The Literary Unity Of Zechariah -- By: James A. Hartle

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 35:2 (Jun 1992)
Article: The Literary Unity Of Zechariah
Author: James A. Hartle


The Literary Unity Of Zechariah

James A. Hartle*

The book of Zechariah has long been divided into two literary units: Zechariah (Proto-Zechariah), comprising chaps. 1–8, and Deutero-Zechariah, comprising chaps. 9–141 (chaps. 9–14 are often divided into two units consisting of chaps. 9–11 and 12–14). Higher-critical scholars usually assign a different author to each unit,2 usually based upon (1) dissimilar literary style between the two parts, (2) differences in content, (3) the fact that Zechariah’s name is not mentioned in chaps. 9–14 as it is in chaps. 1–8 (Zech 1:1; 1:7; 7:1), (4) the seemingly diverse historical background behind each pericope in Deutero-Zechariah, and (5) the more apocalyptic style of chaps. 9–14, particularly chap. 14. Conservative scholars, however, argue for the unity of Zechariah and conclude that it is the work of one author.3

The disagreement concerning the nature of the literary relationship of Deutero-Zechariah to Proto-Zechariah has resulted in many interpretations of the book as a whole. Critical scholarship in particular has been unable to achieve a unified understanding of Deutero-Zechariah.

In this article we will analyze certain literary characteristics in the book of Zechariah with respect to its literary unity. This will be accomplished by a systematic examination of certain grammatical and literary characteristics that may indicate continuity between Proto- and Deutero-Zechariah. In addition major themes will be traced through Zechariah to determine their development or modification. The objective is to discover underlying factors uniting Proto- to Deutero-Zechariah. Presented here will be only the principal factors that underlie Zechariah’s unity.

I. Grammatical Constructions, Genre And Specialized Words

Certain grammatical formulations, word forms, tenses and literary devices characterize the book of Zechariah. These features are part of the author’s unique style and unify the work on the literary level.

*James Hartle, a recent graduate of Regent University, lives at 1020 Fairway Drive, Chesapeak...

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