Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 9 (2009) - Review Article

A review article of:
Markus Witte, Konrad Schmid, Doris Prechel and Jan Christian Gertz, eds., with assistance from Johannes F. Diehl. Die deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerke: Redaktions- und religionsgeschichtliche Perspektiven zur Deuteronomismus-Diskussion in Tora und Vorderen Propheten. (BZAW, 365; Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006).  xvii + 445 pages. Hardback. € 98.00, US$ 137.00. ISBN 978-3-11-018667-3.

The German plural noun Geschichtswerke contained in the title of this volume is jarring, and rightfully so: for decades, scholars have been accustomed to the singular form, “Deuteronomistic History.” This book seeks to challenge the all-too-facile reduction of the texts under investigation to an overly simplistic singular by framing the questions asked of Deuteronomistic literature in a new manner. Just as the static, singular “History” is no longer a sufficient descriptor of the corpus’s essence—the compositional plurality inherent in the biblical text has been recognized for well over a century—so too does the plurality evoked by the title of this book encompass the opinions generated about that corpus. This volume contains eighteen essays originally delivered at two different symposia. The majority of the articles were delivered in Heidelberg during June of 2005 and are centered around the extension of the classically-construed Deuteronomistic History (Deuteronomy-2 Kings) to further include the Pentateuchal books in a larger Enneateuch. The second group of articles—comprising the final five essays of the book—was originally delivered in Mainz during December of 2004. These essays examine the characteristics of treaty texts in the ancient Near East. Because of this divergence in origin, the two groups of essays bear a certain dissimilarity to one another that, upon first glance, appears to create fractures within the structure of the book as whole. In most cases, the last five essays appear to have been only secondarily directed towards biblical studies at all; in several cases only the final paragraph of each appears to have been explicitly composed to take Biblicists’ concerns into account. However, much as the earlier essays themselves argue that the repetitive relecture of earlier Deuteronomistic texts occasioned the reinterpretation and reformulation of those texts, providing us with more than a single, flat “Deuteronomistic History,” the later essays’ juxtaposition to the foregoing papers provides us with a new way of reading each group. This volume itself thus serves as a model of the type of combinatory reading requested for its primary object of study: Deuteronomy-Kings. Taken in this manner, the final five essays—written primarily by Assyriologists and Hittitologists—provide an interesting and challenging interlocution with the essays by the Biblicists in the first two-thirds of the book. The dialogues engendered by this diptych, then, are much more nuanced and complex than would appear to be the case in a prima facie survey of the chapter titles.

Yet not only are the origins of these chapters in two different conferences the only marks of the book’s plurality: the methodological and theoretical stances taken by the authors differ as well. The significant divergence among various schools of interpretation—commonly conceptualized in the Anglophone world as fundamentally an Anglophone/Continental split—bears itself out between several of the German-speaking participants as well. In fact, those currently teaching in Switzerland (e.g., Steymans, Schmid, and Römer) comprise a perceptible bloc of the book’s contributors. As a gathering place of such variant theoretical and methodological backgrounds, this book provides a stunningly broad cross-section of modern, primarily European, work on the Deuteronomistic History. In turn, this diversity of opinion engenders open, critical (but congenial) debate and provides an engaging forum for divergent understandings of the biblical and extra-biblical texts under discussion. While the Göttingen school—along with its intellectual congeners (among whom I would consider to be Becker, Pakkala, Fischer, and perhaps Adam, on the basis of other works of his)—may be too underrepresented to be able to call this book a truly representative cross-section of the modern European academy, the diversity of opinions presented here testifies to the ongoing vitality of European scholarship, which the English-speaking world can ignore only at its own peril. Finally, though there is much for the English-speaking academy to gain from our international counterparts, the works of the Anglophone contributors to this volume (Carr, Parker, and Beckman) demonstrate that we have much to offer them as well. This book is a model not only of international, but also of inter-methodological dialogue, and scholarship as a whole would be well served if there were more like it.

Because of the venue in which this review appears, and the unique opportunities presented by the medium of online publication with a journal like the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, I have taken the chance to provide a fuller chapter-by-chapter discussion of the volume’s contents in an attempt to provide a service to those native English speakers (like me) who are often embroiled in the midst of research, and would like to know whether a chapter would be helpful enough to warrant the time commitment of reading in the original language. Therefore, I include here the following chapter summaries, in the order of their inclusion in the volume, as well as my own reactions to them. Some summaries are lengthier than others and in some I have included bibliographical notes; this should not be taken as an indication that these essays are stronger than others; instead, it is simply a marker of my own competencies and areas of specialization. All in all, the essays contained in this volume are solid examples of their respective projects, and where I have disagreed with them, I have done so usually on the basis of methodological differences rather than because of any failings of argumentation on the part of the authors.

(1) The book opens with David M. Carr’s essay “Empirische Perspektiven auf das Deuteronomistische Geschichtswerk” (pp. 1-17). In this essay Carr applies the results of his recently published book, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart,[1] to the synoptic passages shared by Samuel-Kings and Chronicles. Traditionally biblical scholars have attributed the wide-ranging “minuses” and the lexical and syntactic variants of 1-2 Chronicles to the Chronicler’s theological reformulation and omission of the Deuteronomistic material at the author’s (/s’) disposal. However, in Carr’s postulated oral-written society, in which historical texts (among other genres) were memorized as scribal exercises, two fundamental impulses govern the work. There is first of all a drive towards conservation, which means that the kinds of “cognitive variants” for which biblical scholars have often sought theological answers are, in fact, relatively commonplace and unintentional. Secondly, there is a “trend toward expansion,” which suggests that the author(s) of Chronicles did not use a copy of the Deuteronomistic History, but rather had at disposal a much shorter Vorlage—the same Vorlage underlying the material shared with Samuel-Kings. [2] In its conclusions, this essay supports and refines the basic theses of several works on the subject going back to the mid-1980’s.[3] As such, it bears direct consequences on the possible dating and context of the earliest common Vorlage: the common material exhibits a predominantly southern interest, and may have ended with Josiah’s reign (p. 12), as previous commentators have suggested,[4] although Carr elsewhere recommends Zedekiah’s reign as the end of the common Vorlage (p. 14). One final observation of Carr’s requires comment here: he justifiably views the empirical evidence provided by 1-2 Chronicles as a control on the text of 1-2 Kings. It is unclear to me, however, that this theoretical leverage on Kings mandates the claim that the fundamental distinction to be made is now between the “Primary History” (Genesis-2 Kings) and “the various revisions and expansions of the Vorlage in the Deuteronomistic and Chronistic literature” (p. 14; my translation). While this sentence clearly stands in line with the book’s orientation, commemorated in its subtitle (i.e., Tora und Vorderen Propheten), it seems an overstepping of the presented evidence to assume as much in this particular case.

(2) Overstepping of evidence aside, however, Carr’s assumption in this final statement leads directly into the following article, “Hatte Wellhausen Recht? Das Problem der literarhistorischen Anfänge des Deuteronomismus in den Königebüchern” (pp. 19-43) wherein Konrad Schmid reviews Wellhausen’s early proposals concerning the Deuteronomistic History and its relationship to the Pentateuch, and suggests, in short, that Wellhausen hatte doch Recht. Wellhausen, it will be recalled, had argued for a variety of Deuteronomistic interconnections between the Tetrateuch and the Deuteronomistic History, on one hand, and the multiple editorial levels of the Deuteronomists’ work in the latter corpus (with, e.g., Kuenen), [5] on the other. Although Noth denied both of these premises in his 1943 volume überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien,[6] the former has in recent years experienced revitalization; unfortunately, Schmid has opportunity to handle this particular premise only obliquely and superficially here.[7] The article is dedicated primarily to a defense of the latter, which has remained a touchstone of Anglophone scholarship on the Deuteronomistic History, espoused primarily by members of the Cross/Harvard school.[8] Although Schmid expresses some reservations concerning Cross’s general maintenance of the separation of the Tetrateuch and the Deuteronomistic History (p. 24)—a fair criticism in light of the subsequent work on that premise of Noth’s (but see below)—the final section of his chapter (pp. 37-43) is devoted to what is ostensibly a reiteration and bolstering of the Cross school’s well-known support of an early, pre-exilic edition of the DtrH ending at 2 Kgs 23, which was only later supplemented by a second, exilic Deuteronomist whose disappointment over the failure of the Judahite monarchy is palpable in the final chapters of 2 Kings. Insofar as it musters familiar verses (primarily the evaluations of the kings), thereby reinforcing Wellhausen’s hypothesis of an early, monarchic-era edition of the DtrH, I found this final section of the essay to be much like slipping into a favorite pair of slippers: comfortable, but nothing unexpected—much of this work has been carried out equally capably in much longer and more thorough (and very well-known) essays.[9] The far more important work of Schmid’s article is carried out in the third section (pp. 28-36), which examines four significant volumes published by members of the Smend/Göttingen school—the well-known competitor of the Cross school, whose members ascribe the Deuteronomistic portions of the DtrH to a series of exilic and post-exilic authors and editors; usually these studies claim the work of two or three authors/editors, but in some cases up to ten (!). [10] Taking these studies’ variant attributions of several verses in 1 Kgs 21-23, Schmid shows that not only do these studies disagree with one another in what is—or at least, should be—the lynch-pin text in the Smend school’s argument, but that in each study it is unclear that an early exilic (or later) dating provides the most meaningful historical context of the text’s assertions. Schmid’s essay is a welcome addition to the literature supporting a pre-exilic date for the first edition of the Deuteronomistic History.

