Prophetic intentionality and the Book of the Twelve : a study in the hermeneutics of prophecy
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This study explores the hermeneutical issues raised by critical approaches to the Book of the Twelve and their implications for the concepts of authorial intent, history, and canon. By means of a critical engagement with the Twelve’s modern reception history it seeks to demonstrate that with few exceptions, recent attempts to come to terms with the peculiar character of the prophetic intentionality at work in the Twelve reflect the continuing impact of historicism and its hermeneutical legacy upon the study of Old Testament prophecy. As a result the key roles played by theological pressures and the hermeneutical significance of canon in the Twelve’s formation history continue to be marginalized, particularly with respect to the eschatological and typological moves involved in the redactional expansion of prophecy. The study seeks to constructively address these problems by offering a theological exegesis of Hosea 1:5 and 2:23-25, arguing that the study of these ‘Day of the Lord’ texts and the larger theological significance of Hosea’s prologue for the Twelve has been virtually eclipsed by the central hermeneutical role assigned to Joel by the Twelve’s modern interpreters. The larger contribution to the hermeneutical logic of prophecy rendered by Hosea’s ‘wisdom coda’ (Hosea 14:10) has also not been given its proper due, exegetically speaking. With these concerns in mind, the study then proceeds to argue that Hosea’s prologue establishes a theological context for the logic of prophecy, eschatology, and typology in the Twelve which finds its hermeneutical ground in Exodus 32-34 and the continuing theological significance of Yahweh’s name for his providential dealings with Israel. In this way Hosea’s prologue constrains the interpretation of prophecy and the DOL in the Twelve by linking their theological function to the significance of Yahweh’s name for Israel. The wisdom coda both embraces and extends this agenda for readers of Joel through Malachi by instructing them in the proper stance toward prophecy and “the ways of Yahweh” toward Israel and the nations vis-a-vis his revealed character in Exodus 34:5-7. The book of Hosea thus ends by establishing hermeneutical guidelines for the “wise” interpretation of prophecy, a stance which is then further facilitated by the summons to wisdom in Joel’s prologue (1:1-4) and Joel’s own deployment of the DOL in Joel 1-2.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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