The Core of Deuteronomy and Its World


This research group is attentive to the core of the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 12—26/28). We want to explore the internal coherence of the legal prescriptions and to take a close look at the world that is imagined to be regulated by them. We also want to explore how this legal core relates to the notion of ‘Israel’ presented in the framework of the book. The unit will continue investigating the apparent tension between the utopian character of the society that is imagined in these ‘laws’ and their focus on down-to-earth politics and economics, which was the topic of our first meeting 2017. Relevant topics are:

  • Why was Deuteronomy created?

  • The nature of ‘Israel’ in the book, especially the relation between the society that appears in the core legislations and the ‘All Israel’ of the frame.

  • The cultic integration of both Judah and Samaria: the adoption of the cult of the ‘god of Israel’ within Judah and its possible connection with local religious practices and Iron-age cults of the two kingdoms.

  • Issues related to the book’s further application and authorization in the Yehud and Samarian communities: Why did Deuteronomy have audiences in both Samaria and Yehud/Judea who considered themselves to belong to Israel?


Deuteronomy 12-28, Utopia, Centralization, Law, Identity, Power


Kåre Berge
NLA University College, Bergen

Diana Edelman
University of Oslo

Philippe Guillaume

University of Berne

Member Area

Wuppertal 2020 Call for Papers

For 2020, there will be two sessions, one invited and one of open-call papers. The theme for both is religious aspects of the book of Deuteronomy, either in the “core” alone (chs. 12–26), the frames alone (chs.1–11 and 27–34), or in both.  The impact the religious  beliefs and practices endorsed by the book would have had on the existing religious beliefs and practices of Judahites or Judeans and Israelites or Samarians in the periods usually ascribed to various editions of the book (from the Iron -IIC to the early Persian period) is an area of particular interest, with some assessment of whether the religious program was utopian or not. Exploration  of economic, social, or other dimensions of religious belief and practices in the book  are also welcome, as are considerations of how these beliefs or practices would have contributed to the creation of what Philip Davies dubbed ”biblical Israel,” the Israel envisioned within this text. Practices and beliefs deemed to be part of the oldest version as well as those deemed to be later additions can be explored. Studies can be text-based, archaeologically based, or both.

For enquires or further information, please contact  Diana Edelman, University of Oslo ( or Kåre Berge, NLA (

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 3-6 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.