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Biblical Study Break: Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible
- Course Dates: Mon 2 November 2020, 1:00 pm to Thu 5 November 2020, 2:00 pm
What can we learn from the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible?
This online course over four days explores and examines the literary world of the minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. With a focus on Amos, Jonah, Zephaniah and Malachi in particular, we will discuss the importance of these texts, question how to make sense of them, and better understand the significance of minor prophetic literature in our world today.
Minor prophetic texts are an understudied and often misunderstood part of the Hebrew Bible. Reading them can be confusing, conflicting and challenging. For example, what did Amos intend to accomplish with his rousing, political speeches? Why did Jonah disobey God’s command? What does Zephaniah understand justice and love to be? What was Malachi’s mission and why did he care so much about the ancient covenant between God and the patriarch Abraham? What do these prophets have in common, and what makes a prophet anyway? These are just some of the questions which we turn our attention to in this course, by considering minor prophetic literature through a historical, theological and reception-history based lens.
We begin by exploring the historical contexts of the prophetic books of Amos, Jonah, Zephaniah and Malachi with regard to their political, social and economic situation in the ancient world. Contextualising the books within their own history illuminates theological themes present within the writings, including restorative and social justice, divine judgment, repentance and forgiveness, covenantal expectations, human-divine relationships and love. These themes are also often revealed when the books are read through a literary or narrative perspective, so this course also contemplates how approaching minor prophetic books from such perspectives might open them up to new interpretations and meaning.
The final section of the course considers the prophetic books more broadly by looking at the reception of prophetic texts in ancient religious literature, across historical traditions and into the present day, an analysis which draws attention to the continued significance of minor prophetic literature in our world today.
This intensive course will be run online over the course of four days. There are no evening sessions.
- To introduce participants to key theological themes found in minor prophetic literature;
- To introduce participants to historical contexts of minor prophetic literature;
- To contextualise minor prophetic literature in reception history of the Bible more
Intended Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Contextualise minor prophetic literature in its historical tradition;
- Identify key theological themes that appear in minor prophetic texts;
- Assess the impact of minor prophetic literature in cultural and theological texts.
Monday 2nd November
10.00-11.00: Introduction to the Minor Prophets 11.00-11.30: Break
11.30-12.30: The historical world of the prophets 12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-15.00: Focus: Amos (a short lecture followed by discussion) 15.00-15.30: Break
15.30-16.00: Summary and Discussion
Tuesday 3rd November
09.30-10.30: Divine judgment and social justice in the world of the minor prophets: and introduction to theological considerations of the texts
11.00-12.00: Theological traditions in Amos & Jonah 12.00-13.00: Self-Study, with guidance on SarumLearn
14.00-15.30: Focus: Zephaniah (a short lecture followed by discussion)
Wednesday 4th November
09.30-10.30am: Contextualising the minor prophets in other ancient literature: an introduction to literary considerations of the texts
11.00-12.00: Literary traditions in Zephaniah and Malachi 12.00-13.00: Self-Study, with guidance on SarumLearn
14:00-15.30: Focus: Malachi (a short lecture followed by discussion)
Thursday 5th November
09.30-10.30: Reception of the minor prophets in ancient and contemporary traditions 10:30-11.00: Break
11.00-12.00: Group exercise: find examples of the cultural reception of a minor prophetic literature online, and assess its impact on the text
13.00-14.30: Focus: Jonah (a short lecture followed by discussion) 14.30-15:00: Break
15:00-16:00: Summaries and Conclusions
We recognise that many people like Biblical Study Breaks because of the possibility of coming to College to study, away from the pressures of everyday life. While the course is running online, that option is still available for participants to come to Sarum on a residential basis, allowing access to the library (and wifi) for the duration of the course. The course will simply be run online enabling you to attend from anywhere: either from home or from Sarum. Contact the hospitality team to arrange a residential stay.