The Lost World of the Prophets: Old Testament Prophecy and Apocalyptic Literature in Ancient Contexts

IVP Academic (Lost World). Feb. 2024. 192p. ISBN 9781514004890. pap. $22. REL
In the latest of his “Lost World” series, Walton (emeritus, Old Testament, Wheaton Coll.; The Lost World of the Torah) takes readers into how prophets and the concept of prophesy functioned in ancient Israel. Starting with a literary comparison between Israel and its neighbors in the Near East, the book shows how Israel’s prophets developed their distinctive voice. Like other Near Eastern prophets, Israel’s prophets initially addressed rulers but eventually came to speak to the people at large about their covenant relationship with God. Walton emphasizes that the function of prophecy was to speak, not forecast, on behalf of God and His intentions. He notes that oracles were generally compiled and arranged by others—not the prophets themselves—who often crafted messages for a different audience. The book demonstrates that the principles guiding prophetic writings also apply to books such as Revelation. Walton takes great care to sidestep issues his fellow evangelicals might have pounced on, such as the precise development of the Book of Isaiah.
VERDICT Some readers may view this as a covert attack on the authority of scripture, but many others will find the questions posed in this title to be incidental to gaining a deeper and more nuanced appreciation of biblical prophecy.
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