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Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel

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Using comparative anthropology to get at the social dimensions of prophetic activity, Robert Wilson’s study brings the study of Isrealite prophecy to a new level. Looking at both modern societies and Ancient Near Eastern ones, Wilson sketches the nature of prophetic activity, its social location, and its social functions. He then shows how these features appear in Israelite prophecy and sketches a history of prophecy in Israel.

  • Surveys ancient and modern comparative evidence
  • Summarizes related anthropological studies
  • Explores the social dimensions of prophetic activity in Israel
  • Prophecy and Society in Old Testament Research
  • Prophecy in Modern Societies
  • Prophecy in the Ancient Near East
  • Prophecy in Israel: The Ephraimite Tradition
  • Prophecy in Israel: The Judean Traditions
  • Toward a History of Prophecy in Israel
With this book, Robert R. Wilson establishes himself as a central contributor to the study of the prophets. His book will surely become a standard point of reference for subsequent work. Wilson reflects a major move in methods and perspectives now being made in Old Testament studies, a move which seeks to go beyond the American and the German syntheses of the last generation.

—Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation

Competent histories of Israelite prophecy are rare enough; histories which tackle responsibly the social realia of the phenomena under discussion are rarer still. Wilson’s book is just such a doubly rare, and excellent contribution; one which replaces earlier, and hitherto standard, tomes.

—David L. Petersen, Religious Studies Review

  • Title: Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel
  • Author: Robert R. Wilson
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1980
  • Pages: 336
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Israel

A former chair of the Yale University Department of Religious Studies, Professor Wilson’s areas of academic interest include Israelite prophecy, the Deuteronomistic history, and ancient Israelite religion in its social and cultural context. His books include Genealogy and History in the Biblical World, Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel (which has been translated into Korean and Portuguese), Sociological Approaches to the Old Testament (which has been translated into Japanese), and Canon, Theology and Old Testament Interpretation (edited with Gene M. Tucker and David L. Petersen). His scholarly articles have appeared in the Journal of Biblical Literature, among others, and he has been a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Religion, the Harper Collins Study Bible, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary. He has been actively involved in the Society of Biblical Literature, serving as chair of the Social Roles of Prophecy in Israel Group, and as the Old Testament editor of the Society of Biblical Literature dissertation series. in its social and cultural context.


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  1. Alessandro



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  3. Alessandro



    John J. Collins stated in 2020 that this is the best book on prophecy.
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Digital list price: $29.00
Regular price: $19.99
Save $5.00 (25%)