chapter  2
22 Pages

The prophetic paradigm

ByJeremiah W. Cataldo

The understanding of the institution and phenomenon of prophecy needed to change to avoid the pretense of imperialized meaning and value. Recognition of prophecy in other cultural contexts expanded scholarly awareness of the contours and types of prophecy in Israel and Judah. As a political term, "Israel" denotes the northern kingdom in contrast to the southern kingdom of Judah in Syria-Palestine. Given the importance of Israel to the prophetic texts and to Judeo-Christian monotheism, one should better understand the term's evolution from political polity to utopian reality. By separating gods from geographic territories and linking them more clearly to political reach, in terms of material power, Isaiah articulated a paradigm shift in monotheistic universalism. This shift corresponded to the rise of imperialism under the Assyrians as well as the Babylonian and Persian empires, who advocated more than ever the singular power of the emperor. The 9th century BCE was marked by political upheaval with the emergence of the Assyrian Empire.