THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF AMOS

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CHAPTER TWO HISTORICAL ISSUES IN THE BOOK OF AMOS

Before rhetorically analyzing the texts related to the issue of social justice in the book of Amos, it is necessary to discuss major historical issues of the book in a more critical way, such as, the authorship of the book, the person of Amos and the situation when he wrote his message. It is relevant to the main purpose of biblical-exegetical interpretation which, according to Kaiser (1981:2), is ―to ask the historical question of the meaning the biblical text has within its original horizon of meaning.‖ Culler (1981:48) similarly insists that historical approach could be meant as ―what its author meant by it, or what it would have meant to an ideal audience of its day, or what accounts for its every detail without violating the historical norms of the genre.‖ Since the main purpose of an interpretation of the text is to understand ―what the author meant‖ in its original context or historical setting, one cannot thus ignore the usefulness of the historical critical methods which ―have proven quite successful in illuminating the history, religion, and culture of Ancient Israel‖ (Dobbs-Allsopp 1999:235).
As early as this chapter, it is important to acknowledge that this research is aware of the difficulty in dealing with historical issues of the book of Amos, especially in reconstructing the history of Israel in eighth century BCE. If a historical reconstruction implies observations of what is ―behind the text,‖ including efforts such as ―to trace the compositional growth and redaction history of the book of Amos, to uncover archaeological data, to elucidate textual particulars, or to explain the complexities of the actual world of the eighth-century [BCE] prophet on the basis of social theory‖ (Carroll R 2002:18). Therefore, one should be suspicious of the values proposed for reconstructing with confidence actual ipsissima verba, the ―very words‖ of the real Amos, settings and events. The reason for saying this is because of the existence of the historical gap between the ancient texts and modern interpreters of the book. Modern studies of the book of Amos can only do ―a reading back‖ and, accordingly, it is harder to get back to what the prophet(s) actually might have said and thought (cf Auld 1983:3-23).
As a consequence, scholars have come up with different approaches and conclusions on this issue. Those who held an historical-critical approach concerned with the search of historical Amos and, on the issue of the authorship of the book, they (Wolff and others) proposed that the book has undergone several stages of development or multilayered redactions. Moving beyond this approach, other recent approaches engage in a discussion of various literary, structuralist, ―close reading,‖ or semiotic methods (cf Hasel 1991[b]:24). Up to the present, conclusively, there are at least two major approaches in studying Amos and his book: diachronic (using all forms of modern historical-critical research) and synchronic. This leads to the fact that there is always a plurality of methods used in the study of the book of Amos (see Schöckel 1988:285-92; Levenson 1988:19 which resulted in a diversity of understandings and interpretations of the book.
Since this research tends to be more synchronic, its main concern is, therefore, on the study of its literary expressions, specifically of its rhetorical devices. In this context, being synchronic implies that one has to be heuristic in approaching the texts studied. Since rhetorical analysis synchronically treats the text as it stands as the basis of exegesis (cf Roth 1999:398), the focus of the research is on the final form of the texts and, thus, it lies on a heuristic model, an assumption that the nearer something is to the source, the nearer it is to the truth. Differing from the usual rhetorical approach which is considered ―lacking of historical attention,‖ my study will deliberately embrace the historical issues of the book. It is in accordance with Möller‘s view (2005:689) that rhetorical analysis ―promises to combine the three foci of the author (―the world behind the text‖), the discourse (―the world within the text‖) and the reader (―the world in the front of the text‖).‖
This chapter tries to present the historical information about them in order to complement what is lacking in a typical rhetorical approach.
With an assumption that discussion on historical issues is complementary as well as preliminary in studying the texts rhetorically, this research also holds the importance of historical studies in the process of analysis. As Jakobson and Tynjanov (1985:29, as cited by Doobs-Allsopp 2006:15) point out, every synchronic system has its past and its future as inseparable structural elements of the system, such as the linguistic and literary background and the tendency toward innovation in language and literature. This means that the synchronic approach is always part and parcel of a diachronic one, and should not ignore the force of the latter. In this regard, Kessler (1982:5, 12) assumes that there must be continuity (or connection) between diachronic and synchronic approaches. Therefore, albeit whatever heuristic benefits may be gained from synchronically oriented studies, at the end, ―pure synchronic approach‖ is inadequate and even impossible.

