Is Repentance a Biblical Idea? Interview with David Lambert

My colleague David Lambert, who teaches Hebrew Bible in my department, has recently published and interesting and important book with Oxford University Press, on the question of when the idea of “repentance” entered into the biblical tradition.  His answer is quite novel and surprising.  I have asked David to post some of his views on the blog.  The following is an initial foray into that, by way of an interview that he has done.   If you have questions or comments ...

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The Rise of Apocalypticism

Now, with all the background out of the way, I am able to explain where the apocalyptic worldview came from.  I am maintaining that it emerged out of the classical view of the Hebrew prophets, as historical circumstances forced thinkers in Israel to re-evaluate what the prophets had said.   Here is the simple version of the story, as I lay it out in my textbook on the Bible

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The Prophetic Perspective

We have seen that the classical prophets of the ...

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Background to Apocalypticism: The Maccabean Revolt

OK, I’m back to my discussion of where Jewish apocalypticism came from.  So far I have laid out the understandings of the Jewish prophets, focusing on Amos (from the 8th century BCE).  Now I need to explain why the “prophetic” views came to change.  To make sense of the change I have to sketch a set of historical events that the people of Israel had to live through.   Some people find these kinds of historical sketches fascinating; others find them ...

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Are the Prophecies Being Fulfilled?

The Christians knew growing up had a very different understanding of “prophecy” in the Bible from the view adopted by professional biblical scholars.  (I have been thinking about this because of my posts on Amos.)  My sense is that most evangelical and fundamentalist Christians (certainly the latter) continue to have this non-academic view.   It is that the prophets of the Bible – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Zechariah, and so on (there are seventeen prophets in the English Bible) – ...

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Amos as a Representative Prophet

 

I have been discussing the book of Amos, possibly the oldest of the “classical” prophets of the Hebrew Bible, parts of which were probably written in the 8th century, making it, arguably, the oldest book of the Bible.   I have wanted to discuss Amos a bit because his views became the more or less standard perspective of the prophets, and many centuries later it was out of such views that Jewish apocalypticism emerged, the view held by many Jews in ...

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The Prophet Amos

In my previous post I started to give some of the background to the rise of Jewish apocalypticism by talking about the views of the classical Hebrew prophets, focusing, by way of illustration, on arguably the earliest, Amos.   Here I continue that discussion:

 

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The Message of Amos

The book of Amos begins by addressing nations outside of Israel, indicating that because of their multiple sins, God would enter into judgment with them (chs. 1-2).  This is an important ...

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The Prophetic Background of Jewish Apocalyptic Thought

Several members of the blog have asked me to go into greater detail to explain where Jewish apocalypticism came from.  I’m happy to do so: it’s an important topic for understanding Jesus, Paul, and other early Christians.

As is true for all religious and political ideologies, the historical background to the rise of apocalyptic thinking is complicated.  To make sense of it, I have to say something about a very different perspective which provided the matrix out of which apocalyptic thought ...

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The Jewish Messiah

In my previous post I began to discuss the understanding of Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah, in the Gospel of Mark (this is a thread within a thread within a thread – but it doesn’t matter.  Each of these posts makes sense on their own).  I am trying to show that Mark portrayed Jesus as the Son of God (meaning:  the one who was in a particularly close relationship with God who was chosen by God to ...

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The Dead Sea Scrolls

In my previous several posts I discussed the discovery and contents of the Nag Hammadi Library.  A lot of people on the blog know about all that, since it is a major topic of discussion among scholars of early Christianity.  But the reality is that among the general populace, no one really knows about it.  People may have heard about the “Gnostic Gospels,” but they don’t realize that there is such a *thing* as the Nag Hammadi Library (or, obviously, ...

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Is “Jehovah” in the Bible?

QUESTION:

How firmly grounded in reality is the claim of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the ‘divine name’ (Jehovah) belongs in the New Testament?

 

RESPONSE

So this is an interesting question, with several possible ramifications.  At first I should explain that the divine name “Jehovah” doesn’t belong in *either* Testament, old or new, in the opinion of most critical scholars, outside the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  That’s because Jehovah was not the divine name.

So here’s the deal.  In the Hebrew ...

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