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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

History of Research.

From patristic times onwards there was always a tradition that Deuteronomy was somehow related to the ‘book of the law’ (sēp̠er hattôrâ) which, according to 2 Kings 22:1–23:25 , was found in the Jerusalem temple during the reign of Josiah in the late seventh century BCE (e.g. Jerome, CChr.SL 75.5). T. Hobbes, in his Leviathan (1651, chs. 33, 42 ), explicitly identified that law code with Deut 12–26 and emphasized that, in his opinion, it had been written by Moses. One hundred and fifty years later (1805–6), W. M. L. de Wette at the University of Jena came to the conclusion that Deuteronomy was not only the book which was found in the temple but had also been written not long before Josiah's times (see Rogerson 1992: 19–63). Whereas for de Wette this hypothesis meant that Deuteronomy was a late part of the Pentateuch, later research into the history of the Israelite religion, conducted by A. Kuenen and J. Wellhausen around 1870, established the view that most parts of the Pentateuch were even later than the Josianic Deuteronomy (for a convenient presentation of this view see W. Robertson Smith 1892: 309–430). The valuable commentary by S. R. Driver (1895 ) rests on this seminal model of the history of Israel's religious traditions. Subsequent scholarship tried to identify several editions of Deuteronomy which had been conflated into the extant book or to discover distinct redactional layers within it (see Mayes 1979 ; for a retrospective discussion see Nielsen 1995 ; for the current state of debate see Veijola (forthcoming)). Meanwhile it has become clear that the age of Josiah only stands for the beginnings of the literary development of Deuteronomy which reaches well into the Second Temple period.

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