Final Term Paper

Final Term Paper - Sarah Levy 12/6/04 REL 311 Mindful...

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Sarah Levy 12/6/04 REL 311 Mindful Mapple’s Mockery A biblical prophet must speak the truth in the name of God, and, in this respect, the Amos should be considered a quintessential book of the Latter Prophets. The Book of Jonah, in contrast, is better seen as a parody of prophecy—that is, a book that takes the conventions of prophecy as exemplified in Amos and turns them on their head. In the way he depicts Jonah in Moby Dick , Herman Melville shows that he understood the parodistic intent of the author of Jonah. Moreover, he endeavored to take this biblical parody a step further by using Father Mapple’s sermon as a means to make mockery of Christian hypocrisy. According to Deuteronomy 18:18-24 1 , a man who is a prophet must speak the truth and do so in the name of the Lord. Without both of these characteristics, a man cannot be a true prophet. Furthermore, prophets are compelled by God to speak. The Hebrew word for vision is massa’ , literally means “weight.” 2 When someone is told to deliver divine messages, he or she is compelled by the weight of God’s command to deliver them. The Book of Amos is an essential book of the latter prophets. Chronologically speaking, Amos is the first prophet whose collection of sayings are found in the Bible. 3 Amos therefore sets a precedent for all books in the latter prophets that follow it. In 5:21- 1 All biblical references taken from: Metzger, Bruce M., Roland E. Murphy. The New Oxford Annotated Bible, with the Apocrypha. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989 2 Zuckerman, Bruce. Class lecture. 3 Zuckerman, Bruce. Class lecture. 1
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24, Amos declares that sacrifices, worship, and offerings will do no good if a people have not established a community of justice. God tells Amos to say to the Israelites, “Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them” (Amos 5:22). People must “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). This passage, among others, establishes the primacy of justice as the priority of the Latter Prophets. In this respect, the Book of Amos may be properly considered revolutionary because it establishes justice as a requirement separate from the ritual obligations of covenant—indeed, from the prophetic prospective justice must be seen as an essential prerequisite for worship. Amos shares important characteristics with other prophetic books in the Bible. First, Amos and the other prophets direct their message exclusively toward the Israelites. Amos says, “Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt” (Amos 3:1). Likewise, the prophet Isaiah’s vision concerned “Judah and Jerusalem in the days of
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Final Term Paper - Sarah Levy 12/6/04 REL 311 Mindful...

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