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF AMOS

In reading Amos 1:1 which says, ―The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa,‖ one may be lead to an assumption that the author of the book of Amos is the prophet himself. There are scholars ―who agree that the prophecy of Amos, at least in essence, was an authentic production of the man whose name it bears‖ (McComiskey 1985:270). Gordis (1971:225), for example, argues, ―Barring minor additions, the book is the authentic works of Amos.‖ The main reason for saying that Amos was the author of the book is usually based on the analysis of the message and the style of writing. McComiskey (1985:270, 275) again suggests, ―the consonant of Amos‘s message with eight-century milieu and his vividly forthright style of writing make it difficult to think otherwise; and, in a more simple way, the superscription of the book (1:1) attributes the work to Amos.‖ Further, another reason proposed to support this view holds that the unity of the messages and forms of writing are able to support that this book is written by a single author, namely the prophet himself, by saying that ―The traditional and pre-critical views agreed that the book of Amos was written by the prophet himself‖ (Dillard & Longman III 1994:377). In other words, the more traditional or pre-critical view maintains that Amos is the author of the book.
However, since the beginning of the modern critical biblical scholarship, the study of the book of Amos—particularly on the authorship of the book—has drastically been changing, and as a consequence, the above view is no longer maintained. Stuart (1987:298) observes that, due to a tendency towards atomism in the analysis of the collections of prophetic oracles, the book is judged to be the product of centuries of development from an original core of genuine material. This may lead to an assumption that in order to reach its final form, ―the prophecies of Amos must have circulated orally, probably in fragmenting form,‖ as Soggin suggests (1982:244).
Other views similarly believe that the book has undergone stages of development or ―a gradual process of growth‖ (Schmidt 1984:196). Rendtorff (1986:220) also insists that ―the present collection has undergone a lengthy history in which a number of stages can be distinguished, though (in contrast, to say, the book of Hosea) the original units have largely been preserved.‖ Those who do not agree that the writings are the product of the prophet himself therefore believe that the book is not the authentic work of Amos. A good example of it is the theory of Coote (1981:5-6) that divides the composition of the book into three stages. The author himself composed a short work (for example, the oracles), represented by the present chapters 2, 4 and 6. Next, an editor B, to some extent making use of the existing prophetic tradition (perhaps even some of the A materials), composed the present chapters 3, 5, and 7, and finally, another editor C, rewrote the composition of A and B with the addition of an opening and closing section—the present chapters, 1 and 8. In addition, Wolff (1977:107-113) identifies six layers of development of the composition of the book: from the words of Amos himself, the literary fixation in cycles, the old school of Amos, the exposition of the Josianic age, the Deuteronomistic redaction, and then, the stage of postexilic eschatology of salvation.
To support this view, the issue about different styles of writing in different sections of the book, particularly in the third-person account of 7:10-17, is raised. This section seems to interrupt the natural sequences of the book. Wolff (1977:106-107) argues that this is an interruption of the vision reports, and adds another element such as ―the insertion of various strophes of a hymn at widely separated points in the book (4:13; 5:8-9; 9:5-6).‖ According to Soggin (1982:243), although the book of Amos has relatively a well-ordered form, ―the only problem is that 7:10-17 interrupts the context of visions, which we would in fact expect at the beginning of the book, if his ministry began with them.‖ This view is being held by modern critical views which question the singularity of the author of the book.
In a more moderate way, Schmidt (1984:196) believes that rather than saying that this is an interruption, it is better to take it as an insertion or as a supplement to the whole body of the work. Meanwhile, Achtemeier (1999:171) suggests, ―[this] has been inserted to the series of the visions.‖ All of these refer to a conclusion that there must have been another person(s) who laboured on the composition of the book throughout a period of time albeit it remains uncertain ―who this person was.‖ Scholars end up with different identification of who it was. For example, it might be just ―another hand‖ (Eisfeldt 1965:399), or the old school of Amos (Wolff 1977:108), or a circle of friends or disciples (Schmidt 1984:196). It then ended up in a multi-interpretation on the origin of the texts of Amos.
This research, however, takes a slightly different view in contrast with the views mentioned above. There are at least two reasons for this: first, it is proper to acknowledge that different styles occur in the composition. A careful reading of the book certainly shows that there is indeed a third-person language used in it. The assumption here is that there was a third person who wrote Amos 7:10-17, and that he might have been an eye witness (Achtemeier 1999:171) or someone in the audience (Hayes 1988:39). It is important here to note that this only applies to this particular section, with one or two minor exceptions, and the more important thing is that it cannot be applied to all parts of the book.
To believe that this book is the product of certain redactive intrusions, especially within a long period of time, is quite unconvincing and, of course, is not based on solid reasoning. Paul (1991:6) argues against it by saying that ―all of the arguments for later interpolations and redactions, including a Deuteronomistic one, shown to be based on fragile foundations and inconclusive evidence.‖ It should be kept in mind that, although they were collected by someone else, in the process, some parts of the sayings must have been recorded immediately to form the basis of the final book. As a result, there is no evidence that the book is the end product of a structural development. Rosenbaum (1990:6) supports this by saying that these inserted materials are, ―perhaps written down, shortly after they were spoken, thus making most suggestions for ‗redaction‘ superfluous.‖
The second reason is that it is proper to assume that the writing of the book in its totality has its origin in the prophet Amos himself. Hammershaimb (1970:14) maintains that although the theory of composition can be applied to a few passages, this does not affect the genuineness of the rest of the sayings. In a more convincing way, Rosenbaum (1990:6) believes that ―one man named Amos wrote the Book. This is not a tautology since it is conceivable that a Southerner speaking in the North might employ a northern scribe to record his words.‖ Paul (1991:6) once infers that ―When each case is examined and analyzed on its own, without preconceived conjectures and unsupported hypotheses, the book in its entirety (with one or two exceptions) can be reclaimed for its rightful author, the prophet Amos.‖ In the same vein, Smith (1995:29) believes that ―there is, therefore, no reason to ascribe any part of this book to any other than the prophet Amos.‖ It thus implies that to believe in the existence of a group of disciples or others who contributed to the final shape of the book is very hazardous and speculative.
To sum up, one cannot ignore the fact that there was a ―collector‖ of some materials inserted in the book, but it should not lead to a conclusion that all of the book was the product of a structural development over a long period. This research follows what Andersen and Freedman (1989:4) suggest on this issue: ―instead of a low estimate of the text, we have a high estimate of the author. We also have confidence that the text has been preserved with a high degree of the fidelity to its original, or at least, early state.‖
By holding this position, I am aware of the fact that whatever view is held, one cannot avoid his or her own subjectivity. Hasel (1991[b]:24) wisely reminds us that ―there is no such thing as a purely objective or scientific study of the book.‖ Therefore, every historical (re)construction done is always a construction and never the final truth. Coggins (2000:80) asserts that there can be no ―right‖ answer to questions around the problem of ―the historical Amos.‖ Admittedly, my position, approach and proposal in this section (―the authorship of the book‖) may also contain some weaknesses and, most importantly, subject to be scrutinized and improved in the future.DECLARATION

