Deuteronomy and the Death of Moses: A Theological Reading

By Hostetter, Edwin C. | Interpretation, July 1996 | Go to article overview
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Deuteronomy and the Death of Moses: A Theological Reading


Hostetter, Edwin C., Interpretation


THE AUTHOR HAS ATTEMPTED a theological reading of Deuteronomy which would "take seriously the full structure and movement of the book as a whole from beginning to end" (p. 1). Commendably, he has also welcomed insights from both literary and historical criticism. As implied by the title of the volume, the author discerns in the motif of Moses' death, which recurs throughout Deuteronomy, rich theological implications. Olson believes the death of Moses outside the Promised Land to be, on the one hand, a metaphor for the reality of human finitude and, on the other hand, a paradigm for the vocation of sacrificial giving. In the monograph, each chapter ends by summarizing the way in which the biblical passages it treats reflect the theme of Moses' death.

Olson regards the form of Deuteronomy as catechesis. He sees that it provides a model for passing faith's essentials onward from an older to a younger generation. Additionally, the writers of Deuteronomy consciously addressed the move from oral tradition to written text and the process of interpreting that text among future generations.

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