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date: 11 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The narrative of Deuteronomy contains Moses’s farewell speech, which in turn encompasses retrospective and prospective history, legal instruction, and covenant ritual. Past, present, and future thus merge within a larger narrative frame that unobtrusively records and performs acts of memory that give the book coherence. This chapter surveys scholarship on the narrative of Deuteronomy and proposes the category of memory as a way to integrate the book’s elements. Historical criticism, literary scholarship, sociopolitical approaches, and reception history all agree that Deuteronomy has a complex narrative structure with a fairly straightforward message. The questions that remain are whether and how such a complex text can yield such a clear purpose. A historically contextualized reading of Deuteronomy, attentive to repetitions, injunctions to remember, and the framing statement “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today” (4:26; 30:19), shows how acts of memory lend coherence to the book’s complex narrative.

Keywords: Textual Memorial, Deuteronomistic History, Deuteronomic Code, Deuteronomic narrative, memory, narrative

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