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ABSTRACT 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 
1.1 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.3 HISTORY OF RESEARCH
1.4 METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.4.1 Rhetorical Criticism
1.4.2 Brueggemann’s Biblical-theological Method
1.5 RESEARCH ORGANIZATION
CHAPTER TWO HISTORICAL ISSUES IN THE BOOK OF AMOS 
2.1 THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF AMOS
2.2 THE PROFESSIONS OF THE PROPHET AMOS
2.3 THE HISTORICO-POLITICAL BACKGROUND
2.4 THE SOCIO-RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND
2.5 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER THREE RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF AMOS 2:6-8 
3.1 RHETORICAL UNIT
3.2 RHETORICAL SITUATION
3.3 RHETORICAL INVENTION
3.4 RHETORICAL DISPOSITION
3.5 RHETORICAL TECHNIQUES
3.5.1 Alternating Syntactical Structure
3.5.2 Numerical (N+1) Formula
3.5.3 Oracle against Nations (OAN)
3.5.4 Word Repetition
3.5.5 War Oracle
3.5.6 Paralleled Structure
3.5.7 Chiasms
3.5.8 Judicial Rhetoric
3.6 REVIEW OF ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FOUR RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF AMOS 5:1-17 
4.1 RHETORICAL UNIT
4.2 RHETORICAL SITUATION
4.3 RHETORICAL INVENTION
4.4 RHETORICAL DISPOSITION
4.5 RHETORICAL TECHNIQUES
4.6 REVIEW OF ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FIVE RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF AMOS 8:4-8 
5.1 RHETORICAL UNIT
5.2 RHETORICAL SITUATION
5.3 RHETORICAL INVENTION
5.4 RHETORICAL DISPOSITION
5.5 RHETORICAL TECHNIQUES
5.6 REVIEW OF ANALYSIS
CHAPTER SIX TOWARD A THEOLOGY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE BOOK OF AMOS 
6.1 RELATIONAL ASPECTS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE BOOK OF AMOS
6.2 ESTABLISH SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE LAND
6.3 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSION 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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