Course Description

Ben Sira writes of “the bones of the Twelve Prophets,” asking that they may “send forth new life from where they lie, for they comforted the people of Jacob and delivered them with confident hope” (Sirach 49:10). It is a tantalizingly early reference to the association of Twelve Prophets brought together in the Hebrew Bible’s last book of Prophets, a collection later known as The Book of the Twelve. It is also a pregnant anticipation of the manifold ways in which the words of these prophets have spoken far beyond their original circumstances.

To better understand the origins and impact of The Book of the Twelve, this course will look at its redactional history and editorial shaping, its final canonical forms, and its effects as biblical prophecy. It will introduce current issues in scholarly debate about The Twelve while also exploring ways that The Twelve meet the ancient expectation that they can “send forth new life” amidst the people of God. In broad terms, the course offers an encounter with several individual texts embedded in a wider biblical tradition, and an opportunity to see how together “the goodly fellowship of the Prophets” witnesses to long-term works of providence as judgment and mercy converge in “the great and terrible Day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).

Requirements: Weekly readings, weekly seminars, a presentation, a major paper.

Download the Syllabus (Winter 2018, v 2.0.x).

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Required Texts (Winter 2018)*

Two Sides
Ehud Ben Zvi and James D. Nogalski. Two Sides of a Coin: Juxtaposing Views on Interpreting the Book of the Twelve / the Twelve Prophetic Books. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1607243038.
Order it in Canada or the USA.
Goodly Fellowship
Christopher R. Seitz. The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets: The Achievement of Association in Canon Formation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009. ISBN 978-0801038839.
Order it in Canada or the USA.
Jerome; Thomas P. Scheck, trans. Commentaries on the Twelve Prophets (Ancient Christian Texts). Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016. ISBN 978-0830829163.
Order it in Canada or the USA.
Theodoret; Robert C. Hill, trans. Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Prophets Vol 3: Commentary on the Twelve Prophets. Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1885652768.
Order it in Canada or the USA.

Please note that textbook selections for my courses often change with each iteration of the course.

Making Sense
Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson, and Joel N. Lohr. Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing. 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2019.
This title is optional but highly recommended. It includes basic advice on things like reading religious texts, writing essays and book reviews, making oral presentations, and learning languages. It should help you master fundamental tasks in nearly any course in religion or theology.
The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd Edition, is the definitive style manual for biblical studies and related disciplines.
A blog ( and free Student Supplement (PDF) should cover the issues most common to term papers. The AST library copy is in the reference section at PN 147 S26 2014.
Serious students of biblical studies will want a copy of their own. Order one from SBL Press or elsewhere online. ISBN 978-1589839649.
See my resources page for further advice on writing, style, and research.

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