(3) The following chapter by Thomas Römer, “Entstehungsphasen des ‘deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerkes’” (pp. 45-70), continues Schmid’s assault on the exilic dating of the earliest edition of the Deuteronomistic History. After a brief review of Wellhausen’s and Noth’s respective theories (pp. 46-49), Römer presents his own “Compromise Model.” This model accepts—with the Smend school—the fundamental importance of the Deuteronomists’ exilic- and post-exilic era reflection on the downfall of Judah; however, it does so by understanding this retrospection as the relecture of and commentary on an earlier, pre-exilic text, rather than as Noth’s de novo initial reaction to the event of the Exile. A short discussion of Deuteronomy 1-3 as the introduction to the Deuteronomistic History is the first significant indication that Römer’s model differs in significant ways from that of Schmid. Whereas Schmid emphasizes the Deuteronomistic features found in passages throughout Exodus and Numbers, Römer stresses the disjuncture between the Tetrateuch and Deuteronomy-Kings established by Deut 1-3 (pp. 49-53). Now, this is not to say that Römer denies outright the Deuteronomistic features in Exodus and Numbers; in fact, later in the essay he allows that a post-exilic Deuteronomistic editor utilized the Tetrateuchal books as a prologue for an extant and developing Deuteronomistic History (p. 67-68). But this appending of the earlier books occurred at a later date than did the composition of the Deuteronomistic History’s prologue in Deut 1-3, which was completed in the exilic era. This proper chronological organization of the various strata of the Deuteronomistic History is fundamental to Römer’s Compromise Model, and is anchored in his discussion of Deuteronomy 12:2-18 (pp. 55-68). Those familiar with other works in Römer’s oeuvre, and particularly with his recent The So-called Deuteronomistic History,[11] will no doubt recognize the role played by the tripartite division of this passage in the Compromise Model. In short, the model proposes three phases of development in the Deuteronomistic History: (a) a pre-exilic collection of texts (or “library”) that conceptualizes Josiah’s reform as the culmination of history (and commensurate with Deut 12:13-18; pp. 56-59); (b) an exilic, systematic edition of the History, which understood the History as demonstrating YHWH’s fulfillment of all promises, the subsequent failure of Judah to live up to its own covenant obligations, and the concomitant divinely-ordained punishment in the form of the Exile (Deut 12:8-12; pp. 59-64); and finally, (c) a post-exilic redaction seeking to come to grips with the demographic challenges encountered upon the return of the golah-community to its homeland in Cisjordan (Deut 12:2-7; pp. 64-68). Römer’s Compromise Model awaits further discussion among scholars of the Deuteronomistic History, but the proposal is compelling in its simultaneous simplicity and complexity; “simplicity” because it has given up the attempt to explain away obvious inconsistencies and tensions that indicate a pre-exilic origin of some parts of Samuel-Kings—a common practice among those who continue to hold on to the notion of Noth’s single author—and “complexity” because it takes seriously the Smend school’s observations that certain events have been reframed multiple times after the fall of Judah. It will be exciting to observe how commentators handle Römer’s Compromise Model, and the extent to which its presuppositions and conclusions are reformulated in the future.

(4) Whereas Römer examines the disjuncture between the Tetrateuch and Deuteronomy, Eckart Otto provides a synchronic reading of the Pentateuch from the point of view of its earliest audience. His essay, “Das postdeuteronomistische Deuteronomium als integrierender Schlußstein der Tora” (pp. 71-102), stresses the post-exilic integration of Deuteronomy into the Pentateuch, and the corresponding hermeneutical opportunities that become available in the course of such a reading. Otto argues that understanding Deuteronomy as the “keystone” (Schlußstein) of the legal material in the preceding books answers many questions that strictly diachronic analyses either have answered inadequately or have been completely unable to answer. Instead, reading Deuteronomy as part of the “fable of the Pentateuch”—a locution that may sound more pejorative in English than is intended (I might suggest translating as “construct” or “storyline of the Pentateuch”)—Otto finds that the final framers of that corpus incorporated many answers to the lingering questions of Moses’s (and Deuteronomy’s) authority. Of all his many interlocutors, Otto engages most directly the work of Norbert Lohfink, who differentiates between the Pentateuch as narrative source and as prescriptive document.[12] Otto sees no such bifurcation of function; nor does he see the corpus’s context in any sort of oppositional environment (Gegenwelt) that calls into question the historicity of the Pentateuch because of its multiple, supposedly competing, authoritative claims (esp. p. 74). Instead, Otto’s reading of Deuteronomy within the Pentateuch accounts for the disparities in authorship (i.e., divine vs. human), viewed both in Deuteronomy and in the Pentateuch as a whole, as part of a hermeneutical strategy whereby the Law propounded in narrative time (erzählte Zeit) is equipped for authoritative promulgation in the time of narration (Erzählzeit; pp. 78-83). The various discrepancies between the Decalogues of Exod 20:1-17 and Deut 5:6-21 and the other legal material found in the Covenant Code (Exod 20:22-23:19) and Deuteronomy, and to some extent the Holiness Code of Leviticus 17-26, have raised questions in the past of Moses’ authority as interpreter (and not just the transmitter) of Torah. The “literary construct of the Pentateuch” answers these questions, argues Otto, by allowing for the adaptation of the Law to new geographical—and by implication, chronological—contexts (e.g., pp. 91-97) and by displacing Mosaic function onto others (Deut 27:1-26; 31:9-13; pp. 97-98). These insights help to render judgment on Deuteronomy as inextricably integrated into the legal and theological framework of a synchronically read Pentateuch (pp. 98-102).

(5) Jan Christian Gertz crafts an argument that is substantially in line with that of Otto’s in his own contribution, “Kompositorische Funktion und literarhistorischer Ort von Deuteronomium 1-3” (pp. 103-23). After a discussion and evaluation of several components of Noth’s Deuteronomistic History theory (pp. 105-11), Gertz also attempts to demonstrate that Deuteronomy has been inextricably integrated into the Hexateuch (construed liberally as Exodus-Joshua; p. 105); this incorporation was completed in part through the introduction of Deuteronomy 1-3, which bears striking commonalities with Numbers 11-32. The apparent disjuncture between Numbers and Deuteronomy is due more to the subsequently added colophon of Num 36:13 and superscription of Deut 1:1-5 than to any decisive break instigated by the remainder of Deuteronomy 1-3 (pp. 111-13). Inasmuch as Gertz considers Deuteronomy 1-3 a relecture of a truncated Tetrateuch (Exodus-Numbers) that serves to embed the law code of Deuteronomy firmly within the narrative structure of the Pentateuch, this essay moves the basic approach of Otto’s contribution into a specific and limited corpus within Deuteronomy, chapters 1-3 (pp. 117-22). For proper contextualization the Deuteronomistic Law, which was already historicized to some extent (pp. 122-23), required only the explicit localization of the Law’s conferral, a notice of authorship, and the coordinating insertion of the reframed Decalogue, now found in Deuteronomy 1-3*; 4:46 (and later vv. 47-48); 5:1-6:3*. Yet not only does Gertz’s thesis support that of Otto; it also comprises a challenge to the disjuncture between the two large corpora (i.e., DtrH and Tetrateuch) perceived by Römer (cf. above).

Although the arguments put forward by Gertz and Otto account for the traditional division between the Law—constituting a Pentateuch—and the Prophets, they have established a formidable interpretation of Deuteronomy as relecture. However, as one whose work proceeds primarily from the direction of the prophets, I feel that Römer’s model handles the diachronic complexity of Pentateuchal formation more convincingly that does that of Otto and Gertz. I remain rather unconvinced by Gertz’s assertion that there was at some point a truncated “Hexateuch” (Exodus-Numbers, Joshua) into which Deuteronomy had to be inserted, although I would agree that the natural continuation of Numbers can be found in some texts of Joshua. I would argue, however, that “insertion” is the wrong paradigm with which to describe Deuteronomy’s position, and that it may be more accurate to speak of the “interweaving” at this nexus (Deuteronomy-Joshua) of large traditional complexes (i.e., Hexateuch, whatever that is taken to comprise, and at least a medial form of the Deuteronomistic History). As Römer has shown, Deuteronomy 1-3 displays enough indicators of disjuncture from the foregoing material to suggest that at one time, it did form the opening salvo of an independent Deuteronomistic History, which was subsequently updated and emended in order to display the kinds of continuity that Gertz and Otto have discerned.

