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Books of Nevi'im
First Prophets
1. Book of Joshua
2. Book of Judges
3. Books of Samuel
4. Books of Kings
Later Prophets
5. Book of Isaiah
6. Book of Jeremiah
7. Book of Ezekiel
8. Minor prophets

A minor prophet is one of the writings in the Twelve Prophets section of the Hebrew Bible, also known to Christians as the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Twelve individuals had their names attributed to a section of the Hebrew Bible which has become known by the Aramaic term as the Trei Asar ("Twelve") in traditional Jewish editions and "Books of the Minor Prophets" or the "Minor Prophets" in Christian editions.

Jewish and Christian Scripture

In the Hebrew Bible the writings of the minor prophets are counted as a single book, in Christian Bibles as twelve individual books. The "Twelve" are listed below in order of their appearance in Hebrew and most Protestant and Catholic Christian bibles:

The Septuagint of the Eastern churches has the order: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, the rest as above. It also puts the "Minor Prophets" before, instead of after, the "Major prophets".

The first extra-biblical evidence we have for the Twelve is the writings of Jesus ben Sirach (190 BC) where they are venerated as praiseworthy. (Sir. 49:12). Josephus[1] speaks of the Twelve as part of the scriptural canon, and they were regarded as such in the Dead Sea Scrolls. By the Council of Jamnia in AD 90 the Twelve were not in dispute as canonical for Jews. The Twelve are cited and alluded to in the New Testament and were accepted as canonical by the early church. Marcion deleted them, along with the entire Old Testament, from his heretical canon.[2]

Recent biblical scholarship has focused on reading the "Book of the Twelve" as a unity.[3]

The term "minor" refers to the length of the books, not their importance. See Major Prophets for the longer books of prophecies in the Bible and the Tanakh.

Christian commemoration

The twelve minor prophets are collectively commemorated in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the twelve minor prophets are read in the Breviary during the fourth and fifth weeks of November, which are the last two weeks of the liturgical year.

See also


  1. Contra Apionem, i.8
  2. Leslie C. Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976) pp. 31-34
  3. See, for example, Nogalski, James D. and Sweeney, Marvin A. (eds), Reading and Hearing the Book of the Twelve. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000. ISBN 978-0884140214.

Recent Works on the Minor Prophets

  • Achtemeier, Elizabeth R. & Murphy, Frederick J. The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VII: Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature, Daniel, The Twelve Prophets. (Abingdon, 1996)
  • Cathcart, Kevin J. & Gordon, Robert P. The Targum of the Minor Prophets. The Aramaic Bible 14. (Liturgical Press, 1989)
  • Chisholm, Robert B. Interpreting the Minor Prophets. (Zondervan, 1990)
  • Feinberg, Charles L. The Minor Prophets. (Moody, 1990)
  • Ferreiro, Alberto (ed). The Twelve Prophets. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. (Inter-Varsity Press, 2003)
  • Hill, Robert C. (tr). Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Prophets Vol 3: Commentary on the Twelve Prophets. (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007)
  • Hill, Robert C. (tr). Theodore of Mopsuestia: Commentary on the Twelve Prophets. The Fathers of the Church. (Catholic University of America, 2004)
  • House, Paul R. The Unity of the Twelve. JSOT Supplement Series, 97. (Almond Press, 1990)
  • Jones, Barry Alan. The Formation of the Book of the Twelve: a Study in Text and Canon. SBL Dissertation Series 149. (Society of Biblical Literature, 1995)
  • Keil, Carl Friedrich. Keil on the Twelve Minor Prophets (1878) (Kessinger, 2008)
  • Longman, Tremper & Garland, David E. (eds). Daniel–Malachi. The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Revised Edition) 8. (Zondervan, 2009)
  • McComiskey, Thomas Edward (ed). The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary. (Baker, 2009)
  • Navarre Bible, The: Minor Prophets. (Scepter & Four Courts, 2005)
  • Nogalski, James. Literary Precursors to the Book of the Twelve. Beihefte Zur Zeitschrift Fur Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (Walter de Gruyter, 1993)
  • Nogalski, James D. & Sweeney, Marvin A. (eds). Reading and Hearing the Book of the Twelve. Symposium Series. (Society of Biblical Literature, 2000)
  • Phillips, John. Exploring the Minor Prophets. The John Phillips Commentary Series. (Kregel, 2002)
  • Redditt, Paul L. & Schart, Aaron. Thematic Threads in the Book of the Twelve. Beihefte Zur Zeitschrift Fur Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. (Walter de Gruyter, 2003)
  • Roberts, Matis (ed). Trei asar : The Twelve Prophets : a New Translation with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources. (Mesorah, 1995- )
  • Rosenberg, A.J. (ed). The Twelve Prophets: Hebrew Text and English Translation. Soncino Books of the Bible. (Soncino, 2004)
  • Schart, Aaron. Die Entstehung des Zwölfprophetenbuchs. Neubearbeitungen von Amos im Rahmen schriftenübergreifender Redaktionsprozesse. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 260. (Walter de Gruyter, 1998)
  • Slavitt, David R. (tr). The Book of the Twelve Prophets. (Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • Smith, James E. The Minor Prophets. Old Testament Survey. (College Press, 1994)
  • Stevenson, John. Preaching From The Minor Prophets To A Postmodern Congregation. (Redeemer, 2008)
  • Walton, John H. (ed). The Minor Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. (Zondervan, 2009)

External links

Preceded by
Hebrew Bible Followed by
Preceded by
Christian Old Testament End of Old Testament
New Testament begins with

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