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BIBLIOGRAFIA COMMENTATA SUL LIBRO DI GIOSUÈ


(2001-2017)

José L. Sicre Díaz S.J.


Pontificio Istituto Biblico

TESTO

1. Auld, A. G. Joshua: Jesus Son of Naue in Codex Vaticanus. Septuagint Commentary


Series. Edited by S. E. Porter, R. S. Hess, and J. Jarick. Leiden: Brill 2005.

A. L. A. Hogeterp, ETL (2006) 495-497. [Copio soltanto l’inizio di questa lunga e


importante recensione.]
This book is the first volume in a new "Septuagint commentary‫׳‬y Series", in which only
two other volumes (on 3 and 4 Macccabees, in 2006) have been published at the time of
this review. The introduction of this separate commentary series is a highly commendable
and valuable development, since it gives full attention to the Septuagint for its own sake
and, in die case of a Hebrew original, it may constitute an independent witness to a
Hebrew Vorlage, possibly different from die Masoretic Text. This is the more true for die
Septuagint version of the book of Joshua, the literary-critical importance of which has
long been recognised (see E. Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis,
MN - Assen, 2001, pp. 327-332 ["Two Literary Strata of Joshua", one of them being
represented by the Septuagint] on p. 327 with bibliography including textual and literary
studies on Joshua by A. Graeme Auld since the late 1970’s). The commentary by A.
Graeme Auld focuses on die text of Joshua in Codex Vaticanus, "die so-called LXXB
(henceforth B): one of the early great codices, possibly the earliest - and amongst them
the most distinctive when compared with die traditional Hebrew text (MT)" (p. vii).

2. Greenspoon, L. J. «The Book of Joshua—Part 1: Texts and Versions»: CurBR 3


(2005) 229-261.
3. Van der Meer, M., Formation and Reformulations: The Redaction of the Book of
Joshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Witnesses (SVT 102) Brill, Leiden 2004.

M. Rösel, ZAW 117 (2005) 324-325.


Die anzuzeigende Arbeit ist die für den Druck gekürzte (!) und überarbeitete Version
einer von A. van der Kooij betreuten Dissertation (Leiden 2001). Sie widmet sich der
Frage nach der Redaktionsgeschichte des Josuabuches, die durch deutlich ahweichende
Textbestände in Qumran (4QJosa) und der LXX auch jenseits der Hexateuch-Frage von
großem Interesse ist. Die Untersuchung ist insofern innovativ, als sie sowohl
textkritische, wie auch literarkritisch-redaktionsgeschichtliche Elemente zu kombinieren
sucht; dies hat es so zum Josuahuch noch nicht gegeben. In einer genauen Untersuchung
der Kapitel Jos 1; 5 und 8 kommt Vf. dabei zu dem Ergehnis, daß die späteren Zeugen
für diese Texte kein redaktionelles Wachstum belegen, sondern in den Bereich der
Auslegungsgeschichte des (proto)-masoretischen Textes gehören. Damit ist für die LXX
deutlich, daß ihre Vorlage dem MT nahe gestanden haben muß. Zunächst werden in fünf
ausführlichen Einleitungskapiteln (S. 1-159) der Forschungs- und Problembestand zum
hebräischen und griechischen Josuabuch und den Qumranbelegen dargestellt und der
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Ansatz der Arbeit - jeden Zeugen als eigenständiges Dokument zu untersuchen - erläutert.
In vier weiteren Abschnitten werden dann Jos 1 (S. 161-248), 5,2-12 (S. 249-415); 8, 1-
29 (S. 418-478) und 8,30-35 (S. 479-522; hier wird eine neue Rekonstruktion zu 4QJosa
vorgelegt) bearbeitet. Ein zusammenfassendes Kapitel (S. 523-536) mit einem Schaubild
zur Entwicklung des Josuatextes, Bibliographie und die üblichen Register schließen die
Arbeit an. Die Exegesen sind manchmal bis zur Unlesbarkeit detailliert, allerdings
erleichtern Synopsen und Schaubilder das Verständnis. Auch diese Arbeit zeigt (wie etwa
die von U. Dahmen zu den Psalmen oder A. Schenker zu den Königebüchern), daß im
Gefolge der Qumranfunde und neuer Einsichten der LXX-Forschung der Textgeschichte
eine höhere Bedeutung als bisher zuzumessen ist. Trotz der Fülle von anregenden
Textbeobachtungen scheint mir die Basis von nur 3 Kapiteln jedoch zu schmal zu sein,
um die Frage nach der Redaktionsgeschichte des Buches abschließend zu beantworten;
zumal Vf sich an das mit DtrH und DtrN operierende Modell zum Wachstum des
Deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerkes anschließt. Von dort her werden Kriterien
entwickelt, was eine Redaktionsschicht sei, die dann zur Beurteilung der LXX und
Qumran-Texte verwendet werden. Folglich gelten diese Texte nicht als Redaktionen,
sondern als Interpretationen im Bereich der Wirkungs- und Rezeptionsgeschichte. Dies
erscheint als problematische Trennung, die dem MT ein zu hohes Gewicht einräumt. Für
die Josua-Forschung wird das Buch dennoch unverzichtbar sein.

