The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve
“Return to me”, declares Yhwh of Hosts, “and I will return to you”, declares Yhwh of Hosts.’ The sentence stands at the head of the prophecy of Zechariah (1.3). But what does it mean to ‘return to Yhwh?’ And what does it mean that Yhwh ‘will return to you’? LeCureux argues that it is this call to repentance, and Yhwh’s responses to it, that form the unifying and organizing theme of return for the Book of the Twelve.
ÛÏReturn to meÛ, declares Yhwh of Hosts,€Ïand I will return to youÛ, declares Yhwh of Hosts.’ The sentence stands at the head of the prophecy of Zechariah (1.3). But what does it mean to ‘return to Yhwh?’ And what does it mean that Yhwh ‘will return to you’? LeCureux argues that it is this call to repentance, and Yhwh’s responses to it, that form the unifying and organizing theme of return for the Book of the Twelve. While studies on the development and composition of the Twelve have proved fruitful in recent years, this book attempts to expand on those works by looking closely at the final form of the Twelve, particularly of its opening and closing books (Hosea —Joel, Zechariah —Malachi), and the role that canonical position and theme play within the Book. This project begins by defining the function of theme in biblical books, and then compares the role theme plays in Isaiah with its role in the Twelve, before engaging in the primary task of exegesis. LeCureux examines the use of ‘return’ in the Twelve, showing that it is the call to return that controls the events of the Day of Yhwh. Going further, the exegesis uncovers the links between the return imperatives of Hosea 14, Joel 2, Zechariah’s own calls to return and Malachi’s concluding question, ‘How are we to return?'(3.7). What is ultimately revealed is the multifaceted nature of God’s relationship with his people, one that involves the people’s struggle to turn from covenantal disobedience toward Yhwh in repentance, as well as Yhwh’s own turning from judgment toward his people in blessing.
|Table of Contents||
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION 1
Chapter 2. METHODOLOGY AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THEME 24
Chapter 3. THE FUNCTION OF THEME WITHIN ISAIAH AND COMPARISON TO THE TWELVE 40
Chapter 4. HOSEA 63
Chapter 5. JOEL 111
Chapter 6. JONAH 133
Chapter 7. AMOS, OBADIAH, MICAH, NAHUM, HABAKKUK, ZEPHANIAH, AND HAGGAI 146
Chapter 8. ZECHARIAH 172
Chapter 9. MALACHI 207
Chapter 10. CONCLUSION
Mary E. Mills, Society for Old Testament Study Book List –
The volume provides a coherent argument, arguing that theme rather than a subscription to a named prophet provides best way to examine the profile of these biblical books.
Brad E. Kelle, Religious Studies Review. –
The wide range of methodologies utilized in the various essays, as well as Hutton and Altmann’s chapters on the need for dialogue between these methodologies, aptly demonstrates the broad scope of current research in this area, and guarantees the book’s utility for years to come. This volume would be a worthy addition to any university or seminary library, but also has value for the dedicated layperson.