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What Are They Saying About the Minor Prophets? E-mail
Written by Jennifer Dines CSA   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 09:46

Jennifer Dines CSA taught Biblical Studies at Heythrop College, University of London, from 1979 to 2001. She now lives in Cambridge and does research mainly on the Septuagint. She is a Trustee of the Catholic Biblical Association. 

When Augustine coined the term ‘Minor Prophets’ for the twelve books from Hosea to Malachi,  it was not a slur on their status but a comment on their brevity by comparison with the ‘Major’ (i.e. longer) prophetic books. Many scholars now prefer what is in fact older terminology: ‘the Book of the Twelve’, often abbreviated to ‘the Twelve’ which is what, for convenience, I shall use here. Each of the Twelve has its own introduction (Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; Jon. 1:1; Hab. 1:1 and so on) and, until recently, has mostly been studied as a self-contained text. Yet these twelve books always form a distinct group in biblical manuscripts, whether Jewish or Christian.

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