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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 224 Reviews PROPHECY AND PROPHETS. Yehoshua Gitay, ed. SBL Semeia Studies. pp. viii + 174. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997. Paper, $24.95. This small volume includes essays by eight well-known scholars of the Hebrew Bible, written to illuminate the diversity of methods and issues in current scholarship. Accordingly, in what follows here, the thesis or a major contribution of each essay will be reported first; then the overall volume will be evaluated. The first article by Herbert H. Huffmon presents an overview of prophetic texts from Mari. Huffmon fmds there "evidence testifying to the existence of an autonomous elite that could criticize the king's equity or question his righteousness" (p. 18). These elite critics were prophets, who appeared as inspired speakers on behalf of the divine realm, though Huffmon thinks they do not match the Hebrew prophets on that score. David L. Petersen proposes a five-fold typology of prophets and prophetic literature: (1) the ro·eh (diviner), who is the chief actor in the divinatory narrative; (2) the i]ozeh (visionary), who employs the genre of vision report; (3) the nab,· (prophet), who delivers prophetic speeches like prophecies of disaster and admonitions; (4) the ·rshii·elOh'm (man of God), who embodies the world of the sacred within the profane and is the subject of prophetic legends; and (5) the "prophetic historian," who is responsible for much of the Deuteronomistic History. The editor of the volume, Yehoshua Gitay, offers a study of Jeremiah 1:1-19, employing rhetorical criticism. He argues that the call narrative is an attempt "to prove Jeremiah's prophetic authority in response to challenges to the validity of his message" (p. 52). The next essay by David Noel Freedman explores Huffmon's suggestion that the Hebrew prophets surpass their contemporaries. In doing so, he examines the issues of the person of the prophets behind the prophetic books, of false prophecy, of ethics, and of intercession. Ronald E. Clements raises anew the issue of the prophets as charismatic figures by reviving Max Weber's discussion of "charisma." That word may be applied to a quality of one's personality "by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman , or at least specifically exceptional powers..." (p. 93). For prophets or anyone else, "charisma" is the ability to initiate major social changes (p. 95). The charisma of some of the prophets was their insight that doom was coming, and books grew around their personality and message. Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 225 Reviews Rolf Rendtorff offers a model of reading a prophetic book, in this case the whole of Isaiah, in a synchronic fashion informed by diachronic insights (Le. the lengthy time span covered by the book). He argues that the source critical approach of three Isaiahs misrepresents the complex makeup of Isaiah 1-39 and misses the interrelationships among the three sections of the book. Although he employs the phrase "second naivete," his reading is anything but nai"e and is better termed something like "unified." James L. Crenshaw offers an overview of his reading of the book of Joel as a backdrop against which to read the conclusion to the book of Joel, which he identifies as 4:17-21 (English 3:17-21). The particular concerns of those verses betray an agrarian author and audience, with affinities to utopian visions in Amos 9:11-15; Mic 4:1-4; Isa 2:2-4; 11:6-9; Ezek 47:112 ; Zech 14:1-21; Mal 3:19-21; and Oen 49:10--12. Zifira Oitay offers the concluding essay, a study in how painters from the time of the Dura-Europus synagogue (third century eE) to the twentieth century read particular prophets, as implied by their paintings. Two of her observations stand out: (1) the artists were never satisfied to leave out the prophet (whose charisma attracted them too), (2) the artists were forced to fill in visual details not mentioned in the texts; this allowed the American painter Edward Hicks, for example, the opportunity to "apply" the text of Isa 11:6 to his own Quaker view of America. The plan of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 224-226
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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