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Setting the Stage: Previous Scholarship and Current Issues

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Chapter Summary

At the dawn of the 20th Century, scholarship on Judges was largely dominated by historical criticism. Interest was mainly on discovering the sources that underlie the book, and Wellhausen's approach to the Pentateuch so widely accepted at the time was applied also to the study of Judges. Noth argues that the division of Deuteronomy to Kings into separate books in their current form actually represents a secondary development. At their inception, these books originally constituted one continuous narrative composed by an exilic historian whom Noth calls as the Deuteronomist (Dtr). Although Dtr also made extensive use of older traditional materials and incorporated them into his composition, Noth maintains that Dtr was not just another redactor in the source-critical sense. This chapter examines Judges through careful attention to literary and rhetorical features such as narrative structure, recurring themes and motifs, allusions, wordplays, points of view, plot, and characterisation.

Keywords: Deuteronomist; Noth; Pentateuch; study of Judges; Wellhausen

10.1163/9789047409410_002
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