Reading Haggai and Malachi in conversation with feminist theory, rhetorical criticism, and masculinity studies reveals two communities in different degrees of crisis. The prophet Haggai successfully persuades a financially strapped people to rebuild the temple, but the speaker in Malachi faces sustained resistance to his arguments in favor of maintaining the priestly hierarchy. Both books describe conflicts among men based upon social class, and those who claim to speak for God find their claims and, with them, God's presumably unquestionable authority as the ultimate male contested.
Stacy Davis (PhD, University of Notre Dame, 2003) is associate professor of religious studies and chair of gender and women's studies at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She teaches courses in religious conversion, Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, Torah, and Prophets.
"Prof. Davis provides a commentary on two minor prophets that might not immediately strike the casual reader as being a natural pair; however, the intertextual interplay between the ideological hopes for a temple and the reality of an established temple provide a gold mine for rhetorical, social and feminist interpretation. This is a short volume that displays the originality and insightfulness of this series as a whole. The very masculine deity of whom both prophets declare themselves spokesmen comes across, in Davis' apt phrase, as a "threatening complainer" that fully justifies viewing the populace as reluctant to simply obey commands. The politics of power, class, race, and interpretation are clearly on display in this dense, but readable (one is tempted even to say enjoyable) commentary. The usual commentary covers not only the biblical texts, and notes on translation, but the creation and causation of those translations. Thought-provoking with relevant pas sages included from everyone from Popes to laity, this is a scholarly work for everyone, from lay Bible readers to established scholars in the field."
Lowell K. Handy, ATLA
"A useful addition to scholarship on these prophets because Davis asks different questions about them from her feminist African-American perspective."
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
"Stacy Davis's commentary on Haggai and Malachi offers readers a feminist approach to two deeply masculinist texts, both of which are prophetic responses to post-exilic Judaism."
James Zeitz, Catholic Books Review