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The Lost World of the Prophets

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Member Reviews

I am someone who loves to read and study the Bible, I also enjoy reading books which help me to better understand the Bible, the context in which the Bible is written and the message for us today. So I looked forward to reading "The Lost World of The Prophets" by John Walton and learning more about the prophets in the Bible.

However, I did struggle to understand what the author had written and what he meant. The book, in my opinion, felt more suitable for a theology student than it did for me, and so I was somewhat disappointed with it.

Within the book, the author makes sixteen propositions and then backs them up by explaining them.

What I did find helpful was that the author explained that the Old Testament Prophets fall into one or more of four categories:

Messages of Indictment - rebuking people for wrongdoing

Messages of Judgment - announcement of God's judgement on certain people

Messsages of Instruction - how the poeple were to respond and return to faithfulness

Aftermath (after judgement) - hope, deliverance, restoration and salvation.

These four categories are helpful for me to keep in mind when reading the prophetic books in the Bible.

I also found the twelfth proposition helpful on the New Testament use of Old Testament Prophesy. John Walton explains that New Testament prophesy focused on fulfillment rather than on the message, and once the New Testament writers

"recognized Jesus as the Son of God and the promised Messiah, they found ample reason to view him as fitting that job description by means of more obscure connections They were not, however, offering glimpses of the future (end times) based on potential fulfillments of prophecies. For them, fulfillment focused on Jesus and had the benefit of hindsight."

John Walton also explains in his book that the message in apocalyptic prophesy is for people to persevere.

"Apocalyptic prophesy does not have the purpose of foretelling the future. Instead it reveals how God's plan and purposes begun in the past will find future completion."

The message of apocalyptic prophesy, such as is found in the book of Revelation, is that God's kingdom will be established. We don't need to worry about the timing of events, we just need to know that these events will happen. This is the hope we hold onto, knowing that Jesus will one day come again.

I was struck with the following quote which is taken from John Walton's concluding thoughts:

The "significance of each singular piece is not found in "what it means to me" but in what it says about God. It is part of God' s story. Its meaningfulness to each one of us is that it contributes to our understanding of the plans and purposes of God as we seek, moment by moment, to be active, engaged, committed participants in his kingdom plans and purposes."

For me, the most helpful section of the book was towards the end when John Walton writes about "Understanding the contemporary significance of the prophetic messages". What he has written in this section are the things I most want to keep in my mind as I read the prophetic books of the Bible.

I would recommend this book to theology students and to those wanting to better understand prophesy in the Bible. I would also add that, in my opinion, it is not a simple read, it does take effort and time. I had to sit and read small sections at a time and really concentrate in order to understand the points John Walton is making.

I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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I've read several of Walton's books in the Lost World series. I read Lost World of Torah right through, and, controversial as it has turned out to be, I got a lot of value from it. Others I've dipped in here and there, looking at the particular "propositions" (Walton's alternative for "chapters") that have interested me or that I've had questions about. The format lends itself relatively well to that.

With that for a bit of context, I found The Lost World of the Prophets... fine. On the whole, Walton makes useful observations, but the flow at times feels quite disjointed and some of his more important points end up bogged down with strange or difficult examples that aren't sufficiently explained. There is much to be gained from this book, and Walton offers some helpful correctives that I hope many Christian readers will take to heart. But it certainly isn't my favorite in the series.

In keeping with his usual agenda, Walton is concerned to help Christians avoid jumping to wild assertions or problematic assumptions by showing how the prophetic and apocalyptic literature was understood by its ancient audience — what they had in mind, and perhaps more importantly, what they didn't; what prophets were and did in the ancient world, and the place and purpose of visions, particularly of the sort we have in the apocalyptic literature of the Old and New Testaments (though naturally enough, as an Old Testament scholar, Walton's focus tends more toward the Old Testament uses of these ideas).

The book is broken down into five sections, looking at (1) the ancient Near Eastern background, (2) the institution of prophets and prophecy, (3) the prophetic literature, (4) methodological and interpretive issues, and (5) apocalyptic literature.

