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Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Literature: Festschrift C.H.W. Brekelmans.

In earlier scholarship the authors and editors who gave the book of Deuteronomy its final form were believed also to have edited to a greater or lesser extent other texts and books in the Old Testament, including the Tetrateuch and Former Prophets. Thus `D' as one of the sources of the Pentateuch was believed to continue into the book of Joshua, and the hand of `D' editors could also be discerned in the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Though the books Genesis-Numbers were largely the result of the combination of the sources J, E and P, here too a number of texts were ascribed to a Deuteronomic editor. With the publication in 1943 of Martin Noth's famous study of the corpus Deuteronomy-2 Kings, the concept of a Deuteronomistic History' was coined, that is, the notion that it is to an author imbued with a Deuteronomic outlook and theology that we owe the composition of this corpus. That is, before this Deuteronomic author there were no books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings but only disparate individual narratives or narrative complexes which he collected and reworked. On the other hand, Noth also argued that the texts and insertions in the Pentateuch which earlier scholars assigned to a `D' editor are to be judged only as insertions in the style of Deuteronomy. That is, he did not ascribe a systematic redaction of the Tetrateuch to a Deuteronomic author or redactor such as composed the Deuteronomistic History. Research since that time has continued to debate and refine Noth's thesis and analysis of the so-called Deuteronomistic History. More recently, however, there has been a new surge of research into the extent and significance of the contribution of Deuteronomic authors and editors to the final form of the Tetrateuch, and some scholars now argue for a much greater involvement in the composition of this corpus by Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic authors than had been considered possible by earlier commentators such as Noth.

Professor Chris Brekelmans, who was Professor of Old Testament at the Catholic University of Leuven from 1969 to 1987, has contributed significantly to this new period of research into the `Deuteronomic' sounding passages in the Tetrateuch in a series of cautious and stimulating articles from the early 1960s onwards, in which he has attempted to distinguish between early or proto-Deuteronomic and later Deuteronomic work on the Tetrateuch. This Festschrift in his honour is therefore aptly devoted to major aspects of research in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic literature of the Old Testament. The volume comprises four sections, the first containing six essays on problems and aspects of the book of Deuteronomy, the second containing seven essays on problems in the Deuteronomistic History, the third and largest section containing contributions under the title `Deuteronomic Traditions and the Pentateuch', and finally a `Miscellanea' of five essays on a number of issues, each of which offers directly or indirectly a contribution to the study of the Deuteronomic literature and its relationship to other texts in the Old Testament. The twenty-eight contributors to the volume are all scholars of international standing who themselves have contributed significantly to the study of Deuteronomy and other Old Testament texts related to it, making the volume as a whole an invaluable contribution to this important field of research, and a fitting tribute to the distinguished career of Professor Brekelmans to whom modern Old Testament scholarship owes a lasting debt of gratitude.
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Author:Nicholson, E.W.
Publication:The Journal of Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1998
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