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Joel, Jonah, and the YHWH Creed: Determining the Trajectory of the Literary Influence

From: Journal of Biblical Literature
Volume 132, Number 4, 2013
pp. 805-826 | 10.1353/jbl.2013.0059



The ancient Israelite confession most fully articulated in Exod 34:6–7, the Yhwh creed, recurs throughout the Hebrew Bible. Both Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2 allude to this creed, and their unique text form suggests a shared literary relationship. There are significant difficulties involved in determining the trajectory of the literary influence that exists between these two texts. While some scholars opt to remain neutral on the matter, the weight of scholarly opinion favors the priority of the book of Joel. This article challenges the popular opinion, arguing that the Yhwh creed in the book of Joel is influenced by the form of the creed in the book of Jonah. To establish the priority of the book of Jonah, this article evaluates the rationales that scholars have used to establish the majority opinion. These principles are measured against criteria proposed in the secondary literature for identifying literary influence and tracing its trajectory. The principles determined to be legitimate are then reapplied to the books of Joel and Jonah to demonstrate that these principles, when properly applied, favor and ultimately determine the priority of the book of Jonah.

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