The Heavenly Court

I have a student who is very interested in the development of the idea of the heavenly court, as reflected in the Book of Job and elsewhere. If anyone has suggestions on articles and books that give a good sense of the state of the scholarly understanding of this subject, I (and the student) would be extremely grateful. Thanks!

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  • Luxetveritas has a lot of articles in pdf form and a good bibliography.

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    The heavenly court is an extension of the divine council. The manifestation in Job is developed in a different direction from in other earlier texts, but the role of the sons of God and other elements of the type-scene are present. Other texts associated with this type-scene are 1 Kgs 22:19-23; Isa 6; Ps 82; Zech 3; and Dan 7:9-14. Some good publications on the divine council and its development are:Frank M. Cross, Jr., "The Council of Yahweh in Second Isaiah," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 12.4 (1953): 274-77.Edwin C. Kingsbury, "The Prophets and the Council of Yahweh," Journal of Biblical Literature," 83.3 (1964): 279-86.Theodore Mullen, The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature (Chino, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1980)Christopher R. Seitz, "The Divine Council: Temporal Transition and New Prophecy in the Book of Isaiah," Journal of Biblical Literature 109.2 (1990): 229-47.Michael Heiser, "The Divine Council in Late Canonical and Non-Canonical Second Temple Jewish Literature" (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2004).Min Suc Kee, "The Heavenly Council and Its Type-Scene," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31.3 (2007): 259-73.Robert P. Gordon, "Standing in the Council: When Prophets Encounter God," in The God of Israel (University of Cambridge Oriental Publications 64; Robert P. Gordon, ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 190-204.David Bokovoy, "שמעו והעידו בבית יעקב: Invoking the Council as Witnesses in Amos 3:13," Journal of Biblical Literature 127.1 (2008): 37-51.The website linked in the other comment is owned by Dr. Heiser, who wrote the dissertation I cited.

  • James F. McGrath

    Thanks so much! I hoped you'd chime in on this topic, given your expertise!

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    My pleasure. I'm glad to here someone's curiosity is piqued by the topic. I'd be interested to hear what specifically they want to find out.

  • Edward T. Babinski

    Also see Dr. Heiser's blog the general point to keep in mind is that "kings and courts" were human inventions that preceded the writing of holy books in the ANE and provided the basis for subsequent depictions of god(s).