Cover image for A Message from the Great King: Reading Malachi in Light of Ancient Persian Royal Messenger Texts from the Time of Xerxes By R. Michael Fox

A Message from the Great King

Reading Malachi in Light of Ancient Persian Royal Messenger Texts from the Time of Xerxes

R. Michael Fox

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$42.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-394-2

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Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures

A Message from the Great King

Reading Malachi in Light of Ancient Persian Royal Messenger Texts from the Time of Xerxes

R. Michael Fox

“Fox provides a fresh reading of Malachi by constantly looking for words, concepts, and images that may allude to a Persian background. It is an important task of the historical-critical enterprise to reconstruct the meaning of the metaphors in the time of the first addressees of the text. Further, it is certainly worth exploring what kind of associations an ancient reader in the Persian province of Yehud had when reading the text. Fox chooses to do so by taking the role of a messenger as the root metaphor.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Table of Contents
The academy has not been kind to Malachi. Indeed, some of the most influential and seminal studies on the book denigrate its style, message, and overall artistry. This negative assessment proves extensive in the history of scholarship. Furthermore, the studies demonstrating a more positive assessment of Malachi do so without offering serious challenges to these long-standing denigrations. Complicating the matter is the observation that critical study has proffered numerous suggestions for what Malachi contains while failing to provide a viable model of what Malachi actually is.

A Message from the Great King presents serious challenges to the guild’s prior assessments and conclusions about the book. Through an interdisciplinary approach that synthesizes insights from literary theory, thorough historical reconstruction, and a close reading of the biblical text, R. Michael Fox makes a formidable case that a root messenger metaphor pervades the entire text of Malachi. Viewed and read through this new lens, Malachi’s artistry becomes more readily apparent and its theological message more intense and demanding. A Message from the Great King provides serious reassessment of the academy’s long-standing denigrations of the book and a compelling answer to what Malachi actually is. Accompanying these insights into Malachi are new methodological procedures and exercises that merit further attention and reflection.

“Fox provides a fresh reading of Malachi by constantly looking for words, concepts, and images that may allude to a Persian background. It is an important task of the historical-critical enterprise to reconstruct the meaning of the metaphors in the time of the first addressees of the text. Further, it is certainly worth exploring what kind of associations an ancient reader in the Persian province of Yehud had when reading the text. Fox chooses to do so by taking the role of a messenger as the root metaphor.”

Introduction

1. History of Research: Entrenched Trajectories and a New Direction Malachi as Literature

Malachi’s Historical Context: Primary Perspectives

A New Paradigm for Reading Malachi

2. Methodology: Adapting Michael Ward’s Donegality for Investigating Malachi’s Root Messenger Metaphor Elaborating on “Root Metaphor”

Overview of Ward’s Planet Narnia

Example: The Lunar Donegality of The Silver Chair Adapting Ward’s Methodology

3. Reconstruction: Building a Messenger Lens for Reading Malachi Royal Messengers in Achaemenid Persia

Conceptualizing Hebrew Prophets as Ancient Near Eastern Messengers

Conclusion: A Cultural Milieu and a Conceptual Heritage

4. Poiema: Malachi’s Messenger Decorations and Root Messenger Metaphor

Malachi’s Messenger Poiema

Excursus 1: Love, Hate, and ANE Royal Messengers Excursus 2: On Malachi’s “Appendixes”

Summary: Gradations of Decorations

Conclusion

5. Logos: The Impact of Malachi’s Root Messenger Metaphor Rethinking Malachi’s Form

Synthesis: Reading Malachi as a Royal Message

Toward Malachi’s Theological Message

Rethinking Malachi’s Literary Quality Toward Future Study

Summary

Appendix 1: Historical Overview of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius

Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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