You Had Me at Intro

A Warning

The purpose of a commentary is to assist readers’ involvement with the text. Perhaps readers should therefore take warning before going further. Attentions to a text can turn into experience of its matter, and the judgments and promises of God as given through Ezekiel are so extreme that they can easily undo ordinary religiosity—to say nothing of the disastrous spiritual adventures that might be ignited by his visions.

—Robert Jenson (R.I.P.), Ezekiel, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, p. 30. This little mic drop occurs right at the end of the intro. I’m in, Mr. Jenson. Let’s do this.

Zephaniah Nuggets


I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens,those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.


Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.


This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, “I am, and there is no one else.” What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist.


She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God.


On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD.


On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Studies in Genre Series

The Studies in Genre series, overseen by the venerable classicist Louise Cowen, uses the four genres Aristotle proposes in his Poetics—tragedy, comedy, epic, and lyric—as more than mere stylistic or structural classification. Cowen et al formulate a comprehensive theory of literature from “the conviction that the poetic imagination always responds in its work of poesis—of making—to fundamental movements of the soul within distinctive landscapes of human experience.” Each of Aristotle’s four genres “represents an interior angle of vision and makes possible a critical orientation that situates the reader within a given text for the crucial act of interpretation.”

The series consists of four volumes, each corresponding to one of the four genres:

  • The Terrain of Comedy
  • The Epic Cosmos
  • The Tragic Abyss
  • The Prospect of Lyric

Each contains a collection of essays from different members of Cowen’s intellectual community, based originally in the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

I am looking forward to diving into each of these over the next year or so. The Epic Cosmos is first on my list, since the Mars Hill book list is predominantly punctuated by the major western epics.