search by author or title

The Prophets

Who They Were, What They Are


Norman Podhoretz (View Bio)
Hardcover: The Free Press, 2002.

The Prophets

"What can a commentator on contemporary politics teach us about religion in ancient Israel? More than we might expect. Podhoretz, now a leading light of neoconservatism, studied Hebrew literature during college and still reads his Bible with both passion and intelligence.... Podhoretz...[has] a warmth that enlivens his chronicle of their lives and animates his interpretation of their words." — Booklist

"The object of Podhoretz's polemic is liberalism. Podhoretz believes that his war with liberals is a continuation of the prophets' war against idol-worshippers. Thus he focuses particular attention on the liberals' use of the Bible, calling their reading — or, for him, their misreading — by a rather inelegant neologism, 'liberological.' In this way, he makes his own polemic much more than a debate over policies and procedures. He transforms it into a perennial philosophical batter. He also tries to show (often quite convincingly) that when liberals employ the Bible for their purposes, they do so badly." — The New Republic

"Podhoretz employs an impressive wealth of biblical scholarship in his own close reading of the prophets.... [He] is steadfast as a rhetorical warrior and one gets the sense that, like Jeremiah, he cannot keep silent." — Claremont Review of Books

"Influential critic, neoconservative figurehead, and one-time Hebrew scholar revisits the 'poetry' of the biblical prophets.... His passion and reverence...for the actual personages and prophetic literature that inhabit...the first five books of the Bible are undiminished. His interpretations and commentaries, replete with references to the significant minutiae of recent scholarship, rabbinical doctrines, and linguistic subtleties comprise an extraordinary intellectual exercise.... Forceful, challenging." — Kirkus Reviews

"An insightful and engaging reading of the Bible's prophetic texts and, most important, a plea for their relevance today.... [A] remarkable book.... Podhoretz shows an impressive command of classic and modern commentators and historians, both Jewish and Christian." — The Wall Street Journal

"A new subject for...[Podhoretz], he does indeed present a scholarly analysis of the prophets.... Podhoretz deserves to be applauded." — Publishers Weekly

"[Podhoretz's] powerfully argued new book.... No biblical scholar could have written anything so eloquently and passionately polemical, or so unclogged by the 'maybe's,' 'if's,' and 'on the other hand's' of academic discourse. This does not mean that THE PROPHETS, which frequently cites the conclusions of scholars, never makes fine scholarly distinctions. But it is more concerned with making the big and important distinctions that should matter to us all.... [A] vastly illuminating book." — Commentary

"[Podhoretz is] one of the great public intellectuals of the last half century.... [He] approaches his subject as a critic and a commentator rather than a biographer or a historian. He reads the text closely and discerningly, bringing to his reading a mastery of classical and contemporary Bible scholarship.... Podhoretz, like the prophets he is writing about, is a truth-teller.... Intellectually honest." — Los Angeles Times

"In this powerful rereading of Israel's prophetic legacy, Podhoretz attempts to set the record straight about Israel's prophets.... Podhoretz's corrective is useful, precisely because the religious sense has been lost on an entire generation of Bible readers.... One of the benefits of having an intelligent lay reader like Podhoretz write an introduction to the Israelite prophets is that one does not get bogged down in the often-insufferable questions that are the staple of biblical scholars. Podhoretz has read widely in this genre, having begun his study while an undergraduate at Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary some decades ago. His translation of this enormous body of scholarly literature into more everyday language is, on the whole, dependable..... THE PROPHETS is an elegant and well-written survey of Israel's prophetic heritage. The reader can find a myriad of recent books on the prophets that have emerged from the desks of biblical scholars, but few of them will have the sort of passionate, contemporary engagement that marks Norman Podhoretz's work." — The Weekly Standard

Up Back to Top