In A Chorus of Prophetic Voices, subtitled Introducing the Prophetic Literature of Ancient Israel, Mark McEntire, reveals, provokes and triggers, just like an Old Testament prophet. The four scrolls of Isiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Scroll of the Twelve a.k.a. Minor Prophets, are read and explained as a coherent, yet diverse account of three major crises after the short Davidic Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrian Crisis in the 8th century B.C., the Babylonian Crisis in the 6th century B.C., and the Restoration Crisis during the Persian Age in the early 6th century B.C. McEntire shows connections between the wrirings, that lie in their production and in our – renewed- act of reading. Reading the prophetical “books” in their historical context gives room to their common tenets and answers to questions like the suffering of Israel, the divine punishment and grace. Are the foreign nations’ attacks the work of God, and why are these very nations then subject of revenge later on?
The mainstream Christian reading of the Old Testament Prophets aim to have them point to Jesus Christ or the end times exclusively, which would render the books worthless to Jewish readers, both contemporary as well in ancient times. The author warns several times for this biased backward reading of the Bible. How much more have the Prophets to offer while reading them in a kind of chronological order, and when you dare to question the many indicators for enrichment or alterations beyond the era in which the prophets after which books are named, actually lived.
The central claim of this book is that we should read prophetic scrolls together in a way that also recognizes and gives attention to the individual voices within the scrolls, just like a choir, sometimes in unison, sometimes showcasing solo voices. Knowledge of Hebrew or Greek is not required to read this book. While dealing with books many faithful are not familiar with, except for short quotations of single verses or popular thoughts, McEntire strives to open your hearts and minds to the inner structure, the time-bound and timeless messages, respecting the characters of the prophets and their intended audiences.
About the author
Mark McEntire is Professor of Biblical Studies at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. A widely published writer on the Hebrew Bible, he has written such books as The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, and Portraits of a Mature God: Choices in Old Testament Theology.