Divine Providence and Retribution in Ancient Historiography: A Comparative Analysis of the Book of Chronicles and Herodotus’ Histories
This paper compares the conventional use of themes of divine providence and retribution in biblical historiography and ancient Greek historiography, more specifically, the role of the prophet in the book of Chronicles to that of the wise advisor in Herodotus’ Histories. Moreover, this study finds not only that the roles of the prophet and wise adviser are strikingly similar but also that both these characters are instrumental in enacting the theme of divine retribution.
First, the sociohistorical context of the eastern Mediterranean in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE will be considered to establish the foundation for a valid comparison. Second, the various roles of the prophet and wise advisor will be explored. Third, some possible functions of direct discourse in ancient Israelite and Greek historiographies will be examined. Finally, textual examples of arrogant rulers who ignore the warnings and exhortations of prophetic voices will be provided from both Chronicles and the Histories.
Axis Mundi (2004/2005)