n Journal for Semitics - The drama of Zephaniah : a literary-structural analysis of a proclamatory prophetic text

Volume 16 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1013-8471


The Hebrew prophetic literature presents some of the most dynamic and dramatic preaching to be found in the Scriptures - intensely personal, pastoral proclamation. The relatively small text of Zephaniah is certainly no exception; in fact, his book offers instances of some of the most powerful hortatory discourse of the entire prophetic corpus. In this article, a form-functional analysis is applied in support of the preceding assertion. Thus the literary-structural character of the book's textual organization is closely examined with special reference to its prominent poetic features and overall thematic development, including its vibrant oral-aural (oratorical) characteristics. Additional attention is devoted to the of 2:4. This study emphasizes the skilful manner in which stylistic form is used to effectively shape theological and ethical content in order to dramatize the prophet's message so that it is conveyed with a greater measure of persuasive force. In closing, several challenges are addressed to encourage contemporary translators to communicate the lively dynamics of Zephaniah's discourse in their own language with a similar measure of impact, appeal, and life-shaping relevance.

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