Continuity and divergence : a study of Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 in relation to earlier Old Testament prophetic literature
The purpose of this thesis is to make a thematic study of the Books of Haggai and Zechariah 1-6 in order firstly to identify the ways in which classical prophetic methods and traditions are continued and developed in these works and secondly to consider the reasons for any divergence in thought and style. The study is based on the hypothesis that the community of Israel underwent radical change as a result of the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile and that during the restoration period, under Persian rule, fundamental distinctions in theological understanding and the phenomenon of prophecy arose. The thesis contains six major chapters. The first is introductory and considers the composite nature of the books and the possibility of distinguishing and dating the different strata. The second compares the status, authority and roie within the community of Haggai and Zechariah with those of their prophetic predecessors. Chapter three studies the ways in which the prophetic messages were received and transmitted and includes a discussion on the development of angeloiogy. Specific themes which are important in Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 are dealt with in the next three chapters; issues relating to Israel's leadership and ideas of messianism; ideas about divine judgement and punishment upon the nation; and thoughts on the relationships between other nations, Israel and her God. Each of these compares the treatment of the themes with that found in the classical prophetic books and also considers the respective use that is made of other Old Testament material. Conclusions were drawn in each chapter and these have been collated in the short final chapter. The study concluded that Haggai stood firmly in the classical prophetic tradition while Zechariah was more innovative in respect of prophetic method and at times radical in the theological ideas he proclaimed.