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The literary criticism and rhetorical logic of Deuteronomy i-iv

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It is generally accepted that the first speech of Moses in Deuteronomy (i 1-iv 40) is not of one piece, and that a clear distinction needs to be recognized between the rhetorical parenesis of chapter iv and the narrative recapitulation in chapters i-iii. This analysis has even proved determinative for scholars interested in the final form of the biblical text, despite the recognition that the chapters are portrayed canonically as Moses's first speech. A lack of substantive thematic connections between the two parts of the speech prevents any attempt to trace unity across the whole. This article argues that the consensus on the literary history of these chapters may be more problematic than commonly thought. Further, it is proposed that common to both the narrative and the parenetic sections of Moses's first speech are the complex interrelationship between the themes of divine presence, human obedience, election and the land.


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