A key point Walton does well to emphasize, particularly in part 1, is that prophets and prophecy weren't unique in ancient Israel. Other ancient Near Eastern civilizations had prophets too, and gaining an understanding of how prophecy functioned for them can enrich our understanding of how it took place in ancient Israel. That said (keeping with his usual comparative approach), there are also some important differences. Prophecy was more prevalent and held greater weight in Israel. It is only in Israel that we find collections of prophetic writings on the scale of the Old Testament. But the most significant difference is that the covenant between God and Israel pervaded the prophets' messages.

This sets things up nicely for the next section, looking at the institutions of prophets/prophecy in Israel. Fundamentally, prophets were not predictors of the future, but spokespeople for God, bringing covenantal concerns to bear on present situations, warning of judgment should they refuse to listen. While prophets do have things to say about events to come, this is more akin to a weather report than looking into a crystal ball.

Walton helpfully clarifies the relationship between prophetic literature and the prophetic oracles it describes, outlining seven or eight steps (depending on how you look at it) that move from the prophetic oracle delivered by the prophet to the written account of it we have in our Bibles. A key observation is that the prophets themselves were not necessarily involved in every step of that process. This means that the implied audience of the written work (and its particular way of being presented) is not necessarily the audience of the prophet himself. Walton goes on to illustrate this point with a discussion of the composition history of Isaiah. A commonplace of scholarship today is that Isaiah 40–66 was written later than the pre-exilic prophet himself, probably in the Babylonian and Persian periods, though some conservative scholars continue to hold an early date for the entire book. This is not a debate Walton wishes to enter into (perhaps not wanting to alienate any contingent of his readership), but raising the issue and then trying to straddle the line between such different positions rather than get bogged down by discussions of redaction criticism that he didn't actually need to bring up in the first place actually just ends up muddying the waters. What is, in my view, one of the more important observations of the book, then, ends up getting lost (no pun intended) as Walton tries to illustrate it.

Part 4 then tries to draw some strands together in a discussion about prophetic fulfillment. Walton distinguishes between the message of the prophets — what they mean in their literary and historical contexts — which doesn't change, and its fulfillment — its application to contemporary situations — which does. The former is authoritative; the latter is not. Where Walton is going with this is that we can't join the dots in our own way in our own time and claim prophetic authority for our weird and wonderful interpretations and predictions about what is going on in our own time. The fulfillment in the New Testament is different, because it is supported by the fact of authoritative, Spirit-inspired authors. This, I think helpfully, places a distinction between what the prophets said and their message means for future generations. Walton writes: "Message and fulfillment must therefore be distinguished from one another. The message is not altered when the fulfillment takes an oblique path" (pp. 90–91). This would have been more helpful with a fuller discussion of the meaning of "fulfillment" — particularly since one of the examples Walton chooses, the use of Hos. 11.1 in Matt. 2.15, offers a fairly tricky case.

The final section moves to apocalyptic, which Walton wishes to distinguish from classical prophecy (see proposition 4 for the distinction). The primary distinction, it seems to me, is that prophecy is God's word to an individual who passes a message on to the community; apocalyptic is a purely literary genre that records visions that contain messages to be decoded by the relevant reading community. A helpful table is offered in proposition 14. The imagery used in apocalyptic literature is laden with symbolism, but the point isn't to pin down precisely what these refer to; they can and do shift in significance with each new generation of readers. As such, apocalyptic literature is eminently malleable and ever relevant. Does this mean that there was no concrete intended meaning behind the symbolism used for the original readers of the book, say, particular identifications for the kingdoms alluded to in Daniel? This is not to say the text cannot be generalized and reinterpreted by subsequent communities, as happened with Daniel in early Judaism, but was this generalized meaning intended by the author(s) straight off the bat?

