Lessing, R. Reed & Andrew E. Steinmann. Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2014. Chapter 21, “Interpreting Prophetic Books” pp. 355-366.
Lessing notes that the prophetic books record many peculiar activities which may be difficult to interpret. Lessing finds that interpretive principles have changed over the years as well. There are differences we can recognize in the time of writing, in the location, and the rhetorical emphasis of the prophets (Lessing 2014, 356). A key to interpretatio is the prophetic concern with the inner life along with external signs.
Lessing observes that form criticism has often failed to notice the message of the prophets due to its insistence on composite authorship (Lessing 2014, 357). Lessing describes some of the work of a series of form critics. He then describes redaction criticism, which attempted to find layers of editoria work (Lessing 2014, 359). In contrast to these practices, rhetorical criticism seeks to find the different rhetorical devices in use. This practice also bnreaks the books of the prophets apart so they are not coherent pieces of literature (Lessing 2014, 361). However, Lessing concludes that, whether primarily viewed as oral or literary works, rhetorical criticism provides the best selection of interpretive tools (Lessing 2014, 363). Above all, Lessing urges the reader to consider the New Testament view that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. All that is coherent in light of Christ (Lessing 2014, 364).