After a brief review of the current state of research on the Deuteronomistic History (DtrH), Person proposes four perspectives to move the argument forward and to gain new insights: the use of text-critical controls for redactional arguments, the contribution of the study of oral tradition to understand the composition and transmission of biblical texts in ancient Israel, arguments for the postexilic setting of the Deuteronomic school, and the use of comparative material (Udjahorresnet and Qumran) to understand scribal guilds, such as the Deuteronomic school, in ancient Israel. The results of these new perspectives challenge the most widely accepted understandings of the redaction history of DtrH and suggest that the Deuteronomic school was a scribal guild whose redactional activity spanned a long period of time from possibly as early as the preexilic period to the Persian period shortly before Ezra. Person’s reconstruction of the social setting of the Deuteronomic school includes their return from Babylon to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel in order to support the rebuilding of the temple with their scribal skills. This reconstruction leads to new interpretations of Deuteronomic literature (DtrH and Jeremiah).
Raymond F. Person Jr. is Associate Professor of Religion at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, USA.