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It addresses a problem that has created much scholarly controversy, namely the different attitudes in the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible towards the sacrificial cult. This somewhat controversy is the subject of debate because the interpretation of sacrificial rituals is still disputed. Even more disputed is the literature of its criticism in prophetic literature.

It has been suggested that the prophetic “No!” to sacrifices that can be heard in some passages of the Hebrew Bible was not meant in an absolute sense. This book discusses the nuances of how to interpret the prophetic tendencies towards sacrifices, which were different at different times in history.

At many points in the Bible a prophecy is made regarding sacrifices. The conclusion drawn by the author might be startling. Concluding that sacrifice was of central importance in the life of Israel and Judah, even to the prophets, the case is made that sacrifice was an integral part of the Hebrew Bible.


“Dr. Eidevall’s new book is a brief and compact study of one of the more vexed issues in the Hebrew Bible. It throws new light on an old debate over religious practices.”
-Prof. Tryggve N. D. Mettinger,
Lund University

“Because of its convincing and fascinating answer to the long-debated problem of prophetic cult-criticism, this book represents a significant advancement of scholarship.”
-Prof. Christian A. Eberhart,
Lutheran Theological Seminary

“Eidevall demonstrates the divine rejection of sacrifices does not imply a rejection of the cultic institution as such...the rejection is situational.”
-Prof. Martti Nissinen,
University of Helsinki

“For the prophets, the primary concern was always that Israel remain faithful to its covenant with Yhwh, and that meant remaining faithful to all the covenant stipulations. Nevertheless, this book will certainly stimulate discussion on the subject.”
-Adrian Leske,
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Tryggve N. D. Mettinger

Chapter 1: Aim and Scope of the Investigation

Chapter 2: The Prophets and the Cult
Prophets in the Cult
The Debate Over Prophetic Attitudes to the Cult
The “Total Rejection” View
Various “Limited Criticism” Views
The “Total But Situational Rejection” View
Outline of a New Approach

Chapter 3: The Role of Sacrifice
Three Theories
Sacrifice as a means to Bring About Expiation?
Gifts to the God(s) or Divine-human Communion?
Reciprocity and Sacrifice
Defining the Function of the Sacrificial System
The Phenomenon of Rejected Sacrifice

Chapter 4: Perspectives on Prophets and Prophetic Books
Dissidents or Defenders of Status Quo?
The Production of Prophetic Books

Chapter 5: Analyzing Prophetic Argumentation
Sacrifice and Rhetoric
What Kind of Rhetorical Criticism?
Outline of a Method

Chapter 6: Cult-critical passages
Isa 1:10-17
Jer 6:20
Jer 7:21
An excursus on Jer 11:15
Jer 14:11-12
Hos 6:6
Hos 8:11-13
Amos 4:4-5
Amos 5:21-24
Mic 6:6-8
Mal 1:6-14
A special case Mal 1 :11

Chapter 7: Visions of Life Without Sacrifice
Isa 43:22-24
Jer 7:22
Hos 3:4
Hos 9:4a
Amos 5:25

Chapter 8: Prophetic Texts Promoting Sacrifice
Isa 19:19
Isa 56:6-7
Isa 60:7
Jer 17:26
Jer 33:10-11
Jer 33:18
Ezek 20:40
References to Sacrificial cult in Ezekiel 40-48
Joel 1:9, 13; 2:14
An excursus on Nah 2:1
Zeph 3:10
Zech 14:20-21
Mal 3:3-4

Chapter 9: Summary and Discussion
Index of Biblical Texts

Other Scripture- Old Testament Study Books