In this outline, I focus on important figures and themes in DH studies. There are, of course, 


 many more scholars working in this field, but these individuals give a good indication of how DH has developed since Noth’s Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien (hereafter ÜGS). This is a long outline, probably more than you could write in an hour, but you can pick and choose what you think is most relevant. 

There are also a couple of categorical terms which I should clarify beforehand:

Block Model (Harvard/Cross school): an originally coherent whole was supplemented primarily by supplementing larger unites of material into and at the end of it; tends to come from a broader focus and can allow for multiple ideologies in one author

Layer Model (Göttingen/Smend school): DH was supplemented by additions made here and there throughout the entire work from a variety of perspectives; tends to come from a narrow focus on the layering of ideologies in specific passages

The Development of DH since NothEdit

·         Alfred Jepsen

o   Jepson’s 1953 book (Die Quellen des Königsbuches) was actually finished before Noth’s ÜGS, but publication was delayed due to WWII

§  Jepsen saw two sources in Kings:

·         synchronic chronicle from 8th century contrasting the Davidic dynasty in the south with the varies dynasties in the north

·         supplemental annalistic work from Judah (7th century)

§  These sources were edited in the exile by a priest and later a prophet.

o   Independent conclusions support some of Noth’s model, but with some differences

§  Jepsen stated that his prophetic redaction was basically the same as Noth’s Dtr.

§  Jepsen saw Dtr as more of an editor than did Noth.

o   Weippert called Jepsen’s thesis (of DH’s use of sources) a Schichtenmodell (Strata Model), while Noth’s was a Blockmodell (block model)

·         Gerhard von Rad

o   Called into question Noth’s argument that DH was wholly negative.

§  Saw a schema of prophecy and fulfillment in Kings.

·         According to this schema, the destruction of Israel and Judah were the fulfillment of prophetic threats

o   In this sense, he agreed with Noth’s negative purpose for DH.

·         However, von Rad saw another theme which Noth missed: the promise to David in 2 Sam 7.

o   The release of Jehoiachin at the end of Kings as a solution to the problem between these two themes: the continuation of the Davidic line left history open for Yahweh to start over with the Israelites.

o   von Rad also had trouble reconciling the cyclical structure of Judges with the linear structure of Kings in a single unified work.

o   Hans Walter Wolff also thought that Noth’s argument for a negative DH was flawed. (1961, “Das Kerygma des deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk”)

§  Wolff, unlike von Rad, accepted Noth’s hypotheses that Dh was an exilic composition by essentially one author.

§  However, he questions why the author would bother to write the history if there was no other reason than to record the fulfillment of the downfall of Israel and Judah?

§  Throughout DH, Wolff finds key texts which reflect Israel’s return and Yahweh’s mercy.

·         For Wolff, the fall of Israel and Judah was just another in the cycle of historical reversals which began during the time of the judges.

·         DH as a whole indicates a hope for reversal, and there is no reason not to expect it this time as well.

·         The kerygma (teaching, good news) of DH is this continuous cycle and that if the Israelites repent, they could have a reversal of fortune.

o   According to DH, the return should be: an unqualified turning to God in prayer (Judg 2:16; 3:9; 1 Sam 12:19; 1 Kgs 8:47); return includes listening to the voice of God, according to the instruction of Moses, and to listen to the prophets (2 Kgs 17:13; 23:25); and removal of foreign gods (1 Sam 7:3, 2 Kgs 23:24).

o   But the return is not cultic in nature; it doesn’t seem interested in specific Yahwistic rituals.

  • ·         Frank Moore Cross (“The Themes of the Book of Kings and the Structure of the Deuteronomic History,” 1973; first published in 1968 as “The Structure of the Deuteronomic History”)

o   One of the current major “schools” in DH studies; sometimes referred to as the “Harvard school”

Cross 1 left

§  Two redaction theory (actually first suggested by Abraham Kuenen in the 19th century)

§  popular especially in the US

§  another example of a Blockmodell for DH

§  looks at large-scale trends in the entire DH

o   Based on his analysis of Kings, Cross argued for a pre-exilic redaction of DH during the time of Josiah (Dtr1).