(6) In the first of two contributions to the present book, “Der literar- und religionsgeschichtliche Ort von Deuteronomium 13” (pp. 125-37), Juha Pakkala investigates the relationship that Deuteronomy 13 exhibits with its biblical and social contexts. The first part of the essay examines the biblical context: by all indications, the chapter has been secondarily inserted between ch. 12 and chs. 14-16; it diverges from its surroundings thematically, and—along with a few other indications—its movement away from a Temple-centered modality and towards a focus on Law suggests a date in the Persian Period (pp. 125-28). In the second part of the essay, Pakkala challenges E. Otto’s identification of the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon (VTE) as the single text on which Deuteronomy 13’s structure and style depended (pp. 128-33).[13] A careful analysis of parallel sections demonstrates that Otto’s argument is not only a difficult one to sustain, but problematic as well. More likely, Pakkala concludes, is the scenario that the author of Deuteronomy 13 based that text on an as yet unknown exemplar of the ancient Near Eastern treaty text tradition, several of which texts can be shown to have stood in a closer relation to the text at hand than did the VTE (p. 134). Pakkala then suggests that Deuteronomy 13 may be most productively analyzed as part of a “covenant-theological” (bundestheologische) redaction, initially isolated by T. Veijola (pp. 135-37).[14]

With this essay, I believe that Pakkala has demonstrated convincingly that the author of Deuteronomy 13 was not formulating that chapter solely on the basis of the VTE; literary dependence on any single document is notoriously difficult to prove, and the simpler solution is to argue for general dependence on the whole corpus of ancient Near Eastern treaty texts. But part of what motivates this rejection of Otto’s thesis is Pakkala’s need to provide a later dating for the chapter than was suggested by the purported dependence on the VTE (7th c.). One may legitimately question whether any of the cognate treaties that Pakkala determines to be closer to the structure of Deuteronomy 13 necessitates such a dramatically later date; several would support the earlier date: Sefire (cited on p. 130) is 8th c.;[15] the Ishmeriga treaty (p. 130) is significantly older still.[16] A relatively minor critique, but one which nonetheless bears on the effectiveness of Pakkala’s argument, centers on his denial of the existence of “dream seers” (חולם החלום): they “play no role in the rest of Deuteronomy, and are otherwise not mentioned in the Old Testament”; pp. 132-33, my translation). In a synchronic reading of the text, this may well be the case; however, as Ludwig Schmidt showed in his now classical analysis of 1 Sam 9:1-10:16, the “seer” to whom Saul and his companion go originally would have had them spend the night (see 9:25-26), so that he could incubate overnight waiting for a vision.[17] Dream seers may not be mentioned in the final form of the Deuteronomistic History, but this textual indication points to their historical appearance in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age.

(7) Uwe Becker examines the contextual connections displayed in the book of Joshua’s final form (“Endredaktionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Josua-Buches”; pp. 139-61). He argues that redactional additions were made at each node of the text’s development in order to integrate the text more fully with the emerging historical narrative in the surrounding texts. Becker begins with a discussion of the peculiar and tension-laden position of Joshua 24 at the end of the Hexateuch, but before the final books of the Enneateuch (pp. 141-49). Previous models have demonstrated the need for consideration of these arrangements within the larger biblical text as a whole, and the character of Joshua 24 as a chapter replete with tensions suggests that the text has been repeatedly updated here in order to adapt the older—one hesitates to say “outdated”—text to a new situation (p. 143). Becker reconstructs a Grundbestand comprising 24:1-2a, 14a, 15a*b, 16, 18b, 22, 28, with secondary insertions forming vv. 2b-13, 14b, 15a*, 17-18a, 19-21, 23-24, 25-27. The Grundbestand narrates a covenantal ceremony featuring the choice between worship of YHWH or other gods (אלהים אחרים v. 16), forming a parallel to the choice between YHWH and the monarchy (p. 147). In contrast, the secondary additions interpolate a historical summary in vv. 2b-13 along with the choice between YHWH and foreign gods (אלהי הנכר v. 23). While the latter feature is interesting in its own right, the historical summary incorporates a “Hexateuchal” perspective in the covenant-ceremony, though Becker does not claim to have proven the isolated existence of a Hexateuch. Rather, he argues, Joshua 24 serves to demarcate a now-delineated Hexateuch from the following meditations on the nature of kingship (pp. 146, 148). Already the earliest stratum of the chapter displays locutions and lexemes familiar from late-Deuteronomistic contexts, suggesting that Joshua 24 was introduced in order to provide precisely the kind of demarcation between conquest and history in the land described above (p. 149)—but what did the transition from Joshua to Judges look like before the addition of Joshua 24? An investigation into the secondary nature of Joshua 23 (not to mention chs. 12-21*) leads Becker to the conclusion that, in its earliest composite form, the Deuteronomistic text (i.e., DtrH [=Smend’s DtrG]) jumped from Josh 11:23—or, possibly, 21:43-45—directly to Judg 2:8. This combination already effected the transition from the people’s history (Volksgeschichte) to the monarchic history (Königsgeschichte) - itself an interpretive move on the part of the Deuteronomist (pp. 149-52). The picture Becker paints of the text’s composition history is a noble attempt to come to grips with the complexity of communal reinterpretation evinced by the biblical text and made manifest in the array of versional evidence (pp. 152-53). Even if conclusions reached through redaction-critical engagement of the text may seem foreign, undesirable, or outright untenable in their specifics, the method does point to the continual phases of reinterpretation to which the biblical text was subject. Moreover, as Becker demonstrates, variations in translations of biblical texts make it clear that this ongoing process of textual development was hardly unilinear (pp. 155-56).

(8) In “Die Saul-Überlieferung im Deuteronomistischen Samuelbuch (am Beispiel von I Samuel 9-10)“ (pp. 163-81) Alexander A. Fischer seeks to provide a plausible process of composition whereby the book of Samuel was incorporated into the Deuteronomistic History. His argument begins from Ernst Würthwein’s theory that the Deuteronomistic History formed not from the beginning (Joshua) towards the end (Kings), but from the end back towards the beginning (p. 165).[18] This observation clears the way for three sequential conclusions towards which Fischer argues in the remainder of the article. First, Fischer sketches out the shape of the pre-Deuteronomistic Saul tradition in 1 Sam 9:1-10:16. After a survey of the tensions latent within the present text, Fischer concludes with much previous scholarship [19] that the narrative originally comprised a story of a “man who goes to look for his father’s asses, but instead finds a kingdom” [20] (pp. 166-69). This story is fully related in 9:1, 2aa, 3-8, 10, 14a, 18aagb 22aa, 24b, 25b-27; 10:2-4, 5aα, 6aβb, 7 (p. 167 n. 17), but without a logical ending, which has been sublimated as the brief notice of Saul’s storming of the Philistine prefect (Philistervogt; נציב) in 13:4 (p. 169). Second, Fischer asserts the Deuteronomistic qualities of the redactional layer (pp. 169-77), a judgment to which I will return below. Third, Fischer demonstrates the difficulties in understanding 1 Sam 8:1-22 + 10:17-27a + 12:1-25 as a single, Deuteronomistic layer of commentary. That judgment, initially propounded by Wellhausen, rested on the rather prima facie and arbitrary designation of texts as “pro-monarchic“ or “anti-monarchic”, and must be tempered with the recognition that the valence of any given text is in part rooted in the occasion of composition and constrained by its current position within the larger corpus. This observation feeds into an argument for the composition of 1 Samuel 8 as a chapter composed specifically to connect the older Saul story in 9:1-10:16 with a complex of deliver/judge-narratives which ended with Samuel’s exercise of the deliverer office (1 Samuel 7), and subsequent abrogation of that duty concomitant with the people’s demand for a new form of secular leadership (1 Sam 10:17-27).

Although I have done much of my own work on these chapters,[21] I can comment only briefly on the three conclusions presented here. While I disagree in a few particulars, Fischer’s source division of 1 Sam 9:1-10:16 is reasonable. However, the assignment of the redactional layer to the Deuteronomistic Historian, even a Josianic one, leaves in my mind an improbably long period of time (ca. 300 years) in which little or no textual development is supposed to have occurred. Moreover, many of the Deuteronomistic and late linguistic markers that Fischer has adduced (rightly) can be isolated to half-verses that may themselves be signs of Deuteronomistic overlay on older layers of redaction. For example, Fischer attributes the entirety of the clear redactional insert in 9:20-21 to the Deuteronomist on the basis of the lexeme חמדה in v. 20b (p. 173) despite the fact that v. 20a stands apart from vv. 20b-21 both syntactically and thematically and need not have formed a single piece. In short, I remain unconvinced that Fischer’s eschewal of a pre-Deuteronomistic layer of redaction (with, e.g., Richter, Birch, Campbell, and Mommer) is not misguided. These hesitations, however, do not mitigate the importance of Fischer’s third section. Again, I disagree in the particulars (to be specific, I consider the kernel of 10:17-27 located in 10:20-21aba to be part of a larger pre-Deuteronomistic tradition including 1 Samuel 8* and 12:1-5* as well). However, Fischer’s observation that 1 Sam 10:17-27 forms a conceptual moment of climax to the book of Judges (loosely construed), which was then threaded into the complex of Saul-David narratives by the Deuteronomist, is a conclusion that I view as worthy of much further study.

