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Online Learning

Course Number: SS 660
Course Title: Prophetic Literature
Term: Fall 2014


Dr. Emilio G. Chávez

1. Course Description

This course examines the phenomenon of prophecy in Israel. It explores its origins and  surveys some early “non-writing” prophets, and the classical prophets who have left us books which bear their names. These prophets are set in their historical contexts, which include social, political and economic factors; their books and sayings are studied with modern literary techniques, including exegesis of selected texts. The overall aim is to uncover the theological message of the prophets (including their teaching on social justice) and to arrive at an understanding of the development of prophecy into eschatology and apocalyptic (including messianism).

2. Envisioned Learning Outcomes

The student will become familiar with the phenomenon of prophecy in general and specifically in Israel; with the precursors of the “writing prophets;” and with the prophetic books and their place in the biblical canons. He or she will be able to situate the prophets historically and socio-economically, and explain their theological significance in the context of world events, leading, for Christians, to the eschatological ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.

3. Course Schedule

Week 1 (Aug. 25-29, 2014): Introduction to the course. Review of syllabus and course requirements. The origins of biblical prophecy.

  • Read Professor Chávez’s  course notes, pages 1-13 (henceforth, “Chávez, followed by pages numbers).
  • Visit Professor's Website, Bible Explainer
  • Here you will find all the course materials, except the Newsome book which should be purchased.
  • Most important are the “CLASS NOTES”, TO WHICH THE WEEKLY READINGS  REFER (e.g., “Read [...] Chávez”, followed by the page numbers of the CLASS NOTES).

Week 2 (Sept. 1-5, 2014): Noteworthy “non-writing” prophets.

Read: James D. Newsome, Jr., The Hebrew Prophets (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984), pages 1-15 (henceforth, “Newsome,” followed by page numbers). THIS IS A REQUIRED BOOK.

Week 3 (Sept. 8-12, 2014): Amos and Hosea

Read: [Amos] Chávez, 13-16; Newsome, 16-29;

[Hosea] Chávez, 16-19; Newsome, 30-43.

Short Paper (“short papers” can be just one page, but may be a bit longer if required or desired by the student) on Amos: discuss the socio-political situation and what’s unusual about him and his message.

Week 4 (Sept. 15-19, 2014): Isaiah of Jerusalem

Read: [Isaiah of Jerusalem] Chávez, 20-24; Newsome, 58-78.

Discussion: what is remarkable about the call of Isaiah?

Week 5 (Sept. 22-26, 2014): Micah; three seventh-century prophets

Read: [Micah] Chávez, 25-26; Newsome, 44-57; [Three seventh-century prophets] Chávez, 26-30; Newsome, 79-100.

Short Paper on Micah: who does Micah represent, and what are the characteristics of his constituency?

Discussion: what is the problem the Book of Habakkuk addresses?

Week 6 (Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2014): Jeremiah

Read: Chávez, 30-40, plus Appendix (Parallel Passages Jer/Deut); Newsome, 101-123

Discussion: discuss Jeremiah 7, the temple speech

Week 7 (Oct. 6-10, 2014): Ezekiel

Read: Chávez, 40-49; Newsome, 124-138

Short paper on Ezekiel: what are the three stages of his message?

Discussion: discuss Ezekiel 40-48 as Priestly eschatological prophecy

Week 8 (Oct. 13-17, 2014): Second Isaiah (Isa 40-55 and other parts of Isa)

Read: Chávez, 49-57; Newsome, 139-156

Discussion: discuss the four Servant poems

Week 9 (Oct. 20-24, 2014): Haggai and Zechariah 1-8

Read: Chávez, 57-64; Newsome, 157-169

Discussion: Haggai and Zechariah are “establishment” prophets: what does this mean?

Week 10 (Oct. 27-31, 2014): Third Isaiah (Isa 56-66), the “Isaian apocalypse” (Isa 24-27)

Read: Chávez, 64-71; Newsome, 170-179

Short Paper on Third Isaiah: how does Third Isaiah’s inclusiveness clash with the Book of Deuteronomy, and with Zadokite views of the priesthood?

Discussion: What is the significance of Isa 25:6-8 for the New Testament?

Week 11 (Nov. 3-7, 2014): Obadiah, Joel, Malachi and Jonah

Read: Chávez, 71-79; Newsome, 180-200

Discussion: what is significant about Malachi as the last prophet of the Jewish canon?

Week 12 (Nov. 10-14, 2014): Second and Third Zechariah (Zech 9-11; 12-14)

Read: [Dt-, Tr-Zech] Chávez, 79-84; Newsome, 201-205

Discussion: what are some significant features of Zechariah 14?

Week 13 (Nov. 17-21): Daniel

Read: [Daniel] Chávez, 84-91; Newsome 214-224 (optional, 206-213)

Discussion: describe the two main divisions of the Book of Daniel.

