Haggai and Malachi
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Reading Haggai and Malachi in conversation with feminist theory, rhetorical criticism, and masculinity studies reveals two communities in different degrees of crisis. The prophet Haggai successfully persuades a financially strapped people to rebuild the temple, but the speaker in Malachi faces sustained resistance to his arguments in favor of maintaining the priestly hierarchy.
Both books describe conflicts among men based upon social class, and those who claim to speak for God find their claims and, with them, God's presumably unquestionable authority as the ultimate male contested.
The aim of this commentary is to provide feminist interpretation of Scripture in serious, scholarly engagement with the whole text, not only those texts that explicitly mention women. A central concern is the world in front of the text, that is, how the text is heard and appropriated by women.
At the same time, this commentary aims to be faithful to the ancient text, to explicate the world behind the text, where appropriate, and not impose contemporary questions onto the ancient texts. The commentary addresses not only issues of gender (which are primary in this project) but also those of power, authority, ethnicity, racism, and classism, which all intersect. Each volume incorporates diverse voices and differing interpretations from different parts of the world, showing the importance of social location in the process of interpretation and that there is no single definitive feminist interpretation of a text.
"Prof. Davis provides a commentary on two minor prophets that might not immediately strike the casual reader as being a natural pair; however, the intertextual interplay between the ideological hopes for a temple and the reality of an established temple provide a gold mine for rhetorical, social and feminist interpretation. This is a short volume that displays the originality and insightfulness of this series as a whole. The very masculine deity of whom both prophets declare themselves spokesmen comes across, in Davis' apt phrase, as a "threatening complainer" that fully justifies viewing the populace as reluctant to simply obey commands. The politics of power, class, race, and interpretation are clearly on display in this dense, but readable (one is tempted even to say enjoyable) commentary. The usual commentary covers not only the biblical texts, and notes on translation, but the creation and causation of those translations. Thought-provoking with relevant passages included from everyone from Popes to laity, this is a scholarly work for everyone, from lay Bible readers to established scholars in the field."Lowell K. Handy, ATLA "Stacy Davis's commentary on Haggai and Malachi offers readers a feminist approach to two deeply masculinist texts, both of which are prophetic responses to post-exilic Judaism."James Zeitz, Catholic Books Review
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