The So-Called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction

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9780567032126: The So-Called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction

In contrast to the Torah/Pentateuch, the Deuteronomistic History is not recognised by Jewish or Christian tradition as a separate collection and the term itself is an invention of modern biblical scholarship. In this detailed investigation of the Deuteronomistic History, Thomas Romer provides students and scholars of the Old Testament with a complete guide to this important subject. Romer briefly outlines the content of biblical books relevant to the study of Deuteronomistic History - Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Samuel-Kings. He then defines the concept of Deuteronomistic History, surveying the evolution and history of the debate with particular emphasis on the work of Martin Noth. Romer then provides a sociological, historical and literary approach to the books from Deuteronomy to Kings. He examines questions such as: Why and how did Deuteronomism rise as a 'school' under Assyrian hegemony? What role did propaganda play in the composition of these books? What happened on an ideological and sociological level during the Exile and Persian period? Is the so-called Deuteronomistic literature properly understood as crisis literature? And what influence did the Deuteronomistic History have on the identity of the Second Temple period.

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About the Author:

Thomas Romer is Professor of Old Testament in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


"For some time now there has been a need for an up-to-date, comprehensive treatment of the Deuteronomistic History...[t]his introduction fulfills all of those expectations very well....It remains a very thoughtful and well-informed study that may serve as a good starting point for further discussion ...I warmly recommend it to students and scholars as an introduction to this field of study."- John Van Seters, RBL, 09/2006 (John Van Seters Rbl)

"Our Lausanne colleague has proved his expertise in matters Deuteronomistic in many essays and several edited volumes. This larger synthesis of the development of 'Deuteronomistic' thought from the Assyrian through the neo-Babylonian to the Persian period is less radical than some of the contemporary approaches he also surveys. But it is all the more welcome, since I know of no comparable volume in English." - Graeme Auld

"This is a tour de force by a leading scholar of international renown who is thoroughly conversant with both European and American biblical scholarship. The book is erudite and eminently readable. Romer's analysis of the Deuteronomistic History is well informed by its ancient Near Eastern background and literary parallels. Whether one is ultimately persuaded by his overall reconstruction or not, this volume has plenty of provocative new ideas and proposals." - Steven L. McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Rhodes College, Memphis, USA

"Thomas Roemer is one of the best-known and well-respected scholars working on Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History. In this book, readers will find not only an informative discussion about recent European and North American scholarship on the Deuteronomistic History, but also a creative proposal for a three-stage development of this literary work extending from Neo-Assyrian times to the Persian period." - Professor Gary N. Knoppers, Head, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Penn State University, USA

"This is a fresh approach to a problem hotly impressive new synthesis; it also contains an abundance of fresh ideas for the exegesis of numerous chapters and verses and deserves the attention of everyone doing research on Deuteronomy, Kings, or anything in between...whether one believes in the Deuteronomistic History or not, this is the best book one can read about it." - Ernst Axel Knauf, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, Review of Biblical Literature

"Recommended as the most sophisticated literary theory on the Deuteronomist(s) currently available." - International Review of Biblical Studies, 2007.

"Well-conceived and scoped and clearly presented ... Römer's vast erudition and his long engagement with the material enables him to select and present with clarity." - Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

"The book as a whole is a thoughtful and thorough study which, in the words of Graeme Auld (in a blurb on the back cover) 'is all the more welcome, since I know of no comparable volume in English.'" - Ralph Doermann, Trinity Seminary Review, Summer/Fall 2008 (Trinity Seminary Review)

"Anyone interested in the Deuteronomistic History will be grateful that this book (originally published in 2005) is now available in a much less expensive paperback edition. Romer provides the reader with a survey of scholarship on the Deuteronomistic History from before Martin Noth to the present and then explores a compromise between the two major theories of the composition of the Deuteronomistic History...Romer manifests a strange combination of skepticism and confidence about our ability to discern the composition of the Deuteronomistic History. Unlike more detailed works, he does not try to separate a single verse into a half-dozen different sources and redactional layers because ancient Near Eastern evidence suggests that ancient scribal practices were not as mechanical as source critics have sometimes imagined. Rather, the scribes adopted a free attitude to earlier texts. Therefore, "we cannot reconstruct exactly the older texts that have been re-edited in later times, even if some biblical scholars still think they can" (p.48). Romer's cautious skepticism here is a welcome relief." —David A. Bosworth, Hebrew Studies, November 2008

"...a lucid and reader-friendly overview of biblical scholarship and a fine contribution to it; as such, it will be of considerable interest to both lay and professional audiences."Religious Studies Review, September 2009

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