Eighth Century Prophets: A Social Analysis
In this powerful sociological introduction, D. N. Premnath brings together the social reality of eighth century B.C.E. Israel and Judah and the prophetic oracles of Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah to explore the significance of their prophetic message and vision in today's context. He focuses on various dimensions of land accumulation by the upper class and the effect on the poor. Premnath uniquely uses a systemic sociological approach, incorporating both comparative and historical data, to reconstruct the social reality of the period and to reveal aspects of the oracles not covered by previous exegesis. The sociohistorical section will be of keen interest to students as well as to scholars.
“The focus of this study of the prophets is the practice of land accumulation. Premnath first explains how land was accumulated and the social implications of this practice. He then provides an overview of Israel’s social history and a working hypothesis of the dynamics of the social organization of eighth-century Israel and Judah. This sets the stage for his examination of the oracles of Amos and Hosea in the north and Isaiah and Micah in the south. He concludes with suggestions of the contemporary implications of his findings. Premnath’s research is precise and his findings insightful. He sketches the social realities behind the text in a way that helps the reader understand and appreciate the forcefulness of the prophets’ challenges."
—The Bible Today
"Premnath is able to reflect on the socioeconomic practices in eighth-century Israel in a way that greatly illuminates the texts of the prophets. While Premnath stays very close to sociohistorical realities, the book is, moreover, a rich and suggestive hint about how to think differently about current pressures to move toward globalization and the concentration of wealth and power in ways that override human community in its deep vulnerability."
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"With exceptional clarity Premnath show why a social historical perspective on the eighth-century prophets is essential. His work is thorough and methodical, as well as far-reaching in its implications for both biblical study and the church's work."
—Robert B. Coote, San Francisco Theological Seminary