Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hinze, Christine Firer

Second Advisor

Duffy, Michael

Third Advisor

Hughson, Thomas


In this dissertation, the question of whether contemporary prophetic acts are possible will be explored by using the following process. First, the category of prophetism will be surveyed from the perspective of biblical and sociological scholarship. This overview will focus on describing the nature of the prophetic role and the variables involved in ascribing prophetic authority. Second, paradigmatic prophetic acts will be highlighted, primarily gleaned from acts attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. By understanding the rhetorical quality of these prophetic examples, we will be able to propose a working definition of authentic prophetic acts that can then be applied to contemporary examples. Third, the work of theologian Paul Tillich will be considered in relation to his theology of culture and his understanding of how prophetism involves moments of kairos. Fowtb, theological ethicist Villiam Schweiker's work on moral and hemenceutical realism will be surveyed in order to glean helpful categories when considering the ethics of contemporary prophetic activity. Fifth. two examples of possible contemporary prophetic acts will be: proposed, specifically the 1955 refusal of Rosa Parks to surrender her seat while on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 's 1963 writing of ''Letter from Birmingham Jail." Through this process of discerning the theological ethics associated with prophetism, a response will be formulated to the question about the criteria for, and viability of, authentic prophetic activity in the modem/ postmodern context...



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