Regardless, Walton's point about not going wild with eschatological systems and outlandish predictions based on ancient texts that knew nothing of helicopters, credit cards, or Monster Energy and the purported evils they represent in society today is well taken. (To be clear, the examples I pick here to illustrate the point are my own, not Walton's.)

In sum, Walton makes some very helpful points, and offers some helpful correctives. I don't find some of his propositions as clear or sharp as I'd like them to be, which is particularly disappointing on some of the more important points. I'm not wild about the format. The short propositions allow for dipping in, but it also means that a cumulative argument isn't clearly made, even where it's clear that this is what is needed. Sometimes the order feels jumbled, as in the case of Walton's discussion of New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in propositions 10 and 12. Part 5 feels tacked on, mainly owing to the fact that Walton's method is extrapolated after his discussion of prophecy drawing the strands together, but before his discussion of apocalyptic, meaning it isn't taken into account in his proposed method.

On the whole I would still recommend this book to Christians looking to get a firmer grasp on the place of prophecy and visions in the Bible and the church today. Walton's cautions need to be heard, and are well grounded in a robust approach to reading the Bible. For a more robust treatment of these topics in a specifically Old Testament context, I would direct the reader to his Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, where many of the same ideas are also found, with some more robust discussion of evidence and method behind it.

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The Lost World of the Prophets is the most recent of seven volumes in The Lost World Series by John H. Walton a well renowned Old Testament Scholar. This volume is not intended to be a commentary of the prophetic literature rather it provides framework to keep in mind while reading these books. In this volume the author sets forth sixteen propositions for understanding the prophets and prophetic literature and one at a time he provides substantive material for each of the proposition. A look at the propositions provides an overview of what is covered in this volume.
• 1: Prophecy Is a Subset of Divination
• 2: Prophets and Prophecy in the ANE Manifest Similarities and Differences When Compared to Israel
• 3: A Prophet Is a Spokesperson for God, Not a Predictor of the Future
• 4: Prophecy in the OT Is Not Monolithic but Developing
• 5: The Classical Prophets Are Champions of the Covenant in Times of Crisis
• 6: Prophecy Takes a Variety of Different Shapes After the Old Testament
• 7: Recognition of the Categories of Prophetic Message Help Us Be More Informed Readers
• 8: Prophets Were Typically Not Authors
• 9: The Implied Audience of the Prophetic Books Is Not Necessarily the Audience of the Prophet
• 10: Distinction Between Message and Fulfillment Provides Clear Understanding of Prophetic Literature
• 11: Fulfillment Follows Oblique Trajectories
• 12: The NT Use of OT Prophecy Focuses on Fulfillment, Not Message
• 13: Prophecy Carries Important Implications for Understanding God and the Future, but Our Ability to Forge a Detailed Eschatology with Confidence Is Limited
• 13: Apocalyptic Prophecy Should Be Differentiated from Classical Prophecy
• 15: In Apocalyptic Literature, Visions Are Not the Message but the Occasion for the Message
• 16: New Testament Apocalyptic Operates by the Same Principles as Old Testament Apocalyptic
The volume overall strikes a nice balance between a scholarly work with attendant citations and a book that the average reader can enjoy without getting lost.

#TheLostWorldoftheProphets #NetGalley.

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This is a very readable book. For all the weightiness of the topic, this is a book that can be read chapter by chapter and not just a reference book left on a shelf. Whilst knowledge of the Old Testament and the links through to the New Testament is needed before embarking on this book, this book remains accessible to all. The author weaves academics’ thinking, passage from the Bible and knowledge of life at the time beautifully. The examples, when the going gets tough to understand, are made to modern dilemmas such as climate change and politics, this links the relevance to our current world and lights up some of the thornier concepts. An enjoyable read, which can be delved into for pleasure as well as a support text for sermons and biblical reading.

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"The Lost World of the Prophets" by John H. Walton is a thought-provoking exploration that challenges traditional interpretations of the oft neglected and oft misunderstood mouthpieces of God. Walton, a respected Old Testament scholar, brings a fresh perspective to the prophets.

