The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

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9780060936990: The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

Abraham Heschel is a seminal name in religious studies and the author of Man Is Not Alone and God in Search of Man. When The Prophets was first published in 1962, it was immediately recognized as a masterpiece of biblical scholarship.

The Prophets provides a unique opportunity for readers of the Old Testament, both Christian and Jewish, to gain fresh and deep knowledge of Israel's prophetic movement. The author's profound understanding of the prophets also opens the door to new insight into the philosophy of religion.

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Review:

According to the popular definition, a prophet is one who accurately predicts the future. But in the Jewish tradition, as Abraham Joshua Heschel explains in The Prophets, these figures earn their title by witnessing the world around them with outstanding passion. Prophets are those whose "life and soul are at stake" in what they say about "the mystery of [God's] relation to man." They are "some of the most disturbing people who have ever lived," and yet they are also "the men whose image is our refuge in distress, and whose voice and vision sustain our faith." Heschel's book, one of the classic texts on the subject, contains sophisticated, straightforward discussions of each of the Hebrew prophets, the primary themes of their preaching, and comparisons of Israel's prophets to those of other religions'. Throughout, Heschel avoids the two great temptations in any discussion of prophesy: overstating the supernatural quality of a prophet's epiphany ("A prophet is a person, not a microphone"), and reducing prophesy to a merely human phenomenon. Instead, Heschel describes the prophet's peculiar status as God's spokesman in a way that does justice to its complexity: "He speaks from the perspective of God as perceived from the perspective of his own situation." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Abraham J. Heschel (1907-1972), born in Poland, moved to the United States in 1940. A professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Heschel became an active and well-known participant in the Civil Rights movement and the protests against the Vietnam War.

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