Prophets in Perspective

by B. Davie Napier

B. Davie Napier, at the time of this writing was Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Intepretation at Yale Divinity School. He later became President of Pacific School of Religion. He is a minister of the United Church of Christ and an author of several books on the Old Testament.

Published by Abingdon Press, New York, Nashville, 1962, 1963. This book was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) A careful examination of the prophetic movement from its beginning to its culmination in what is termed “classical prophetism” (800-600 B.C.).


  • Preface A serious, responsible, comprehensive review of that phenomenal movement which produced such giants in the history of religion as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and that crowning figure of prophetism, the Second Isaiah.
  • Introduction The whole Bible is "prophetic" since it consistently reflects the prophetic and passionately theological understanding of history.
  • Chapter 1: Prophet and Prophets Cultic vesus Yahwistic prophetism is discussed including the seer, the contagious prophet, institutional prophetism along with a disucssion concerning the role of Form Criticism.
  • Chapter 2: Prophet, Cult, and Record The role of written transmission, while significantly existent, remained sometimes, and for long periods of time, subordinate to that of oral transmission.
  • Chapter 3: Pre-prophetic "Prophets" The classical prophet, although highly creative and proclaiming a new word, was debtor, and certainly conscious debtor, to a core tradition already long established.
  • Chapter 4: Prophets to Kings: The Tenth and Ninth Centuries Important prophetic figures of the tenth and ninth centuries -- Samuel, Nathan, Ahijah, Elijah, Micaiah, and Elisha -- are analyzed.
  • Chapter 5: The Faith of Classical Prophetism To a greater or lesser degree in all the great classical prophets one sees the phenomenon of the psychology of captivity, a self-consciousness in vocation characterized by feelings of having been overpowered by the Word of Yahweh.