The central premise of Walton's argument revolves around the cultural and historical context of the ancient Near East, asserting that the prophet was not a predictor of the future primarily but a spokesperson for God, prophecy was not monolithic but developing and that the prophets are champions of the covenant in times of crisis. it.

One of the strengths of Walton's approach is his emphasis on understanding the text within its cultural framework. He delves into the linguistic nuances of the Hebrew language to elucidate the original intent behind prophetic utterances. By examining the language and cultural context, Walton challenges readers to reconsider common assumptions and interpretations, encouraging a more nuanced understanding of the prophets and the Israel they served.

Walton's scholarly insights are accessible to a wide audience, making the book valuable for both theologians and lay readers interested in reconciling the modern-day notion of prophets and prophecy with the contemporary application of biblical ANE truths.

While some readers may find Walton's approach challenging or even controversial, "The Lost World of the prophets" serves as an invitation to engage in a thoughtful reevaluation of deeply ingrained beliefs. The book encourages a richer, more contextual understanding of the latter books of the OT.

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4.5 stars - I loved it! Will re-read.

This was fantastic! I was also reading WISDOM FOR FAITHFUL READING at the same time, and that worked well as this was my first Lost World book. I enjoyed seeing the general principles from WISDOM applied to the prophets in this book.

This is the sort of book I will pour over and write in, so I am ordering a print copy immediately. I would read more books in this series. Walton is a favorite of mine anyway, and his engaging writing style is one of the reasons. I think these would be fascinating books to use in the classroom, but the writing did not feel "academic" as I was reading. It was fascinating and approachable all the way through. Highly recommend.

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There were some good points and insight on how to interpret validity and intention of prophecy of the Bible - such as addressing those who question things that haven’t happened yet, or the difference between prophecy vs fortune telling.

I was hoping for a bit more detail and context to help understand the prophets and stories , that’s what I thought it was going to be about based on title and description - so was a bit disappointed for that reason.

I felt this book was also a bit hurried, crammed, and disorganized. It could have been split into chapters and organized better in how it presents ideas with supporting info and then tie it together. It read more like a high school essay to me tbh.

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After reading Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One (which was fascinating and paradigm expanding), I knew that I wanted to read more of his work. The seventh book in his Lost World series, The Lost World of the Prophets takes us into what prophecy is (both in the Bible and in the ancient Near East) and how to read the different types of prophecy in their context. And it was both broadening and sharpening.

I was fascinated by his comparison of biblical prophecy with the prophecy of the ancient Near East and his explanation for why the prophecy of the ancient Israelites is similar, but still so distinct. And I also appreciated how he related the idea that prophecy is not telling the future, but “revealing God’s plans and purposes.”

One of the things that Walton stresses is that Scripture was written for us but not to us — and I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. The only thing I didn’t agree with was that it felt like Walton was limiting prophecy. I definitely don’t ascribe to the notion that all biblical prophecy can or should speak to my life, and I certainly can’t and don’t want to predict my future via the prophets of the Bible, but I also don’t believe that God’s Word is limited to informing only the ancient Israelites that the prophets were speaking to. It felt, at times, like he was despiritualizing the Word, making it too academic and logical. Why can’t it be both? While I was reading, I got the feeling someone could pick up this book and decide that reading the biblical prophets would be a waste of time, since their audience was limited to the Israelites of the prophets’ day. That was likely not his intention, but that was (unfortunately) the impression I got.

However, if that person would read all the way to the end of The Lost World of the Prophets, they would find a beautiful summary of Walton’s ideas on God’s sovereignty and how prophecy plays into it. It was most definitely worth the read, and I look forward to reading more of Walton’s work and expanding my understanding of the Word and the world of the Bible. So, for that, I give it 4 stars and recommend you read it thoughtfully and prayerfully.