4. Id., «Provenance, Profile, and Purpose of the Greek Joshua», in M. K. H. Peters (ed.)
,XII Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate
Studies, Leiden 2004 (SBLSCS 54) SBL Press, Atlanta 2006, pp. 55-80.
5. Garcia Martinez, F., «Light on the Book of Joshua from the Dead Sea Scrolls», in
After Qumran: Old and New Editions of Biblical Texts, The Historical Books,
edited by H. Ausloos et al. (BETL 246), Leuven: Leuven University Press 2008,
pp. 145-159.
6. Id., «The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Book of Joshua», in N. David & A. Lange (ed.),
Qumran and the Bible: Studying the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in Light of
the Dead Sea Scrolls (CBET 57) Peeters, Leuven 2011, pp. 97-109.
7. Rösel, M., «The Septuagint-Version of the Book of Joshua»: SJOT 16 (2002) 5-23.
8. Tov, E., «Literary Development of the Book of Joshua as Reflected in the MT, the
LXX, and 4QJosha», in E. Noort (ed.), The Book of Joshua (BETL 250), Peeters,
Leuven 2012, pp. 65-86.
9. Trebolle Barrera, J., «A Combined Textual and Literary Criticism Analysis: Editorial
Traces in Joshua and Judges», in H. Ausloos, B. Lemmelijn, and M. Vervenne
(ed.), Florilegium Lovaniense: Studies in Septuagint and Textual Criticism in
Honour of Florentino Garcia Martinez (BETL 224) Peeters, Leuven 2008, pp.
437-463.

STORIA DELLA RICERCA

1. Dozeman, T. B. «The Book of Joshua in Recent Research»: CurBR 15 (2017) 270-


288.
2. Noort, Ed, «Josua im Wandel der Zeiten: Zu Stand und Perspektiven der Forschung
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am Buch Josua», in Id. (ed.), The Book of Joshua (BETL 250), Peeters, Leuven
2012, pp. 21-50.

INTRODUZIONE

1. Abadie, Ph., Le livre de Josué, critique historique (Cahier Évangile 134), du Cerf,
2005 = El libro de Josué: crítica histórica (Cuadernos Bíblicos 134), Verbo
Divino, Estella 2007.
2. Albertz, R., «The Canonical Alignment of the Book of Joshua», in O. Lipschits, G.
N. Knoppers, e R. Albertz (ed.). Judah and the Judeans in the Fourth Century
B.C.E., Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Ind. 2007, pp. 287-303 = «Die kanonische
Anpassung des Josuabuches: Eine Neubewertung seiner sogenannte
“priesterschriftlichen” Texte», in T. Romer e K. Schmid (ed.), Les dernières
redactions du Pentateuque, de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque (BETL 203)
Leuven University Press 2007, pp. 199-216. [Studia i testi sacerdotali di Gs;
l’influsso è molto più grande che non nei libri Gdc-Re; questo dimostra
l’importanza dell’Esateuco.]
3. Andiñach, P., «Una introducción al libro de Josué»: Antiguo Oriente. Cuadernos del
Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente Vol. 9, 2011.
4. Römer, Th. «Josué», in Th. Römer – J. D. Macchi – C. Nihan, Introduction à l’Ancien
Testament, Labor et Fides, Geneve 22009 = Guida di lettura dell’Antico
Testamento, EDB, Bologna 2007 = Introducción al Antiguo Testamento. Desclée
de Brouwer, Bilbao 2008, pp. 251-263.
5. Rösel, H. N., «The Book of Joshua and the Existence of a Hexateuch», in G. Galil et
al. (ed.), Homeland and Exile (SVT 130), Brill, Leiden 209, pp. 559-570.

COMMENTARI

1. Butler (2014) presents an exhaustive review of scholarship on Joshua in this two-


volume revision to his early work (1983). Although the intended audience is
evangelical readers, the careful examination of the text will profit all.

2. Cocco, F., Giosuè e Giudici: introduzione e commento. Messagero, Padua 2010.


3. Creach, J. F. D., Joshua. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and
Preaching. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox 2003. xiv + 135 pp.
4. Dozeman, Th. B., Joshua 1-12 (The Anchor Yale Bible), Yale University Press, New
Haven & London 2015. XXIII + 627 pp.

Considera che il s. XXI rappresenta « the breakdown of the Deuteronomistic History