(9) In an admirable effort to alleviate the tension between various competing camps of interpreters, Klaus-Peter Adam attempts to demonstrate the ubiquity of a theme in Samuel-Kings, the “securing of monarchic power“ (die Sicherung königlicher Macht), regardless of whether one is investigating the entirety of the Deuteronomistic History or positing various pre-Deuteronomistic strata of that corpus. This essay purports to examine the “Motivik, Figuren und Konzeption der Erzählung vom Absalomaufstand” (pp. 183-211) as a window into the thematic continuity tying together various pre-Deuteronomistic narratives, as well as the entirety of Samuel-Kings. Throughout these books, argues Adam, the establishment and maintenance of power plays a dominant thematic role (pp. 183-86). Following a number of recent commentators,[22] Adam reconstructs a very limited narrative of Absalom’s rebellion in 2 Sam (15:1-6, 13); 18:1-2a, 4b, 6-9, 15b-18, upon which successive layers of commentary have been added (pp. 192-98). These layers sometimes serve both to prepare for later material and to flesh out the characterization of various figures. Most obvious in this regard, perhaps, is the case of Absalom, who, in 2 Samuel 13-14*, receives both a justification for Amnon’s murder that attempts to “rehabilitate” the murderer (p. 193) and a more explicitly Davidic genealogy. Absalom’s social identity was a feature lacking in the earlier, more concise battle-report and only introduced with the addition of two separate intrusions, 15:1-6, 13 and 15:7-11* (pp. 194-96), which added Hebron as Absalom’s base of operations (15:7-11*) and Israel as the object of his instigation (vv. 1-6, 13). Stripping away these layers, Adam argues, yields an Absalom who was never a member of the Judahite court but rather a Geshurite (15:8), the son of Talmai (whom Adam takes as the subject of ויתאבל in 13:37; p. 197). While earlier layers of the text had handled Absalom’s relationship to the court carefully, the slow process of accumulation has left us a text in which Absalom is viewed negatively as the Geshurite (i.e., Aramean) instigator of a northern (Israelite) revolt against the southern, Judahite hegemony (p. 198). In a large section of the chapter (pp. 198-210), Adam traces the central theme of the Court History through the various scenes of David’s encounters with his subordinates. In each, Adam provides a thoughtful reading of the interaction between king and subject, which, in my opinion, supports his general goal of demonstrating that the theme of the “securing of monarchic power“ is an organizing principle of pre-Deuteronomistic narratives (pp. 210-11).

While Adam’s larger conclusion concerning the ubiquity of this theme is sure to be met with much agreement on both sides of the Atlantic, one wonders how novel the observation is: surely the same could be said of much Hittite royal apologetic literature, [23] and the Assyrian documentation leaves the principle indisputable there, too. The more novel aspects of Adam’s analysis—particularly, the salient observations regarding Absalom’s ethnic and social identity—are embedded in what I consider to be the quintessentially Continental style of the argument. Although I have no reservations in attributing the tensions latent in 2 Samuel 13-20 to a long and sometimes tortuous process of accumulation and reinterpretation, Adam’s assumptions concerning the date of certain traditions often fall prey to the temptation to subjugate all episodes of inter-tribal squabbling to the period of the divided monarchy. For example, Adam states that

This Judahite victory-story [i.e., 2 Samuel 18] reverses the later Judahite-Israelite power relations, as made clear, e.g., in the war under Joash against the Judahites under Amaziah in 2 Kings 14:12. With this significant description of the relationship between Israel and Judah as opponents in war, the narrative of Absalom’s revolt against the Judahite David plays on the events of the divided monarchy [known] from pre-Deuteronomistic sources. (p. 188, my translation)

Similarly, in his discussion of David’s meeting with Ittai, Adam dates the scene (15:18-22) to the late monarchic period (späteren Königszeit) because of the episode’s purported historical anchorage at Hazael’s destruction of the city Gath (2 Kgs 12:18)—accordingly, Ittai’s presence with David’s troop is a literary reflex of that or a similar (later) event, during which a cadre of Gittite mercenaries came into the hire of the ruling Judean monarch at the time (pp. 203-4). The reasoning here is specious, for it assumes that Hazael’s depredation of Gath was the first such event and, moreover, that only the collapse of a city could occasion mercenary activity. Nonetheless, Adam is most likely correct in asserting a post-Solomonic date for the collected traditions of David’s flight to and return from Transjordan (2 Samuel 15-17; 19).[24]

(10) The late Simon B. Parker compares the language and tropes of the Deuteronomistic History to the same elements of Northwest Semitic inscriptions in “Ancient Northwest Semitic Epigraphy and the ‘Deuteronomistic’ Tradition in Kings” (pp. 213-27).[25] The essay attempts to bring not just Hebrew epigraphy, but also the epigraphic remains of other Syro-Palestinian cultures, to bear on the book of Kings and therefore represents an effort at gaining traction on the socio-political milieu in which the Deuteronomists worked and from which they came. In a brief survey of the language (pp. 215-17) and content (pp. 217-19) of some of the more well known Hebrew inscriptions (the Arad and Lachish corpora, the Siloam Tunnel inscription, and the Mesad Hashavyahu ostracon), Parker concludes of the few similarities in language between this corpus and the Deuteronomistic passages in Kings that the peculiarities of expression in the former do not help us to date the latter any “more precisely than the range of dates now seriously considered” (p. 216). And although the social classes producing the two sets of data can be shown to have been “roughly comparable” (p. 217), this recognition does not bring us much closer to developing a thorough portrait of the Deuteronomists than did the previous one. Similar surveys of the language (pp. 219-20), the content and style (pp. 220-27), and the literary history (p. 227) of Northwest Semitic inscriptions in languages other than Hebrew yield only slightly more encouraging results. Of these categories, Parker finds the closest parallels for the Deuteronomistic History in the monumental inscriptions. Particularly relevant here is the inscription of Mesha, which displays concern for building projects and geo-political events. But although the concerns are often similar in nature, the style in which the monumental inscriptions are narrated does not conform closely to the biblical exemplars. For example, the Zakkur inscription, which exemplifies the “account of a besieged king’s deliverance by his god in answer to an appeal to the god” (p. 223) differs markedly in style and in substance from the theology and narrative complexity in 2 Kings 3. Similarly, the inscriptions of Kilamuwa and Panamuwa, argues Parker, exhibit much more of an interest in legitimizing the dynastic claims of each than do most of the purely chronistic notices of the book of Kings, although one might compare the narrative propaganda in the story of Athalia’s demise (2 Kings 11), not to mention, as T. Ishida has shown, the apology in the books of Samuel and 1 Kings 1-2.[26] Parker’s study is most valuable, perhaps, not because it demonstrates the commonalities of the Deuteronomistic History with the inscriptions of the surrounding polities, but rather because it stresses the stylistic discontinuities of the two bodies of literature.

(11) In “Die Liebe zu Gott im Deuteronomium” (pp. 229-38), Udo Rüterswörden grapples with the nature of the “love” demanded in Deut 6:5. Through comparison with other ancient Near Eastern texts—usually vassal treaties such as Sefire and the VTE (Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon)—mentioning “love,” Rüterswörden arrives at a position in concurrence with those of many recent interpreters, holding the affective nature of covenantal love. The vocabulary used to describe such love not only seeks to describe outward behavior (transgression against the covenant, etc.), but also to condition the inner emotional life of the vassal as well (esp. pp. 235-36). Rüterswörden readily admits that the VTE and Deuteronomy 6 partake of the same ancient Near Eastern treaty conventions, but suggests that the relationship is not genetic (i.e., Deuteronomy derived from immediate knowledge of the VTE; pp. 237-38). In this regard, his analysis agrees in large part with that of Pakkala’s on Deuteronomy 13 (see above); in fact, Rüterwörden’s short discussion of the process whereby “the texts from Deuteronomy could be significantly younger [than the VTE]” (p. 237, my translation) serves to bolster Pakkala’s rejection of Otto’s pre-exilic dating of Deuteronomy from my criticism above.[27] Nonetheless, the same criticism applies here: while it is not inconceivable that the treaty conventions of the Iron Age remained in circulation, all the cognate texts from which Rüterswörden draws parallels to Deut 6:5 are 8th- and 7th c. documents. Thus, it is this position dating Deuteronomy to the 6th c. that requires further elaboration and defense, rather than the more classical model dating the book to the 7th c. One must account for the process of transmission whereby the treaty conventions of a bygone era were preserved institutionally without either reference to an antecedent text or texts or reliance on a common structuring tradition, which, for all intents and purposes, seems to be on the decline by the supposed date of Deuteronomy’s composition in this model.

