The Production, Purpose, and Ideology of Deuteronomy
The central set of questions this group will systematically investigate over the next three years is who likely produced the book of Deuteronomy, when, where and why, in light of its ideology? These issues remain debated or under-explored in biblical scholarship. A fresh re-examination of each by an international team of scholars with different strengths and theoretical and methodological approaches should yield interesting and perhaps novel suggestions.
By Daderot, via Wikimedia Commons
The book of Deuteronomy contains a second account of the events surrounding the giving of divine Torah (teaching) that varies in its details from the one in Exodus. Why were both books preserved and arranged as bookends to the current biography of Moses found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy? Why is the book presented as a formal treaty contracted between God and the people of Israel, with the only role given to the king being torah-study and the severe limiting of the influence of practicing prophets within society? Is the society envisioned in the book utopian, or are the treaty-stipulations meant to serve as the basis for a functioning society, and if so, in what time period? Was the book produced as a cooperative venture by scribes from the Persian provinces of Yehud and Samaria or by one group only and if so, which one?
About the group
The founding members share an interest in furthering understanding of key issues concerning the production, purpose, and ideology of Deuteronomy. Their research will be interdisciplinary, drawing on Hebrew Bible Studies, sociology, history of religions, the history of the ancient Southern Levant, Southern Levantine archaeology, economics, and utopian studies. Researchers currently writing a PhD or who hold a PhD are invited to become contributing members ; MA students are invited to attend presentation sessions and group meetings.
The group intends to produce two volumes and submit them for publication in the period from April, 2017-June 2020. One will be a co-authored volume by the core group members and one a co-edited volume based on revised, peer-reviewed papers presented as part of the programme of the consultation, The Core of Deuteronomy, to be held at the annual meetings of the European Association of Biblical Studies in the summers of 2017 and 2018.
The first joint meeting of the group will take place in Oslo 28 and 29 May, 2017, pending reception of financing. This will be a strategic planning meeting as well as the occasion where brainstorming about the jointly authored book will take place and writing responsibilities assigned. A second meeting is planned for the afternoon immediately after the EABS meeting in Berlin, 11 August, 2017 to discuss the edited volume.
Through its members, the research group hosted by the Faculty of Theology is linked with a number of professional organizations. These include the European Association of Biblical Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature (USA), The Society for Old Testament Study (UK), Norsk gammeltestamentlig selskap (Norwegian Old Testament Society), and the Palestine Exploration Fund (UK).