hypothesis and the composition of Joshua as an independent book». Gli studi di Perlitt
(1969), Van Seters (1970s), H. H. Schmid (1976), Rendtorff (1977), Römer (1990)
avvertono rapporti tra i Primi Profeti e il Tetrateuco.
«The summary of research will lay the foundation for my interpretation of Joshua as an
independent book written during the postexilic period from a northern point of view. I also
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argue that the book of Joshua acquires its present literary context at a late stage in the
formation of the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets (Joshua 4-5). «The examination of
competing themes between Joshua and the books of Deuteronomy and Judges suggests that
Joshua was written as an independent book. Joshua and Deuteronomy contrast in the theme
of the divine promise of land: In Deuteronomy the promise of land is conditional, based on
obedience to the law. In Josh 1, the promise is unconditional; the possession of the land is
guaranteed because of the past divine promise to the ancestors. Joshua and Judges conflict
in regard to the theme of the conquest. Joshua 11 describes the total conquest of the land
by the twelve tribes; Judg 1-2 describes an incomplete conquest by the separate tribes.
These tensions in theme cannot simply be attributed to prior sources, and thus they raise
the question of whether the same author composed the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and
Judges as a single narrative.» (20-21). «The book of Joshua was written as an independent
narrative, distinct from a larger Deuteronomistic History. It begins with the commission of
Joshua (Josh 1) and concludes with his death and burial (Josh 24). The author fashions a
two-part story in which the promised land is first emptied of kings and royal cities (Josh 1-
12) and then repopulated with the more primitive society of tribal Israel (Josh 13-24). The
literary design suggests that the two halves of the book are meant to function together, since
the wars of genocide in the first half create the empty space, which allows for repopulation
in the second half of the book through the division of the land. The close relationship
between the emptying and the refilling of the land underscores the conceptual unity of the
book. Its two halves were not composed in isolation from each other or by distinct authors.
Even though the two parts of Joshua contain different kinds of literature, they function as
one literary unit» (24). Th ere are a number of strong reasons for dating the book of Joshua
in the late monarchic period. Many of the sources the author uses are firmly anchored in
that period. (27). In this case, the polemical perspective of the author against kings and
city-states would represent a critique of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, using the royal conquest
accounts as a story of revolt against the empire. (27). The later date of the composition of
Joshua in the exilic or postexilic period is supported by the author’s dependence on the
Pentateuch, conceived as the Torah of Moses, including both P literature and the book of
Deuteronomy. (28). In summary, the literary themes of Joshua and its dependence on a
form of the Pentateuch suggest its composition in the postexilic period; it represents a
Samarian myth of origin, in which the promised land is heavily populated with kings and
royal city-states requiring holy war to empty the land of its urban culture, as the ark
processes to its northern cultic site near Shechem. The message of the book of Joshua is
one of opposition to foreign rule in the promised land, represented by city-states; over
against this the author idealizes a more primitive and rural life in the promised land. The
origin story in Joshua contrasts with the competing myth of the empty land in Ezra and
Nehemiah, where the promised land has lain fallow during the exile with the absence of
cities so that the returning exiled Judeans had to rebuild the temple and reestablish the lost
city of Jerusalem. The rebuilding of Jerusalem in Ezra and Nehemiah represents a response
of assimilation to the rule of the Persians, who are viewed as benevolent throughout (e.g.,
as in the edict of Cyrus in Ezra 1:1-4), while the people of the land represent the opposition.
In the book of Joshua, there are no benevolent rulers or royal city-states in the promised
land. All are condemned by Yahweh and thus require extermination under the ban. (31).

a) Charlie Trimm, Bulletin for Biblical Research (2016) 253-254.


