Presentation Title

Reconsidering the Literary Structure of the Book of Deuteronomy

Presenter Status

Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; Professor of Old Testament Exegesis, Department of Old Testament

Location

Seminary Chapel

Start Date

5-4-2016 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2016 12:20 PM

Session

Interrelations of Legal Material in Torah

Presentation Abstract

The book of Deuteronomy is a literary masterpiece. It is a Magna Charta of biblical teaching that shapes and articulates in a systematic way the faith of God’s people in a living God. This well-organized doctrinal document methodically establishes who is the Lord and explains how believers should live by trusting in Him. It is a fundamental manual of love and the religious constitution of faith for God’s people that climaxes the Pentateuch and crowns the Torah with a comprehensive meaning of the divine law, thus holding a very unique position that sets the tone for the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. Deuteronomy is Moses’s closing biography, his testament through which he intends to renew the covenant between Israel and God and prepare the people to live in the Promised Land’s new conditions. The book is written in a complex literary structure, and its three structures are linked and blended together: (1) the rhetorical structure with Moses’s three speeches; (2) the covenant structure in analogy to the six-part Hittite Suzerain-vassal Treaties with its six principal sections: preamble, historical prologue, stipulations, blessings and curses, witnesses, and special provisions of the covenant; (3) the Decalogue structure—the exposition of each of the ten commandments of God’s Ten Words in the central part of the book given to Moses on Sinai, namely elaborated in the second sermon in chapters 5–26. Rhetorical expressions of the three sermons are mixed with historical narratives, and the covenant language is tied with song and poetry. The legislative material is linked closely together with history and exhortations, and blessings and curses. The threefold intermingled structure as well as the mosaic of multiple-faceted genres testify to the unity of the book.

Biographical Sketch

Jiří Moskala is professor of Old Testament exegesis and theology and dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He joined the faculty in 1999.

Born in Cesky Tesin, Czech Republic, Moskala received a master of theology in 1979 and a doctor of theology in 1990, all from the Comenius Faculty of Protestant Theology (now Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University), Czech Republic. His dissertation was entitled: “The Book of Daniel and the Maccabean Thesis: The Problem of Authorship, Unity, Structure, and Seventy Weeks in the Book of Daniel (A Contribution to the Discussion on Canonical Apocalyptics)” and was published in the Czech language.

In 1998, he completed his doctor of philosophy from Andrews University. His dissertation is entitled: “The Laws of Clean and Unclean Animals of Leviticus 11: Their Nature, Theology, and Rationale (An Intertextual Study)” and has been published under the same title.

Prior to coming to Andrews, Moskala served in various capacities (ordained pastor, administrator, and teacher) in the Czech Republic. At the end of 1989, after the Velvet Revolution when the Communist regime fell, he established the Theological Seminary for training pastors and became the first principal of the institution.

Dr. Moskala has served as a speaker in many important Bible conferences and Theological symposia in all thirteen divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has lectured in many leading SDA universities and colleges around the world.

He is a member of various theological societies (Adventist Society for Religious Studies, Adventist Theological Society, Chicago Society of Biblical Research, Society of Biblical Literature, and Society of Christian Ethics). Dr. Moskala has authored or edited a number of articles and books in the Czech and English languages. In addition, he has participated in several archaeological expeditions in Tell Jalul, Jordan.

Dr. Moskala enjoys listening to classical music, visiting art and archaeological museums, hiking, swimming in the world’s crystal-clear waters, and reading books on a variety of topics.

He is married to Eva Moskalova. They have five grown children (Andrea, Marcela, Petra, Daniel, and David), three sons-in-law (Michael, Jonathan, and Grigoriy), one daughter-in-law (Katie), two granddaughters (Zasha and Luccia), and two grandsons (Grigoriy IV and Darius).

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 12:20 PM

Reconsidering the Literary Structure of the Book of Deuteronomy

Seminary Chapel

The book of Deuteronomy is a literary masterpiece. It is a Magna Charta of biblical teaching that shapes and articulates in a systematic way the faith of God’s people in a living God. This well-organized doctrinal document methodically establishes who is the Lord and explains how believers should live by trusting in Him. It is a fundamental manual of love and the religious constitution of faith for God’s people that climaxes the Pentateuch and crowns the Torah with a comprehensive meaning of the divine law, thus holding a very unique position that sets the tone for the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. Deuteronomy is Moses’s closing biography, his testament through which he intends to renew the covenant between Israel and God and prepare the people to live in the Promised Land’s new conditions. The book is written in a complex literary structure, and its three structures are linked and blended together: (1) the rhetorical structure with Moses’s three speeches; (2) the covenant structure in analogy to the six-part Hittite Suzerain-vassal Treaties with its six principal sections: preamble, historical prologue, stipulations, blessings and curses, witnesses, and special provisions of the covenant; (3) the Decalogue structure—the exposition of each of the ten commandments of God’s Ten Words in the central part of the book given to Moses on Sinai, namely elaborated in the second sermon in chapters 5–26. Rhetorical expressions of the three sermons are mixed with historical narratives, and the covenant language is tied with song and poetry. The legislative material is linked closely together with history and exhortations, and blessings and curses. The threefold intermingled structure as well as the mosaic of multiple-faceted genres testify to the unity of the book.