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Module 6: Pick Your Prophet

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Module 6: Pick Your Prophet ENG 318U-001

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The Bible as Literature
W. Tracy Dillon
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Corinne_Master_Note-scribbler on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENG 318U-001 at Portland State University taught by W. Tracy Dillon in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see The Bible as Literature in Foreign Language at Portland State University.

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Date Created: 02/20/16
Pick Your Prophet I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore heare the worde at my mouth,  and give them warning from me. ­Ezekiel 3:17 Euro­Western tradition with Prophecy Sir Philip Sidney Percy Bysshe Shelley staunch defenders of English poetry prophetic role of seer, mystic, harbinger of deep truths as ancient tradition not restricted to a particular culture or civilization Visionary Company English literature directly identify with Hebrew prophets of Tanakh, Nevi’im Question for Discussion “you’ll pick your favorite prophet and illustrate prophetic techniques based on a close reading of  the text. THE PROFESSOR picks Ezekiel, and will use that pick to illustrate the lecture points  that follow.” Prophetic MO MO ­ modus operandi a particular way or method of doing something, especially one that is characteristic or  well­established comparing and contrasting prophetic identities Biblical Prophecy all about audience God talking to humans through prophet biblical storytelling  God talking to prophets, as a dialogue serving to move a story along genuine prophecy prophet as intermediary between God and the people not a genre; a pervasive topos topos: literary theme; formula by citing traditional trope or figure of speech that stands for a theme ie. ‘tempus fugit’ time flies, for ‘life is fleeting so you better make the most of it  while you’re here’  prophetic theme;  incorporates multiple genres prophecy as genre prophetic formulas as genres generally given as a warning typically associated with predicting the future takes the form of poetry employs the poetic techniques of parallelism, anaphora (discussed in Module 3: The Art of Biblical Poetry) Prophets Biblical Prophets as ‘former prophets’ and ‘latter prophets’ Former: part of the establishment of the nation­state of Israel in ancient times populate books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings Latter: during the division of power between Israel and Judah through the fall of  Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the Babylonian exile populate books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, or Minor, Prophets;  Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and  Malachi Biblical Diaspora; refers to either of two historical events: the Assyrian­Babylonian conquest of  the nation­state of Judah punctuated by the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem around 586 BCE and; destruction of the remade temple by the Roman Empire in 70 CE equal historians and poets recognize when past events led to consequences are repeating ‘it's happened before, it’ll happen again’ EDMUND SPENSER author of Elizabethan English epic The Faerie Queene intimates in letter to SIR WALTER RALEIGH predicting the future is the business of ‘The Poet Historical’ “thrusteth into the middest...and there recoursing to the things forepast, and  divining of things to come, maketh a pleasing analysis of all” primary principle of prophecy: looking at what's going on now, remembering how  things went before, and predicting based on the comparison what's probably going to happen  next The Image of the Prophet audiences react to prophets differently depending on shared belief systems predictive prophecy touchstone to explain why prophets are often depicted as crazy conduits of otherworldly  knowledge audiences generally think prophets predict the future by means of divine inspiration stance established in antiquity; popularized in the epics and oracles of Greece and  Rome opens prophet’s Imagination to/through inspiration way of consciousness altering enhancements; rituals, drugs, taboo stuff &et dangers of Imagination derive from mode/means of prophetic discourse  Plato’s   ; critic concedes that poets are divinely inspired but associates  inspiration with madness “For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no  invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in  him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.” “the God would seem to indicate to us and not allow us to doubt that  these beautiful poems are not human, or the work of man, but divine and the work of God; and  that the poets are only the interpreters of the Gods by whom they are severally