This new addition to the Anchor Yale Bible series, replacing R. G. Boling's previous
volume published in 1982, covers the book of Joshua in the way one would expect from an
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Anchor Bible commentary. Dozeman's introduction (94 pages long) covers compositional
issues, textual criticism, central themes of the book, and reception history. As standard in
the series, a translation and bibliography are included at the beginning of the book. The
book ends with complete translations of the MT and LXX in parallel columns (Dozeman's
attention to the LXX and its frequent divergences from the MT is a valuable part of the
commentary) as well as a list of all the geographical terms in the book, giving the name in
Hebrew-, English, and Greek as well as its occurrences in the book of Joshua.
Dozeman's argues (against the majority of scholars) that the Deuteronomic History
flows better if it moves directly from Deuteronomy to Judges. Joshua is then viewed as an
independent work composed after the Pentateuch was completed. He presents some good
arguments for his view (especially in regards to the multiple accounts of Joshua's death),
but it leaves a large hole in the account of early Israelite history that seems difficult to
account for and is a rather abrupt transition directly from the death of Moses (Deut 34) to
the death of Joshua (Judg 1). One result of this view is that in numerous places throughout
the commentary Dozeman highlights how texts in Joshua draw on both deuteronomic
material as well as priestly material (e.g., p. 206).
Dozeman also sees extensive postexilic influence throughout the book. The geography
of the book reflects a Persian context in which the areas where the Torah influences life are
delineated rather than areas politically controlled by Israel (p. 217). Rahab's proclamation
of the "God in heaven" is most similar to the Persian kings in the postexilic books, though
the antimonarchic theme of Joshua puts the idea into the mouth of a commoner rather than
a king (p. 245). The critique of Achan and the tribe of Judah fits best with the conflict over
the legitimacy of Jerusalem in the postexilic period (Ezra 4-5; Neh 3-6), culminating in the
Maccabean destruction of the Samaritan temple (p. 355). The destruction of the Canaanites
likewise fits into the exclusive ideology found in the postexilic period (p. 386). Not all the
parallels are exact; the role of the Gibeonites parallels that of the Nethinim in Ezra and
Nehemiah, except that Neh 7 views them positively while Josh 9 views them negatively (p.
415). As far as central themes of the book, Dozeman sees a polemic against cities and kings.
Unlike the royal annals in the rest of the ancient Near East, cities were destroyed rather
than captured and kings were killed without establishing a new monarchy. Rahab is rescued
from the urban environment to live in the Israelite camp (p. 239). Gilgal mainly occurs in
anti-monarchical stories (p. 264). Joshua's curse on the one who rebuilds Jericho is actually
a curse on all city builders (pp. 334-36).
Dozeman speculates that the reference to the "treasury of Yhwh" counters the "treasury
of the king" noted elsewhere in the OT (p. 338). Joshua 1 might portray Joshua in royal
terms, but Dozeman sees this as a later revision of Joshua that attempts to relate Joshua to
the broader Deuteronomic History (pp. 211-12). While interesting, I do not find these hints
systematic or central enough to support it as a central-theme in the book (evidenced most
clearly by his universalization of the curse on Jericho). Another theme running through the
book for Dozeman is a bias toward the northern areas of Israel, as illustrated by the central
role of the journey of the Ark to Shechem. The northern war glamorizes the area as an ideal
location without cities and kings (p. 475). The book also critiques the south, such as the
story of Achan negatively appraising the tribe of Judah (p. 350). The stories in Josh 9 and
10 likewise critique Jerusalem: those who work in the temple are non-Israelites and
achieved their position through trickery (the Gibeonites), and while the king of Jerusalem
was killed, his city was not destroyed and the inhabitants allowed to live with the Israelites
(p. 448).
Dozeman holds a high bar for what can be a literary technique, as illustrated by his
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belief in regards to Josh 1 that "the divine address to the people in vv. 3-4 within the
commission of Joshua in vv. 1-2, 5-6 is too disruptive to be simply a literary technique" (p.
203). He also quickly identifies repetitions as resulting from a history of composition rather
than literary art, though he appreciates much of the work of Polzin in Josh 3-4 (pp. 271-
77). On a grand scale, Dozeman argues that the book evinces two different editorial views
on whether the conquest has been completed: some text simply that the ark is resting in the
land and the land has been conquered (Josh 8:30-33), but other texts reveal a Canaanite
presence still in the land and Torah obedience as conditional for future blessing (Josh 8:34-
35; p. 396). Dozeman is also skeptical about the historicity of the book. For example, he
believes that the text depicts Joshua meeting the general within the city of Jericho (Josh
5:13); the historical plausibility does not matter because of the "fantastic nature of the
book" (p. 306).
As common in the series, the book is lacking in many areas that would more directly
help a preacher, such as details about preaching the story or common questions about ethics
(Rahab's lie or the corporate punishment of Achan). In particular, it would have been
fascinating to know how Dozeman would develop the anti-urban theme for a modem
context. However, for those who know Hebrew well and want a thorough study of the
Hebrew text of the first part of Joshua, this book will serve them well.

b) R. W. Klein, Currents in Theology and Mission 44-3 (2017) 36.


Joshua 1—12 narrates the destruction of kings, royal cities, and the indigenous
population in the Holy Land. The previous volume on the entire book of Joshua in the
Anchor Bible, written by Robert G. Boling, with a lengthy introduction by the late G. Ernest
Wright, was published in 1982. It concluded that many of the battles described in chapters
1-12 were supported by archaeological evidence and the book itself was part of the
Deuteronomistic History written in the seventh/ sixth century. All that is gone in Dozemans
commentary. He discards the Deuteronomistic History hypothesis and thinks that Joshua
was written in postexilic times from a northern point of view (note the role of Shechem in
Joshua 8 and 24). The events described in chapters 1-12 have nothing to do with the Israelite
conquest of the land in the thirteenth century B.C.E. Rather, the author of these chapters is
polemical against kings and royal cities of foreign rulers, requiring holy war to rid the land
of its urban culture and idealizing a more primitive and rural life in the promised land. The
book of Joshua, therefore, is directly opposed to Ezra and Nehemiah where the rebuilding
of Jerusalem represents assimilation to the rule of the Persians. The author of Joshua uses
the procession of the ark to advance an aniconic form of monotheistic Yahwism. The
political aim of the author is to reconstruct a new rural society under the charismatic
leadership of someone like Joshua. The author hopes for an invasion that will destroy the
urban centers. The Promised Land in Joshua will have peace only when it is emptied of all
royal cities and their citizens and replaced by a new tribal society. Dozeman criticizes
William F. Albright, who in 1957 had his own way around the ethical dilemmas of the
conquest that he considered to be historically accurate: “It was fortunate for the future of
monotheism that the Israelites of the conquest were a wild folk, endowed with primitive
energy and ruthless will to exist, since the resulting decimation of the Canaanites prevented
the complete fusion of the two kindred folk which would almost inevitably have depressed
Yahwistic standards to a point where recovery was impossible.” Today that opinion would
be considered racist and totally without interfaith understanding. Dozeman holds that the
historicity of Joshua no longer plays a role in evaluating the violence of the book. Rather:
“[The violence of the book of Joshua] is a reactionary fantasy about the extermination of a
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superior people, whose technologically advanced city-states threaten the tribes who reject
the dominant culture while living in a camp.” He compares this ideology to modern
fundamentalists who are focused on making a new future society that functions as an
antidote to the present evil age. He concludes: “I hope that [this commentary] will provide
a resource for understanding the radical political-religious theology of the book of Joshua
and perhaps aid in evaluating the violence of religious fundamentalism that now dominates
contemporary culture.” I have my doubts about the purpose he assigns to the book of
Joshua, but if he is right, the book of Joshua has nothing positive to contribute to our
understanding of God and faith. The commentary itself consists of sixty-seven pages of
bibliography, a fresh translation of chapters 1-12, and very learned notes and comments
averaging about twenty-six pages per chapter.

c) Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review (2016) 35-36.


