The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 8]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Joshua

(pp.74-80)

A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Foot-Moore

B) Chapter Summary:

“IN all the sources of the Pentateuch the possession of Canaan is the goal toward which the whole history moves, from the call of Abraham to the last exhortations of Moses in the plains of Moaba, and they must all have narrated, however briefly, the occupation of the country. The history of the conquest and division of Canaan is the subject of the Book of Joshua. The author has evidently derived his material from diverse sources, and it is reasonable to expect to find among them the continuation of the chief sources of the Pentateuch.”1

“The author of Joshua had for his sources, besides the continuation of P, a history of the conquest by a writer belonging to what is not inaptly called the deuteronomist school of historians, whose thought and style are molded by those of Deuteronomy.”2

“In cc. 1-12 the author of Joshua follows this source almost exclusively, only here and there introducing a passage from the post-exilic narrative (e. g. Jos. v. 10-12); in cc. 13-24, on the other hand, the allotment of the tribal territories and the assignment of cities in these territories to the levites and the priests, are chiefly from the later work.”3

“Both sources [that is, E and J] tell of the rescue of Rahab, and thus presuppose some such story as we find in Jos. 2, where, again, duplication is evident. The interdict on the spoils of Jericho (vi. 17, J), is the antecedent to the story of Achan, whose appropriation of a part of the spoil is the cause of the repulse at Ai (c. 7), and thus the clues can be followed backward and forward. The chief source in c. 8 (the taking of Ai) and c. 9 (ruse of the Gibeonites) also is J, with which the parallel account of E is combined; additions by later hands are recognizable, the most remarkable being viii. 30-35 (cf. Deut. xxvii. 1-8, 12).”4

According to [the account in Judges 1,] the Israelite tribes invaded the country separately or in small groups; their success varied in different regions, but everywhere the walled cities remained in the possession of their old inhabitants; in some quarters the Israelites became subject to the Canaanites, in others they in time reduced them to subjection. This account may not embody a historical tradition — it could perfectly well have arisen by inference from the actual situation at the beginning of the kingdom — but it is at least in a broad sense historical. The case illustrates in an instructive way the fact that the oldest literary sources of the history which we can recover had themselves diverse and sometimes contradictory sources in tradition.”5

“In the Pentateuch it is well established that J and E had been combined by a historian of the prophetic period (JE), though there is evidence that the separate works continued to circulate. In Joshua, also, it is probable that the deuteronomist historian used the composite JE, and that the harmonizing of these sources and some of the religious improvement which runs along with it is the work of his predecessor who combined the two sources. It seems that P also had E independently, and it is certain that later editors of the deuteronomist school added their contributions.”6

“There is no evidence that the author of our Book of Joshua was the same as the author of the present Pentateuch; various indications point rather to the contrary. Nor can the author of the deuteronomist history of the conquest be certainly identified with any one of the hands engaged in the compilation and enlargement of the Book of Deuteronomy; all that can be affirmed is that he was of the same spirit, and that literary dependence upon Deuteronomy, and sometimes on younger parts of it, is visible in many places in Joshua.”7

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