Thursday, November 12, 2009

Josephus and Deuteronomy's "Prophet like Moses"

Tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 p.m. (in S113) I will be presenting a paper on Josephus's interpretation of Deuteronomy 18 as part of Briercrest's Bible and Theology Colloquium series.

A week from Sunday (Nov 22) I will present a revised version to SBL's Josephus group in New Orleans. Here is an abstract:
In his summary of the Mosaic constitution (A.J. 4.196-302), Josephus omits Deuteronomy's legislation about prophets, but inserts an enigmatic reference to a “prophet” in his paraphrase of Deut 17:8-13. The “prophet” who, according to A.J. 4.218, participates in the Jerusalem high court along with the high priest and gerousia, has been variously regarded as another term for the high priest, or as representing the scribes or the Pharisees. This paper builds on Sarah Pearce’s argument that the “prophet” is to be understood in the first place as Joshua, and that the passage presents this system of government as an ideal. A review of the use of “prophet” (προφήτης) in Josephus demonstrates that the historian consistently distinguished prophets such as Joshua from priests and kings; it also suggests that Josephus understood Deuteronomy 18 as a prediction of a succession of prophets, and, finally, that he intended A.J. 4.218 as a summary of Deuteronomy 18:15-22 as well as 17:8-13.

If the title sounds dull to you, the paper probably will be too. If, on the other hand, the title sounds intriguing, I hope (!) the paper will be too.

If you can make it out (in either location), I'll be glad for your feedback.

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