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Deuteronomy and Centralization

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image of Vetus Testamentum

AbstractBiblical scholars have long attributed King Josiah’s reform to the influence of Deuteronomy and its call for centralizing the cult. Even those who trace the book’s origin to the Northern kingdom or regard chapter 12 as a late insertion understand it as requiring cult centralization. Since so much of modern biblical scholarship rests on linking Deuteronomy to Josiah’s reform, that chapter has been described as “an archimedean point” for biblical studies. However, the syntax of Deuteronomy 12 (especially verses 5 and 13-14) does not require that sacrifice be limited to a single place, though these verses may have come to be understood that way. As a result, the dating of other biblical books on the basis of their dependence on Deuteronomy or their awareness of cult centralization must be reconsidered.

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