Barker, John Robert. “Disputed Temple”. PhD, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:106870.
The book of Haggai emerged from a dispute in the early Persian period over the propriety and feasibility of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem in 520 BCE. As a record of that dispute, the book is a rhetorical artifact that displays a variety of strategies designed to persuade the Yehudite community that Yhwh wanted his house rebuilt. Theological and socioeconomic objections and obstacles to reconstruction had to be overcome before the Yehudites would accept Haggai’s call to rebuild. This dissertation argues that although some of the Yehudite community accepted Haggai’s claim that Yhwh wanted his temple built, others remained unpersuaded, fearing that the adverse agricultural and economic conditions, as well as the lack of a royal builder, were signs that Yhwh was not ready to begin the period of restoration. The oracles and narrative portions of the book are intended to counter these fears by arguing that Yhwh will provide for the adornment of the temple, bring prosperity to Yehud once the temple is built, and has already designated the Davidide Zerubbabel as the chosen royal builder. Haggai further strengthened commitment to reconstruction by vilifying those Yehudites who failed to support the temple as unclean and non-Israelite. Rhetorical analysis illumines not only particular features of the text but also indicates what theological and socioeconomic sources of opposition to temple reconstruction were most important in this period. This sheds further light on the socioeconomic conditions of early Persian period Yehud.