As expected with any new volume in the Anchor Yale Bible commentary series, this
commentary on the first twelve chapters of Joshua is exhaustive in scope, up-to-date in
research, and thoroughly historical-critical in method. The lengthy introduction addresses
standard interpretive issues such as composition, textual criticism, central themes and
literary structure, and reception history. The section on the composition of Joshua
demonstrates Dozeman’s keen ability to synthesize vast amounts of scholarly research and
present only the germane elements. The volume also includes the author’s new translation
of the book and a substantial bibliography. The actual commentary of the volume is
subdivided into sections entitled “Central Themes and Literary Structure,” “Translation,”
“Notes,” “Composition,” and “Comments.” In the Notes section, the author engages in
textual critical and linguistic work, while in the Composition section, he surveys the history
of research as well as his own argument concerning how the passage originated. The
sustained attention given to compositional issues with each passage distinguishes this
volume. Dozeman also shows awareness of the contemporary reader’s disdain for the
book’s violence and war in the name of God; he constantly attempts to evaluate this ancient
violence in light of these concerns. The volume concludes with two appendices as well as
subject, author, and ancient sources indices.

5. Earl, D. S., Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture. Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Ind.,
2010. XIV + 277 pp.

L. D. Hawk, «Christianizing Joshua: Making Sense of the Bible's Book of Conquest»:


Journal of Theological Interpretation 5.1 (2011) 121-132, cf. 125-127.
His study, a revised version of a doctoral dissertation written at Durham University,
comprises three main sections. The first section elaborates an eclectic approach. Earl begins
by introducing the concept of cultural memory and offering a brief survey of the church's
spiritual reading of Joshua, which he sees as deriving from an understanding that the book
is ultimately concerned with shaping Christian identity. He then moves to a discussion of
myth and symbol that draws primarily from Paul Ricoeur and Seth Kunin. Ricoeur offers
a way of seeing the text as a discourse that redescribes reality. Kunin's neostructuralist
method offers a way to speak of the text's surplus of meaning and particularly how
narratives may push the underlying structures that construct identity. A third chapter on
hermeneutics draws on additional elements from Ricoeur's thought to discuss the ways that
interpretations may be deemed fitting and revelatory and so enacted existentially.
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The second section locates Joshua within Israelite tradition through two chapters that
deal with its compositional history and genre. It culminates in a third chapter that examines
the significance of ~rx (the religious act of mass killing and destruction) as a pivotal
symbol within the narrative. Earl argues, first of all, that Priestly notions of ~rx (particularly
as offering and contagion) have been misread into accounts that employ Deuteronomistic
codes. He then proposes a mythological approach to the use of the term that looks past its
literal use in the world of the text to its use as a second-order symbol in the "here and now."
In this second-order sense, the ~rx signifies avoidance of idolatry and separation from the
peoples of the land in Deuteronomy.
Earl elaborates the program in the third section, which begins with a detailed reading of
the biblical text. "The various 'story blocks' in Joshua," he proposes, "form part of an overall
strategy to construct an Israelite identity that uses ~rx as the central, and symbolic, theme
that the stories are built around. Confrontation with ~rx forms a 'test' to establish identity"
(p. 165). This reading of the text echoes prior literary work that views Joshua as a narrative
fundamentally concerned with constructing and contesting Israel's identity, and it takes up
many of the trajectories that have emanated from literary analysis of the book (for example,
Rahab and Achan as opposing insider and outsider who together confuse traditional notions
of Israelite identity). Earl's attention in these stories is directed toward the way that the ~rx
functions by establishing a "limit situation," a boundary-constructing condition. He finds
that response to the ~rx challenges a genealogical construction of identity and reorients it
toward covenantal obedience. Rahab, for example, does ~rx (shows "mercy") to the
Israelite spies who come to Jericho and also mentions the ~rx while praising Israel's God,
even though she is one of those who are to be slaughtered in obedience to the commands
of Moses (Deut 7:1-5). Through her story, the narrative presents "doing ~rx" as central to
Israel's identity and at the heart of the covenant, and she is spared the fate that befalls her
people. Achan's story demonstrates the opposite response to ~rx in the person of a
paradigmatic insider. Here the response is covenant violation, and the outcome is death.
The connection between obedience and identity is reinforced in Josh 23-24, which bring
the sense of separation conveyed by the ~rx in the narrative past into the reader's present.
Earl's study of the ~rx as a symbol clarifies both the mythic infrastructure of the narrative
and the pathways by which the book has been imaginatively retold in the context of
Christianity. In the case of Rahab, he observes, Christian reception keys on Rahab's
hospitality, response, and inclusion, perceiving these in new ways within the framework of
conversion.
The various strands of the book are drawn together in a final chapter. It begins by
reiterating the importance of distinguishing the ~rx's symbolic meaning in its first-order
sense within the world of the text (where it is taken literally) and its second-order sense of
meaning in the "real world." As noted above, the ~rx functions as a test in Josh 2-11 that
pushes Israelite identity away from a genealogical platform to a covenantal one. Joshua 23-
24 then redefines what it means to enact the ~rx commands in this light. The reader
therefore is prompted to respond existentially to obedience to the covenant and separation
from idolatry. The implementation of the ~rx thus has significance only within the
prototypical world of the text. Its real-world significance is to be understood in connection
with the imperative of covenantal loyalty and the characteristics that define it. In this way,
the symbolism of Joshua offers a resource for the formation of a new cultural memory that
contributes to the construction of Christian identity, salvation history, and participation in
salvation through faith and the cultivation of Christian virtue.
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6. Earl, D. S., The Joshua Delusion? Rethinking Genocide in the Bible. James Clarke
& Co., Cambridge 2011, xvi+174 pp.

