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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Amos: Justice and Violence
Houston, Walter J.

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2015 pp. ix + 112. £12.95

Series Information
Phoenix Guides to the Old Testament, 26

Description: The book of Amos is one of the first books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible many students have to read, and this short guide to the book therefore has students chiefly in mind. But since the scholarly study of the book has taken off in new directions in recent years, this Guide packs enough into its relatively small compass for more advanced readers to learn from it as well. Following recent trends in the study of the Hebrew Bible in general, it gives as much attention to the text as it now stands as to its formation and history, and also gives an account of its reception history. Each chapter ends with suggestions for further reading. Amos: Justice and Violence is divided into three Parts. The first sets out to describe the genre, style, shape and aim of the text, along with its leading ideas, with the help of recent scholarship on the Hebrew Bible in general and the prophets in particular. Special note is taken of the many images of violence in Amos, along with its denunciations of injustice, and its overwhelming emphasis on the ineluctable destruction awaiting Israel. The second Part sets the book in its historical and social context. Walter Houston’s particular interest in the social matrix of the Bible is evident here as he sketches the social context of the injustices denounced by Amos. He goes on to review the various proposals made in the last 50 years for how the book has assumed its present shape. The final Part studies the ways in which the book has been read over the centuries, with an emphasis on the modern period, in which it has become a rallying call for those concerned with injustice in their own world.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Book of the Twelve, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Amos

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Review by Karl Möller
Published 1/5/2017
Citation: Karl Möller, review of Walter J. Houston, Amos: Justice and Violence, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2017).

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