Micah and its literary environment: Rhetorical critical case studies.
AuthorMiller, Dane Eric.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractI began this investigation with the presupposition that the MT of Micah offered us a valid object upon which to apply the methodology of rhetorical criticism. The examination of the text proceeded along the lines of two emphases: (1) a structural analysis which studied the various blocks of material in order to describe a unity or cohesiveness in Micah, and (2) a thematic approach which identified underlying images which tend to enhance the coherence of the work. I used these two methodologies to address both pericopes and also larger units and even to discuss the book itself. Two other methodological strategies have also guided my analysis of Micah. In Chapter 1, I described two foci of the ellipse that is rhetorical criticism: first, those who emphasize the task of "listening" to the text, which I understand as more of an empathic approach, and second, those who utilize a quantifying style of investigation. Both these focal points are reflected in my structural and thematic analyses. Although no readily recognizable patterns such as A:B:A appears in describing the three parts of the book, there does seem to be a thematic development in Micah 1-7. Thus Part I (Micah 1-3) resounds with the words of witness followed by judgment and concludes with the destruction of Jerusalem. That scene of destruction gives way, however, to the restoration and encouragement of Part II (4:1-5:8), although the threats in 4:9-5:8 remind us that the restoration is not an accomplished fact. Part III (Mic 5:9-7:20) begins with what seems to be an assertion that the judgment will take place, especially with the appearance again of the witness/judgment model in 6:9-7:6. However, the final picture of restoration and covenant fidelity on the part of YHWH affirms that the judgment will be overturned. I have further suggested that echoes from the literary tradition of Israel enhance the movement from judgment to renewal in Micah. The conclusion to the judgment in Part I (Mic 3:1-12) has particular impact, because it is presented in the language of the judgment scene from the garden of Eden (Genesis 3). In fact, we see here again that theme and structure intermix in Micah. I suggest that the book begins with material which mimics and recalls older traditions (the theophany, David, and even Anat) and ends with similarly old recollections (David and Moses). Thus I posit that Micah comes to us wrapped in an envelope of ancient echoes.
Degree ProgramNear Eastern Studies