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Title: History and Prophecy: The Development of Late Judean Literary Traditions
Author: Peckham, Brian, SJ
Publisher: Yale University Press; Publication Date: 1993
Hardcover; ISBN: 9780300140835
Volumes: 1; Pages: 832
List Price in Cloth: $55.00 Our price: $46.99
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The controversial premise of History and Prophecy is that the Bible was created from the very outset as a work of literature; and not simply handed down in the form of oral stories from one generation to another.In this explosive survey of the whole Hebrew Bible, author Brian Peckham cuts against the grain of scholarly opinion by taking seriously; the fact that the Bible is a work of literature--modeled on such ancient authors as Homer and Hesiod--and was undoubtedly the product of a literate society: the creation of people who knew how to read and write for an audience that read, listened, and understood. Peckham provides the evidence that the biblical text at first was written; that from the beginning it was read and provoked written response; that it was quoted and alluded to in later writings; that what seemed right or evident to one writer was disputed, corrected, and reinterpreted by another, that nothing of significance in the process was erased or omitted but was preserved and inscribed with the rest for all time.In this provocative book, the biblical text is read as literature--from start to finish, as continuous, meaningful, and complete, with distinctive literary forms and genres. It was written to be read and performed. Its authors were poets, singers, orators, lawyers, priests, and scholars whose audiences were those gathered in the squares and gates of Jerusalem, or who met at wells and springs scattered throughout Israel. It comprised occasional drama, tragedy and comedy, ballads and speeches, debates and disputations traditional stories: in short, the stuff of books and libraries and literary appreciation.Finally, History and Prophecy reconstructs the history of ancient Israel as it was understood and interpreted by the writers of the Bible. It traces the development of images and ideas about Israel's origin, makeup, and role in world affairs from their earliest literary expression through the most exciting and difficult centuries in the nation's history.