Background information

Deuteronomy”  derives from the LXX mistranslation of a phrase in 17:18.The King was to prepare “ a copy f this law”. The phrase was rendered in Greek as to deuteronomion touto,(lit the second law) which became Deuteronomium in the Vulgate,Jerome’s 4th  cent  Lat. Translation of the Bible.

The contents of the book were regarded as a second law, the first having been given on mount Horeb(Sinai) and the second( more or less repition of the first) on the plains of Moab.

The book of Deuteronomy is one of the most Influential books of the Old Testament. Apart from the Psalms it is the Old Testament book most  quoted in the New Testament.(almost 200 quotes or allusions).Jesus quoted art of the Shema  as a summary of both legal and prophetic teachings.(Mt 22:37:Mk 12:30;cf Lk 10:27).

The Gospels also record that Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy in repulsing the three temptations.(Mt4:1-10):Lk4:1-13 from Dt 8;3,6:13,16).Deuteronomy provided the theological foundation for what is called the Deuteronomic History of Israel of the books of Joshua,Judges,Samuel and Kings.

It is thought to have had a considerable influence on Jeremiah, Hosea,Chronicles,Ezra and Nehemiah. The Deutronomists had a profound effect on early Judaism. This book is quite complex and has a number of later additions.However,there is a basic covenant structure underlying its compositon.This follows very closely the ancient Near Eastern treaties. The general tone is one of exhortation to be faithful to the covenant.

 Deuteronomy is written in the form of  a lat testament. The past is recalled to shape the future. Moses goes on to alert his people about the country towards which they are heading. They will meet people who worship other gods.remebering God who has saved the from Egypt,the Israelites should not go after these other gods but remain faithful to their own. The book therefore has an oral style or a preaching tone. The author narrates, appeals, warns, repeats, encourages to drive home his points.

Traditionally, the authorship of Deuteronomy has been attributed to Moses the Lawgiver and prophet although the book never makes such a claim. It is obvious even from a superficial reading that parts of it came from another source. The book was composed to provide a renewed constitution for the chosen people of god when they were in exile and hoping to regain their land once more.


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