(12) In his second offering in the book, Juha Pakkala examines “Die Entwicklung der Gotteskonzeptionen in den deuteronomistischen Redaktionen von polytheistischen zu monotheistischen Vorstellungen” (pp. 239-48). Drawing from his own 1999 monograph entitled Intolerant Monolatry in the Deuteronomistic History,[28] Pakkala highlights stages in the development of the pure monotheism attested in, for example, 2 Chronicles 6. The earliest reconstructed stage, found during the monarchic period, Pakkala terms “tolerant monolatry”: polytheism in which sole worship of Israel’s god YHWH is desirable, but without explicit condemnation of “other gods” (pp. 239-41). Such condemnation arises as a result of the loss of the temple and the ensuing need for communal identity-formation (pp. 241-43), both central concerns of DtrN. It is to this Deuteronomistic redactor that the portions of the Deuteronomistic History most intolerant of the “other gods” are attributed (p. 242). By the 5th c., then, this nomistic intolerance had undergone a significant transformation, in that it acquired a purely monotheistic outlook (e.g., Deut 4:32-40; 7:7-11; 2 Sam 7:22-29; 1 Kgs 8:54-66; 18:21-40; see p. 243), usually accented with a nationalism heretofore not in evidence in nomistic writings, usually couched in terms of aniconism (pp. 243-45). Although these two aspects of late-exilic and post-exilic Israelite religion—monotheism and aniconism—are conflate in Deutero-Isaiah, Pakkala considers that prophet’s theology derived from a slightly different stream of tradition from the late nomistic point of view, lacking as it is the nomistic emphasis of the late Deuteronomistic movement (p. 246). But the concurrence of both late-nomistic Deuteronomism and Deutero-Isaian theology on these two prominent aspects of late- and post-exilic thought signals for Pakkala a common origin of the development: the destruction of the temple and of YHWH’s cultic image inside it (p. 245). The inefficacy of the image’s presence to protect YHWH’s people from destruction—much less defend itself from depredation—occasioned a rethinking of the divine locus, according to Pakkala (pp. 245-47).

Pakkala has adduced many salient points worthy of further consideration and assent. Yet one component of his argument requiring further justification is the assumption that the iconoclastic impulse of post-exilic Judean religion was coeval only with the destruction of the temple. In fact, there are indications that the pre-exilic Temple-based religion of monarchic Judah had already begun to eschew anthropomorphism as a legitimate expression of Yahwistic devotion.[29] Moreover, the well-known case of the Hezekian-era appearance in Judah of the winged sun-disk as a cultic representation of the divine presence may testify to the earliest anti-anthropomorphic—if not entirely iconoclastic—impulses of Judah’s Temple-based religion. Oddly, the clandestine reference to this icon in Mal 3:20 (Eng. 4:2-NSRV: “the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings”) testifies to its ongoing conceptual currency in post-exilic Judah, suggesting that Pakkala’s developmental schema may be a somewhat flat representation of the complexity and polymorphous nature of pre-exilic, exilic, and post-exilic Judahite religious expression.

(13) The preceding criticism of Pakkala’s chapter bears much in common with that of Christian Frevel, found in his chapter “Wovon reden die Deuteronomisten? Anmerkungen zu religionsgeschichtlichem Gehalt, Fiktionalität und literarischen Funktionen deuteronomistischer Kultnotizen” (pp. 249-77). This chapter focuses on the development (and decay) of methodological rigor concerning the dating of Deuteronomistic passages in recent German scholarship, particularly passages dealing with the monotheistic impulse. After a brief introduction (pp. 249-50) and a short history of developments in German-speaking scholarship (pp. 250-58), Frevel deals with two examples of the latest stage of his reconstructed development, Martin Beck’s Elia und die Monolatrie and Juha Pakkala’s Intolerant Monolatry in the Deuteronomistic History (pp. 258-61).[30] Insofar as both monographs locate the prohibition of worshipping other gods in the exilic or post-exilic periods, subsuming all associated passages into late strata of the text and simultaneously denying the historical referentiality of texts purporting to eschew the polytheism found during the pre-exilic period, they participate in the latest stage of scholarly discourse. In a second section of the essay (pp. 261-67), Frevel argues cogently that the recent late-dating of the Deuteronomistic demands of YHWH’s exclusivity simply does not fit the facts on the ground. Archaeological study suggests a limited polytheism obtained until the 7th c., with increasing monolatrization of the Judahite religion. Archaeologically speaking, we cannot reasonably find after the restoration any significant degree of polytheistic practice in Judea, against which the late-daters’ nomistic Deuteronomists were supposedly arguing (pp. 265-67). Finally, a third section provides five methodological principles requiring institution in order to date the advent of monotheism—and the corresponding diatribes against “other gods”—in Judahite religion more accurately: (1) Although it is necessary to maintain the practice of a relative dating of texts (e.g., primary, secondary, etc.), the dating must coincide with the results of extra-biblical evidence (pp. 267-68). (2) We must reevaluate the process whereby linguistic data appearing in obviously late texts are all, without differentiation, assigned to a late period. This process disregards the possibility of the appropriation and reapplication of earlier terms and phrases, thereby homogenizing a potentially diachronic theological development and artificially shoving all occurrences of such diachronically-expressed development into a synchronic framework dated to the latest usage of the linguistic datum (pp. 268-69). (3) The late provenance of any given text cannot automatically signal artificiality and fictivity; rather, criteria such as plausibility, specificity, and convergence with material data must be applied (pp. 269-72). (4) The late-daters’ assumptions concerning the historicity and thoroughness of the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah are subject to debate, and require further substantiation before they may be used as criteria for dating texts (pp. 272-73). (5) Finally, the monolithic nature of monotheizing passages assumed by late-daters can be shown to crumble upon closer inspection. The vast variety of aniconic or anti-foreign theological expressions contradicts any simplistic subsumption of such expressions into a single polemical movement (pp. 273-76). The literary history of the Deuteronomistic History is much more complex than recent German scholarship allows (pp. 276-77).

Frevel’s essay is incredibly important as a methodological handbook for future investigations of the development of the Deuteronomistic History, especially as it confronts the recent trends of (primarily) Germanic scholarship focused (primarily) at Göttingen and its proxies. In my opinion, Anglophone scholarship has appeared, as of late, either cowed by or completely disinterested in engaging the very real concerns posed by advocates of the new Göttingen position; often this disinterest is expressed negatively in the criticism of “German insularity” or the like.[31] While Frevel’s essay provides a clarion call for further methodological reflection on the textuality of the Deuteronomistic polemic, my comments here should not be taken as a claim that it can only support the position of Anglo-American scholarship. In fact, Anglo-American scholarship’s smug disparagement of “German insularity” fails to reckon with its own decade-long, widespread stagnation of serious text-compositional engagement with which Continental scholars have continued to grapple in the interim. Frevel’s offering in this volume has as much to (re-)teach Americans about the importance of attending to redaction-critical issues as it does to restrain overzealous attempts at late-dating every monotheistic impulse recorded in the Bible.

(14) The frequently cited comparison between Deuteronomy and ancient Near Eastern vassal treaties lies in the background of Gary Beckman’s examination of “Hittite Treaties and the Development of Cuneiform Treaty Tradition” (pp. 279-301). In this essay, Beckman has catalogued the extant ancient Near Eastern treaties (including the one non-cuneiform exemplar from Sefire), and traced their continuities and divergences through the three millennia bce from which records have been kept. The bulk of the essay itself (pp. 281-291) is a rather straightforward description of vassal and parity treaties from the second millennium bce, with a focus on the Hittite treaties in particular. While biblical specialists will no doubt recognize several aspects of these treaties (e.g., the employment of familial terminology to indicate the various parties bound by the treaty, along with structure of the documents themselves), Beckman’s specialization in and consequent knowledge of Hittite literature (both the primary [Hittite] texts and the associated [non-Hittite!] secondary literature) allows for an engagement with those texts that is unavailable to most modern biblical scholars. A briefer sketch of the non-Hittite cuneiform treaty documentation follows (pp. 291-98). Finally, a list of all extant treaties appears in an appendix (pp. 299-301), for which Beckman has provided references to translations in notes throughout the text.

