Scribal Composition: Malachi as a Test Case
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018 pp. 177. $88.00
Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments, 270
Description: The Hebrew Bible is the product of scribes. Whether copying, editing, conflating, adapting, or authoring, these ancient professionals were responsible for the various text designs, constructions and text-types that we have today. Sheree Lear seeks to investigate the many practices employed by ancient scribes in literary production, or, more aptly, scribal composition. Using Malachi as a test-case, three autonomous yet complementary chapters will illustrate how investigating the text as the product of scribal composition can yield new and important insights. Chapter 2: Mal 2.10-16 focuses on a particularly difficult portion of Malachi (2.10-16), noting patterns amongst the texts reused in the pericope. These patterns give information about the ancient scribe's view of scripture and about his communicative goal. Chapter 3: Wordplay surveys Malachi for the implementation of different types of the wordplay. The chapter demonstrates how a poetic feature such as wordplay, generally treated as a synchronic element, can also have diachronic implications. Chapter 4: Phinehas, he is Elijah investigates the reception of Malachi as a finished text. By tracing backwards a tradition found throughout later Jewish literature, it is evident that the literary techniques employed by the composer made his text successfully communicative.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Book of the Twelve, Literature, Malachi
Review by Michael H. Floyd
Citation: Michael H. Floyd, review of Sheree Lear, Scribal Composition: Malachi as a Test Case, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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