possessed” poet­prophets are the messengers of some transcendent revelation beyond ordinary  understanding role carries inherent dangers prophets cannot control the forces that manipulate them; cannot be trusted the effects of their divine inspiration might scare off anyone who’d heed them SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE ‘Kubla Khan: Or, Vision in a Dream’ laments that audiences who are averse to “flashing eyes and floating hair”  give  poet questionable attention poet­prophet’s frenzied demeanor; makes listeners ‘beware’ and thus ignore the message False Prophet judgements against false prophets arise due to expectations and anticipations tempers assumptions governing the predictive mode prophets divine future events in mind­altered states of being prophecies can be viewed as expounding present events in light of the past using historical  method SPENSER ‘Poet Historical’ studies past, anticipates repetition of patterns prophecy is history anticipated; history is prophecy fulfilled triumph of prophecy is it's irrelevance  people listen to the prophet's warning, take action, disaster averted ­ prophecy heeded Irony: How could the best prophet get a job being a prophet if none of his prophecies  ever came true? fulfillment of prophecy is failure people don’t heed prophet's warning, and disaster actually occurs the prophet is a prophet ­ disaster ensued no one listened rabbinic teaching suggests that this series of events is what caused the people to label Jonah a  false prophet 2 Kings 14: Jonah’s “words always come true” to court of Jeroboam II result: sent to Jerusalem to foretell doom; inhabitant repent, disaster did not come Irony: Jerusalem people labeled Jonah a false prophet because the disaster he  prophesied never happened THE PROFESSOR’S opinion examples from Take Shelter (2011) “an allegory of America” main character reflects stereotypes associated with prophets who are wrestling with the  psychological trauma of their calling do their best to warn people but are considered insane  Prophetic Genres include the oracle God makes an announcement to the people through the prophet; visionary prophecy;  apocalyptic prophecy; satire; the call of the prophet; and allegory (symbol) Oracles pass judgement, offer blessings, offer redemption judgement oracles distinguished by the genre of song, ‘doom song’ or ‘lamentation’ Oracles: Judgment contains the prophet’s oracle of judgement; prophetic formulas including prophet’s  charge Oracles: Blessing can be directed at individuals, groups, or nations; portending redemption Oracles: Redemption also known as ‘salvation oracles’ prophecy that God will save or redeem an individual, a  group, or a nation. Rhetorical features include a listing of all the good things that God will give,  as well as a portrait of the perfect place and time that the people will occupy once redemption  comes to fruition Visionary Prophecy ‘in vogue’ in today’s sci­fi, slipstream, &et experimental fiction offers a glimpse at an alternative reality; present or future make use of multiple subgenres including oracles, dreams, poems, satire &et Biblical scholars associate visionary writing with fantasy; events, characters, and setting envisioned are  not of this world ­ imaginative constructions consists of seven elements 1. strangeness or otherness; suggesting the fantastical nature of the vision in  comparison to everyday life 2. reversal and transformation; a way of playing off the fun phrase ‘opposite day’: things  in the vision often are the opposite of what they are in life 3. transcendent and supernatural setting; suggesting that the prophet has been  transported to a space­time apart from real life, or given a vision of extra­terrestrial matters 4. cosmic hyperbole; in which global actions and worldly events are depicted as if they  are localized and individual 5. characters that are supernatural or naturally super; the sun, the moon, the stars can  act as story characters, as can angels, demons, and other supernatural characters 6. dreamwork as derived from Freudian psychology; in which the prophet relates event  nonlinearly as if in a dream where images and words become symbols, and interplay between  manifest and latent meanings of the vision becomes crucial to understanding their meanings 7. symbolic allegory; covered later Apocalyptic Prophecy envisions end times and is often associated with predictions of the end of the human species THE PROFESSOR asks that ‘we’ refine our understanding of the term ‘apocalyptic’ a bit ‘Apocalypse’ associated with the Revelation of John, final book of NT proper meaning for ‘apocalypse’ is ‘revelation;’ original terms meant; “an unveiling of  secret meaning.” contain essence of allegory; “by one thing, another is meant” when said meaning is  grasped, we’ve experienced a revelation, or apocalypse Apocalypse can be read as hopeful for the future rather than indicative of