Biblical Archaeology Review 5:3, May/June 1979

The Prophets as Revolutionaries: A Sociopolitical Analysis

By Martin A. Cohen

Five Biblical prophets—Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah—scathingly attacked the sacrificial cult practiced in the shrines of ancient Israel and Judah.

These prophets all lived in that turbulent 150-year period that began with the death-pangs of the Kingdom of Israel in the late 8th century B.C. and ended with the Babylonian destruction of the Kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C. They were all literary prophets—that is, they were fortunate enough to have had their messages recalled, transmitted, recorded, embellished and ultimately canonized into sacred writ—unlike, for example, the earlier Elijah who survives only in a record of deeds.

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