The Production, Purpose, and Ideology of Deuteronomy


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 account contained 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?

The role of the unidentified central place that will contain the name of the deity has been interpreted in different ways by scholars and by the two communities that accepted this book as authoritative, the Samarians and the Judeans. Was the book produced as a cooperative venture by scribes from both Persian provinces, or by Samarian or by Judean scribes? The research group will systematically explore who likely produced the book, when, where and why, in light of its ideology.

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, 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 in June, 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.

The first presentation of research will take place at the European Association of Biblical Studies Meeting in Berlin, 7-11 August, 2017 as part of the consultation, The Core of Deuteronomy.


Published Mar. 17, 2017 2:53 PM - Last modified Mar. 17, 2017 3:02 PM