Basic Forms of Prophetic Speech

By Claus Westermann

An application of form-criticism to the Old Testament, showing how the concept of judgement in the prophets reveals radically changed ideas of prophecy.

ISBN: 9780718828424
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The English-speaking student of the Old Testament is offered in this book a clear example of how the form-critical method may be thoroughly and consistently applied to the study of prophecy. … Though the major focus of the book is upon a single speech form – the announcement of judgement – the foundation is laid for a study of the whole of prophecy from this perspective.
From the Preface by the Translator

The prophetic message awakens the people of God and calls them back from their perverse ways. But the history of the investigation of prophecy shows that the understanding of these messages has changed profoundly over time. Claus Westermann provides indications of the astonishing differences in the conceptions of prophecy throughout the history of its interpretation. He also summarises and analyses the works of the scholars over the last fifty years who have made major contributions to the development of prophetic research.

Translated into English by Hugh C. White, this provides a valuable introduction to some of the major problems that have been, and still are, at the heart of the study of Old Testament prophecy.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 150 mm
Pages 240

Trade Information LGEN

About the Author

Claus Westermann is Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He is the author of Prophetic Oracles of Salvation in the Old Testament, Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary, and Praise and Lament in the Psalms.


Foreword by Gene M. Tucker
Translator’s Preface
Preface to the English Edition

A. The History of the Investigation

B. A Survey
I. The Speech Forms in the Prophetic Books
II. The Prophetic Speech as the Speech of a Messenger

C. The Prophetic Judgement-Speech to Individuals (JI)
I. The Structure of the Judgement-Speech to Individuals (JI), Shown in Three Examples
II. The Judgement-Speech to Individuals in the Old Testament
III. The Parts of the Judgement-Speech to Individuals

D. The Announcement of Judgement Against Israel (JN)
I. The Announcement of Judgement Against Israel as a
Futher Development of Judgement Against the Individual
II. Modification of the Form
III. Expansions
IV. Variants of the Prophetic Judgement-Speech
Excusus: The Curse and the Announcement of Judgement
V. Variant Formulations of the Prophetic Speech (Borrowed Speech Forms)
VI. The Announcement of Judgement to Israel’s Enemies
VII. The Dissolution of the Form