As I’ve been lecturing this winter semester (Providence University College) for my course “The Former Prophets” (i.e., Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings) we’ve had some wonderful discussions about what it means for this portion of Scripture to offer a “history” of Israel.
Part of the reason for the course not being called “The History Books” (besides that term being used to refer to other books as well: Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther) is that the point of these books is not simply to offer a “history” of Israel, but a theological “history” of God’s dealings with Israel, and thus a theological explanation for where Israel finds themselves at the conclusion of this literary unit (in Babylon, no Davidic heir on the throne, with Jerusalem, the land, and the temple destroyed). The focus on these books as belonging to (what the Hebrew canon calls) “The Prophets” (נְבִיאִים nevi’im) is to emphasize their theological intent. This distinction gives emphasis to the presence and work of God. A distinction I find far more satisfactory than simply a discussion of these books as “history” (or even as contemporary scholarship refers to them following the work of Martin Noth: “Deuteronomistic History“). None of this is to deny the historical claims of the text (when such claims are actually present), but simply to recognize the work of the LORD throughout.
I was just wondering if others have found such a distinction helpful themselves in studying these books?
Some of My Publications
Community: Biblical and Theological Reflections in Honor of August H. Konkel
Pentecostal Theological Education in the Majority World: The Graduate and Post-Graduate Level. Vol. 1
Receiving Scripture in the Pentecostal Tradition: A Reception History
A Theology of the Spirit in the Former Prophets: A Pentecostal Perspective
"Emerging Homiletics: A Pentecostal Response" in
"N.T. Wright's Justification and the Cry of the Spirit" in
- A Question of Canon: Star Wars and the Old Testament July 4, 2023
- Concerning Contexts for Interpretation of Scripture February 19, 2022
- Hearing the Prophets on Justice: A Response April 27, 2021
- Proverbs 31 and the Virtuous Woman March 11, 2021
- Genesis 2.18 and the “Not Good” of Creation: Random Reflections February 3, 2021
- baptism in the Holy Spirit
- Biblical hermeneutics
- Biblical Interpretation
- Christ Jesus
- Holy Spirit
- literary interpretation
- Old Testament
- Society for Pentecostal Studies
- Trinity Bible College