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. From the Wisdom Commentary series Feminist biblical interpretation has reached a level of maturity that now makes possible a commentary series on every book of the Bible. It is our hope that Wisdom Commentary, by making the best of current feminist biblical scholarship available in an accessible format to ministers, preachers, teachers, scholars, and students, will aid all readers in their advancement toward God’s vision of dignity, equality, and justice for all. The aim of this commentary is to provide feminist interpretation of Scripture in serious, scholarly engagement with the whole text, not only those texts that explicitly mention women. A central concern is the world in front of the text, that is, how the text is heard and appropriated by women. At the same time, this commentary aims to be faithful to the ancient text, to explicate the world behind the text, where appropriate, and not impose contemporary questions onto the ancient texts. The commentary addresses not only issues of gender (which are primary in this project) but also those of power, authority, ethnicity, racism, and classism, which all intersect. Each volume incorporates diverse voices and differing interpretations from different parts of the world, showing the importance of social location in the process of interpretation and that there is no single definitive feminist interpretation of a text.
About the Author
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, IN. She teaches courses in religious conversion, Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, Torah, and Prophets.