AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Locust Imagery and the Problem of Genre in the Book of Joel

by Kevin M. Scott

Institution: Wake Forest University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Apocalyptic
Record ID: 2024542
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10339/39315


This thesis explores the locust imagery in the book of Joel to suggest a more helpful way to classify the text. Scholars classify Joel as either prophetic, proto-apocalyptic, or apocalyptic literature based on different approaches to the text. This thesis will argue that Joel should be seen as part of the body of prophetic literature based on the usage of locust imagery within the text. The thesis begins by reviewing past scholarship focused on questions of the book's date and unity and argues that Joel is an essentially unified text. The thesis also examines the characteristics of – and problems associated with – the terms prophetic, apocalyptic, and proto-apocalyptic literature. These terms will be shown to be representative of collections of literature with similar eschatological views instead of meaningful designations of genre. The thesis then examines the terms for locust found within Joel, along with the usage of locust imagery in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East. Finally, the thesis argues that the author of Joel utilizes locust imagery to describe a literal locust plague, which best fits with a prophetic eschatological outlook on the world. This demonstrates that Joel should be classified as prophetic literature, not proto-apocalyptic or apocalyptic literature.