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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The idea of the Deuteronomistic History was invented by Martin Noth during the Second World War in order to explain the presence and the aim of deuteronomistic texts in the books of Deuteronomy to Kings. He came to the conclusion that the Deuteronomist (who was at the same time author and redactor) wrote his history shortly after 586 bce in order to explain the reasons for the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Exile. In North America, Cross transformed Noth’s theory by pointing out that many deuteronomistic texts should be understood as reflecting the reign of King Josiah. The first edition of the Deuteronomistic History became in the view of Cross and his numerous followers a propaganda work for the reign of Josiah. In Europe, Rudolf Smend and his students set up a theory of three exilic and postexilic layers of the Deuteronomistic History, whereas in the last decades many other scholars reject the theory of a Deuteronomistic History. This article will try to show that the best approach to Noth’s theory is to combine the models of Cross and Smend. Instead of a Deuteronomistic History, one should better speak of a “Deuteronomistic library” which was compiled in three stages in the seventh century bce, during the Babylonian exile, and in the first decades of the Persian period.

Keywords: Deuteronomistic, Martin Noth, Deuteronomy, Kings, exile, Josiah

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