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Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets

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This volume offers a contemporary look at the study of Isaiah and the 12 Minor Prophets. Seitz explores fundamental questions of hermeneutics, the canon, and the Prophets as a bridge between the Testaments.

In the first section, Seitz delivers an insightful account of the history of the genre, looking at the impact of modern critical methods and the influence of Gerhard von Rad. In particular, Seitz is concerned about unintended consequences of the tradition-historical approach, especially the separation of the Prophets from their canonical context. As an alternative, he makes the case for a “figural” reading that takes seriously the Prophets’ association with other portions of the canon while maintaining their individual integrity.

The second section offers three exegetical essays in which Seitz explores the themes and hermeneutical approach developed in the first half of the volume.

This volume introduces an original and fruitful approach to the study of the Prophets, one that takes seriously the questions of both exegesis and hermeneutics.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about interpreting the Bible.

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Key Features

  • Offers a study in theological interpretation
  • Focuses on the challenge of handling the temporal character of prophecy appropriate to its canonical presentation
  • Explores the historical forces in the last two centuries of interpretation


  • What Is an Introduction to the Prophets?
  • Part 1: The Overreach of History—Figuring the Prophets Out
    • The Prophets as a Discrete Phenomenon
    • The Eclipse of Biblical Prophecy
    • Prophetic Associations in the Canonical Form
    • The Prophets Reconfigured
  • Part 2: Time in Association—Reading the Twelve
    • Prophecy and Tradition-History: The Achievement of Gerhard von Rad
    • Prophecy and History: The Book of the Twelve as History
    • Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Canonical Reading and Hermeneutical Reflections

Top Highlights

“The contribution of the final canonical form of the Twelve, I shall seek to show, is its capacity to build a bridge of its own making, from the past to the future and, in so doing, to provide generous hermeneutical guidelines on how that prophetic word encloses our times as well.” (Pages 23–24)

“The main thesis of the present work is that theological reading of the prophets means reading them in such a way that history is properly appreciated, on the terms of its own biblical presentation.” (Page 247)

“Prophecy exists in its own right, but also, in a very fundamental way, to build a bridge across two Testaments” (Page 20)

“In the present work I will seek to demonstrate the correlation between new models of interpreting the prophets and the wider implications of this for theological reflection more broadly and for the character of biblical studies as an inherently affiliated discipline.” (Page 31)

“Historical redescription virtually requires instability, for the past is constantly requiring fresh reconstructions of it once the Bible is seen chiefly as a source for this and not its own presentation of it.” (Page 68)

Praise for the Print Edition

Chris Seitz is one of the most insightful and creative biblical theologians working in the field today. In this book he shows us how traditional historical-critical readings have brought us to an impasse and then marks out a bold new path with his own proposal to take the canonical form of prophetic literature seriously. No one will look at the prophetic corpus in the same way after being tutored by Seitz.

Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

It is rare when reviewing a book to recognize that a profound paradigm shift is being proposed that deeply affects how the Old Testament prophets are to be understood. Building on over two decades of probing, critical exegesis, Christopher Seitz now offers a magisterial overview of the entire field and outlines a new and brilliant hermeneutical synthesis of biblical prophecy that restores the centrality of the canonical Scriptures to the church.

Brevard S. Childs, Sterling Professor of Divinity, emeritus, Yale University Divinity School

Building on the long history of prophetic introduction and interpretation, Seitz offers a new way of viewing the prophets. He takes the realities of time and history with utmost seriousness but also attends to the hermeneutical implications of the present form of the prophetic books. The future of theological interpretation of Scripture depends on such breakthroughs as Seitz offers in these pages. We will have to read the prophets differently henceforth.

Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Seitz has offered a fresh and bold proposal for understanding the formation and theological significance of prophetic literature. In rich dialogue with Gerhard von Rad and building on recent scholarly research . . . Seitz discerns a process of ‘figural integration’ in prophetic literature. Prophetic words were, in his judgment, fulfilled, not in some simplistic fashion, but over the course of time and, ultimately, in the New Testament. All those interested in prophetic literature and the character of Scripture will find this volume both challenging and useful.

David L. Petersen, Franklin Nutting Parker Professor of Old Testament, Emory University

This is a highly interesting book. Christopher Seitz has long followed in the footsteps of Gerhard von Rad. Now he is taking a further step: beyond tradition-history toward the final, canonical form of the biblical text. He deals with the problems involved and demonstrates this new approach utilizing the prophetic literature . . . He shows in detail how historical questions about the different books within the Twelve are useful and even necessary but that they must finally move into an understanding of the text in its final form. Therefore he calls his approach ‘canonical-historical.’ It can be expected that this book will cause a vivid methodological discussion.

Rolf Rendtorff, emeritus professor of Old Testament, University of Heidelberg

Product Details

  • Title: Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets
  • Author: Christopher R. Seitz
  • Series: Studies in Theological Interpretation
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 272

Christopher R. Seitz is an ordained Episcopal Priest and has served parishes in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Germany and Scotland. He is also the President of the Anglican Communion Institute and has been involved in recent work on behalf of Communion life. He is the editor of Studies in Theological Interpretation and is on the Advisory Board of the Scripture and Hermeneutics Consultation. He has supervised numerous PhD students and has published over a dozen books on the interpretation of Old and New Testaments, and in the area of theological hermeneutics. He will serve as Sunday evening preacher at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in the Riverdale area of Toronto.


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    Print list price: $26.00
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