Many thanks to IVP Academic and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own. 🙂

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Dr. Walton continues his “Lost World” series with a focus on the Old Testament Prophets. The book is structured as a series of propositions, in each of which Walton advocates for a way we should think about Biblical prophecy. Readable even for laypeople, Walton is clearly trying to steer his audience away from a fundamentalist literalist reading, from a reading that directly ties all OT prophecies to much later fulfillments, and instead to understand prophecy as bringing a message from God that may have various interpretations and applications over time. Well worth a read.

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Walton comprehensively lays out the genres of prophetic writing and how we should read them. For example, not all prophecy is apocalyptic or future-telling or should be read that way. Most often prophecy is the explicit expression from a deity—in this case the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also covers the difficulties of scriptural prophecy that doesn’t seem to have occurred in the descriptive way that is expressed. However, he does compare the Hebraic prophetic writings to extant other Middle Eastern prophecies. This is enlightening to why and how well the Hebrews maintained their writings. It’s especially interesting that what survived in the Hebrew Scriptures, contrary to other practices, are not often complimentary to the king or priests God addresses. The author of this book covers the various forms and uses of prophecy.

This is not a commentary on prophetic scriptures but gives us the framework on how to understand the context and possible interpretations. Interestingly, for Christians, Walton covers key prophetic passages in the Greek scriptures (New Testament): Matthew 24-25 and Revelation. He does this to illustrate his principles for approaching prophecy and how they can/should be used throughout the Bible.

Though this author doesn’t address this, the writing of Jonathan Cahn in the “The Harbinger” is a poor interpretation of Hebrew prophecies directed at Israel. Cahn unadvisedly assumes they can be used as a prophecy for the United States in light of the events of 9/11/01. Walton would caution taking a word directed at one favored nation to another that may or may not be favored; likewise, taking a word directed at an unfavored nation cannot be applied to a favored nation. We might ask only how we might be guilty of similar practices as a nation as Israel, if we want to heed the indictments, judgments and instructions given to His people. Cahn overlooked that the USA is more like the Roman Empire or Egypt (where oppressed believers emigrated to escape persecution in their home country) than Israel. Walton’s treatise here helps us understand other books that claim to interpret prophecies.

I laughed when I read one of Walton’s subheadings: “Living in the End Times (Everyone Believes They Are, and That is Okay)”

Next time I have to teach a prophetic passage, or a passage that refers to earlier verses because the scripture writer believes it’s been fulfilled contemporaneously, I will refer to Walton’s book for guidance.

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What comes to mind when we hear the words, "prophets," "prophecies," and "prophetic word?" For many, prophets are seen as "predictors" of the future, and "prophecies" are like future events waiting to be fulfilled. Such an understanding has unfortunately crippled the original meaning of what biblical prophecies mean. Calling this situation a "lost world of the prophets," esteemed author-professor John Walton helps us to recover the original meaning according to the Bible and to rediscover a deeper understanding of the different types and forms of prophecies. The author laments how prophetic books have been misunderstood by so many people. The "potential misuse" includes the unhealthy focus on end times (eschatology) and the use of prophetic texts merely to prove Jesus' deity (apologetics). He says that both of these are paths toward "fulfillment" theology. Using "cultural rivers" as a metaphor, he reminds us that if we want to understand the biblical prophecies, we need to soak ourselves in the biblical cultural river. At the same time, we need to avoid superimposing our modern cultural rivers on the Bible. This book is essentially about helping us swim and rediscover the lost world of the prophets. Walton guides us through five parts, each part leading us through the history, the process, and the ways to interpret the events based on the original authorial intent. The whole process is detailed and informative. Each part delineates various aspects of understanding the ancient cultural rivers. Using sixteen propositions as titles, Walton supports each proposition with examples and alternative readings.

