Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919
AUSLOOS, Hans. The "proto-Deuteronomist": fifty years later. Old testam. essays [online]. 2013, vol.26, n.3, pp.531-558. ISSN 2312-3621.
Fifty years ago, in 1963, the concept of the so-called proto-Deuter-onomic "redaction" was introduced by Chris Brekelmans and Norbert Lohfink. In reaction against a "pandeuteronomism " which was pervading OT exegesis, both scholars presented the hypothesis that it is improbable that the stereotypical theological motifs and stylistic features characterising the Deuteronom(ist)ic literature could simply have fallen out of the blue. On the contrary, Brekelmans and Lohfink argued that the Deuteronom(ist)ic style and ideology/theology should be considered the result of a longstanding development. Moreover, in their view, traces of this development could be detected within certain passages in the books of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers that have been considered prima facie evidence of a Deuteronom(ist)ic redaction of the Pentateuch. In order to understand Brekelmans's and Lohfink's démarche, firstly a concise summary of the position of the Deuteronomist during the final decades of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries is given. Secondly, the rationale behind their hypothesis will be presented, paying particular attention to the criteria upon which they relied. Thirdly, it will be investigated to which extent the hypothesis of a proto-Deuteronomic redaction of the Tetrateuch still dominates the landscape of historical-critical Pentateuch studies after fifty years. To conclude this contribution, an appraisal of the hypothesis of the proto-Deuteronomist will be given.