Twelve books, one scroll, mixed messages: the minor prophets (today’s first four).

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

The fourth book of prophecy in the Jewish “Latter Prophets” designation (after Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) is a bit of a cheat. It’s actually twelve books, the books designated in Christian classification as Minor Prophets, and in the Jewish scheme as the Book of the Twelve. At some point these books were collected together and written in a single scroll. This is probably known by the time of Ben Sirach at the beginning of the second century BC, when he refers to “the Twelve Prophets” (Sir 49:10).

There are only a small number of readings provided from the minor prophets in the Sunday lectionary – some are more significant than others. I shall take the Goldilocks option: neither treating them as one book (too long for a single blog post) nor twelve (too short for one post each). Instead I shall post three blogs each covering four of these books. That means today’s blog is on Hosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah.

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