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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 295 Reviews THE MINOR PROPHETS: AN EXEGETICAL AND EXPOSI· TORY COMMENTARY, VOLUME 3. Thomas Edward McComiskey, ed. pp. xii + 897-1412. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998. Cloth, $35.99. This volume in the Baker series of biblical commentaries proceeds from the notion that the prophecies of the Minor Prophets do have relevance for contemporary Christians. Notwithstanding this potential theological bias (which is articulated in the Introduction), this volume offers a solid explication of the text and messages of the last of the prophets. Each commentary is divided into two parts: Exegesis, a careful consideration of the problems, nuances, and meanings of the Hebrew text; and Exposition, an elaboration of the message of the text, as well as the underlying theological ideas and historical background. Two translations are provided: the NSRV and the author's own rendering of the Hebrew text. Despite their generally conservative approach, the authors consider most of the textual and historical issues revolving around these prophets, and make use of recent biblical scholarship. Since three scholars contributed to this volume, I will comment upon each of the commentaries. ZEPHANIAH: Alec Motyer offers a brief but useful introduction to the prophet. He places Zephaniah in historical perspective, considers sourcecritical issues (taking a conservative approach), comments on the state of the text, and provides a somewhat dated (nothing later than 1988) select bibliography. The Exegesis is judicious and considered. Motyer confronts the Hebrew text, wrestles with its problems, and usually defends the MT. He does not emend the text indiscriminately, but rather treats grammatical difficulties as poetic variants. He provides ample references to other biblical texts in which a word, grammatical fonn, or theme are to be found, so that an advanced student can pursue these references with ease. The Exposition is excellent. Motyer discusses Zephaniah's ideas, places them in their historical context, and offers ways in which the prophet's words can resonate for the modem reader. He is particularly good in his explanation of the literary structure of Zephaniah's prophecies. HAGGAI: Since Motyer wrote the commentary for Haggai, the same comments mentioned above apply here. However, readers should overlook the silly introductory paragraph in which Motyer sees Haggai as a (religious ) economist and environmentalist who "addresses the problem of inflation more explicitly than any other prophet." Such statements try too hard to make the message of the prophet relevant to the contemporary reader; Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 296 Reviews they sound like lecture notes for a course given in the sixties or seventies, especially when the author fails to prove them in the Exposition. Haggai is not an economist or environmentalist; he is a religious thinker who, like the prophets before him, demands both moral conduct and cultic loyalty. Any commentary on Haggai (and Zechariah and Ezra, too) must consider the Messianic hopes represented by Zerubbabel, as well as his precipitous disappearance from the pages of biblical history. Motyer discusses the former of these issues throughout his commentary, but especially at the end of his exegesis. ZECHARIAH: The commentary on Zechariah was the fmal scholarly work of the late Thomas McComiskey, overall editor of the Baker Minor Prophets. In his introduction to the book, McComiskey provides an accessible analysis of the historical background to the times of Zechariah, as well as an assessment of the Jerusalem community's spiritual state. He also discusses the authorship of the book, giving particular attention to the issue of its integrity, specifically the question of Zecharian authorship of chaps. 9-14. McComiskey summarizes fairly the various viewpoints and arguments , concluding that "it is not out of the question to place the composition of the entire book within the time that Zechariah ministered to the postexilic community or within a reasonable time thereafter.to McComiskey's Exegesis is almost uniformly first-rate, demonstrating mastery of the nuances and literary nature of the Hebrew text. His Exposition is also quite good, explaining with clarity the content, flow, and meaning of Zechariah's prophecies, putting them into their historical context and discussing how certain aspects of Zechariah's theology are connected with Christian theology. However, the Christian bias of this commentary may have prevented McComiskey from arriving...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 295-297
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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