failure or doom usually refers to an ‘end time’ overshadows fact that rather than all time completely  ‘ending,’ a new time is just ‘beginning’ apocalypse simply is the revelation of a transition people afraid of ‘end’ and  a. ignore the promise of a new beginning, or b. assume the new beginning is going to be a worse time than the present Satire controlling example of our look at narrative and narratology recalling the schoolyard axiom: “laugh with someone, not at someone” Satire is LAUGH AT, not  with.  it mocks and is typically intended to humble a person, institution, or authority that has allowed  self­weening pride to get out of control  Prophetic oracles of judgment often employ satire Call of the Prophet usually an autobiographical account of how the prophet got his job WILLIAM WORDSWORTH Book 4: The Prelude “I made no vows, but vows Were then made for me; bond unknown to me Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly, A dedicated Spirit” ‘secular through dedication’ elements of the call of the prophet are obvious call comes over you ‘unknown’ from external sources transfigures and transforms you sense of self­identity and purpose strikes you as a duty or assignment fills you with foreboding that you’ll get in trouble if you shrink it Allegory symbolic mode of expression symbol; ‘something that is itself, yet represents something else’ THE PROFESSOR thinks of thinking as symbolic allegory If we are creatures of sentience built on feeling, then the process of making meaning  involves assigning symbolic association to static things and allegorical associations to symbols  in motion. represents a poetic trope by which the artist uses sensory imagery to literalize an ideas imples the notion that the symbol and the idea to which it refers enjoy a co­equal status SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE symbols ‘the living educts of the imagination; of that  reconciling and mediatory power, which incorporating the reason in images of the sense, and  organizing (as it were) the flux of the senses by the permanence and self­encircling energies of  the reason, gives birth to a system of symbols, harmonious in themselves, and consubstantial  with the truths of which they are the conductors” uses Ezekiel’s apocalyptic visions as his best choice of examples to illustrate the  definition Ezekiel ‘started’ Judaism Ezekiel invents apocalypse; HAROLD BLOOM ‘system of symbols’ matrix that helps the mind make and apprehend meaning allegory depends on system of symbols; to provide a story, moral tale, a lesson that draws upon our shared symbols as a framework for it's authority often thought of as an extended metaphor more complex form of symbolic expression conveying multiple meanings through use of symbolic figurative language; allusion,  conceit, parabola or parable understood to embody the truth or general principle to which it refers exploitation of allegory since ancient times served a decidedly didactic purpose; designed to convey the lesson related to the truth,  function as a veil through which we might glimpse the truth ­ transcends understanding JOHN BUNYAN’s Pilgrim’s Progress; allegorizes abstract spiritual states of mind by  tagging heavy­handed signposts onto the story characters represented a way to speak truth to power in veiled conceits that protected the allegorist from  the consequences of plain speech allegory distinguished from symbolism by virtue of it's narrative complexity cannot be regarded as solely the product of a divine or prophetic madness symbol often represents a vision; allegory struggles to relate the context in which the  vision takes on it's significance Allegory is the concealment, enwrapping, and enfolding of meaning in dark conceits Allegory is the epistemological basis of related prophetic genres including dreams, riddles,  enigmas, and visions Allegory is the quintessential prophetic mode for poets extending from the hebrew prophets of  Nevi’im to Bob Dylan, or Bruce Springsteen **When you pick your prophet for this week’s QfD; you can argue to include any prophet  of your choice to the lineage that we’ve been playing with this term** Figure of the Prophet discussion in Module 4: Biblical Intertextuality of the visionary company that embodies the  metaphorical imagination discovered relationship among poets­as­prophets in terms of BLOOM’s juxtaposition of  strong poets and ephebes ephebes look to strong poets as their precursors, the masters whom they  emulate, and whose tropes and topoi, whose language and subject matter, pass from  generation to. Module 2: Biblical Narrative and Narratology central debate in biblical hermeneutics concerns  whether or not prophets thought of their work as fiction fictional devices need to be considered a pejorative element inapplicable to sacred  writing verisimilitude: the appearance of being true or real


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