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The Syntax of Deuteronomy 13:2-3 and the Conventions of Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy

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As is the case with many ancient Near Eastern texts, biblical texts oftentimes betray a complex compositional history. In the case of Deuteronomy 13:2-3, philologically-driven analyses have concluded that the grammatical awkwardness of these verses results from an interpolation. This article attempts to test such analyses through recourse to historical evidence of ancient Near Eastern religious practice. It argues that positing an interpolation in these verses is unnecessary philologically. Moreover, the hypothetical Urtext that results when the purported interpolation is removed defies the conventions of both biblical and non-biblical ancient Near Eastern prophetic practice.

Affiliations: 1: Divinity School, University of Chicago 1025 E. 58th St. Chicago, IL 60637, Email:


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