The dominant reading of the book of Jonah—that the hapless prophet Jonah is a lesson in not trying to run away from God—oversimplifies a profoundly literary biblical text, argues Amy Erickson. Likewise, the more recent understanding of Jonah as satire is problematic in its own right, laden as it is with anti-Jewish undertones and the superimposition of a Christian worldview onto a Jewish text. How can we move away from these stale interpretations to recover the richness of meaning that belongs to this short but noteworthy book of the Bible?
This Illuminations commentary delves into Jonah’s reception history in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic contexts while also exploring its representations in visual arts, music, literature, and pop culture. After this thorough contextualization, Erickson provides a fresh translation and exegesis, paving the way for pastors and scholars to read and utilize the book of Jonah as the provocative, richly allusive, and theologically robust text that it is.