A.S.J. Lie, JSOT 37 (2013) 92-93.


This originates in a Durham PhD, previously published as Reading Joshua as Christian
Scripture (see B.L. 2011, pp 92-93). E. argues that though some Early Church Fathers
especially Origen) could see a non-literal reading of Joshua, the interpretative discussion
is enhanced by anthropological understandings of myth, neostructuralism and Paul
Ricoeur’s work on literary texts. The thrust of E.’s book, with discussions of the major
divisions of Joshua (1-12, 13-22, 23-24) and a significant treatment of Rahab (the outsider-
turned-insider), is that Joshua is not a straightforward ‘historical’ account of genocide,
bearing in mind that the story is set in the context of genocide. While the genocidal
tendencies should never be emulated, they can be read dynamically and theologically in
terms of myth and symbol. Specifically, the concept of herem in Joshua is used to
symbolize divine action m the world, to which humans must respond either positively or
negatively, and E, gives a helpful summary table of the responses to herem in Joshua (p.
97). E. then considers what it means to have a Christian theological reading of Joshua
within tile biblical canon (hence the book’s subtitle), albeit from an evangelical perspective.
The work includes a critical response from OT ethics scholar C.J.H. Wright, also from the
evangelical tradition, followed by E.’s rejoinder. While there seems to be a slight over-
reliance on anthropological approaches over any semblance of a ‘historical’ reading, and
while there is no overt attempt to gloss over explanations of divinely sanctioned genocide
and violence, these critical questions remain unresolved. The book unfortunately lacks an
index.

7. García Jalón de la Lama, S. – Guevara, J., Josué, Jueces, Rut (Comprender la Palabra,
7) BAC, Madrid 2016. 648 pp.

8. Hawk, L. D., Joshua in 3D: A Commentary on Biblical Conquest and Manifest


Destiny. Cascade Books, 2010. xxxii + 283 pp.

Pekka Pitkänen, Evangelical Quarterly (2013) 69.


The focus of this commentary by L. Daniel Hawk is a detailed comparison of the book of
Joshua with the conquest of Northern America; it appears to be the first to have undertaken
this task in a detailed manner. Its publication is to be welcomed. As it demonstrates, there
are many similarities between the portrayed conquest by the Israelites and what happened
in North America. The writer pretty much goes through the book of Joshua chapter by
chapter. For each chapter, he first elucidates the basic meaning of the text, then looks at
related themes in more detail, and finally makes a 'trajectory' into related American history.
As would be expected from an author who has otherwise previously published
commentaries on Joshua, the presentation of the text and themes of Joshua is very
competent. The author, in line with his general interests as seen in his previous works, does
not really concentrate on historical issues that pertain to the book of Joshua, but rather
concentrates on literary and narrative critical issues that pertain to the book. While not
extremely detailed, the presentation does bring out many literary and theological issues in
the book of Joshua in a nice way. As ever, readers are encouraged to reflect on whether
10

they agree with all points made, and to compare and complement the presentation in this
book with other works. As for the trajectory into North American history, some of the
suggested parallels are fairly immediate, and some more loosely connected with the text
and themes, but overall it is all at least broadly relevant arid pertinent. Readers are
encouraged to look into these matters as they are important for the self-understanding of
American and Western peoples in particular. The writer encourages reflection and
acknowledgement, even repentance of past colossal wrongs imposed by Europeans and
Americans on North American indigenous peoples. It is a message that, as it seems, is
increasingly finding voice in North America and the publication of this book could be taken
to attest this, even though there is still much work to be done. Perhaps one issue where the
author could have been more vigorous and radical might be imagining possible ways in
which reconciliation with indigenous peoples might take place in the present, and, also, the
topic is surely not exhausted by the book. But overall it is a nice piece of work for reflection
about the ancient text of Joshua and its contemporary postcolonial application in the context
of the North American continent with implications to our understanding of Western and
world history in general. The bibliography given at the end of the book provides some nice
pointers for further reading on the topic for interested readers.

9. Hubbard, Robert L. Jr., Joshua. Zondervan, Grand Rapids 2009, 656 pp.

a) Joshua E. Stewart, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (2010) 818-820.


