Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Reflections on Old Testament Prophecy

The inter-semester break is almost over and it's time to reflect again; this time on the four first semester modules of the second year of my theology degree at HTC: OT Prophecy, Person and Work of Christ and of course Greek and Hebrew.

We begin with OT Prophecy. This course is taught by Hector Morrison and covers the main themes of Elijah and Elisha, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos and Haggai. Highlights were:

  • Van Gemeren's book Interpreting the Prophetic Word. Van Gemeren is great, especially the start of this book, where he contrasts the ANE religious framework with the revelatory framework of Israel's religion.

  • Prophetic Call: comparing and constrasting the call experiences of the prophets as recorded in the OT is invaluable for an insight into their task. However, there is too much of a tendency to appeal to the call experiences of the OT prophets when discussing the call to the NT church ministry. Ignoring the redemptive-historical contexts for these two distinct subjects can get us into problems. Rather than drawing parallels between the OT prophets and Christian ministers, it is more correct to see the fulfilment of the role of the OT prophets in Christ and then, by necessary extension, to see the NT parallel in the Church as a whole, as a prophetic community.

  • True and False Prophecy: how could kings and priests, and the people in general, tell if as prophet was speaking the truth? L J Wood offers seven tests found in the OT: true prophets don't emply divination (a feature of VanG's ANE Religion framework); they speak against the vox populi (using VanGs language); their lifestyle is consistent with Torah; they are willing to endure self-effacement; their message is in harmony with Torah and the word of previous attested prophets of Yahweh; their foretellings happen; they are sometimes authenticated by miracles. None of these are watertight tests, but for me the crux is found in Woods' fifth test: harmony with Torah and former prophets.

  • Day of the Lord: the seminar on this topic was a definite highlight and I'll post separately on this.

I'll also be posting on the essay topic which was the theme of the Second Exodus in the book of Isaiah.