Religious concepts in the theology of Deuteronomy : a re-appraisal of Deuteronomic theology and the significance of Torah
This thesis investigates the theology of Deuteronomy, and argues that at the heart of Deuteronomic theology is the supremacy of Yahweh, which is to be expressed by all generations of Israelites through adherence to Torah. This study maintains that the ideas of centralization, secularization, and demythologization as commonly understood fail to account adequately for the data of the text. In this view, the book of Deuteronomy is radical in its demands and vision, but not in the ways that it is usually understood. In its deliberate rejection of ANE models of kingship and institutional permanence, its emphasis on the holiness of all life lived out before Yahweh, and its elevation of the supremacy of Yahweh and his Torah, Deuteronomy reveals itself to be a truly revolutionary and counter-cultural text. In the introductory chapter, the structure and ideology of the book are examined. The present study is set into the context of Deuteronomic study, and it is argued that the book of Deuteronomy reflects an ideology that seeks to highlight the supremacy of Yahweh and the centrality of Torah. Chapter One then examines some of the ways in which the theology of Deuteronomy has been understood, namely in terms of centralization, secularization, and demythologization. I argue that centralization, secularization, and demythologization as usually understood fail to adequately account for the data of the text, and that an alternative conception should be sought. Chapters Two through Five evaluate key texts that are used to support the idea that centralization, secularization, and demythologization are at the heart of the theology of Deuteronomy. An alternative reading of the texts is presented that highlights the supremacy of Yahweh and Torah. The final chapter investigates the theological and ideological implications of this alternative reading of key texts. Deuteronomy is seen to be radical, and even revolutionary, but in a much different way from the way it is usually understood.