§  Though he dated this redaction much earlier, Cross agreed with Noth in the basic unity of DH.

§  However, he disagreed with Noth in arguing for a later systematic, though light, redaction (Dtr2).

o   Cross traced two themes through Kings: the sin of Jeroboam, which climaxed in the fall of Israel, and the faithfulness of David and the promise to David, which climaxed in Josiah’s reforms.

§  Thus, Dtr1 wrote during the reign of Josiah in order to support Josiah’s reforms, presenting him as a new David.

o   Dtr2 updated the history in the exile, and lightly edited the previous edition, blaming Judah’s destruction on Manasseh.

o   Cross’s study was short and only dealt with Kings, but others in his “school” have further developed his theories.

§  Richard D. Nelson (The Double Redaction of the Deuteronomistic History, 1981): assumes Cross’s model; looks throughout DH for evidence to support it

·         Four arguments are helpful to defend this thesis: the structure (changes drastically at the end of Kings), literary criticism, dynastic promise (pro-David attitude more appropriate to a pre-exilic setting), and theological movement (sin of Jeroboam, promise to David).

·         Concludes that the DH was a nationalistic defense of the Davidic dynasty and the policies of Josiah.

·         This first Dtr writer (Nelson doesn’t use Cross’s sigla) was optimistic for repentance consistently leads to salvation throughout Israelite history, and the Davidic covenant was secure.

·         The exilic editor edited DH to show that Yahweh’s punishment of the people was just by portraying their disobedience. Salvation will come not through the Davidic dynasty, but through acceptance of Yahweh’s punishment and in repentance.

§  Richard Elliott Friedman (The Exile and Biblical Narrative: The Formation of the Deuteronomistic and Priestly Works, 1981)

·         Note that though Friedman and Nelson were writing at the same time, they don’t seem to be aware of the work the other is doing.

·         Again, Friedman follows Cross’s two-redaction hypothesis, elaborating on the characteristics of each redaction.

·         Argues that the themes of the first redaction point to an edition going up to Josiah. Josiah is central focus, up to whom the entire DH builds.

·         Friedman expands on the passages attributed to Dtr2, which Cross saw as very few.

  • ·         Rudolf Smend (“Das Gesetz und die Völker: Ein Beitrag zur deuteronomistischen Redaktionsgeschichte,“ 1971)

o   One of the current major “schools” in DH studies; often referred to as the “Göttingen school”

§  Three redaction theory (all exilic)

§  Popular in Europe, especially Germany

§  example of the Schichtenmodell for DH

§  looks at the sentence level

§  significant work on this model came from Walter Dietrich and Timo Veijola

o   Smend agrees with Noth that the main edition of DH was written in the exile, but differs in seeing systematic redactions (two).

§  The basic history was compiled by a historian (DtrG or DtrH) early in the exile.

§  Contra Noth, Veijola argues that DtrH wasn’t anti-monarchical.

§  Smend and his followers simply accept the exilic date for DtrH. They don’t explore in detail the content of DtrH like they do the other redactional layers.

o   This history was later edited by a prophetic redactor (DtrP).

§  This redaction especially should be attributed to Dietrich (Prophetie und Geschichte, 1972).

§  According to Dietrich, this editor not only added some prophetic-like comments, but a significant number of traditional prophetic narratives.

§  Veijola argues that the anti-monarchic strain comes from this redaction.

o   The third and final editor was a nomistic redactor (DtrN).

§  This editor is the most nebulous in this theory.

  • ·         Norbert Lohfink (“Kerygmata des Deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerks,” 1981): In a way, tried to accommodate aspects of both Cross and Smend schools.

o   Like Cross, thinks there is earlier deuteronomistic literature beneath the exilic version proposed by Noth. However, he contends that the primary edition was exilic and that it them underwent two editorial redactional stages (Smend school).

