? 190
God's forgiveness extended to all? 190
Can God 'repent'? 190
'God' and 'Yahweh' 191
Rhetorical Intention 192
Jonah in the Canon 192
Further Reading 194
11 Micah 195
Date and Destination 195
Critical Interpretation of Micah 195
Structure and Outline 197
Structure 197
Outline 197
Theological Themes 201
Judgement and salvation 201
Exodus and covenant traditions 201
Prophetic ethics 202
The nations 202
Rhetorical Intention 202
Micah in the Canon 203
Further Reading 204
12 Nahum 205
Date and Destination 205
Critical Interpretation of Nahum 206
Structure and Outline 206
Structure 206
Outline 206
Theological Themes 207
Rhetorical Intention 208
Nahum in the Canon 208
Further Reading 209
13 Habakkuk 211
Date and Destination 211
Critical Interpretation of Habakkuk 212
Structure and Outline 213
Structure 213
Outline 213
Theological Themes 215
How can a just God tolerate evil? 215
The righteous shall live by (whose?) faithfulness 216
Rhetorical Intention 217
Habakkuk in the Canon 217
Further Reading 217
14 Zephaniah 219
Date and Destination 219
Critical Interpretation of Zephaniah 220
Zephaniah a 'drama'? 221
Zephaniah a 'cult prophet'? 222
Structure and Outline 222
Structure 222
Outline 222
Theological Themes 224
God's election of Israel, and his kingship in the world 224
More on election: A 'remnant' 225
Religion and ethics 225
The day of the Lord: Judgement and salvation 226
Rhetorical Intention 226
Zephaniah in the Canon 227
Further Reading 227
15 Haggai 229
Date and Destination 229
Critical Interpretation of Haggai 230
Structure and Outline 231
Structure 232
Outline 232
Theological Themes 234
The temple 234
Future help 235
Rhetorical Intention 236
Haggai in the Canon 236
Further Reading 237
16 Zechariah 239
Date and Destination 239
Zechariah 1-8 239
Zechariah 9-14 241
Critical Interpretation of Zechariah 243
Zechariah 1-8 243
Zechariah 1-8 and 9-14 244
Structure and Outline 244
Structure 244
Outline 245
Theological Themes 251
Between salvation and salvation 251
Messiah 253
Rhetorical Intention 253
Zechariah in the Canon 254
Further Reading 256
17 Malachi 259
Date and Destination 259
Critical Interpretation of Malachi 260
Structure and Outline 260
Structure 260
Outline 260
Theological Themes 265
Covenant with Yahweh 265
Particular covenants 266
Form and spirit in worship 266
Eschatology 266
Rhetorical Intention 267
Malachi in the Canon 268
Further Reading 269
Index 271
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