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Handbook on the Prophets Hardcover – November 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080102529X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801025297
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,324,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In Handbook on the Prophets, Robert Chisholm provides students of the Bible with a thorough and insightful introduction to the challenging yet exciting teachings of the Old Testament prophetic literature.

Following in the tradition of the widely used Handbook on the Pentateuch and Handbook on the Historical Books, this guide avoids technical commentary on each verse of the prophetic books. Instead, as the author explains, it ìgives an overview of the prophetsí message through a running commentary. . . . One must see the forest as well as the individual trees, for the individual parts will not make sense without a feel for the whole.î

Chisholm begins each chapter with a brief analysis of the social and historical setting of the book under discussion. As he works through these writings section by section, he details the structure, content, and important concepts of each book. Throughout, he considers how the messages of the prophets would have been heard in their respective historical communities and how the prophetsí messages are of continuing importance for contemporary study.

ìChisholmís book is a welcome addition to the books on the Hebrew prophets. It will help readers find their way through the complexities of the writings themselves and also through the thickets of varying interpretations. The author takes a thoughtfully conservative approach to the knotty critical problems posed by the prophetic books, offering concise but incisive support for positions that take the Bibleís own claims seriously. This book will make the prophets more accessible to a whole range of readers.îóJohn N. Oswalt, Wesley Biblical Seminary

Robert Chisholm begins his Handbook on the Prophets by acknowledging that

the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible presents great interpretive obstacles. Its poetry, though teeming with vivid imagery that engages the imagination and emotions, challenges the readerís understanding because of its economy of expression, rapid shifts in mood, and sometimes cryptic allusions. The reader of the prophetic literature quickly realizes that these books were written at particular points in time to specific groups of people with whom the modern reader seems to share little.

Chisholm argues, however, that the prophetic writings are more than ancient documents. They demand attention today as the word of God, containing a message that ìtranscends time and space.î The prophets provide modern readers with insight into Godís character and challenge them to love and serve God with greater devotion.

The handbookís goal is to acquaint readers with the prevailing themes and central messages of these biblical books. While Chisholm has attempted to concentrate on these larger issues of interpretation, he notes: ìOut of necessity, I do at times address especially important interpretive issues in greater depth and attempt to synthesize and interact with the scholarly opinions expressed in the commentaries and technical literature.î Much of this discussion appears in the many footnotes, and extensive bibliographies are provided at the end of each chapter for those who wish to do additional research.

Robert B. Chisholm Jr. (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of Interpreting the Minor Prophets and From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew.

About the Author

Robert B. Chisholm Jr. (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of Interpreting the Minor Prophets and From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew.

More About the Author

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr. (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of "Hosea" and "Joel" in the Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like the other books in this series, 'Handbook on the Prophets' is a highly useful and accessible text. Baker Book House also published 'Handbook on the Pentateuch' many years ago, which has become a widely read book, and 'Handbook on the Historical Books' just a few years ago. Chisholm's book is a welcome part of this collection.
This is not a verse by verse commentary on the prophetic books of the Hebrew scripture. Rather, this is a more general commentary that looks as pericopes (logical blocks of text that flow together) as units. Each chapter (or, in the case of the minor prophets, sub-chapter) has an introduction that gives the basic historical and social background, pertinent linguistic and literary information, and general structural and contextual themes.
The longest chapter, as befits its subject among the prophets, is on Isaiah. This gives a good indication of the kind of commentary Chisholm produces. In the discussion on the authorship of Isaiah, he puts forward the theory that the author of 'First Isaiah' (Isaiah 1-39) is different from the author of 'Second Isaiah' (Isaiah 40-66); perhaps there is even an 'Third Isaiah' (Isaiah 56-66) distinct from the other two. However, Chisholm prefers the more traditional idea that there is but one author of Isaiah. Rather than dealing with the multiple-author theory, he rather sets it forward as a scholarly possibility, but concentrates his writing on the single-author text. From this, one can see from this that Chisholm's interpretative framework is a more traditional and conservative one, but not one that does excludes alternatives.
One of the strengths of this text lies in the bibliographies -- this commentary is not a book by scholars for scholars, but does not ignore that consideration.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brett V. on December 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
(PLEASE NOTE - THIS REVIEW WAS POSTED UNDER JOSH PLAZAK'S NAME, MY ROOMMATE, ACCIDENTALLY)

Chisholm's commentary proved insightful and will be a good resource for me in the future regarding my studies in The Word. I look forward to reading some more of his work now that I am a little more familiar with his hermeneutical slant and doctrinal leanings.

The overall outlines of each prophetical book was helpful. However, he or the editor grouped the Minor Prophets in one large heading which made it difficult to reference them as single books (the tops of the pages only said "Minor Prophets" and not the specific minor prophet). Even so, the outlines of some of the books by Chisholm were unique when compared to other scholars' outlines, making it helpful to see the book more comprehensively.

Chisholm made helpful textual analyses throughout his commentary, citing various places where questionable translating occurred in certain versions (often the NIV). He also showed his acumen analyzing the Hebrew text itself. These were often very technical footnotes which would be of value, I would assume, for those who are well versed in studying the ancient Hebrew text.

His one leaning that seemed questionable, though, was his tendency that seemed to generalize large portions of prophetical scripture as merely language used for exaggerated effect. It is not that Chisholm did not evaluate and comment on various opinions on texts that he believed were better off seen as exaggerations - he did take time to do this. However, in some cases his stance to see certain passages as merely "exaggerations for effect" seemed to ignore or not account better for specific details that implicitly seemed to require more of an explanation that one of hyperbole.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Throughout the semester the text Chisholm's Handbook on the prophets has been a valuable resource for me as far as research and collecting a different opinion goes. This book offers a thorough and insightful introduction for any student studying the Old Testament Prophetic literature. Rather than attempting to provide a detailed verse-by-verse commentary, this handbook focused on the prevailing themes and central messages of the prophetic books. In the text, Chisholm starts every chapter with a brief analysis of the historical and social setting of the book under discussion. Chisholm works his way through the writings describing the structure, content, and important concepts found in the text. Chisholm made it vital to examine and review critical issues whenever they are important for the interpretation of a particular passage. However, he focused more broadly on the theological themes that characterize the work as a whole. Students in seminary and of the advanced biblical studies would find this volume enlightening and extremely helpful as they make their way through the prophetical books. This handbook on the prophets will also be a good resource for pastors and teachers to use in their teaching and research of this portion of scripture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DrPhilS on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I appreciate Chisolm's commitment to the Biblical text, and to the grammatical-historical setting. I have used the book primarily in connection with teaching through Isaiah. I also use Chisolm's "From Exegesis to Exposition" to help with grammatical matters.
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By Caitlyn on May 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Chisholm. The way that he presents both sides of Biblical academic thought is a breath of fresh air! He explains the extremes and then discusses them in an intellectual manner. One of my favorite college books!
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