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The Social Background of the Book of Malachi

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Chapter Summary

Reconstructing social situations from literary texts is a hazardous business. However, in cases where the only evidence for the social background to a text is the text itself some attempt at reconstruction is necessary, unless the decision is taken to ignore any pointers in the text to extra-linguistic factors. As a tribute to Tony Gelston's prolonged study and work on the Twelve Minor Prophets and as a token of friendship over many years, the attempt will be made to think around some of the pointers in Malachi to the possible social background(s) to the book's production. This chapter considers two questions. First, why do the addresses in Chronicles concentrate so much upon cultic purity? Second, how does a possible answer to this question shed light on the background to Malachi? The book of Malachi seems to deal directly with problems that the addresses in Chronicles tackle by implication.

Keywords: book of Malachi; Chronicles; social background; Tony Gelston



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