Part One kicks off with a preamble about prophecies and what the ancient cultural rivers looked like. During that time, divination is a common method of communication between the natural world and the supernatural domain. Walton asserts that prophecy is a subset of divination (P1), meaning they were generally concerned about the present and immediate future rather than the distant future. He then compares and contrasts the differences between various prophecies in the Ancient Near East and ancient Israel (P2). Both have similarities in terms of commonality and continuities. There is however some Israelite distinctiveness, namely the volume, the relationship between kings and prophets, and the place of the covenant. The most distinct difference is the context of the covenant. Part Two looks at the institutions of prophecy with a focus on prophets. He claims that prophets of old were spokespeople of God rather than predictors of the future (P3). It is another way of saying prophets were forth-tellers rather than foretellers. Old Testament Prophecy is also something that is developing rather than a massive revelation of future events (P4). Then there is the relationship of OT Prophecy to the covenant (P5). In times of crisis, prophecies were used as spiritual guidance for the people of Israel and sometimes other nations. Walton then distinguishes the different shapes of OT prophecies and their uniqueness from times beyond the Old Testament era (P6). He lists 8 different categories of prophetic activities ranging from preclassical prophets to those in the New Testament Church. Part Three
examines the prophetic literature, the literary genres, the types of authors, and who the prophecies were for. Walton then proposes that to be better-informed readers of prophecies, we must recognize the different categories of prophetic messages (P7). He gives us four types: Indictment, Judgment, Instruction, and Aftermath. He also tells us that prophets themselves were typically not authors (P8). For a decent authorship, they will need some strategic stages to move from word to book. This opens the door to the possibility that even when certain prophets have books named after them, there is a possibility that the original writers might be anonymous scribes. About who the audience(s) were, Walton asserts that the audience(s) of the prophetic books were not necessarily the audience of the prophet(s) (P9). This helps in understanding the nuances of each prophecy and seeing the bigger picture from God's perspective. Part Four delves into methodological and interpretive issues. Walton moves to distinguish prophecies between message from fulfillment (P10). This helps us maintain two sets of lenses whenever we read prophetic literature. At the same time, we avoid interpreting prophecy merely in terms of fulfillment, but more importantly, to see them as a proclamation of God's Truth, plans, and purposes. Even among fulfillment interpretations, Walter also suggests that there are many different "oblique trajectories" (P11) which reminds us not to make quick conclusions about any one trajectory. Moving to the New Testament, Walter shows us how the NT uses OT prophecy more as fulfillment rather than a message (P12). One reason is how Jesus frequently uses himself as the fulfillment of OT texts. He reminds us not to be overly focused on future fulfillment to the point of forgetting how it reveals the Person of God (P13). Part Five looks at the apocalyptic nature of prophecies. A key point is to distinguish apocalyptic literature from classical prophecy (P14). Another is to understand that visions are not the message but the "occasion" for the message (P15). After distinguishing OT and NT interpretations of prophecy, Walter comes back to the common point of principles. As far as apocalyptic literature is concerned, both NT and OT share common principles, especially about God's plans and purposes. Walter then concludes with a helpful reading strategy.

My Thoughts
===============
Let me share three thoughts about this book. First, Walter has highlighted the importance of understanding authorial intent rather than reader-centered interpretation. Our evangelical tendencies of emphasizing New Testament fulfillment in Christ might have derailed a better appreciation of Old Testament prophecies. For too long, modern readers have emphasized fulfillment, and future predictions as the way to understand biblical prophecies. Here, we learn to nuance the interpretation through many different ways. From the understanding of cultural rivers to the different types of prophecies, we learn to read prophecies in their original contexts, something that not many of us are familiar with. He is not telling us to abandon our regular modes of fulfillment interpretation. Rather, he is reminding us that there is more than one way to understand prophecy. When studying the Bible in context, we should adopt exegesis (reading out of the texts) instead of eisegesis (reading into) of the texts. In the same manner, we should learn authorial intent over reader-centered intent.

Secondly, this is a wonderful box of tools to understand and interpret prophecies. If all we have is a hammer, then everything would look to us like a nail. In this book, Walter equips us with many different tools for reading biblical prophecies. His sixteen propositions should position us toward a more humble and open attitude when it comes to prophecies. Even though some readers might push back against specific propositions, one thing that we can agree on is that nuancing is needed as far as biblical interpretation is concerned. God's plans and purposes often have a multidimensional and multi-perspectival pattern. The more angles we can see, the better and more holistic our understanding.