§  Instrumental for scholars using the block model, looking at the gradual joining together of originally discrete compositions (Deut-Josh; Sam-Kings).

§  One of these later redactions was DtrN, came of DtrN of Smend/Dietrich

o   Sees two Josianic documents beneath this primary DH edition (DtrG, Noth’s Dtr)

§  A Dtr account of the conquest (Landeroberungserzählung; DtrL) which went from Deut 1 to Josh 21-22.

§  Cross first edition of Kings (but not the entire DH)

o   As Lohfink argued, it is possible to accept pre-exilic Dtr literary activity without accepting a pre-exilic DH, and so any extrapolation from Kings to the rest of DH needs to be argued, not assumed.

  • ·         Neo-Nothians: Some scholars have come full circle to Noth’s original thesis, arguing for one main edition of DH.

o   Steven McKenzie (The Trouble with Kings, 1991): Argues that Noth’s thesis model is still the most useful, though it needs to perhaps be revised in light of more recent work on the DH.

§  Noth’s real brilliance was in recognizing DH as fundamentally the creation of a single writer 

who acted as both author and editor.

·         The line between Dtr’s sources and Dtr’s own composition is often artificial and hard to defend, and there is no evidence of a coherent history underneath Dtr’s DH. The order and content of DH are Dtr’s.

§  Acknowledges that substantial pieces were added later to DH, but these various additions do not all come from the same hand.

·         Agrees with Noth that the various redactors of the DH are too disparate to be explained by redactional theories.

o   It isn’t surprising that a work the length of DH received numerous additions during its centuries of transmission.

§  Disagrees with Noth on dating: places it during the reign of Josiah.

o   John Van Seters (In Search of History, 1983): DH was written by a single historian who used older sources, though he used them freely.

§  Argues that even Noth didn’t go far enough in recovering this first historian, attributing too much to his sources.

§  This historians purpose, contra Noth, is to recount his nation’s history.

·         For Van Seters, Dtr’s purpose is to give the people a sense of their identity through their past.

§  There are later additions, but not systematically done, and when they are removed, the “original” DH is remarkably uniform in style and outlook.

o   Hans-Detlef Hoffman (Reform und Reformen, 1980): DH was written by a single exilic or post-exilic author (per Noth).

§  While Hoffman agrees with Noth that this author used earlier sources, he argues that we can’t separate this material out due to the creativity of the author.

§  For Hoffman, the theme of DH was cultic reform, with Josiah as the focus.

§  Also like Noth, Hoffman argues that there weren’t any systematic redactions of DH.

  • ·         Thomas Römer (The So-called Deuteronomistic History, 2007)

o   The 7th century BCE (time of Josiah) is the starting place for Deuteronomistic literary production.

§  However, a history extending from Deuteronomy – Kings probably wasn’t conceived before 

the exilic period by former royal scribes attempting to deal with the theological crisis of the exile.

o   The “Deuteronomists” should be indentified with the high officials of Jerusalem, probably among the scribes.

§  Scribal practices in antiquity always included transformation, so we can’t identify their sources.

§  Per Noth, these scribes were both authors and editors.

o   Three redactions:

§  First during the time of Josiah

·         literary propaganda to support and encourage the nationalistic and expansionist politics of the ‘Zionist party’ in Jerusalem during the time of Josiah

·         not unified, but a collection of different documents

§  Second after 587 BCE to explain the fall of Judah

·         Exiled scribed who created the “myth of the empty land” and the idea that Yahweh went with them into exile.

§  Third during the Persian period

·         The exile became an ideological criteria to define those who belonged to the “true Israel.”

·         clear monotheistic ideology

o   According to Römer, around 400 BCE, DH ceased to exist as an entity and gave way to the Torah, which was a compromise between the Priestly and Deuteronomistic schools, as seen in Ezra.