Of the variety of observations made in the essay, perhaps the most important in the context of a collection focused on the re-examination of supposedly “established” theories about the Deuteronomistic History is that point, made in a note (p. 284 n. 25), that the Hittite treaties do not display as much structural uniformity as was initially suggested by V. Korošec in 1931, whose reading has influenced most discussions of Deuteronomy’s structure in biblical studies since its adoption by Mendenhall and McCarthy.[32] However, the challenge posed by this remark to reified positions on the antiquity of the covenant tradition is mitigated somewhat with the admission at the end of the essay that “A striking peculiarity of the Hittite documents … is the routine presence of a substantial historical prologue, a feature seldom found elsewhere,” and Beckman’s associated protestation of experiencing some reticence to engage in the debate over the antiquity of the covenant tradition (p. 298). Another point of interest—especially in light of Carr’s essay on orality and literacy—on which Beckman’s essay touches is the function served by the written documents themselves: one of the documents envisions “public reading” as its mode of distribution (p. 293); others imply that the physical document—contrary to today’s customs in which it is the signed contract that is binding—is merely an aide to the performance of the treaty ceremony, which constitutes the binding part of the treaty (p. 295); others served as drafts or examination copies of a treaty still under consideration for ratification (p. 295).

(15) The uniformity of Hittite treaty conventions remains at stake in the following essay, “Die hethitische Vertragstradition in Syrien (14.-12. Jh. v. Chr.),” by Lorenzo d’Alfonso (pp. 303-29). After a brief discussion of a document found at Ugarit (RS 34.165), suggesting that the Middle Assyrian court had not only letter-based diplomatic contact, but also some sort of direct treaty-contact with the Hittite Empire of the 13th c. (pp. 303-8), d’Alfonso examines the extant treaties to which the Hittite king was one of the signatories, and a Syrian king of a subordinate kingdom the other (pp. 308-10). While the slim majority of these treaties (seven of twelve) indicate the classically-construed sovereign-vassal relationship obtained, with the Hittite king invariably in the position of the sovereign (pp. 310-19), there exist as well five so-called “(pseudo-/semi-) parity” treaties. This latter group displays the conventions of the more widely-known parity treaties between the Hittite court and partners of equal stature, such as Egypt, while at the same time giving indications that the “parity” status of the non-Hittite signatory was only nominal (pp. 319-25). These indications may take the form, for example, of the language of original composition (Hittite, rather than Akkadian), but all subtly posit the supremacy of the Hittite king over the other signatory. This deviation from the norm on the part of the Hittites is remarkable, but plausibly explained as a concession made either for the benefit of the vassal king in order to shore up his authority within his own polity (e.g., CTH 51 and 52), for a family member placed in a position of power over the subjected territory (CTH 50, 75, 122), or in order to propagate the legal fiction of the subject territory’s continued preeminence in the region, even after its fall from grace (as was the case with the formerly great kingdom of Aleppo, CTH 75). Alfonso then demonstrates that 13th c. treaties between Carchemish and Ugarit display a number of retained Hittite conventions (e.g., RS 17.130, 146, etc.; pp. 325-27). This situation leads to the conclusion that exemplars of the Hittite treaty tradition—and, along with them, their conventions—may have been preserved in the court depositories of the Late Bronze Age Syria, and thus may have endured into the Iron Age as relics from which later treaties would have drawn inspiration (pp. 328-29). Despite its tenuous thematic connection with most of the book’s earlier essays, this article tentatively (and somewhat clandestinely) provides a hypothetical mechanism whereby Hittite treaty conventions remained current in the Syro-Palestine of the Iron Age, long after the political disappearance of their originators.

(16) In concordance with Frevel’s methodological insights, examined earlier, Hans Ulrich Steymans has attempted to trace whether knowledge of the VTE may, in fact, have occurred as early as the 7th c. in Judah. This essay therefore responds to Pakkala’s argument concerning Deuteronomy 13 above, presumably without having known directly of Pakkala’s essay at the time of composition. In “Die literarische und historische Bedeutung der Thronfolgevereidigungen Asarhaddons” (pp. 331-49), Steymans examines several socio-historical aspects of the oath taken by Esarhaddon’s vassals, and questions whether Manasseh of Judah may not have been fulfilling exactly those oaths. A brief review of earlier interpretations of the VTE (pp. 331-34) leads directly into the meat of the chapter. The extant exemplars of the VTE, found in Kalu, demonstrate the eastern origins of the vassals bound by the oath (pp. 334-36). Contrary to some previous readings, however, this identification of the group under oath (i.e., Medes, or, more broadly construed, rulers of polities in the Zagros mountains) cannot be taken as the only reading of these tablets, which comprise the only known exemplars of the VTE. Steymans points to indications in a letter from Itti-Šamaš-bala u (SAA 16 126; CT 53 148) alluding to the curses of the VTE in a slightly variant form. Although it is possible that Itti-Šamaš-balau was alluding to a different loyalty oath, the fact that each exemplar of the VTE was drawn from an original template, but composed specifically for one person or polity, may mitigate the force of any counter-arguments (pp. 337-40). An examination of the addressees of the oath formulae (pp. 340-44) demonstrates that the signatories were primarily petty monarchs of small polities or social groups whose subjects were also then bound to the terms of the oath (p. 343). The tribute levied from these subjects included both material and non-material goods (such as labor, conscription services, etc.). In turn, Steymans points to a few Assyrian documents (e.g., SAA 16 63:27-r.11) claiming to have enlisted the services of Manasseh’s subjects in precisely those endeavors required of those bound by the VTE (pp. 344-49). One of the most important conclusions reached in this essay, a conclusion Steymans has published elsewhere previously, [33] is that Kalu was the central gathering place of the tribute levied from the eastern kings (pp. 343-44), whereas tribute from Palestine was evidently brought directly to Nineveh (p. 345). By implication, then, the preservation of the VTE only in exemplars binding kings of the Zagros Mountains is a function of coincidence: the archives at Kalu would only have contained precisely those adê records of eastern kings. It should not come as a surprise, then, that the extant exemplars of the VTE do not include western kings, whose documentation would presumably have been kept at Nineveh.

Because of this article’s use of Assyrian data, in concordance with the method outlined earlier by Frevel, the inferences drawn here are strongly suggestive of Judahite familiarity with the VTE in the 7th c., even if that text did not serve as the only model upon which certain passages of Deuteronomy were constructed. This is one instance in which the arrangement of this volume by conference (see introduction to review) hampers—rather than facilitates—the dialogue engendered by the many essays. A closer juxtaposition of Pakkala’s essay to Steymans’s may have more clearly stressed the issues at stake, while underlining the various approaches to solving them.

(17) Karen Radner’s contribution, “Assyrische ṭuppi adê als Vorbild für Deuteronomium 28,20–44?” (pp. 351–78), coincides to a large extent with the proposals of Steymans. She begins her study with a thorough discussion of the institution of the “vassal treaty” in Assyrian political history, tracing its instantiations from the 13th c. (when it still went under the terminology of the māmītu or rikištu/rikiltu, etc.) until the Neo-Assyrian period (esp. the 8th c.), when it first acquired the moniker adê (“oath”), purportedly under the influence of Aramaic, although a contemporary Babylonian usage may argue against this Northwest Semitic derivation, argues Radner (pp. 351-57). Radner provides a concise but careful overview of the institution of the adê, with attention paid equally to the authority to whom the oath was sworn (nearly invariably the king or his proxy, with only a few examples of oaths demanded by those whom Radner considers to have been arrogating the powers of the king; pp. 358-60) and to the identity of those subjects and vassals taking the oath (pp. 360-64). Two significant observations follow from the examination of the latter group. First, as Steymans argues above, there are indications in the cuneiform record that certain officials had at hand copies of their adê-tablets that could be cited when the official needed to make explicit his loyalty to the king (p. 362). Second, Radner finds evidence demonstrating the presence of an Assyrian official installed in the court of the (subjugated) King of Tyre; if this datum could be extrapolated to other principalities, then there were two members of every vassal-polity’s court—the native king and an Assyrian official (qēpu)—who were under the adê-oath to the Assyrian monarch (p. 364). In a short section of her essay, Radner examines a significant chronological datum, stressing the repetitive nature of oath-taking not only at the time of a subject’s entry into vassalage, but also at the time of the naming and accession of a new king (pp. 365-67); this circumstance has additional ramifications below. In the last third of the essay, Radner works to establish a typology of the adê tablets themselves. Those exemplars of the VTE found broken in the Nabû-Temple in Kalu were—uncharacteristically for cuneiform scribal culture—written such that both sides of the tablet could be read when the tablet was placed on its lower edge (normally, one flips the tablet vertically, so that the reverse would be written upside-down if the tablet were stood on the lower edge; p. 367). In accordance with Steymans’s conclusions (see above), Radner suggests that these tablets must have been stored nearby, although some cuneiform literature attests to the transfer and public display of important documents (pp. 367-71). The implication is, of course, that these tablets were public display copies placed in the Nabû-temple as mementos of the eastern vassal-kings’ entry into or renewal of their commitment to Assyrian service. Other adê tablets, without the impressions of official seals, do not display the idiosyncrasies of arrangement evident in the VTE exemplars; Radner plausibly reconstructs these as archival copies (or drafts), not intended for public display (pp. 371-73). In theory, a third set of documents may have been sent home with the vassals for continued reference (pp. 373-74). Although Radner does not make this point as strongly as the foregoing ones, it does allow her to posit the possibility of the presence in 7th c. Jerusalem of a tablet containing the VTE or any number of similar adê-oaths sworn at the time of Esarhaddon’s naming, his succession, his designation of Ashurbanipal, etc. (pp. 374-75). Finally, Radner rightfully pulls back from declaring the VTE the only exemplar after which Deut 28:20-44 was composed (p. 375), but the point is well-made: given both the demonstrably wide-spread presence in the Levant of people under loyalty oath to the Assyrian king and the likely distribution of archival adê-tablets (somewhat like receipts), the coincidence of the ordering of five curses in Deuteronomy 28 and the VTE loses its appearance of coincidence (so to speak). That is to say, plausibility dictates that the VTE or its congeners were available in 7th c. Jerusalem to serve as models for the divine vassalage laid upon the people Israel in Deuteronomy.