Finally, this is one of the best books about understanding biblical prophecies. Hopefully, with this renewed and refreshed look at prophecies, more people will be able to approach the prophets and the prophetical books with enthusiasm. If there is one book that we need to read before approaching any prophet or prophecy, this is it!

John H. Walton (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Some of his books include Ancient Near Eastern Thought Essential Bible Companion), Old Testament Today (with Andrew Hill), Genesis NIV Application Commentary and IVP Bible Background Commentary (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of InterVarsity Press via NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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"The Lost World of the Prophets" by John H. Walton is an insightful journey into the world of prophetic literature. Walton skillfully navigates cultural nuances, offering readers a deeper understanding of ancient texts. His scholarly approach adds value, providing fresh perspectives without overwhelming complexity. This book serves as a valuable resource for those keen on exploring the profound layers of prophetic writings. Overall, a commendable work that bridges the gap between modern readers and the prophetic voices of the past.
Pub Date: 27 Feb 2024
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As with all of Walton's Lost World series, this book challenges our popular notions of a biblical concept (in this case, prophecy) and puts everything in context of the cultural categories of the ancient world. I will certainly be revisiting this one whenever I teach on Old Testament prophecy.

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Dr. Walton does it again! An insightful look into the ancient near eastern context surrounding the Biblical prophets. Well worth the read!

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This is a great introduction to interpreting and understanding the prophetic literature of the Bible. One of Walton's strengths is that he divides his books into a series of propositions, taking one chapter to explain and defend each proposition. Walton does an excellent job of helping the reader see Old Testament prophecy within the cultural context of the Ancient Near East. He demonstrates both similarities and differences between prophecy in Israel versus that of its neighbors. I especially enjoyed his discussion on the different categories of prophecy and his methodology for applying Old Testament prophecy to the modern day. He argues against seeing prophecy as a sort of detailed "road map" to all future events and explains how symbols in scripture should be interpreted. I do not agree with all of Walton's views or conclusions as laid out in this book, but he communicates them adequately and gives the reader good food for thought.

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I have really enjoyed The Lost World of the Prophets.. Walton compares the ANE similarities and differences in the prophecy of the Israelites it their neighbors. This is a great book for those who want to learn what prophecy is and isn't. Very informative and thought provoking.

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As a pastor, I found John Walton's latest book "The Lost World of the Prophets" to be an illuminating read. Walton, a respected Old Testament scholar, provides fresh insight into the historical and cultural context of the biblical prophets, helping modern readers better understand their symbolic language, imagery, and worldview. One of the most valuable aspects of this book is how Walton illuminates the differences between the modern Western mindset and the ancient Israelite mindset. Walton helps translate the prophets' metaphors and visions into concepts we can grasp today. Walton gives readers a toolkit for interpreting prophetic language that is rooted in the prophets' own time and culture. I highly recommend this book for pastors who will find this a valuable reference to help reconnect the prophets' world to our own.

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"The Lost World of the Prophets" by John H. Walton offers a groundbreaking perspective on understanding the prophetic and apocalyptic literature of the Old Testament. Walton's distinctive approach unravels the complexities of these ancient texts, shedding light on the role of prophets, the nature of prophetic literature, and the theological significance of prophecy. With a keen focus on avoiding misinterpretation and misuse, Walton guides readers through the profound insights of these biblical books within the context of the ancient Near Eastern world.

This volume is a much-needed antidote to common misconceptions about the prophets, offering a fresh lens through which to examine their timeless messages. Walton's logical and sequential approach challenges the tendency to reduce prophetic texts to mere tools for eschatological predictions or apologetics. "The Lost World of the Prophets" is an invaluable resource that restores the power of these ancient voices, shaping and transforming the lives of contemporary readers. I think John H. Walton's work is a necessary guide for those seeking a deeper understanding of the prophetic tradition and its relevance in today's world.

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