  • ·         Judgment Formulae in Kings: Some scholars have examined in detail the judgment formulae in Kings as a way to determine the different redactional layers in DH as a whole. Scholars argue that they can use these formulae to discuss the Dtr redactor(s) because they are Dtr compositions rather than from Dtr’s sources.

o   Helga Weippert (“Die ‘deuteronomistischen’ Beurteilungen der Könige von Israel und Juda und das Problem der redaction der Königsbücher,” 1972): three editions

§  RI: northern, but worked in Judah during Hezekiah’s reign

·         pre-dtr

·         Jehoshaphat – Ahaz (Judah) and Jehoram – Hoshea (Israel)

§  RII: incorporated RI and carried it through to Josiah’s reign

·         written during Josiah’s reign, can be considered dtr

·         created a frame around RI

·         Rehoboam – Asa (Judah) and Jeroboam – Ahaziah (Israel)

§  RIII: finished DH in the exile

·         last four kings of Judah

o   Iain Provan (Hezekiah and the Books of Kings, 1988): looks at two themes common in these formulae, the bamot theme and the David theme

§  two different themes regarding the bamot in the judgment formulae

·         The primary theme can be found in 1 Kgs 3-2 Kgs 18. In this theme, the bamot are Yahwistic shrines. The concern of this primary author was the centralization of worship. This theme finds its climax in the good king Hezekiah who removed the bamot and centralized Yahweh worship in Jerusalem (2 Kgs 18-19).

·         A later view of the bamot is found both in redactional additions to 1 Kgs 3-2 Kgs 18 and at the end of Kings. These additions are possibly from one exilic hand, which views the bamot as idolatrous places of worship. This is a sub-theme in material before 2 Kgs 21-23, where it becomes the main theme.

§  Through the evidence in the judgment formulae, Provan argued that the first Dtr edition of Kings was written before the exile and ran through the account of Hezekiah’s reign. This first edition was probably written early in Josiah’s reign, but didn’t include any material on Manasseh, Amon, or Josiah.

·         This first edition, then, is “Josianic” only in terms of date. As for its themes and climax, it is a “Hezekian” work.

·         pro-monarchic

§  Provan allows for the possibility that this history was revised before the exile, but finds no evidence for it. The best hypothesis is that this pre-exilic history underwent revision during the exile.

·         anti-monarchic

  • ·         Dtr school: Scholars have argued that instead of one single author/editor of DH, it was developed in “deuteronomistic schools,” variously defined (or sometimes not defined at all by scholars who use it, which is a problem).

o   Ernest W. Nicholson (Deuteronomy and Tradition, 1967)

§  Argues that Deuteronomy originated in the northern prophetic circle which fled south to Jerusalem after 721 BCE.

§  They formulated their preserved traditions into a program of reform for Judah, which they saw as the future of Israel, and thus making some concessions to the Jerusalem cult traditions.

o   Moshe Weinfeld (Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 1972)

§  Argues that we have no fixed criteria to determine different editorial stages of the DH.

§  Three stages in the formation and development of the dtr school:

·         Deuteronomy, composed in the second half of the 7th century BCE

·         Dtr edition of Joshua – Kings, fixed form in the first half of the 6th century BCE

·         Dtr prose sermons in Jeremiah; composed in 2nd half of the 6th century BCE.

§  These compositions came from scribal circles who began their project before Josiah’s reign and still worked in the exile.

·         Though we first hear of the scribes’ literary activity during to time of Josiah, their predecessors most likely already began in the time of Hezekiah (see Prov 25:1).

o   André Lemaire (Les écoles et la formation de la Bible dans l’ancien Israël, 1981)

§  Unlike many other scholars who talk of a deuteronomistic school, Lemaire clearly lays out his model for this school, which he sees as an actual, physical educational system in ancient Israel.

§  Using comparisons to Greek and Latin “classical” texts, Lemaire argues that the “classical” texts in the ANE literature (myths, wisdom sayings, histories, prayers, rituals, annals, etc.) were used for education in the schools he discusses in the first sections of his book.

·         Thus, Lemaire sees the development of the canon of the Hebrew Bible as a gradual process shaped by this educational system.

