Monday, 9 February 2009

The witness of the Book of the Twelve

As part of my ongoing analysis of Seitz's Prophecy and Hermeneutics (see the summary of and intro to the thread so far here), I offer, in the most spartan form possible, a list of key theological realities testified to by the combined witness of the Book of the Twelve, realities perceived only when one goes beyond the fragmentary witness of the individual prophets (pp. 214-216):

-God's history is an organic whole, rather than episodic and disconnected;
-the nations other than Israel have a different, but parallel, place in God's economy;
-there is an ideal stance vis-à-vis God consisting in prayer and discernment;
-God is patient, but not patient without limit.

This, according to Seitz, is the theological telos to which all the prophets found in the Twelve, in all their individuality and historical particularity, are wishing to point us. Yet how did he get there? Is it enough to confess that all the prophets witness to “the selfsame divine reality”? On that score, Seitz concludes, “all are first and all are last, at one and the same time” (149). Yet how do we coordinate this varied witness and identify their kerygmatic core? For this we need to look closely at the nature of the Biblical witness, the subject of my next post.


HeathThomas said...

Hey Phil it's Heath Thomas, and I am enjoying the read as I interpret along with you Seitz's major contribution. I think we see something similar in his notion of his conception of time & history in certain texts across narrative corpora, like Judges 18 and Genesis 18, Exodus 19 and 2 Kings 19. In other words, I have a sneaking suspicion that the later texts don't simply 'allude' or 'echo' to the view is that it recasts our understanding of time in the narrative(s) and what God is doing. Thoughts?

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi Heath, great to hear from you.

my view is that it recasts our understanding of time in the narrative(s) and what God is doing.This is, I guess, a key question that we need to be able to answer. I posted something along these lines yesterday in my post The dynamic of holy scripture: verbum and res. In the comments, a certain Michael asks as similar question: how does the Biblical writer signal that this is what he is doing? I've given my response in the comments there.