Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Julia M. O'Brien

Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Book Details

Book Information

Pages: 326 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: 2004
ISBN-10: 0687340314
ISBN-13: 9780687340316

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3 out of 5 based on 3 user ratings
Jeremy Pierce (parableman) August 7, 2009 2 5
Julia O'Brien's AOTC (2004) includes Nahum through Malachi. As with other volumes in this series, this is a popular-level exposition that tends toward the mainline, critical kind of theological perspective. For instance, she can at times consider prophecies to have been written after the fact (e.g. Haggai), and she treats some of the prophetic messages as immoral (e.g. Nahum's use of rape as part of the judgment on Assyria, Malachi's supposed patriarchy). She seems very excited about Habakkuk's questions against God at the beginning of the book, with less attention to his later faith and trust in God. I can't complain about a lack of theological reflection, but it's not always theology sympathetic to the prophet's concerns. O'Brien is often hesitant about text-critical solutions. She includes a special section on the contribution of each book to the overall Book of the Twelve of the minor prophets, but she thinks each individual book is a work of its own, and thus her Nahum commentary focuses on Habakkuk as a book rather than as a piece of the Book of the Twelve. O'Brien and Achtemeier will probably be the main choices for expositions among those who accept more critical views. My impression is that Achtemeier will be the more conservative of the two, while O'Brien will be the more thought-provoking. [Full Review]
Jeremy Pierce (parableman) August 7, 2009 2 5
Julia O'Brien's AOTC (2004) includes Nahum through Malachi. As with other volumes in this series, this is a popular-level exposition that tends toward the mainline, critical kind of theological perspective. For instance, she can at times consider prophecies to have been written after the fact (e.g. Haggai), and she treats some of the prophetic messages as immoral (e.g. Nahum's use of rape as part of the judgment on Assyria, Malachi's supposed patriarchy). She seems very excited about Habakkuk's questions against God at the beginning of the book, with less attention to his later faith and trust in God. I can't complain about a lack of theological reflection, but it's not always theology sympathetic to the prophet's concerns. O'Brien is often hesitant about text-critical solutions. She includes a special section on the contribution of each book to the overall Book of the Twelve of the minor prophets, but she thinks each individual book is a work of its own, and thus her Nahum commentary focuses on Habakkuk as a book rather than as a piece of the Book of the Twelve. O'Brien and Achtemeier will probably be the main choices for expositions among those who accept more critical views. My impression is that Achtemeier will be the more conservative of the two, while O'Brien will be the more thought-provoking. [Full Review]
Within the rather limited scope of this commentary series that aims at a general readership, Julia OBrien comments on the six prophetical books that contain the second part of the Dodekapropheton. The book opens with a short introduction into the concepts of prophet and prophetic books. Here she clearly states that books are not equal to living persons and that the books are what we have to interpret. Although she has a keen eye for the idea of a historical contextboth of the ancient and the modern readershe wants to overcome the traditional historicizing reading of these texts. I hope to have understood her correctly when I conclude that applying meaning to a text should be based on its reading against the historical background of the final redaction. She construes the historical environment of the original prophe cy as a later-day literary construct. I can only agree with this approach, especially in view of the fact that too many commentaries on prophetical books start with a description of the original context that is, however, always almost deduced from lines and phrases within the prophetical book. This often reminds one of Baron of Mnchhausen, w ho tried to get out of a marsh by pulling himself upward at his hair. Nevertheless, I will never deny that there has been a historical contextand quite often a very bitter onet hat, however, needs to be (re)constructed from data outside the text under consideration. [Full Review]

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