Archpriest Alexey Kniazev

The Prophets

translated by: Mladomir A. Todorović

pages: 83-106

Abstract

The writer of this study is Archpriest A. Kniazev, Professor of the Old Testament at St. Sergius Orthodox Institute in Paris. He intends to clarify the important phenomenon of the prophets and of the prophetic literature In the Chosen People. Because of their numerous messianic prophecies, the prophets were usually seen as foretellers of the future, although they were first of all religious leaders and preachers of the word of God. The Old Testament prophetism is a quite independent phenomenon, although prophets appeared also outside the revealed Judeo-Christian religion.

The author deals with the prophets of the eight Century B. C. (Amos, Micah, Isaiah). Here he stresses the essence of the prophetic ministry: the freedom of a prophet, which is best manifested in his independency from the priestly and royal power.

The prophetic movement in Israel in the epoch of Samuel had a collective Character, although at the same time a few individual prophets appeared as bearers of the charismatic gift (Samuel, Nathan, Gad, etc.). The prophets-writers rose from the circle of the individual charismatic prophets, and the link between them is Prophet Elijah.

The criterion of discernernent between the true and false prophets is the fact that the true prophets call people to repentance and fight against moral and religious decadence. And that means that the authentic ministry of the true prohet can be called orthodoxy of the prophet.

The interpreters of the Covenant were the prophets. They prepared Israel for the icoming New Covenant (Jer. 31; 31—34), stressing the idea of holiness into which Israel was called and by which the historical destiny of that people was different from that of other »normal« nations.

Through the grace of the New Testament, announced by the prophets, the legalistic conception of religion will be overcome.

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