Week 14 (Nov. 24-28, 2014): Daniel, continued.

Re-read what was assigned for Week 14.

Discussion: what is significant about Daniel 7:1-14?

Week 15 (Dec. 1-5, 2014): Conclusion of course.

Write the final paper (5-7 pages) on a topic of your choosing based on what you have learned in this course. Be sure to contact the professor for advice and approval if you have any doubt about the suitability of your topic and project for this Final Paper.


Quizzes may be scheduled for this course.

Discussion postings – 35%

One or more discussion forums will be available each week of the course. Students will be expected to participate in these forums with their postings, which will be evaluated for clarity of thought and thoughtfulness. They will count for 40% of the final grade.

Short papers – 35%

For the second accountability exercise, students will respond (in around 50 words or so) to at least 8 reflections made by any of your colleagues (using the rubric on page 4) on at least 6 separate weekly discussion forums between weeks 1 and 11. The idea is to get to know one another through interaction. This will facilitate your group work at the end of the course.

Final paper – 30%

The final paper is to be on a prophet or on an aspect of prophecy which you find to be of interest and want to do some research on in order to write your 5-7 page paper. It will be graded for clarity of thought, completeness and presentation (grammar, organization, spelling, etc.).


  • Readings as indicated above.
  • REQUIRED TEXT: James D. Newsome, The Hebrew Prophets (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984).


(Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below). Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at


A 96-100; A- 90-95; B+ 87-89; B 83-86; B- 80-82; C+ 77-79; C 73-76; C- 70-72 69-60; F 59 and below

Grading Rubric for the Major Papers and Discussion Board (DB) Postings

0 pts. – Paper
0 pts. – DB Posting;

3 pts. – Paper
2 pts. – DB Posting;

6 pts. – Paper
4 pts. – DB Posting;

9 pts. – Paper
6 pts. – DB Posting;

12 pts. – Paper
8 pts. – DB Posting;

15 pts. – Paper
10 pts. – DB Posting;



Absence of Understanding

Analysis shows no awareness of the discipline or its methodologies as the relate to the topic

Lack of Understanding

Analysis seems to misunderstand some basic concepts of the discipline or lacks ability to articulate them.

Inadequate understanding

Analysis is sometimes unclear in understanding or articulating concepts of the discipline.

Adequate understanding

Analysis demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts of the discipline but could express them with greater clarity.

Solid Understanding

Analysis demonstrates a clear understanding and articulation of concepts with some sense of their wider implications.

Insightful understanding

Analysis clearly demonstrates an understanding and articulation of  concepts of the discipline as they relate to the topic; highlights connec-tions to other con-cepts; integrates concepts into wider contexts.



Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Weak research and/or documentation

Inadequate number or quality of sources; many facts not referenced; several errors in citation format.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format



Incomplete writing

Analysis is only partially written or completely misses the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Analysis fails to address the topic; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Episodic writing, a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Analysis noticeably neglects or misinterprets the topic; simplistic or repetitive treatment, only partially-internalized; weak organization and development, some meandering;  simple sentences, below-level diction; distracting errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Analysis is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment;  satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors

Solid writing, with something interesting to say.

Analysis is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples;  level-appropriate syntax and diction;  mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Analysis is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development ; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage


COMMUNITY INTERACTION (50-word response)

Inadequate response

Response merely provides laudatory encouragement for original post, e.g., “Excellent post! You really have thought of something there.”

Poor response

Response misses the point of the original posting

Weak response

Response summarizes original posting to which it responds

Acceptable response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds

Individually-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds and fosters its development

Community-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the learning community and fosters its development



Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.


  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


 Recent shavedEmilio G. Chávez was born in Cuba and came to Miami as a child in 1961. He is a graduate of Florida State University (B.A. in Philosophy, 1977), Harvard Law School (Juris Doctor, 1981), the Pontifical Gregorian University (License in Sacred Theology, 1998) and obtained his doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas (Angelicum) in 2000. He has studied in other theological institutes in various countries, including Harvard Divinity School and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He spent several years in the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), in Mexico and the U.S., and the Discalced Carmelites (Dominican Republic and Spain). His dissertation on the Gospel of Mark was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in 2002; he has also published numerous articles in Spanish and English in theological journals, especially on biblical topics. His writings can be found on his website

Dr. Chavez was professor of Sacred Scripture at Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL (1999-2013). He is also interested in spirituality (especially the great Catholic mystical doctors) and in Judaism, and for many years chaired the seminary’s Committee on Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. In 2013, Dr. Chavez spent several months experiencing the eremitical life in the countryside near Savigno (Province of Bologna), Italy with a group of hermits called Eremiti con San Francesco. He is currently writing a book about his life which deals with theological topics.

(860) 632-3010