Who is the last person regarded as a true prophet in Judaism? What was his time frame?


The Tosefta (Sotah 13:4) writes:

משמתו נביאים האחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי פסקה רוח הקודש מישראל
Once the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi -- died, the prophetic spirit ceased in Israel.

Additionally, the Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) writes:

וחגי זכריה ומלאכי סוף נביאים הוו
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were the end of the prophets.

These three prophets were all active at the beginning of the Second Temple period which is around 500 BCE or 350 BCE depending on how you deal with the Missing Years.

  • There are lots of references to רוח הקודש after this time. See the Raavad on Hilkhot Lulav 8:5, for one example. – Shimon bM Mar 23 '13 at 14:26
  • @ShimonbM, but that wasn't true prophecy, right? The question asks about true prophecy. – Baby Seal May 2 '14 at 15:03

The Ibn Ezra (in his introduction to Malachi) writes that Malachi was the last prophet. The Rambam (Maimonides) in Melachim 11:1 implies that the Mashiach (messiah) will be a prophet (since he refers to the "other prophets"). (I think both of them agree, actually, just that Malachi was the last prophet until Mashiach.)

  • (I later saw that the Rambam said so explicitly elsewhere; see the link in comments) – b a Jul 16 '12 at 5:29
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    M'lachim 11:1 says "וכל מי שאינו מאמין בו. או מי שאינו מחכה לביאתו לא בשאר נביאים בלבד הוא כופר אלא בתורה ובמשה רבינו". This doesn't seem to be calling mashiach a prophet at all. "Other prophets" is not those besides mashiach but those besides Moshe. – msh210 Jul 16 '12 at 5:53
  • @msh210 You are right that it is a possible interpretation — and it is possibly the more straightforward one. However, it says אלא בתורה ובמשה רבינו. If you say the other refers to ones besides Moshe, it is also referring to the ones besides the Torah, and the Torah is not a prophet. – b a Jul 16 '12 at 7:33
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    how do these answers fit in with the discussion in Bava Basra 12 which states not only that there is prophecy in the chochomim, but in lunatics and children. If that was only symbolic, why give particular examples? – rosends Jul 16 '12 at 14:40
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    @msh210 Actually Rambam says this explicitly: see Rambam Hilchot Tshuva Ch 9 Halach2: ... because the king who will arise from David's descendants will be a greater master of knowledge than Solomon and a great prophet, close to the level of Moses, our teacher... – Danield May 9 '13 at 22:58

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