INTRODUCTION TO PROPHETS
Rabbi David L. Kline
How can we know what God wants of us? What is Torah? Is God verbal?
1) DEUTERONOMY The fifth book of the Pentateuch (Chumash) contains, in the critical view, the earliest “Book of Torah.” II Kings 22-3 tells the story of its “discovery”, with the attendant shock and religious purge. In the narrative a court prophet authenticates the newly found scroll as a long lost document. More likely, a well meaning priest had recently composed the scroll and we see here an official portrait of religion as practiced in late seventh century BCE Judah, a framework for study of prophets.
Either read through Deuteronomy or check over the reading guide for items that interest you. Note the references to true and false prophets in chapters 13 and 18. 18:14-19 amounts to a functional definition of prophecy. RG Jeremiah 26 describes the trial of Jeremiah in which he is sentenced to death for his temple sermon where he challenges Deuteronomy. Ctr. Micah (3:9-12) who faced no such inquisition.
2) OLD TIME RELIGION AND ITS PROPHETS
1Samuel 8, 10 Prophet/judge/king. Transition from tribes to nation.
1S 15 Who holds the power? Prophet or king?
1S 19 Is Saul among the prophets?
1S 28 The Witch of EinDor conjures a dead prophet.
2S 7 The prophet as royal advisor
2S 12 The prophet as moral critic.
1K 1 The prophet as political power.
3) CERTIFIED PROPHETS
1K 11(esp 29-39), 14:1-20 What’s a Deuteronomist prophet doing back in the days of Solomon?
1K 13 Which is the truer prophet?
1K 17- 2K 2 Elijah, legendary super prophet! (He doesn’t even die!)
1K 18 Seeing is believing? 19:1-14 The sound of silence
1K 20:35-42 Risky business, speaking truth to power
1K 22 A minority of one (“Truth always starts from …” Will Durant)
4) JUSTICE: AMOS, the innovator. RG
9) How many gods are there? Deutero Isaiah, the monotheist, 40-46, 49, 50, 52, 54. RG
10) Post Exilic: Hagai, Zechariah, Leviticus 19. What did the return from exile do for prophetic radicalism? RG