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D.L. PETERSEN, Israelite prophecy: change versus continuity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is devoted to a basic question: did Israelite prophecy change significantly over time. First, the notion of "prophecy", as opposed to the canonical phrase, "the prophets", is a scholar's creation. The Hebrew Bible contains language about one prophet or about prophets but not about prophecy as a concept, institution or role. Second, the increasingly diverse methods by means of which Israelite prophecy and prophetic literature are now being studied make answering the question more difficult than it was in the past. The author develops a socio-political vocabulary for considering the contexts in which prophets functioned as intermediaries. The chapter argues that intermediaries in ancient Israel were active in at least four different socio-political contexts: "independent" monarchic state, royal vassal state, gôldâ community, Bürger-Tempel-Gemeinde. The political, economic, and social dynamics of a particular context affected directly the forms of intermediation that took place in it.

Keywords: Bürger-Tempel-Gemeinde; Hebrew Bible; Israelite Prophecy; socio-political vocabulary



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