Research Project


Ancient Israel's Prophecy and Prophetic Literature in Early Judaism

Prof. Dr. Jürgen van Oorschot

The ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel participated in the concepts and practices of ancient Near Eastern forms of power, collective and individual coping in the 1st millennium B.C. This project brings the recent research on Old Testament Prophecy into the debates of the IKGF, focusing on concrete prophecies of the early Persian period (Isaiah 40-66).

The key questions are: (1) What were the consequences when the political addressing of rulers and elites together with the cultic context are omitted? What is the conceptual and pragmatic profile of the texts addressed to the nation as a whole ("Jacob"; "Israel")? What function did this prophetic speech have, when its task of stabilization of royal rule is eliminated? (2) What impact did the inclusion of prophecy in a political-religious system have, for example, during the reign of Darius I in the 5th century B.E.? What forms of universal and particularistic expectation of salvation and of sacred figures are reflected in the various strata of the different editions of Deutero-Isaiah (Isaiah 40-66)? (3) Which concepts of history underlie these prophetic texts? (4) What impact was made by the change in the prophetic medium from oral speech to prophetic books? What knowledge can be gained from making a cultural and religious comparison of Old Testament Prophecy with the activities associated with figures involved in prognosis in Asia or Europe?

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