Joshua’s world consisted of bloody battles and ethnic cleansing. Justice could cost every
member of a household his/her life. What should a reader make of the bloody battles and
the question of genocide in the book of Joshua? How should preachers and teachers develop
application for the people in the pews from the troublesome issues found in Joshua? Do
they simply overlook these so-called problems when teaching the people in their churches,
preferring instead to speak only of the heroic nature of some of the characters? Even if
overlooked, the average readers of the book of Joshua will nonetheless find some of the
content of the book troublesome. Robert L. Hubbard, Professor of Biblical Literature at
North Park Theological Seminary, anticipates the reader’s problems with these issues and
aids the reader in discovering the rich applications embedded within Joshua. Hubbard
masterfully works through Joshua, leaving no stone unturned, in his attempt to bridge the
cultural gap between then and now.
Hubbard maintains the format and style represented by the commentaries in the NIV
Application Commentary Series. He offers a fifty-one-page introduction that addresses
critical components necessary for readers (e.g. setting, composition, conquest models,
archaeology, hërem, modern issue of the land, and theological themes). Moreover, for those
unfamiliar with the current literature concerning the book of Joshua, he includes a helpful
selected bibliography.
The format of the book is as follows: NIV translation of a passage; “Original Meaning”
(traditional exegesis); “Bridging Contexts‫( ״‬connecting points between the ancient culture
and the modern culture); “Contemporary Significance” (applying the message of Joshua to
a wide variety of modern contexts). The introduction is worth the price of the book and is
the book’s greatest strength. Hubbard acknowledges that many first time readers of Joshua
may face a “jarring experience,” especially if their primary exposure to the Bible is by way
of the NT (p. 21). I would agree with Hubbard that the NT “does not prepare readers for
the world of military violence and ethnic cleansing” in Joshua (p. 21). Considering many
11

modern readers are often not aware of some of the critical issues surrounding Joshua, the
main thrust of this commentary is to give Joshua a clear hearing on its own terms.
Although Hubbard favors the late date of the exodus, he describes the situation in
Canaan relevant to both the early and late dates as he places Joshua in its historical setting.
He offers models that range across the spectrum of the debate surrounding the conquest
and to what extent it actually happened. He refuses to fully embrace either position,
critiques both, and then sets forth an alternative that effectively extracts the best evidence
to support his perspective of a conquest model that is not restricted by a too literalist
approach to history. His overall approach focuses on the literary nature of Joshua.
Hubbard’s focus on the literary nature of the text is influenced by three ideas: (1) he
recognizes that literary devices of hyperbole, ideology, and legitimation play important
roles in the book; (2) he accepts the contribution of Joshua to history as well as the limits
of the book’s information for historical reconstruction; and (3) he refuses to set texts against
each other by deciding one to be theological and one historical.
Hubbard employs the term “complex reality” as a referent to the concept that Joshua
pictures the conquest as more complex than simple (p. 39). He intends for the reader to
“first understand it [book of Joshua] as literature before one can glean history from it. Its
basic outline is historical but highly simplified” (p. 40). Hubbard’s desire to introduce the
reader into understanding the literary nature of Joshua is noteworthy given the average
reader’s unawareness of this important aspect for interpretation of biblical literature.
In the section, “Now, about All That Killing . . .” Hubbard deals with the controversial
issue of “Yahweh war.” Hubbard invokes pastoral honesty as he handles this issue. He
perceptively informs the reader that this type of war is a sacred act that only Yahweh has
the authority to impose. The sacredness of hërem, in the case of Joshua, was meant to
protect the young nation of Israel from the idolatry of the Canaanites. Hubbard unveils
three “unappealing realities” with which the modern reader must deal. These points shine
with pastoral wisdom. Hubbard, with unabashed honesty, informs the reader of his
discomfort concerning what transpires in Joshua (p. 44). In attempting to bridge the cultural
context, the reader is reminded that the contemporary culture is totally different than the
days of Joshua, especially in light of the teachings of Jesus (p. 45). In the “Bridging
Contexts” sections of chapters 5-6 and 7-8, Hubbard returns to hërem with further
elaboration. One of the applications offered reminds the reader that “Jesus Christ has
already won the decisive battles.” Another affirms, “The cross and resurrection mark Jesus’
most decisive victory” (pp. 212-13).
One of the final issues in the introduction is entitled “Who Owns the Land Today?” This
question is especially relevant considering the infiltration of unquestionable support of
modern Israel’s right to the land found in many stripes of fundamentalism. Hubbard
understands these positions as weakened by the failure to take into account progressive
revelation and that they jump from the OT and miss the modifications made in the NT. In
the “Bridging Contexts” section from chapters 13-19, Hubbard argues that the land is
interpreted typologically in the NT. Thus, the NT points Christians away from a physical
land “toward an international one—from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth” (p.
436). Part of the application of these chapters is that “the fulfillment of the land promise to
Israel finds one historical fulfillment in Christ and a final fulfillment at the end of time” (p.
444).
I have spent a great deal of spacing discussing the introduction. Nevertheless, I find this
section to be the greatest strength of the commentary. The reason for this—and I hope
Hubbard would agree—is that the issues in Joshua, especially the killing and the land, are
12

important for readers to understand if there is any hope of bridging the cultural context and
making proper application for the modern reader. Hubbard shows the importance of these
issues by the way they show up time and time again throughout the commentary. Richard
Hess called the book of Joshua the “most nationalistic of books” {Joshua, 1996, p. 52).
Hubbard’s work artfully aids the reader to understand how this nationalistic book of Israel
transcends time and is relevant and applicable for the Christian reader. No other
commentary on Joshua comes close to such a focus on application. A final benefit of this
commentary is that his applications are not so focused on issues particular to this decade
so that they will become obsolete within a few years. I would humbly suggest this
commentary as an excellent text for personal study, for adult education in churches, and
for English exegesis classes on the college or seminary level.

b) Steven M. Ortiz, Southwestern Journal of Theology (2011) 71-72.


