Book of Deuteronomy


Deuteronomy (dōōtərŏn´əmē), book of the Bible, literally meaning "second law," last of the five books (the Pentateuch or Torah) ascribed by tradition to Moses. Deuteronomy purports to be the final words of Moses to the people of Israel on the eve of their crossing the Jordan to take possession of Canaan. Moses rehearses the law received at Sinai 40 years previously, reapplying it to the new generation who accept its claim on them at a ceremony of ratification recorded in the Book of Joshua. The history of Israel found in Joshua and Second Kings is written from the Deuteronomic point of view, and is often called the "Deuteronomic history." Deuteronomy functions as the introduction to this historical work and provides the guiding principles on which Israel's historical traditions are assessed. The bulk of the book is the record of three speeches of Moses, and may be outlined as follows: first, the introductory discourse reviewing the history of Israel since the exodus from Egypt; second, an address of Moses to the people, beginning with general principles of morality and then continuing with particulars of legislation, including a repetition of the Ten Commandments, and a concluding exhortation in which Moses again appeals to the people to renew the covenant; third, a charter of narrative in which Moses nominates Joshua as his successor and delivers the book of the Law to the Levites; fourth, the Song of Moses; fifth, the blessing of Israel by Moses; and sixth, the death of Moses. The legislation is oriented toward life in the Promised Land, with the eventual foundation of a single lawful sanctuary.

See A. D. H. Mayes, Deuteronomy (1979); M. Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (1981); P. D. Miller, Deuteronomy (1990). See also bibliography under Old Testament.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Book of Deuteronomy: Selected full-text books and articles

Unfolding the Deuteronomistic History: Origins, Upgrades, Present Text
Antony F. Campbell; Mark A. O’Brien.
Fortress Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The Book of Deuteronomy" begins on p. 39
Studies in Deuteronomy
Gerhard von Rad; David Stalker.
SCM Press, 1953
Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation
Bernard M. Levinson.
Oxford University Press, 1997
The Creation of History in Ancient Israel
Marc Zvi Brettler.
Routledge, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Deuteronomy as Interpretation"
King Josiah of Judah: The Lost Messiah of Israel
Marvin A. Sweeney.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The Deuteronomistic History" begins on p. 21
The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius Wellhausen
Ernest W. Nicholson.
Oxford University, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "New Proposals Concerning the First Tetrateuch and Its Sources"
Order and History: Israel and Revelation
Maurice P. Hogan; Eric Voegelin.
University of Missouri Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Deuteronomy and the Beginnings of Judaism" begins on p. 423
The Old Testament: Its Formation and Development
Artur Weiser.
Association Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Deuteronomy" begins on p. 125
Song of the Vineyard: A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament
B. Davie Napier.
Harper & Brothers, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Packaged Prophetism: Deuteronomy" begins on p. 230
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