New Book: Ellen F. Davis on Biblical Prophecy

The following is reprinted here with permission of Duke University Divinity school.

Ellen F. Davis, the Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School, has written a volume on biblical prophecy for Interpretation Resources, the companion series to the prestigious Interpretation Bible Commentaries for Teaching and Preaching, published by Westminster John Knox Press.

In Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry published in early October 2014, Davis identifies with exegetical precision various elements of prophetic service within biblical contexts, and connects those with the work and faith of Christians in our own culture.

In a wide-ranging study that treats both Testaments of the Christian Bible, she outlines five elements of the prophetic perspective including radical concreteness of expression, intimacy with God, and participation in the suffering of the vulnerable. She then sets forth seven thematic studies, treating prophetic figures and texts from Genesis to Revelation.

Throughout Davis asks the practical yet imaginative question of what it is for contemporary Christians to be prophetic interpreters of their own historical moment, guided by careful readings of Scripture. Among the themes she treats are prophetic critiques of “imperial” economic systems, prophetic views of the created order, and prophetic witnessing in the midst of disaster. She concludes with a short essay on reading biblical traditions in respectful conversation with Islam—among world religions the other faith that is rigorously prophetic in orientation.

Davis has been a faculty member at the Divinity School since 2001. Her interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their responses to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations.

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