06 Public Theology

OFB, 89–103

Overview of chapter six

This chapter addresses the two very different kinds of prophetic books that comprise the Nebi'im in the Tanakh: the historical books of the Former Prophets, and the classic prophetic texts of the Latter Prophets. The title for this chapter plays with the idea that the prophets of ancient Israel were public theologians, rather than religious insiders. Whether recounting the story of the nation's past or speaking truth to power, they had a passion for the public dimensions of religion, and expected the organised life of their society to reflect the covenant values that lay at the center of its identity.
  • After a brief introduction the first section offers an overview of the Former Prophets (pp. 90–92).
  • This is followed by an overview of the Latter Prophets (pp. 92–94).
  • In the interests of space, there is no elaboration on the books of the Former Prophets, although this is touched on briefly in the discussion of Deuteronomy in the previous chapter (pp. 81–85). Rather, each of the great four prophetic scrolls in the Latter Prophets is discussed (briefly) in turn:
    • Isaiah and the convenant traditions (pp. 94–95)
    • Jeremiah and the traditions of Zion (pp. 96–97)
    • Ezekiel and the Temple tradition (pp. 97–99)
    • The Scroll of the Twelve (pp. 99–100)
  • The concluding cameo essay deals with the famous Emmanuel prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (pp. 100–103).

Web links with particular relevance to this chapter include: