Article excerpt

THE INTRODUCTION TO THIS COMMENTARY, intended for lay readers, surveys standard critical views of the Book of Deuteronomy. Mann explains, for example, in accessible terms the apparent reliance of Deuteronomy on the ancient Near Eastern suzerainty treaty form. He also traces the development of deuteronomic tradition from ninthcentury BCE Israelite origins, through the Judean reform eras of Hezekiah and Josiah, into the exilic and post-exilic periods. Key themes outlined in the introduction include social ethics, the affirmative value of "Law" (Torah) in Deuteronomy, and the theological tension between unconditional divine love for Israel and the demands for corporate covenantal responsibility. The commentary proper generally follows the canonical order of the text of Deuteronomy. Some sections of the book receive only brief notes rather than full discussion. The volume includes a short list of works cited, but no indexes or bibliographical suggestions for further study.

Mann gives an intently Christian reading of Deuteronomy, making connections with New Testament theology and occasionally taking note of the best liturgical seasons for reflection on particular sections of the book. …