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The Book of the Twelve Prophets is a multifaceted literary composition that functions simultaneously in all Jewish and Christian versions of the Bible as a single prophetic book and as a collection of twelve individual prophetic books. Each of the twelve individual books—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi—begins with its own narrative introduction that identifies the prophet and provides details concerning the historical setting and literary characteristics. In this manner each book is clearly distinguished from the others within the overall framework of the Twelve.
By employing a combination of literary methodologies, such as reader response criticism, canonical criticism, and structural form criticism, Sweeney establishes the literary structure of the Book of the Twelve as a whole, and of each book with their respective ideological or theological perspectives. An introductory chapter orients readers to questions posed by reading the Book of the Twelve as a coherent piece of literature and to a literary overview of the Twelve. Sweeney then treats each of the twelve individual prophetic books in the order of the Masoretic canon, providing a discussion of each one's structure, theme, and outlook. This is followed by a detailed literary discussion of the textual units that comprise the book.
In volume two, Sweeney delves into each book from Micah through Malachi, demonstrating their uniqueness through his multiple metholodological approaches while keeping them grounded in the perspective of the Twelve as a larger narrative whole.
Save more when you purchase this book as part of Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry collection.
“Yhwh saves the city of Nineveh, later the capital of the Assyrian empire which ultimately destroys the northern kingdom of Israel.” (Page 304)
“a mythological reference to the time it takes to descend to the netherworld.19” (Page 316)
“Insofar as Gomer represents Israel in Hosea’s symbolic action, this has some rather important implications for Israel’s view of Yhwh. What incentive does Israel/Gomer have not to pursue other lovers? Having failed to control Gomer/Israel by providing ‘gifts,’ will Hosea/Yhwh beat her into submission by bringing the Assyrians? Clearly, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea is in deep trouble, whether it is because Gomer is indeed a harlot or because Hosea calls her one.” (Page 16)
“Rather than kill him or let him die, Yhwh imprisons Jonah in the belly of the fish to demonstrate further that there is nowhere in the world, even death, where Jonah can flee (cf. Amos 9:2–3, who states that Yhwh will find the wicked even if they descend into Sheol or to the bottom of the sea).” (Page 316)
This double commentary begins with Tod Linafelt’s discussion of Ruth, a stimulating, well-written journey along the contours of the received text. It is a close reading of the story’s details with a perceptive eye open to key words and word play, intertextuality, chiasm, parallelism, rhythm, reversal, and, above all, ambiguity in the narrative. The commentary is a treat to read.
—Timothy S. Laniak, professor of Old Testament and academic dean, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Marvin A. Sweeney is professor of Hebrew Bible at the Claremont Lincoln University and Claremont School of Theology, and professor of Bible at the Academy for Jewish Religion in California. He is the author of 12 books, including Isaiah 1–39 in The Forms of the Old Testament Literature series, New Visions of Isaiah, and Zephanaiah in the Hermeneia commentary series.