New Dissertation on Deut 32


Research Fellow at the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway, Tina Dykesteen Nilsen, have submitted her dissertation to the School and her work has now been accepted as worthy of the public defense thus:

Wednesday September 30, at 5.15-6.00 am, Nilsen will deliver her test lecture over the given topic:

“Moses in biblical memory across the different genres of literature”.

Thursday October 1., at 10 pm Nilsen will publicly defend her thesis: The Origins of Deuteronomy 32: Intertextuality, Memory, Identity.

Her opponents will be: Professor Diana Edelman, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, and Professor Karl William Weyde, Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.

The work of the evaluation commitee has been led by professor Magnar Kartveit, School of Mission and Theology, and her mentor has been professor Knut Holter, School of Mission and Theology.

Her abstract runs thus: “Ever since its Mosaic authorship was questioned more than 150 years ago, the origins of Deut 32:1–43 have been disputed, forming the raison d’être of this dissertation. The dissertation is structured in three parts. Part One gives an introductory chapter, situating the thesis in relation to other quests, and explaining the research question: What is the compositional relationship of Give Ear to other texts, and what are its origins? Chapter Two summarizes research history, looking at criteria that have been used for dating the text, with conclusions ranging from the eleventh to the fourth century BCE. It also presents views on the compositional relationship of Deut 32:1–43 to other biblical texts. Chapter Three prepares the ground for my research by establishing the text from the perspectives of delimitation, integrity, relation to narrative framework and textual criticism. Part Two focusses on what and when. Chapter Four outlines theories and methods of intertextuality, particularly from a diachronic perspective. Chapters Five to Eight asks what is similar and dissimilar when Deut 32:1–43 is compared to a wide but ever narrowing range of other texts, looking at metaphors and similes, lexemes and phrases, lexical fields, linguistic features, forms, themes and parallel texts. Chapter Nine builds on the results from these analyses when shifting focus to when Deut 32:1–43 was composed, concluding that it is probably contemporaneous with Isa 1; 34–35; 56–66, placing it in the first half of the Persian period. Part Three focusses on why and by whom. Chapter Ten looks at theories of social memory and social identity formation and how these are applied to biblical texts, particularly from the Persian period. Using these theories as frameworks, Chapter Eleven asks why Deut 32:1–43 may have been written, discussing the text both within and without its present setting in Deuteronomy. Chapter Twelve pushes the question of who may have composed Deut 32:1– 43, using hypotheses of scribal activities to argue for an origin within an isaianic group of scribes in Yehud. The dissertation provides contributions in the following research areas: the origins of Deut 32:1–43; the relationship of Deut 32:1–43 and other texts; the relationship of Deuteronomy and the Book of Isaiah; memory and identity as constructed in Deut 32:1–43; the larger debate on memory and identity in Yehud, particularly in my proposal that some texts may negotiate between different positions; the larger debate on the origins of the Hebrew Bible in light of texts as scribal products, particularly my proposal of loose groups that interact, allowing for texts crossing boundaries. “

Her dissertation is availably in extenso by clicking HERE (pdf file)

Did Jesus Speak Greek?

didjesusspeakDid Jesus speak Greek?

In a recent posting about the languages used in Eretz Israel at the time of Jesus: Did Jesus speak Greek, it is argued that Greek was much more in use in the first century AD than usually argued, and that the possibility that Jesus knew some Greek should be reconsidered. His conclusion to the question posed in the headline is: “Can we know for sure that Jesus spoke Greek? No. Is it reasonable to assume that he could speak Greek and did upon occasion? Yes, I believe so. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the variations in the Gospels among the sayings of Jesus reflect that fact that he said more or less the same things in Aramaic, Hebrew, and/or Greek.”

See then the more and even better argued article by G. Scott Gleaves, with the same title: Did Jesus speak Greek?, to be found here. His conclusion runs thus: “The “growing mass of evidence” has now become a convincing witness to the wide use of Greek in Palestine even among the members of the inner circle of disciples who followed Jesus.”

Then there is a book out by the very same author dealing with this question:

G. Scott Gleaves, Did Jesus Speak Greek?: The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine. Pickwick Publications, 2015.  240 pp. (Also available in Kindle version)

G. Scott Gleaves is the Dean and Associate Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Ministry of the V. P. Black College of Biblical Studies and Kearley Graduate School of Theology at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama.