Reassessing The Origins Of Deuteronomic Prophecy: Early Moses Traditions In Deuteronomy 18:15-22 -- By: J. D. Atkins

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 23:3 (NA 2013)
Article: Reassessing The Origins Of Deuteronomic Prophecy: Early Moses Traditions In Deuteronomy 18:15-22
Author: J. D. Atkins


Reassessing The Origins Of Deuteronomic Prophecy:
Early Moses Traditions In Deuteronomy 18:15-22

J. D. Atkins

Marquette University

The prophet like Moses in Deut 18:15-18 and the test of the false prophet in Deut 18:21-22 are often judged to be exilic (or postexilic) insertions that retrospectively redefine prophecy in response to a crisis in prophecy that arose during the final years of the Judean monarchy. Against this standard critical reconstruction, this article argues that the ideas recorded in Deut 18:15-22 are rooted in earlier traditions about Moses and prophecy, and therefore, that the passage is better characterized as a compilation and formalization of early traditions than as a late innovation or redefinition of prophecy. Arguments for a preexilic date of composition are also proposed.

Key Words: prophet like Moses, true and false prophecy, Num 11-12, Num 16:28-32, Deut 18:15-22, Deut 34:10-12, Jer 1:7-9, Jer 28:8-9, Hos 12:14.

Introduction

The traditions about prophecy in Deut 18:15-22 have often been characterized as a response to a “crisis” in prophecy that came to a head during the final days of the Judean monarchy, a crisis that prompted the author or authors of this material to look back on the history of Israel and retrospectively “redefine” prophecy as “a way of continuing the work of Moses throughout history.”1 As a corollary to this standard critical theory, many consider

the traditions of Deut 18:15-22 to be exilic or even postexilic additions to an original, preexilic core of Deuteronomy.2 Such lines of interpretation are usually based on some combination of the following suppositions: first, that Moses was not understood to be a prophet until the ministry of the 8th-century prophet Hosea, on whose preaching Deut 18:15-18 may be dependent;3 second, that Deut 18:18 is dependent on Jer 1:7 and 1:9; 4 third, that the test of the false prophet...

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