Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Wed Aug 17 19:16:03 EDT 2005
Re: your question about "prophet," quoted below. This is not really a
semantic/lexical issue, but a matter of socio-theological roles.
Although it is a somewhat simplistic distinction, I often use this
distinction with my first-year college students. I don't much like
the term "forthtelling," since it is a word nobody ever really uses,
but the intended distinction is useful. In common parlance, at least
in American English, prophets are usually associated with
"foretelling" the future; when making this distinction with my
students, I prefer to use the phrases "predicting the future" or,
better, "announcing God's plans." The use of the term "forthtelling"
is intended to communicate the idea of ethical/moral/spiritual
teaching, so I prefer the phrases "proclaiming God's will" or,
better, "appealing for behavior" (usually behavioral change).
Neither of these senses really has much bearing on the designation of
Abraham as a "prophet" in Genesis 20, however. What is foregrounded
there is the _intercessory_ function of a prophet. Abraham functions
as a "prophet" in Genesis 20 by praying on behalf of Abimelech. I'm
sure there are a number of studies that address this intercessory
role, but one I recently read was Donald Widmer, _Moses, God, and the
Dynamics of Intercessory Prayer_. You can read a little more about
this book on my blog at http://www.heardworld.com/higgaion/2005/07/
moses-god-and-dynamics-of-intercessory.html if you wish. The main
thrust of the book is an exegesis of Moses' prayers in Exodus 32-34
and Numbers 13-14, but there is considerable attention given to the
intercessory function of biblical prophets, and plenty of
bibliography on that as well.
On Aug 17, 2005, at 9:03 AM, Read, James C wrote:
> Reading through Genesis I noticed that the first occurence of the
> word we translate as prophet is
> found in reference to Abraham. This reminded me of my Hebrew
> lecturer at St. Andrews who argued
> (years ago) that the orignal meaning of prophet meant something
> similar to 'forth teller' rather
> than 'fore teller' and that his primary characteristic was that of
> speaking out rather than that
> of predicting the future.
> Any thoughts?
R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Seaver Fellow in Religion
Malibu, California 90263-4352
Professional Web Page: http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
Internet Resource Index: http://www.iTanakh.org
Personal Web Page: http://www.heardworld.com
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