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Title: The quest in the Hebrew Scriptures for the “prophet like Moses” in the light of Deut 18: 9-22
Authors: Ciappara, Joseph
Keywords: Bible. Deuteronomy, XVIII -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Moses (Biblical leader)
Deuteronomistic history (Biblical criticism)
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Ciappara, J. (2018). The quest in the Hebrew Scriptures for the “prophet like Moses” in the light of Deut 18: 9-22 (Doctoral dissertation).
Abstract: As the title implies, this thesis aims at identifying who the “prophet like Moses”, promised in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, is. This thesis first of all studies the wider context of the text of Deuteronomy 18:9-22, and seeks to identify the Sitz im Leben in which this text was written. Then, it analyses the figure of Moses and the traditions surrounding his person. Sifting through the layers of traditions, this work concludes that it was indeed the Deuteronomistic School, late during the Babylonian Exile, that vested Moses with the prophetic garb. The intention was to create strong propaganda in favour of the great prophets of the past, who after all, were proven right when they foresaw and foretold the Exile. With this background in mind the author of Deuteronomy 18:9-22 sought to give authority to the prophets by aetiologically tracing the origins of prophecy back to the Sinai/Horeb Covenant, where the people explicitly called for Moses to mediate for them. In short, Moses was the one to receive the ultimate revelation of God, the one who spoke with YHWH face to face, indeed, mouth to mouth. The Torah was revealed once, but it had to be interpreted and applied. It would then be the task of the prophets to continue interpreting and applying the Torah to the concrete evolving situations within the life of the community, much like Moses used to do in Exodus 18:15-16. The exegesis of Deuteronomy 18:9-22 reveals that the text underwent various stages of development. Built upon an older to’ebah law prohibiting the offices, which was probably part of Urdeuteronomium, the Deuteronomistic author extended and transformed this law into the Deuteronomic law of the prophets. This law, together with the other laws of offices running from Deuteronomy 16:18-18:22 and penned towards the end of the Exile, aimed at reforming the offices of power, setting clear criteria for when the return into the Land would occur. Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18 promise a “prophet like Moses”. This study concludes that the syntax of the text implies that Moses was the first within a line of prophets. Every other authentic prophet in Israel would fall within the title “prophet like Moses”. Whilst this is true, the strong parallels that exist between the texts of Deuteronomy 18:18, Jeremiah 1:7,9, and Exodus 3-4, show that there was a clear redactional intention in depicting Jeremiah as the “prophet like Moses” par excellence. As this study shows, the correspondence between the divine affirmation of the prophetic word within the pun of Jeremiah’s first vision (Jer 1:11-12), as well as the very peculiar criterion of prophetic verification of Deuteronomy 18:21-22, seem to corroborate this conclusion. Jeremiah was the prophet to foretell the Exile, and thus was the authentic prophet. I conclude that the texts of Deuteronomy 18:9-22, Jeremiah 1:4-12, and Exodus 3-4, evolved contemporaneously, all within the efforts of the Deuteronomists to form a strong propaganda in favour of the prophets, whom the people must heed, if they are ever to be successful. Within this propaganda, we can say that Moses was the first and Jeremiah, the “prophet like Moses” par excellence, was the “last” prophet of what we can call the “Deuteronomistic Library”, with the rest of the prophets, all “prophets like Moses” towing the line.
Description: S.TH.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacThe - 2018

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