Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review of Schmitt, Mantik im Alten Testament

2016.06.11 | Rüdiger Schmitt, Mantik im Alten Testament, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 411, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014. pp. xi + 212. ISBN: 978-3-86835-100-2.

Review by William L. Kelly, University of Edinburgh

Many thanks to Ugarit-Verlag for generously providing a review copy.

Divination is a topic which has enjoyed a growing amount of attention in contemporary scholarship, especially the relationship between divination and prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars now recognise that ancient prophecy was not an isolated phenomenon; it existed within a larger complex of religious ideas, symbols and practices related to communication between humans and gods. In Mantik im Alten Testament, Rüdiger Schmitt examines the practitioners, instruments and discourses related to divination in the Hebrew Bible. Schmitt is already a contributor to this area of research, e.g. as with his Habilitationsschrift published as Magie im Alten Testament (AOAT 313, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2004). These two works are closely related; as he notes in the foreword, Mantik im Alten Testament is like a companion volume to Magie im Alten Testament. Schmitt has tried to avoid redundancies in Mantik im Alten Testament by referring the reader to his 2004 work for fuller discussions of research and method. This aim is understandable, though it does weaken Mantik as a standalone work. Still, interested readers will find a great deal of useful information distilled into this handy volume.