(18) The final chapter in the book, Christoph Koch’s “Zwischen Hatti und Assur: Traditionsgeschichtliche Beobachtungen zu den aramäischen Inschriften von Sfire” (pp. 379-406), seeks to describe with some degree of precision the placement of the Aramean treaty-tradition (exemplified by the Sefire texts) between the Hittite and Mesopotamian models from which it clearly draws. As the title of the essay suggests, this location “between Hatti and Assyria” is not merely geographical, but tradition-historical as well (p. 380). After brief introductions to the problem at hand (pp. 379-81) and to the Sefire treaty in general (pp. 381-83), Koch begins his comparison of the structure and motifs of the Sefire text to the treaty texts of Hatti and Assyria. While the preamble and list of deities bear structural parallels to the Mesopotamian tradition, the Sefire text exhibits a few lexical similarities in the preamble with the Hittite tradition (e.g., use of the root nṣr), not to mention several points of tangency to the deity lists of Hittite treaties (pp. 383-91). Most important for Koch’s thesis of the hybridity exemplified by the Sefire text are the formulaic usages of two distinct types of curses. Besides the “simple curses” (einfache Flüche), which appear ubiquitously in treaty texts throughout the ancient Near East and are thus not diagnostic, Sefire contains “futility curses” (in German, Nichtigkeitsflüche) and “comparison curses” (Vergleichsflüche). Futility curses are known elsewhere in Mesopotamian documentation, but only after the beginning of the 8th c. (pp. 391-97). A comparison of the Akkadian and Aramaic texts of the Tell Fekheriye stele (second half of the 9th c.) demonstrates the Mesopotamian unfamiliarity with the genre (p. 393-95), and allows Koch to reconstruct an origin of the Gattung in Hittite mythology (pp. 395-97). Comparison curses, in which the predicted or invoked punishment of the treaty-breaker is likened to a ceremonial act (e.g., the burning of a wax figurine or the dismemberment of a sacrificial animal), are similarly taken to be secondary to the Mesopotamian treaty tradition (pp. 397-400). Koch concludes that, while the Sefire treaty exhibits a number of quintessentially Mesopotamian traditions mediated directly by Assyrian influence (and possibly intervention), it also displays a number of features apparently derived from indirect Hittite influence. These features, however, are not exactly Hittite in origin, but may have entered the Syrian political milieu via the continuation of late-Hittite cultural hold-overs in Hittite scion-states such as Carchemish and Aleppo. This cultural “mixing” (Koch uses the terms Verschmelzen [p. 391] and Traditionsvermischung [p. 406]) is indicative—and therefore diagnostic—of the particularly Aramean quality of the traditions embodied by the Sefire text. While I would have appreciated the presentation of a bit more evidence in support of the distinctiveness of this “Aramean” treaty tradition, Koch’s essay is suggestive of the new directions permitted by the relatively recent development and acceptance of theoretical approaches such as post-colonialism (as my use of the term “hybridity” above is meant to imply).

Although Koch’s essay provides a fitting theoretical and methodological end to this exciting and challenging book, one of the volume’s most useful aspects to both neophyte and advanced students of the Deuteronomistic History (or, in keeping with the book’s implications: Deuteronomistic Histories) is sure to be the extensive, but not quite exhaustive, [34] bibliography covering the following categories: (§1) reviews of secondary literature and the field as a whole (pp. 407-9), (§2) methodological and literary discussions (pp. 409-10), (§3) older monographs and articles on the Deuteronomistic History (pp. 411-12), (§4) newer redaction-critical studies of the same corpus (pp. 413-15), (§5) monographs dedicated to individual broadly-construed “Deuteronomistic” books, including Genesis-Numbers (pp. 415-22), (§6) studies on historiography in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East (pp. 422-24), (§7) the history of Israelite and Judahite religion (pp. 424-27), and (§8) ancient Near Eastern and biblical treaty and covenant traditions (pp. 427-28).

Jeremy M Hutton, Princeton, New Jersey

[1] David M. Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). reference

[2] In a conversation subsequent to my reading of this article, Professor Carr indicated to me that he has “pulled back a bit” on the claim that the synoptic texts of Chronicles and Samuel-Kings represent the maximal extent of the Vorlage known by each, and that he now espouses a slightly more moderate claim that the Chronicler knew a slightly fuller Vorlage (personal communication, Nov. 19, 2008). reference

[3] E.g., Steven McKenzie, The Chronicler’s Use of the Deuteronomistic History (HSM 33; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1984); A. Graeme Auld, “Prophets Through the Looking Glass,” JSOT (1983): 3-23. reference

[4] Baruch Halpern, “Sacred History and Ideology: Chronicles’ Thematic Structure-Indications of an Earlier Source,” in The Creation of Sacred Literature: Composition and Redaction of the Biblical Text (ed. R. E. Friedman; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981): 35-54; Baruch Halpern and David S. Vanderhooft, “The Editions of Kings in the 7th-6th Centuries BCE,” HUCA 62 (1991): 179-244, esp. 237-38. reference

[5] Abraham Kuenen, Het onstaan van de Historische Boeken des Ouden Verbonds (vol. 1 of Historisch-kritisch onderzoek naar het ontstaan en de verzameling van de boeken des Ouden Verbonds; 3 vols.; Leiden: Engels, 1861), 249-82. reference

[6] Martin Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (trans. J. A. Clines et al.; JSOTSup 15; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981; repr., Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001); trans. of Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien (2d ed.; Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1957), 1-110. reference

[7] Cf., however, his Erzväter und Exodus: Untersuchung zur doppelten Begründung der Ursprünge Israels innerhalb der Geschichtsbücher des Alten Testaments (WMANT 81; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1999). reference

[8] Frank M. Cross, “The Themes of the Book of Kings and the Structure of the Deuteronomistic History,” in idem, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973), 274-89; originally published as “The Structure of the Deuteronomistic History,” in Perspectives in Jewish Learning (Annual of the College of Jewish Studies 3; Chicago: College of Jewish Studies, 1968), 9-24; Richard D. Nelson, The Double Redaction of the Deuteronomistic History (JSOTSup 18; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981); Richard E. Friedman, The Exile and Biblical Narrative: The Formation of the Deuteronomic and Priestly Works (HSM 22; Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1981); Baruch Halpern, The Constitution of the Monarchy in Israel (HSM 25; Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1981); Steven L. McKenzie, The Chronicler’s Use of the Deuteronomistic History (HSM 33; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1984). reference

[9] E.g., Helga Weippert, “Die ‘deuteronomistischen’ Beurteilungen der Könige von Israel und Juda und das Problem der Redaktion der Königsbücher,” Bib 53 (1972): 301-39; W. Boyd Barrick, “On the Removal of the ‘High Places’ in 1-2 Kings,” Bib 55 (1974): 257-59; see also Antony F. Campbell, Of Prophets and Kings: A Late Ninth-Century Document (1 Samuel 1-2 Kings 10) (CBQMS 17; Washington DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1986), 169-87; Ansgar Moenikes, “Zur Redaktionsgeschichte des sogenannten Deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerks,” ZAW 104 (1992): 333-48; Halpern and Vanderhooft, “Editions of Kings,” 179-244. reference

[10] The four studies treated here are: Hermann Spieckermann, Juda und Assur in der Sargonidenzeit (FRLANT 129; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982); Christoph Levin, “Joschija im deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk,” ZAW 96 (1984): 351-71; Reinhard G. Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden Bücher des Alten Testaments (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000); published in English as The Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament (trans. J. Bowden; London: T&T Clark, 2005); and Erik Aurelius, Zukunft jenseits des Gerichts: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie zum Enneateuch (BZAW 319; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003). For other well known studies from the Smend school, see Walter Dietrich, Prophetie und Geschichte: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk (FRLANT 108; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1972); Timo Veijola, Die Ewige Dynastie: David und die Entstehung seiner Dynastie nach der deuteronomistischen Darstellung (AASF B 193; Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1975); idem, Das Königtum in der Beurteilung der deuteronomistischen Historiographie: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung (AASF B 198; Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1977); Rainer Stahl, “Aspekte der Geschichte deuteronomistischer Theologie: Zur Traditionsgeschichte der Terminologie und zur Redaktionsgeschichte der Redekompositionen” (Ph.D. diss.; Jena, 1982), reviewed in TLZ 108 (1983): 74-76. reference

