A Book Review

I have just read Joseph Blenkinsopp’s A History of Prophecy in Israel, published in 1983 and revised and enlarged in 1996 as a means of updating my understand of state of Biblical scholarship.  In my early formation I was trained to read it through the eye of “form criticism,” notable Von Rad, Noth and Cross .  I was aware of the succeeding “redaction criticism” and I have had a positive attitude toward its intent, but never has the occasion to test its results.  My current project which consists of a critical reading of the Isaish Scholl, directed me to the work of Joseph Blenkinsopp.  Blenkinsopp is the author of the Anchor Bible volumes on Isaiah.  My first pass was with the help of Brevard S. Childs Isaiah in the Old Testament Library.  It occurred to me that before l launched this next read, I ought to look at Blenkinsopp’s survey of prophecy and it has proved more that worthwhile. In his introduction he notes that one hesitates to take on such a broad survey, close to a thousand years, rather than staying within the confines of one’s own specialty. But his dare has resulted in an import aid to the student of prophesy in Israel. In his course through almost 1,000 years, he shows a detailed mastery of the material.   What he argues is that there is a dynamic unity to prophesy in the life of Israel.  While it successively changes with the challenge Israel face, it continues to contribute to the life of Israel, even to its to latter day siblings, Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.

I highly recommend this book and look forward and I am excited to think about what Blenkinsopp will read to my next read of the Isaiah Scroll.  

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