Literary Connectors And A Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus -- By: Ronald W. Pierce

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:3 (Sep 1984)
Article: Literary Connectors And A Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus
Author: Ronald W. Pierce


Literary Connectors And A
Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus

Ronald W. Pierce*

The last three books of the canon of the twelve minor prophets have often been grouped together in OT studies.1 No doubt this has been because of the common historical era (postexilic Judaism) that they address. Despite this tendency, however, scholars have at the same time emphasized the division of the twenty chapters2 that make up Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi into two or more independent literary units for the purpose of analysis.

Feinberg is representative of the theologically conservative school that follows the traditional canonical divisions, treating the books as three bodies of literature, each unique in its theme, style, authorship and function.3 From a higher-critical perspective the so-called “proto-” and “deutero-Zechariah” distinction is made. This has sometimes resulted in a twofold division of the corpus (Haggai/Zechariah 1–8 and Zechariah 9–14/Malachi),4 but more often in a division of the three books into four:5 or more6 originally separate literary units. In most cases (regardless of the author’s theological persuasion) the Malachi material is

*Ronald Pierce is assistant professor of Old Testament theology at Talbot Theological Seminary and the School of Theology of Biola University in La Mirada, California.

viewed as considerably later than Haggai and Zechariah and as addressing an essentially different set of circumstances.7

Unfortunately these approaches have resulted in the lack of any serious attempt to treat this postexilic element within the minor prophets in a unified fashion with respect to its literary and thematic characteristics. To this end the present writer has chosen to depart from the more traditional methodologies for the purpose of considering the books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi in their extant form in the canon of the twelve, yet with careful regard to their literary and thematic interrelationships.

Although questions concerning authorship, original intent and canonical compilation may immediately come to the reader’s mind, these matters have deliberately been avoided. Almost nothing is known regarding the manner in which the book of the twelv...

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