Dr. John,  recently it has been claimed that nothing in the prophetic books came from the 8th and 7th centuries and that the prophets are fictional characters created by post-exilic authors who produced an imaginative history for the Jewish community of their time. It is also confirmed by the fact that books of Kings & Chronicles doesn’t quote them.  What do you say about this?


I have heard this kind of charge against the Old Testament a number of times.  I would need to see the entire statement to give a solid response.  I assume that you are paraphrasing what you have read.  I will have to give a somewhat generic response to this because the statement does not come combined with any details.  Is this person claiming that Isaiah, literally, was not a real person?  Is he or she claiming that Hosea and Jonah are fictional characters?  Is that the claim? Apparently so.
If so, then I think that the person making this charge is being intellectually lazy. They are simply throwing trash-talk about the Old Testament, without even bothering to see if what they say is true, because it is literally a false statement!!!  For example, Isaiah is certainly quoted in both Kings and Chronicles.  Isaiah is an eighth century prophet, and he is quoted in 2 Kings 20:20-34.  Isaiah is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:20-21. How could anyone who is trying to engage in honest discussion make such a statement about the 7th and 8th century prophets, when it is so blatantly and obviously false?  Why engage in such rhetoric?  That Isaiah is a real person is about as solid a fact as we have from the ancient world. OK, I am overstating just a bit, but to say that Isaiah is a fiction is to speak falsely.  It is to lie.
Then there is the seventh century prophet Jeremiah, who also is quoted in 2 Chronicles 36:12 (technically, he is not quoted here, but it is mentioned that he spoke).
Also, there is the eighth century prophet Micah, who is mentioned and listed as a prophet in 2 Kings 15:32-38.
These are not the only prophets whose words are in the Old Testament, who are also mentioned or quoted in the Kings and Chronicles.  The statement you read is rather blatantly false–so obviously false that it causes one to question the sincerity of the one making this false calumny.  By the way, it is true that not ALL of the prophets are mentioned in Kings and Chronicles.  These books are histories, not prophetic works, so they only mention or quote the prophets who played a significant role in the story of the Jewish people.  For example, as far as I know, Joel, Obadiah and Nahum are not mentioned in Kings and Chronicles.
Here is the bottom line. The only “fiction” is the fictitious claim by this uncareful person that the prophets are fictitious characters.  I cannot prove from the historical books all of the prophets are in fact historical characters, but definitely some of them were, and, at least to me, this implies that, given this fact, it is reasonable to conclude that all of them were real people.  This person is telling lies and is using these lies to try to discredit the Bible.  You should ignore this person as a false witness.  In fact, you should write to this person, asking him or her to retract the statement.
John Oakes

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