Friday, April 25, 2014

Bookshelf: Deuteronomy

We've talked in class about the theory that Deuteronomy is a document created late in the Monarchy by assembling earlier sources and writing new material in the (fictitious) name of Moses, in order to define and propagandize a revolutionary movement that centralized religious authority and changed the nature of official Israelite religion, writing over the stories of the patriarchs and claiming that the things they did (building their own altars, performing their own sacrifices, worshipping at high places and sacred trees, entering into sacred places, and above all, seeing God) were pagan Canaanite acts.

This theory (in multiple variants) is at the bedrock bottom of modern biblical criticism.  That doesn't mean it's right, but it's also consistent with Nephi's horrible account of the rewriting of the Israelite record (the revisionists remove plain and precious things from the record; the tree that is the city Jerusalem and also the Virgin mother is the most precious thing), so we should take it seriously.

To date, this understanding has had approximately zero impact on Mormon Sunday Schools.  If you want to explore it, your on your own; so here are some books to start with:

Again, there are many more books on this key topic.  These are just the ones I own.  A good introduction to the Old Testament (by "good" I really mean not tied to any church, but especially not Evangelical) will also give you some background.

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