§  After the fall of Samaria, the northern teachings were gathered and integrated into the royal schools under Hezekiah’s reforms in Jerusalem and other main towns. This included the early form of DH.

·         The instructional materials would also be reformed under Josiah, where Deuteronomy was especially revised and developed. Lemaire sees this as the first step toward a “canon.” He also suggests a revision and updating of DH at this time.

§  Lemaire uses Helga Weippert’s three-stage model using the evaluation formulas of the kings: a protodeuteronomistic edition during the time of Hezekiah, a deuteronomistic edition at the time of Josiah, and a deuteronomistic exilic edition.

·         Lemaire adapts Weipperts model, seeing two separate redactions in her on Josianic redaction: one evaluating the kings of both kingdoms until ~850; the second for the kings of Judah from the 7th century until Josiah.

  • ·         DH as History: Scholars who discuss whether or not DH is actually “history” and if so, what kind of history.

o   Baruch Halpern (The First Historians, 1988)

§  The author responsible for the formation of the Deuteronomistic History (or at least DtrH, the main section) was a historian, with primarily antiquarian interests.

§  Thus, Halpern focuses not on compositional analysis, but on how the historians interacted with their sources, which he believes will illustrate the author’s concern for history. We can’t determine all the sources the historian used, but he composed using the sources available to him.

§  Keeping in mind the antiquarian interests of H(Dtr), the disharmony can likely be explained by the different sources he used.

§  The historian reconstructed the history with a view that it could be done, undistorted, in a way which vindicated his views.

§  H(Dtr) does get some history wrong, but that doesn’t make it apologetic. It reflects the hodgepodge of sources available.

§  DtrH is a history of Israel, not the history, as is every history or any time/place.

o   John van Seters (In Search of History, 1983)

§  The Deuteronomist was the first Israelite historian.

·         This author combined disparate genres to create a continuous history from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings.

·         The historian composed freely, eliminating traces of his sources.

§  History can only emerge when the main interest shifts from the person of the king to the nation.

§  History is secular, unbiased, and scientific.

  • ·         Does DH exist? Some scholars continue to question the mere existence of DH, though most accept it.

o   Ernst Axel Knauf (“Does ‘Deuteronomistic Historiography’ (DtrH) Exist?“ 1996)

§  Argues that the search for a Dtr author or redactor is a mistake in regard to category. It is also unlikely that there would have been just one Dtr school.

§  Dtr texts have been produced over a long period of time—from the time of Josiah’s reign to the final additions to Jeremiah in the 2nd century BCE.

§  Knauf has problems with seeing a lot of the books as part of DtrH

§  Psalms attests to the following divisions: Torah (Pss 74; 95; 135), Torah with Joshua as a supplement (Pss 105; 114; 136[?]), the “former prophets” Joshua-2 Kings (Pss 44; 66; 68; 129[?]), and the “historical books” Genesis-2 Kings (78; 80; 81[?]; 89; 102; 103[?]; 106; 136[?]). We should be content with these divisions.

o   Noll, K. L (“Deuteronomistic History or Deuteronomistic Debate? (A Thought Experiment),” 2007)

§  Noll argues that rather than a Deuteronomistic History, what we have in the Former Prophets (FP) is a Deuteronomic Debate (DD).

§  He defines deuteronomism as “the presence of words and phrases derived from the book of Deuteronomy that seem to affirm the ideology affirmed by Deuteronomy” (317). This permits us to consider the relationship between Deut and the FP.

§  Two stages:

·         FP existed as single manuscripts of each book which were gradually redacted.      

·         Later, each book circulated in multiple copies, some of which were secondarily redaction.

§  Noll argues that the FP are a Deuteronomic Debate, written by a small group of scribes arguing over the merits of Deut’s theology.

·         The four books of the FP began to be written during the 7th or 6th century BCE.

§  Noll concludes that the FP presents a conversation with Deuteronomy, not deuteronomism. Generally, the result is anti-deuteronomistic, though portions of Joshua and Kings are pro-Deuteronomy.e second section of your page here.

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