HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
GROENEWALD, Alphonso. Prophetic witness in the Hebrew Bible: from prophetic word to prophetic books. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2010, vol.66, n.1, pp. 1-7. ISSN 2072-8050.
Although prophecy as a phenomenon is recognised as being common to Mari, Mesopotamia and other Near Eastern contexts, the huge process of collecting, editing and interpreting prophecy that took place as part of the formation of the Hebrew Bible (HB), is virtually without precedent in the rest of the Ancient Near East. The prophetic books in the HB are written texts. They claim to be, and were considered to be, the word of YHWH. Beginning with an overview of the prophets and prophetic literature, including an explication of the different terms used for 'prophet' in the HB, this article focused on the different images for the prophets as used in the biblical tradition and particularly on, (1) the prophet as individual against the establishment, (2) the prophet as a false prophet and (3) the prophet as a true servant of Yahweh. It seems that most of the traditions in the HB concerning the prophets are not descriptions of the actuality of prophecy, but, rather, they reflect later perceptions of prophecy in the development of the tradition. Although they are not entirely imagination, images of the prophets in the HB should not be taken as descriptions of prophecy in Judah and Israel. The characterisations of the prophets are ideological constructs of the later tradents of the texts projected onto Israel's and Judah's past.
Keywords : prophecy; prophetic images; prophetic literature; scholars of scripture; tradents.