Reforging history : the divine warrior in Persian period expansions in the Twelve.


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In the Persian era, a new phase of the development of the Book of the Twelve began. These developments included the incorporation of new documents along with the expansion of existing documents and inevitably incorporated reflection on the climactic events from the fall of the Assyrian Empire to the rise of Persia, or the “Long Sixth Century.” This dissertation argues that the Persian era expansions of the Book of the Twelve contain an embedded historiography that centralizes the role of Yahweh in all of the consequential events affecting Judah and Yehud by means of the motifs of the divine warrior, Chaoskampf, and theophany. These motifs appear commonly in Judean literature and even pre-Persian stages of the Book of the Twelve. Thus, the Persian era application of these motifs does not represent an innovation but rather a reappropriation and expansion of the function of the motifs to suit the theological needs of the Persian era Judean/Yehudite community. These motifs depict Yahweh’s acting within history without the need for a human monarch or other intermediary figure. The depiction of Yahweh in this way builds the legitimacy of Yahweh to continue to rule over the people of Yehud despite the chaotic events of the destruction of the Judean state, the Babylonian exile, and the ascendancy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The books of Amos, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah bear the marks of this embedded historiography and legitimizing agenda regarding the events of the Long Sixth Century. This study, thus, combines the insights of the diachronic/redactional models for the development of the Book of the Twelve with the insights of the tradition history of the divine warrior, Chaoskampf, and theophany in Israelite religion to form a new synthesis explaining some of the reasons for the shaping of the Book of the Twelve in the Persian era.



Book of the Twelve. Divine warrior. Chaoskampf. Theophany. Historiography.