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BOOK REVIEWS

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few prophetic oracles at a time. Another point worth noting is that The Books of the Bible does not follow the traditional canonical order but arranges them according to their assumed chronological sequence. This is reflected in this guide to the pre-exilic Minor Prophets, which follows the order indicated by its subtitle. It is just about possible to use this guide in conjunction with a traditional version of the NIV, but this is not advisable for two reasons: (a) readers will not be able to follow up the frequent references to the introductions to the individual prophetic books found in The Books of the Bible, and (b) in that version the books’ “natural sections” are apparently marked off by white space. As there are no references to any chapter or verse numbers anywhere, readers of this guide are told to find passages with the help of their introductory words, such as “Sound the trumpet in Gibeah” or “Ephraim is oppressed, trampled in judgment.” As the aim is to read the books in their entirety, this is not too much of a problem, but I imagine that the reading experience is facilitated by the presence of the white space included in The Books of the Bible but missing from other versions. Smith’s guide features some introductory instructions on how it is best used, including the encouragement to share deeply and agree on some ground rules, such as confidentiality and respect. It is designed for the Bible to be studied in community, and it encourages creativity by inviting people to share responses to the biblical texts in the form of “poetry, journal or blog entries, artwork, dramas, videos, and so on, and especially the creative retellings that are invited in some sessions” (p. 7). There are twenty-one sessions in this guide, five on Amos, six on Hosea, four on Micah, and two each on Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk. The first session on each book invites readers to read through the entire book in one sitting before engaging with some general discussion questions related to the book as a whole. Follow-up sessions are then designed to take readers through the book again, this time section by section, enabling deeper engagement with the particular issues raised by the prophets’ words. Each section includes observations, either on the prophetic books as a whole or on their individual parts. These observations provide something like a running commentary that is designed to offer some general guidance to and explanation of the main issues addressed in or raised by the text. In my judgment, this is a very worthwhile project, and it deserves to be widely-known, supported, and adopted. To encourage Christian communities to engage with the biblical books as communities and to look at them as books that are to be read and studied in their entirety is laudable. While I did not have access to The Books of the

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