Covenant Continuity And Fidelity: Inner-Biblical Allusion And Exegesis In Malachi -- By: Jonathan Gibson

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 66:2 (NA 2015)
Article: Covenant Continuity And Fidelity: Inner-Biblical Allusion And Exegesis In Malachi
Author: Jonathan Gibson

Covenant Continuity And Fidelity:
Inner-Biblical Allusion And Exegesis In Malachi1

Jonathan Gibson

([email protected])

This thesis investigates how Malachi’s inner-biblical interpretation of earlier source texts in the Hebrew Bible informs and shapes his central theme of covenant. While scholars generally acknowledge the importance of covenant in Malachi, to date, only a few studies have been devoted to this theme in the book. This study seeks to redress the imbalance in Malachian scholarship, by contributing a comprehensive analysis of covenant throughout the prophetic oracle. The core of Malachi’s covenantal imagination is shaped by his reflection on an authoritative collection of texts. The mention of people, nations and places, Deuteronomic terminology, and rare words and unique word/ root combinations exclusive to Malachi and only a few other texts encourages the book to be read in the context of received biblical texts.

While Malachi has been the focus of ‘intertextuality’ studies in recent decades, a comparison of literature reveals competing methodological approaches as to what constitutes an inner-biblical connection between Malachi and other parts of the Hebrew Bible. One of the repercussions of the diverse methodologies is that the interpretive significance of the inner-biblical connections within the book of Malachi becomes perplexing. This thesis provides the most recent discussion in over a decade on the inner-biblical connections contained in Malachi. By providing a more sober approach to what constitutes inner-biblical connections between Malachi and other parts of the Hebrew Bible, this study aims to free the text of Malachi from being overburdened by too many ‘intertexts’, and thus allows its central message of covenant to be seen with greater clarity and force.

Chapter 1 sets the scene for the study, focusing on the covenant themes in Malachi and the book’s inner-biblical interpretation. A

general overview of each is presented, together with a short history of previous research in the respective areas.

Chapter 2 outlines the methodology adopted in the study. It commences with a brief discussion of the literary features and historical context of the book, before providing an extended review of ‘intertextuality’ and ‘inner-biblical interpretation’ in biblical studies. Criteria for evaluating the evidence for correspondence between texts and the likely direction of dependence are first established, before defining the different kinds of connections that may exist between texts. The relationship between covenant and Malachi’s inner-bibl...

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