BOT 260: OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY
Cincinnati Christian University
Daniel J. Dyke,  Professor of Old Testament
dan.dyke@fuse.net
(513) 244-6055
Fall 2007

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is a historical introduction to the origin and nature of the Israelite institution of the seer-prophet. The course is an attempt to place the prophetic institution within its original historical-cultural context. Specifically the context is always a period of crisis. Without crisis there was no need for a prophet, but in extraordinary crisis a prophet is more than needed.

The course is theological in the purest sense. At the heart of the message was the person of God. Prophetic revelation was not just a critique of contemporary culture or a revelation of future events, theology, etc., but the self-revelation of Yahweh the God of Israel and  ruler of all history.

The course is a study of the hermeneutical problem and how it comes to focus in the prophets. How does one interpret the prophets? This is the hardest question of all questions dealt with in the course. What is to be explored are the questions of hermeneutics:

1. What did the prophecies mean to the original recipients?
2. What do these prophecies ultimately mean concerning the Kingdom of God?
3. How do they speak to our contemporary world?
The course is devotional. The prophets themselves were exemplary people and interpreters of their own culture. As exemplary people they suffered, endured, hoped, were crushed, loved, became angry, doubted, and yet believed. They were exemplary men and women, but their calling was greater than their person. They understood, but their visions were greater than their understanding. Ultimately they were they should lead us to hope. The hope was simple: THERE IS GRACE IN THE END!

The intention of this course is to bring a student to an understanding of not only the God who is there, but also of his will for man that he revealed through special men called prophets.

COURSE RATIONALE
A balanced understanding of the Bible is incomplete without an examination of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The student needs a course that first of all presents a rudimentary introduction to the material and which enables that material to be integrated into its historical context.
COURSE OBJECTIVES
The student who satisfactorily completes this course should be able to:
1. provide the date, basic message, and background associated with a particular prophets;
2. differentiate between writing and non-writing prophets;
3. understand and apply the basic principles of interpreting prophecy;
4. recite key verses from memory;
5. list the key theological themes of the prophetic books;
6. describe the phenomena of prophecy;
7. differentiate between true and false prophets;
8. develop a doctrine of the God who is portrayed in prophetic vision.
REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS

A modern English translation of the Old Testament Scriptures, i.e. New International Version, New American Standard Version, New King James Version, etc.

MAJOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND COURSE PROCEDURES

1. The professor is going to develop a prophecy page at his website: http://www.dabar.org. This is an ambitious project of making a site for the interpretatiomn of prophecy and history.  At that site there will be posted a series of Content Exercises/Quizzes.

2. Research Component: the student will do one of the following projects:

a.    Write an essay on Elijah using the following outline:
(1)    Introduction: This should be written before and after the rest of the paper. This section is what should entice the reader to read the paper. Introductions tell basically the nature of the problem, why the study is important, and how the study will proceed.

(2)    Backgrounds:

(a)    Historical: What is happening in the world of Ahab and Jezebel? This would include the internal history of the country and international history.
(b)    Religious: The student should discover the nature of Baalism.
(c)    Cultural: How does the story play upon the culture of the times.
(3)    His Life's Story:  This section should tell the basic story of his life as we know it. It should show all the different aspects of the movement within the story. These would include historical, thematic, geographical, psychological, etc.

(4)    Theological Component: An analysis of his miracles as a religious apologetic.  Be sure to discuss the role of mountains in the story.  You can go on the internet and get a copy of the Baal Epic and read it to see why the miracles were done.

(5)    An analysis of his speeches. Speeches include any place that the person speaks or it says he spoke concerning a particular topic. Usually Biblical writers do not give us a gratuitous speech!

(6) A conclusion which summarizes the importance of this person and shows the contribution this story makes to the overall piece of literature (Joshua-II Kings). Obviously you should read that literature to make this assessment.

b. Write a traditional paper discussing one of the following difficult topics:
(1)    The River of God in the Prophets, Psalms, Gospel of John, and Revelation.

(2)    A comparison of the three coming figure in

(3)    The problems of the four kingdoms of Daniel

(4)    A chart analyzing Daniel 11.

3. There will be three written examinations in the course. Each examination will have two components. The first is a take home set of test questions and the second an in class set of questions.   4. Extra credit projects are available upon request. The student will be awarded zero to ten points for each project. A maximum of two projects may be submitted in the course. The points will be added to the student's final average.

Hence, grade assignments for three credit hours are as follows:

Content Exercise 20%

Research Component 20%

Tests 60%

COURSE SCHEDULE
DATE SUBJECT
Week 1

    A.    Introduction to the Course:

    Why in the world do we need a prophet?
    There is only one God and Jesus is His prophet.

Weeks 2-7

B.    Defining Prophet and Prophecy

        Prophetic Titles: Seer, Prophet, Man of God, Son of Man, etc.
        Prophetic Tasks: Preach, Pray, Predict, Power
        The Prophetic Burden: Always Less than Your Calling
        Prophetic Trials: Their Reaction to the Job
        Prophetic Message: Cryptic, Metaphoric, Literal
        How does one interpret the prophets?

Test #1
Week 8-15

C.    The History of the Prophetic Institution/The Kingdom of God in Crisis

        The Early Years: Abraham to Samuel
        The Prophets of the United Monarchy
        The Prophets of the Divided Monarchy
        The Judean Prophets
        Prophets of the Exile
        Post-Exilic Prophecy
        John the Baptist
        Jesus of Nazareth

Test #2
D.     My Favorite Texts:

        Jeremiah's "Temple Sermon"
        Hosea's Allegory
        Daniel 9
        Isaiah’s Servant

Test #3
LEGAL MATTERS

The tests and assignments listed may be modified in the sense that the professor may choose to change the due date or cancel the assignment or test completely. No assignment will be added unless it is voluntary and for extra credit. The professor does not guarantee that all listed topics will be covered. Papers and tests will not be returned except at the professor's discretion. Final tests will not be returned.