Christian Prophecy: The Post-Biblical Tradition

Hardcover | March 19, 2008

byNiels Christian Hvidt

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Throughout the Hebrew Bible, God guides and saves his people through the words of his prophets. When the prophets are silenced, the people easily lose their way. What happened after the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ? Did God fall silent? The dominant position in Christian theology is that prophecy did indeed cease at some point in the past -if not with the Old Testament prophets, then with John the Baptist, with Jesus, with the last apostle, or with the closure of the canon of the New Testament. Nevertheless, throughout the historyof Christianity there have always been acclaimed saints and mystics -most of them women-who displayed prophetic traits. In recent years, the charismatic revival in both Protestant and Catholic circles has once again raised the question of the place and function of prophecy in Christianity. Scholarlytheological attitudes toward Christian prophecy range from modest recognition to contempt. Mainstream systematic theology, both Protestant and Catholic, has mostly marginalized or ignored the gift of prophecy. In this book, however, Niels Christian Hvidt argues that prophecy has persisted inChristianity as an inherent and continuous feature in the life of the church. Prophecy never died, he argues, but rather proved its dynamism by mutating to meet new historical conditions. He presents a comprehensive history of prophecy from ancient Israel to the present and closely examines thedevelopment of the theological discourse that surrounds it. Throughout, though, there is always an awareness of the critical discernment required when evaluating the charism of prophecy. The debate about prophecy, Hvidt shows, leads to some profound insights about the very nature of Christianity and the church. For example, some have argued that Christianity is a perfect state and that all that is required for salvation is acceptance of its doctrines. Others have emphasized howGod continues to intervene and guide his people onto the right path as the full implementation of God's salvation in Christ is still far away. This is the position that Hvidt forcefully and persuasively defends and develops in this ambitious and important work.

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Throughout the Hebrew Bible, God guides and saves his people through the words of his prophets. When the prophets are silenced, the people easily lose their way. What happened after the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ? Did God fall silent? The dominant position in Christian theology is that prophecy did indeed cease at s...

Niels Christian Hvidt earned his doctoral degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is currently Associate Professor in the Research Unit of Health, Man and Society at the University of Southern Denmark.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:440 pages, 6.18 × 9.29 × 1.42 inPublished:March 19, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195314476

ISBN - 13:9780195314472

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSFOREWORD by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)1. INTRODUCTION2. PROPHECY AND THEOLOGY3. PROPHECY AND HISTORY4. PROPHECY AND REVELATION5. PROPHECY AND THE END OF REVELATION6. PROPHECY AND TRADITION7. PROPHECY AND SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION8. PROPHECY'S STATUS AND TYPES OF FAITH9. PROPHECY AND TRUTH10. GENERAL CONCLUSIONREFERENCES

Editorial Reviews

"Many Christians think that the gift of prophecy, central to God's interaction with humanity in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, ended with the death of the last of the apostles, so that for almost two millennia the Church has enjoyed only dubious "private" revelations made to a fewindividuals and their immediate followers. Niels Christian Hvidt's ground-breaking historical and systematic study of prophecy shows that God has continued to speak to the whole Church through select witnesses in every age without, however, creating a new scriptural canon. This insightful book marksa new stage in the retrieval of the charism of prophecy and is a major contribution to contemporary discussion of prophecy, both within Christian theology and in the wider ecumenical perspective." --Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago DivinitySchool, author of The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism