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Book of Amos Liebermann, Rosanne


The book of Amos is one of the prophetic books (Nevi'im) canonized in the Hebrew Bible. It is one of twelve "Minor" or shorter prophetic books, which in the Jewish Tanakh appear together as a single "Book of the Twelve," whereas they are twelve separate books in the Christian Old Testament. The book of Amos consists of 9 chapters associated with the words and actions of a Judean prophet named Amos. Amos is identified as a pastoralist and agriculturalist from Tekoa in the southern kingdom of Judah, whom Yahweh called to prophesy in the northern kingdom of Israel around the year 760 BCE (1:1; 7:14-15). There is no historical evidence concerning this person outside of the book of Amos. The book claims that the reason Amos was commissioned as a prophet was to warn the Israelites about how their abuses of social justice and their wrongheaded and hypocritical worship practices are going to lead to severe punishment from Yahweh. The sayings and events described in the book appear to take place within a short time period (perhaps no more than a year) during the mid-8th century BCE. The punishment predicted by the prophet Amos has a long tradition of being interpreted as referring to Israel's defeat and exile at the hands of the Neo-Assyrian empire in 721 BCE, but the book never refers to this event explicitly. The book of Amos was originally written in Hebrew, but in its oldest forms it has been preserved in slightly different versions: the Masoretic Text in Hebrew and the Septuagint in Greek. Both of these traditions are attested at Qumran, suggesting that the text of the book of Amos had not been finalized by the first century BCE. Many scholars suggest that parts of the book can be traced back to an 8th-century BCE prophet, but the book as a literary product is mostly the work of later Judean editors, including some belonging to the Deuteronomistic school of thought. The text consists mostly of poetic oracles presented as the words of Yahweh spoken through the prophet Amos, but there are also a few short prose extracts (e.g. Amos 7:10-17).

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