Study Guide

The Twelve Minor Prophets Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

Dante, The Inferno

Canto 10’s journey to the circle of the heretics includes a shout-out to the apocalyptic valley of Jehoshaphat, the scene of the last judgment as described by the prophet Joel (3:2).

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Why do good people suffer while lowlifes get to live it up? Long before this became the official motto of the Chicago Cubs, Habakkuk 2:13 asked this same question, and this verse serves as the opening to chapter 31 of Beecher Stowe’s landmark anti-slavery novel.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Big surprise--a book about hunting a whale includes multiple references to the story of Jonah. Especially worth noting: the classic sermon in chapter 9 and the debate over its historicity in chapter 83.

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The world is full of whores, hypocrites, corrupt institutions and lying authority figures. Been there, done that, bored.

Pop Culture References

The Legion of Super-Heroes

In the DC Comics universe, the Legion is a team of young superheroes who fight interstellar crime in the 30th century and occasionally get lost in our own. Jo-Nah from the planet Rimbor gets swallowed by an outer-space energy beast and becomes Ultra Boy, who has all the powers of Superman but can only use them one at a time. Bummer.

Iron Man

The villainous Obadiah Stane gets his name from one of the Minor Prophets. The Obadiah part, not the Stane. Obadiah has a son named Ezekiel, because it’s only natural that an evil international arms dealer would be obsessed with the biblical prophets.

The Witch of Babylon

An engraving of the prophet Nahum looted from the Baghdad Museum provides the hook for this bestselling mystery, the first in a series. The prophet’s history, prophecies and tomb get a lot of attention in this book, so to the millions of Nahum fans out there, this one’s for you.

Famous Amos

No direct connection to the Minor Prophet Amos, but yum, cookies.

Absolut Jonah

Jonah and the Whale premium vodka, a prototype featured on the design website, The Dieline. Sure, the original Hebrew text literally says that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, but cartoon whales are lot cuter.


Forget what we just said about cartoon whales.

Ultimate Pop Culture Reference from the King of Pop

No, not Ronald Reagan, although he was also into the “swords into plowshares” references.

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