brian britt 358 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2000 Biblical Interpretation 8, 4 DEUTERONOMY 31–32 AS A TEXTUAL MEMORIAL BRIAN BRITT Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Deuteronomy 31–34 is a pivotal text: it signifies conclusion and transition, the death of Moses and the establishment of written tradition. If Deuteronomy presents the “farewell speech of Moses,” then these final chapters are the peroration. 1 In terms of its main points— the death of Moses, the centrality of , and com- misioning of Joshua— the text is clear. But with respect to chro- nology, action, structure, and the meaning of some terms, Deuteronomy 31–34 is far from clear or univocal. This essay analyzes the narrative structure and content of Deuteronomy 31–32 in the context of Deuteronomy 31–34. I pro- pose that two narrative strands alternate in Deuteronomy 31–32: one on the death of Moses and commission of Joshua, and an- other on the recording and promulgation of texts. These two strands appear to harmonize in Deuteronomy 32:44-47. While my methods are literary, I avoid modern standards of coherence and single authorship. This approach suggests that the redactor(s) chose a principle of inclusiveness (of a certain kind) over unity or
Biblical Interpretation – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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