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Deuteronomistic History

Deuteronomy’s Herem Law: Protecting Israel at the Cost of its Humanity

Of all the harsh behavior in warfare known from the ancient Near East, Deuteronomy’s requirement that Israel slaughter all the inhabitants of Canaan is unique. In all likelihood, the law sought to suppress Israel’s inclination to idolatry.

Prof.

Mordechai Cogan

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Israel’s Incomplete Conquest of Canaan

Biblical authors struggled to explain why Canaanites remained on the land after Israel settled it. Exodus (23:29–30) and Deuteronomy (7:22) suggest that Israel needed time to settle the land. The opening of Joshua reimagines the past to include an Israelite Blitzkrieg that removed the inhabitants entirely. Other approaches see the remaining Canaanites as a punishment (Judges 2) or a test of Israel's resolve (Joshua 23).

Prof.

Mordechai Cogan

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Is the Torah a Pentateuch or Hexateuch?

Does the Torah end with Deuteronomy or Joshua? The answer depends on whether we view the Torah as a law collection or as a narrative about a promise fulfilled.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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