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II. History of modern interpretation, current tendencies in research, and bibliographies

Finally, the themes outlined in the fourth chapter that unite the twelve prophets are adequately reinforced in the analysis of each book so that the unity of the Minor Prophets is clearly articulated. In spite of this overall praise, a few limitations of the book deserve mention. The book includes several maps that are seemingly reprinted from the Holman Bible Atlas, but the detail is obscured due to issues of scaling and color.

For example, the map on page 7 includes some tiny fonts due to its compressed size, and the various arrows and regions supposed to be indicated are indiscernible due to limitations in shading. This is not an isolated problem, but rather recurs with such frequency that the usefulness of these resources is compromised see also maps on 12, , , Further, there is minimal integration of the Minor Prophets with the New Testament. This may be by design since such an approach reinforces the value of the Minor Prophets as speaking theologically timeless truths in their own contexts.

At the same time, this also has the unfortunate side-effect of minimizing the opportunity to show how these books are related to the larger canon.

The thematic unity of the book of the twelve

The treatment of Joel is illustrative of this criticism. The quotation of Joel in the Pentecost sermon of Acts is not even mentioned, let alone used as an opportunity to show the coherence of the biblical message across the cannon. While some New Testament integration does occur e. Finally, there is a lack of precision in defining the Day of the Lord.

Such a description is overly broad without providing sufficient depth to understand how the prophets appropriate this concept. As a result, later discussions of the Day of the Lord in the analyses of individual prophetic books do not bring clarity but rather frustration as the reader understands this is an important concept with nuance and complexity but is left without a sufficient framework to understand its essentially unifying features present throughout the prophets. At pages not including indices and bibliography , The Message of the Twelve is long enough to provide adequate guidance for interpretation and short enough to be manageable.

This book is intended to be an introductory handbook to the Minor Prophets, as such it is not appropriate for academic contexts needing rigorous engagement with secondary sources and scholarly concerns. As such, I highly recommend this book as a supplement to an extended study on the Minor Prophets in a small group or English-based Bible class.

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J. T. LeCureux, The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve

As a handbook, The Message of the Twelve ably succeeds in making this enigmatic section of Scripture understandable and applicable for those uninitiated with the richness and complexity of the Minor Prophets. Amazon Kindle.


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The nations of Egypt and Edom will become a desolate waste; but as for Israel, the Lord Himself will be their shelter. He will dwell in Zion, and the earth will flow with wine and milk vv.

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Clearly a different scene and language move in the two parts. Nevertheless, there is much verbal and thematic continuity—for example, the dark and devastating day of the Lord Joel and and the eventual divine gifts to Israel of natural bounty and And what the first part presents as an event affecting Israel alone becomes in the second part a decision of judgment against the nations. The poles of death and life are starkly registered: the dependence of human life upon divine care for existence is manifest. Finally, one is left to ponder the two parts of the composition: whether the book divides into pre-exilic and postexilic strands, whether the work is a unity and the locusts are a symbol of the judgment of the Lord, or even whether some natural event stimulated visions of an apocalyptic moment.

As to its date, in addition to liturgical practices and language, the whole tone of the book suggests that we are dealing with a period sometime after the restoration of the Second Temple. Review of Grossman, Maxine L. Review of De Sousa, Rodrigo F. Review of Reeder, Caryn A.

The thematic unity of the book of the twelve

Review of Benjamin, Don C. Review of Roskop, Angela R.

Who Were the Minor Prophets?

Edelman eds. Review of Charlesworth, James H.


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