Tradition and Interpretation

By G. W. Anderson | Go to book overview
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VI
PROPHECY AND THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE

W. MCKANE

CONSIDERATIONS of 'tradition and interpretation' exert their influence in many directions in the recent study of prophecy and the prophetic literature. One aspect of this is the diminishment of separability between prophecy, on the one hand, and prophetic literature, on the other, a manifestation of which is the persuasion that the prophetic message is the key to the understanding of prophecy and the only legitimate avenue of approach open to the investigator.1 There has been a lessening of interest in questions about the origins of Israelite prophecy and in the direct study of the constituents of the prophetic experience, and a tendency to approach through the forms of the prophetic literature.2 Hence it is argued that what we are told about Hosea's marriage in chapters 1 and 3 is oriented towards the prophet's message rather than towards biography,3 that the same is true of the so-called Baruch biography ( Jer. 19:1-20:6; 26-9; 36-45; 51:59-64),4 and that descriptions of the visionary experiences of Ezekiel, together with the unusual physical and psychical effects to which he is subject (3:25 f.; 24:27; 33:22), are set in the framework of his proclamation and do not exist in their own right as accounts of his prophetic experiences. The stylized or generalized form in which the experiences of Ezekiel are reported makes the transition from kerygma to

____________________
1
C. Westermann, Basic Forms of Prophetic Speech, London, 1967, pp. 63, 86 (ETr of Grundformen prophetischer Rede, BEvTh xxxi, 2nd edn., 1964).
2
R. E. Clements, Prophecy and Covenant, SBT xi, 1955, pp. 25,128.
3
Cf. H. H. Rowley, "'The Marriage of Hoaea'", Men of God, London, 1963, pp. 66- 97.
4
Clements, Prophecy and Tradition, Oxford, 1975, pp. 31-3; G. Wanke, Untersuchungen zur sogenannten Baruchschrift, BZAW cxxii, 1971.

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