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Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World, The:…

Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World, The: An Introduction (edition 2012)

by Victor H. Matthews

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Drawing on archaeology and ancient Near Eastern texts, Matthews examines the prophets chronologically, placing them and their message into historical context. He explores pertinent aspects of historical geography, economic conditions, and social forces that influenced a prophet's life and message and explains why prophets served an integral purpose in the development of ancient Israelite religion. --from publisher description… (more)
Title:Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World, The: An Introduction
Authors:Victor H. Matthews
Info:Baker Academic (2012), Edition: 2, Paperback, 256 pages
Tags:Religious: Old Testament

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The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World: An Introduction by Victor H. Matthews



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Social World of the Hebrew Prophets is an introduction to the Hebrew Prophets and the social world of which they spoke. Matthews examines ancient Israel's prophets chronologically, providing sketches of their historical contexts. He explains pertinent aspects of historical geography, economic conditions, and social forces that influence a prophet's life and message. This analysis includes many of the images and metaphors a prophet used to communicate effectively. Thus, for example, the reader only skims the surface of a text without understanding what it meant to be a member of Tekoa's community of hill country farmers and herders, or what an exiled Levite from Anathoth experienced as a prophet in Jerusalem.
  tony_sturges | Jul 25, 2017 |
An excellent contextual introduction to the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.

The author describes the function and role of the prophet in Israel based upon what is found in the Old Testament as well as ancient Near Eastern parallels. He describes the work of the early prophets based on what is recorded of them in the historical books of the Old Testament, and then systematically discusses the messages of the written prophets in terms of their original audiences.

On the whole this book does a great job of introducing the reader to the Hebrew prophets in their context, which is quite useful and necessary in light of how often the prophets are read and discussed only as they relate to later characters and events.

The author does break Isaiah up into First, Second, and Third Isaiah sections, and breaks Zechariah up into two sections as well. He understands Daniel only in terms of the Hellenistic period, and his conclusions about Malachi in terms of idolatry and sexual immorality seem strained and textually unjustified. The author unduly focuses on Christian expectation of later fulfillment of prophecy without noting how prevalent such was as a means of interpreting the prophets among Jewish communities in the first centuries BCE/CE as well.

Having said all of that, the book is still very much worth consideration in order to come to a better contextual understanding of the Hebrew prophets.

**--book received as early review edition ( )
  deusvitae | Nov 10, 2012 |
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