[11] Thomas Römer; The So-called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical, and Literary Introduction (London: T & T Clark, 2005). reference

[12] Norbert Lohfink, “Prolegomena zu einer Rechtshermeneutik des Pentateuch,” in Das Deuteronomium (ed. G. Braulik; öBS 23; Frankfurt a. M.: Lang, 2003), 11-56. reference

[13] Eckart Otto, “Treueid und Gesetz: Die Ursprünge des Deuteronomiums im Horizont neuassyrischen Vertragsrechts,” ZAR 2 (1996): 1-52. reference

[14] Timo Veijola, Das 5. Buch Mose: Deuteronomium (ATD 8.1; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004). reference

[15] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire (rev. ed.; BibOr 19/A; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1995), esp. 19. reference

[16] Aharon Kempinksi and Silvin Košak, “Der Išmeriga-Vertrag,” WO 5 (1970), 191-217, esp. 212-17. reference

[17] Ludwig Schmidt, Menschlicher Erfolg und Jahwes Initiative: Studien zu Tradition, Interpretation und Historie in Überlieferungen von Gideon, Saul und David (WMANT 38; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1970), 67-68, esp. 68. reference

[18] Ernst Würthwein, “Erwägungen zum sog. deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk: Eine Skizze,” in Studien zum deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk (BZAW 227; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1994), 1-11. reference

[19] Fischer cites Schmidt, Menschlicher Erfolg; Peter Mommer, Samuel: Geschichte und Überlieferung (WMANT 65; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1991); J. Vermeylen, La loi du plus fort: Histoire de la redaction des récits davidiques de 1 Samuel 8 à 1 Rois 2 (BETL 154; Leuven: University Press and Peeters, 2000); Antony F. Campbell, 1 Samuel (FOTL 7; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003); David Wagner, Geist und Tora: Studien zur göttlichen Legitimation und Delegitimation von Herrschaft im Alten Testament anhand der Erzählungen Über König Saul (ABG 15; Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2005). Similar divisions between the original narrative and at least one later layer are common; see Wolfgang Richter, Die sogenannten vorprophetischen Berufungsberichte: Eine literaturwissenschaftliche Studie zu 1 Sam 9,1-10,16, Ex 3f. und Ri 6,11b-17 (FRLANT 101; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970); Bruce C. Birch, The Rise of the Israelite Monarchy: The Growth and Development of 1 Samuel 7-15 (SBLDS 27; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1976); Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, King and Messiah: The Civil and Sacral Legitimation of the Israelite Kings (ConBOT 8; Lund: Gleerup, 1976); Campbell, Of Prophets and Kings; Christophe Nihan, “Du voyant au prophète: Royauté et divination en Israël selon 1 Samuel 9,1-10,16,” Foi & Vie 38 (1999): 7-25. reference

[20] In an odd kind of communal pact, scholars since Wellhausen have used this phrase or a very similar one without citation of the original; only a few authentic reformulations have been made. The earliest attestation I have found is Julius Wellhausen’s Prolegomena to the History of Israel (trans. J. S. Black and A. Menzies, with a preface by W. Robertson Smith; 1885; repr., with a foreword by Douglas A. Knight; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994), 252 (“Saul seeks the asses and finds the crown”), but the description could naturally go back much further. reference

[21] Jeremy M. Hutton, The Transjordanian Palimpsest: The Overwritten Texts of Personal Exile and Transformation in the Deuteronomistic History (BZAW 396; Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2009), 289-363. reference

[22] Reinhard G. Kratz, The Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament (trans. J. Bowden; London: T&T Clark, 2005), 175-76; translation of Die Komposition der erzählenden Bücher des Alten Testaments (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000); Erik Aurelius, “David’s Unschuld: Die Hofgeschichte und Psalm 7,” in Gott und Mensch im Dialog: Festschrift für Otto Kaiser zum 80. Geburtstag (ed. M. Witte; BZAW 345; 2 vols.; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004), 1:391-412; Alexander A. Fischer, “Flucht und Heimkehr Davids als integraler Rahmen der Abschalomerzählung,” in Ideales Königtum: Studien zu David und Salomo (ed. R. Lux; ABG 16; Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2005), 43-69. reference

[23] Harry A. Hoffner, “Propaganda and Political Justification in Hittite Historiography,” in Unity and Diversity: Essays in the History, Literature, and Religion of the Ancient Near East (ed. H. Goedicke and J. J. M. Roberts; JHNES; Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), 49-62. reference

[24] For further discussion, see especially François Langlamet, “David et la Maison de Saül: Les épisodes ‘benjaminites’ de II Sam. ix; xvi, 1-14; xix, 17-31; 1 Rois ii, 36-46,” parts 1-5; RB 86 (1979): 194-213, 385-436, 481-513; 87 (1980): 161-210; 88 (1981): 321-22; and, recently, my Transjordanian Palimpsest, 176-227. reference

[25] A few obvious infelicities in spelling, both in Hebrew (e.g., יה for זה twice on p. 217) and in English (e.g., “Inscritions,” p. 219) are most likely to be accounted to Professor Parker’s premature death—and the corresponding missed opportunity to check galleys?—before the publication of the volume. reference

[26] See, e.g., Tomoo Ishida, “‘Solomon Who is Greater than David’: Solomon’s Succession in 1 Kings i-ii in the Light of the Inscription of Kilamuwa, King of YʾDY-Śamʾal,” in Congress Volume: Salamanca, 1983 (ed. J. A. Emerton; VTSup 36; Leiden: Brill, 1985), 145-53; repr. in idem, History and Historical Writing in Ancient Israel: Studies in Biblical Historiography (SHCANE 16; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 166-74; idem, “Solomon’s Succession to the Throne of David—A Political Analysis,” in Studies in the Period of David and Solomon and Other Essays (ed. T. Ishida; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1982), 175-87; revised and repr. as part of “Solomon’s Succession to the Throne of David,” in idem, History and Historical Writing, 102-36; idem, “The Succession Narrative and Esarhaddon’s Apology: A Comparison,” in Ah, Assyria…: Studies in Assyrian History and Ancient Near Eastern Historiography Presented to Hayim Tadmor (ed. M. Cogan and I. Ephal; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1991), 166-73; repr. in idem, History and Historical Writing, 175-85; see also P. Kyle McCarter, “The Apology of David,” JBL 99 (1980): 489-504; repr. in Reconsidering Israel and Judah: Recent Studies on the Deuteronomistic History (ed. G. N. Knoppers and J. G. McConville; SBTS 8; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2000), 260-75. reference

[27] The two essays may have proven more compelling had the editors placed them in juxtaposition to one another on the basis of common themes, rather than divorced them from one another because of divergent organizing principles (i.e., Pakkala’s text-based approach over against Rüterswörden’s thematic approach). reference

[28] Juha Pakkala, Intolerant Monolatry in the Deuteronomistic History (SESJ 76; Helsinki: Finnish Exegetical Society; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999). reference

[29] E.g., Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel (trans. T. H. Trapp; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998), 354-72. reference

[30] Martin Beck, Elia und die Monolatrie: Ein Beitrag zur religionsgeschichtlichen Rückfrage nach dem vorprophetischen Jahwe-Glauben (BZAW 281; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999); Pakkala, Intolerant Monolatry. reference

[31] See, for example, the recent review of Alexander Achilles Fischer’s Von Hebron nach Jerusalem: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie zur Erzählung von König David in II Sam 1-5 (BZAW 335; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004) by Mark W. Hamilton in RBL 10 (2004), accessed online at “Proving that the notorious insularity of German scholarship can be breached, Fischer has…” (my emphasis). reference

[32] George E. Mendenhall, “Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East,” BA 17 (Pittsburgh: Biblical Colloquium, 1954); Dennis J. McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant: A Study in Form in the Ancient Oriental Documents and the Old Testament (AnBib 21; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1963). reference

[33] Hans Ulrich Steymans, “Die neuassyrische Vertragsrhetorik der ‘Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon’ und das Deuteronomium,” in Das Deuteronomium (ed. G. Braulik; ÖBS 23; Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 2003), 89-152, esp. 96 (pointed out by Radner, in the following essay). reference

[34] I cannot help but notice the omission of Antony F. Campbell’s Of Prophets and Kings from the list of redaction-critical works on Samuel-Kings (§5.5). reference