Reconsidering the Book of the Four : the shaping of Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah as an early prophetic collection.

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The hypothesis that redactors collected and edited Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah into an exilic “Book of the Four” has gained significant momentum in redaction-critical scholarship over the last twenty years. Since its initial proposal, various reformulations of the Book of the Four hypothesis built upon the identification of Deuteronomistic editing across these four prophetic texts. The concurrent scholarly reaction against “pan-Deuteronomism” challenges the methods and criteria by which redaction critics identify Deuteronomistic editing. The precision of language emerging from the concerns over pan-Deuteronomism affects how scholars identify and label Deuteronomistic editing. This new criteria and precision of language threatens to undercut the foundation of the Book of the Four hypothesis. The following dissertation reexamines the evidence for common editorial activity spanning Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah, arguing that the evidence fails to support a case for widespread Deuteronomistic editing across these four texts. The case that these four texts circulated as an early collection rather depends upon a series of editorially constructed intertextual echoes between these texts. The following study argues that this Book of the Four editorial activity takes place in two redactional layers. The first redactional layer includes Hos 1:1; 4:15aβb; 8:14aβb; Amos 1:1b; 2:10-12; 3:1b-2; 5:13; 6:8; 7:9-17; Mic 1:1, 5b-7, 9; 2:3; 6:9aα,b, 10-16; Zeph 1:1 1:6, 13b; 2:3. These supplements across the Book of the Four link these four prophetic voices to the larger collection and employ a similar intratextual scribal program of literary integration into their current literary contexts. This study locates this first editorial layer near the beginning of the exile, primarily responding to the trauma of the destruction of Jerusalem. The intratextual scribal program of literary integration indicates that exilic scribes read these texts through a lens that theologizes the messages in light of one another. This study further finds that Mic 2:12; Zeph 2:7, 9b; 3:11-13 reflect a second editorial layer that supplies salvific hope to this collection for life after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian deportation.

Book of the Twelve. Minor prophets. Hosea. Amos. Micah. Zephaniah. Redaction criticism. Book of the Four. Deuteronomism. Intertextuality.