Rev. Dr. Karl C. Schaffenburg discusses the structure of the OT after the 5 books of Torah.
The Writings, Prophets, and Wisdom Literature Writings
- Wisdom Literature
- Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
- included in history narratives, but not in books named for a prophet (e.g. Elijah)
- no prophets before a unified monarchy - about 1000 BC
- Within about 75 years of the destruction of the Jewish State, the prophets disappear
- The prophets spoke to those in power, because the king spoke for the people, the king personified the people
- Prophets don’t want to be a prophet
- Remind us that God is personal
Minor Prophets (the 12)
- Hosea - Seer
- ro’eh- Diviner ‘isha elohim - man of God - doesn’t say much - is prophetic by what he does or how he acts
- navi - nevi’im - Prophet
Types of Prophecy
- Symbolic Action Reports - behavior designed to convey a message - Jacob walking naked for three years
- Commissioning Report - Call Narrative - “Here is how God called me…”
- Vision Report - Something that is happening or is about to happen - not exactly future telling - prophetic time is essentially time-less
- Legends - Narrative stories with teaching elements - Elijah, Elisha for example
- History - Retelling of History - The attack on Jerusalem
- Biography - Life of the prophet - Jeremiah for example
- Divinatory Chronicle - Prophet as Diviner - Poetic - Indictment and Judgement
Three Major Themes of all Prophecy
- Covenant and Imperium - Prophets remind the people of things they’ve already agreed to with the Lord. Call back to covenant, back to faithfulness to God.
- Ethical Norms - Call to recognize the people failure to uphold the ethical or social justice norms or agreements. God’s requirement
- Hope - Despite shortcomings and falling short in faith - The prophets focus on destruction is still more focused on restoration of the people and covenant with God
- Apocalyptic - pulling the curtain aside to reveal a deeper reality
-- Found in the OT in Daniel
- Wisdom Literature
- Psalms, Proverbs, Job
- Hebrew Wisdom Lit. - as opposed other Wis. Lit.
- Says almost nothing about history of Israel, but talks about how the just and wise person is to live
- Enlightenment - Wisdom
- Teaching oriented
- Wisdom Personified - typically with a female pronoun
-- In OT - Wisdom is created by God - Not a person of the Trinity
Common Themes In Wisdom Literature
- Cosmic Order - Divinely ordained order in the natural world, human beings are a part of nature and not separate from it.
- Creation - The LORD is the author of all creation determining boundaries and keeping creation within those boundaries, but humans have free choice
- Wisdom - The rules can be discovered by humans. Practical knowledge. Human wisdom has its limits. Human task and divine gift.
-Human Choice has Consequences - Two ways - Follow God or follow our own way - Wisdom or Folly
- The Problem of Evil - Why is there suffering? God does not will evil. People can ask questions.
- Wisdom Personified - Creature of the LORD not a Goddess - metaphor
Overall Arch of the OT in the Bible
- Salvation History - The foreshadowing and requirements at Jesus the messiah
- Christian Typology - Type (theologically) - something that is foreshadowed in the OT then fulfilled in the NT
Have you ever wanted to better understand your Bible? Do you want to explore what resources are available to identify and understand issues of translation, and how to use these resources?
Explore the language of the New Testament with us!