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If-Plots in Deuteronomy

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Abstract In its overall literary construction, Deuteronomy has turned a syntactic form—the “if/when . . .” form of casuistic laws and vassal treaties—into its main narrative dynamics. It has combined the mini-plots of the case-laws (“if a man . . .” / “when you . . .”) with the overarching plot of the people’s loyalty (“if you listen to the commandments . . .”) and with the macro-plot of the divine promise (“when Yhwh your God brings you into the land . . .”) in order to create a general suspenseful momentum that leads to the memorable dénouement of Deut 34:9: “The sons of Israel listened . . . and did just as Yhwh had commanded Moses”.

Affiliations: 1: Gregorian University Rome


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