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The Book of Judges (First part)

According to Römer, the minor number of deuteronomistic interventions (=Dtr) is recorded in the Book of Judges. The texts to which he refers would be 2:6-3:6; 6:11-18; 10:6-16. These texts would be not dtr, but would reflect a rather late period and not attributable to the age of the scribes of the seventh century BC.

I am partly in agreement with this position, because – although chapter 2:6 ff. presents a redundant language full of stereotypes – we still recognize the main theme of dtr, namely the fidelity to the law of YHWH as a guarantee of peace and security. Idolatrous worship would produce instead destruction. Also in chapter 10 the themes dear to the dtr are clearly recognizable: to do what is bad, serving Baal and the Astartes, to abandon YHWH.  Römer is right to say that 6:11-18 is not Dtr. On the whole, it must be said that the Dtr themes are also dear to the authors P (priestly), so it is very difficult to discern which text belongs to one or the other tradition.

In the book we clearly recognize ancient stories of saviors  – dating before the seventh century BC – and of northern origin. These stories would have been integrated into the late age within the dtr history and very little elaborated according to the theological and ideological dtr lines. However, I believe that this is a mere hypothesis, because the opposite is also true, namely that this collection has been inserted during the reign of Josiah within the dtr history’s framework and very little modified. However, the presence of a history of saviors of northern origin is very strange in a work that supported the Southern Kingdom at the time of Josiah. It may be, that these stories supported the expansionistic projects of Josiah.

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Simone Venturini

Writer and Researcher at Vatican Secret Archives, Professor of Bible at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross od Rome

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