Yaghjian, Writing Theology Well, Pt. 1, chps. 3-4
Brettler, How to Read the Jewish Bible, chapters 15-17, 21-23
An insight I had from the reading this week is how complex the analysis of prophecy can be and the ways in which prophecy was delivered and supported through additional action by the prophets. The division of types of Israelite prophecy, classical versus nonclassical, quite surprised me. I was most familiar with the characteristics of the “nonclassical” prophets such as Elijah, and had always assumed that all of the prophets had, to varying degrees, performed in the ways ascribed to the nonclassical, including knowing secret information, inducing prophecy, and working miracles. I had not previously considered how the audience (e.g. the king) would impact the tools used (e.g. short, prose style, delivered on fixed occasions for payment, supported by the performance of miracles and “unusual actions”).
Learning more about the rhetoric of theological writing alongside learning about the prophetic and apocalyptic contents of the Bible helped me to better understand how the various prophets developed their messages, or more accurately, how the authors of the Bible chose to write it in order to persuade or argue the points they were trying to make. This connects to the learning objective “Be able to demonstrate a working vocabulary of primary theological and religious concepts,..” as I feel I have a much better technical understanding of the vocabulary of rhetoric and the terminology used around prophecy.
I am excited to delve deeper into the ancient Mesopotamian omen texts. I’m curious to see the connections between the protasis and apodosis, and compare them to more recent “new age” spiritual omens to see if any of the different phenomena used in ancient times are still in use today, knowing that some things, such as the objects of sacrifice have changed over time and based on cultural norms.