The Fiery Throne: The Prophets and Old Testament Theology

The Fiery Throne: The Prophets and Old Testament Theology

The Fiery Throne: The Prophets and Old Testament Theology

The Fiery Throne: The Prophets and Old Testament Theology


This work brings together some of Zimmerli's most important and interesting work on Old Testament theology and the prophets. He is especially renowned for his works on Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the prophetic experience. An excellent supplementary textbook for courses in the Old Testament or Bible, it includes additional notes and bibliography for each essay to show how the discussion has continued.


Combining a life of service, ministry, teaching, administration, and research, the career of Walther Zimmerli was one of distinction at every turn. A renowned expert on the prophetic literature in the Hebrew Bible, he was also the leader of the Göttingen project on the Septuagint, a pastor, and an advisor of theological students.

Born in Schiers, Switzerland, in the canton of Graubünden, on 20 January 1907, he was the eighth of eleven children. His father, Jacob, was the director of the Evangelische Lehranstalt (Protestant Educational Institute), but died in 1918 when Walther was only eleven. His mother, Lily, was a major influence on him.

Zimmerli studied with some of the brightest lights in Old Testament research prior to World War II: in Zurich, Jakob Hausheer (linguist and translator of the Zurich Bibel); in Berlin, Ernst Sellin (exegete and archaeologist); in Göttingen, Mark Lidzbarski (Semitist), Albrecht Götze (Syriac), and Alfred Rahlfs (the renowned scholar of the Septuagint and Aramaic). He wrote his dissertation at Göttingen on the history and tradition of Beersheba in the Old Testament under Johannes Hempel (text critic and exegete).

As his practicum for his theological studies, he worked as an attendant at a care facility for epileptics in Zurich (1929–30). He then became an assistant for Old Testament at the University of Göttingen (1930–33), completing his doctorate in 1932. Returning to Switzerland, he held two pastorates—Aarburg (1933–35) and Zurich (1935–50)—while pursuing his teaching career. In 1935, he began teaching Old Testament, history of religion, and Oriental languages at the University of Zurich as extraordinarius, and in 1938 as orindarius, succeeding his former teacher, Hausheer. In 1940 he became the “house father” of the Reformed Theological Student House in Zurich as well, which he and his wife began. His also served as a chaplain in the Swiss army, beginning in 1940.

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