This commentary is part of the Old Testament Series for the NIV Application
Commentary. As this commentary series is now commonplace and known to scholars, the
review will focus on broad impressions of the author’s contributions. The NIV Application
Commentary is designed to “make the journey from our world back to the world of the
Bible.” The main goal is not only to explain the original meaning, but also to explore the
contemporary significance. The authors keep to the structure and format of the series. The
passages are dealt with in broad chunks—usually a chapter or a series of chapters. Each
passage is discussed in three sections: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and
Contemporary Significance. The commentaries published so far in the Old Testament
Series are excellent and the new Joshua commentary continues this tradition. The
commentary series is written for pastors and expositors. Nevertheless, in spite of their
emphasis on contemporary applications and accessibility, there is a scholarly undergirding.
The authors address current critical issues in biblical studies, while still maintaining the
authority of the text.
Hubbard takes on the unique task of guiding the reader from the original context of
Joshua to applying the principles to modern day society, This is especially challenging
since the contents of the book are for a specific time period in Iron Age Palestine and a
particular period in the history of the Israelites. There are many cultural and theological
questions (e.g. holy war, the ban, inheritance, Israel’s right to the land, etc.) that are difficult
to make a direct correspondence between text and life, an expositional goal that is primary
to most evangelicals. Hubbard does an admirable job of staying true to the historical context
and providing insights for using the book of Joshua as a guide to Christian living.
The commentary first discusses basic issues concerning the text of Joshua. It includes
an introduction, outline, and selected bibliography. The introduction discusses the Israelite
Conquest as an historical event, some theological issues such as Yahweh the warrior, holy
war, and who does the promise land belong to today. While these discussions are brief,
Hubbard demonstrates a depth of knowledge of the scholarly debate, particularly recent
discussions of the historicity of the conquest. Most of the topics in the introduction are
more fully discussed in the commentary. After the introduction, the exposition of the text
follows according to the plan of the series format. At the end are four indices: Scripture,
subject, author, and Hebrew words (transliterated).
One of the strengths of the commentary is the discussion of the various issues such as
holy war, inheritance, and the Holy Land. Perhaps the best illustration is the application of
the various inheritance and geographical data in the second part of Joshua that is usually
avoided in the pulpit and personal Bible reading. Hubbard skillfully introduces the reader
13

to the ancient context of the biblical text, which is particularly insightful coming from
someone familiar with the geography and land.
Hubbard does an excellent job of addressing archaeological issues as they are pertinent
to the text (i.e., the destruction of Jericho and Ai, Hazor, etc.). As with most non-specialists,
there is a disjuncture in the discussion of archaeology. For example, the archaeological
discussion of Jericho and Ai focus on a fifteenth century dating of the Exodus while the
discussion of Hazor is based on a thirteenth century dating. Most biblical archaeologists
associate the hundreds of Iron Age I settlements with the conquest and settlement, These
are not highlighted in the text, nor is there a discussion of the Late Bronze Age archaeology
for the fifteenth century background. However, this disjuncture does not take away from
the commentary nor the exegesis and insights from foe text of Joshua. Hubbard does
provide an excellent overview of theories of Israelite settlement in the introductory
comments. A hidden gem is his solution and discussion of the problem of the archaeology
of Ai.
One of the features of this commentary series is to discuss the text in large sections,
usually complete chapters or series of chapters. There are pros and cons to this approach.
A pastor or student will find it difficult to turn to a particular text or pericope and glean
information or background data for that particular text, making it a challenge for the
expositor to prepare an exegesis of the text. On the other hand, Old Testament narrative
was not written for the twenty-first century expository sermon “text bites,” and the
commentary on the texts needs to discuss the narrative in its entirety. This commentary is
not valuable as a “quick reference.” I highly recommend that this be read in its entirety
before any sustained study or preaching from the book of Joshua. Hubbard’s command of
the text and its application for today brings difficult texts that are avoided by students of
Scripture to the forefront. While the reader might disagree with some contemporary
applications, Hubbard does an excellent job of making Joshua —with all of its battles and
long lists of geographical terms— a useful book for the church’s edification and
application.

10. Knauf, E. A., Josua. Theologischer Verlag, Zürich 2008, 203 pp.

a) Uwe Becker, ZAW (2010) 148-149.


Dieser Kommentar versucht, das Buch Josua in dem Rahmen zu verstehen, für den es
in seiner kanonischen Form geschrieben wurde - Tora und Propheten.« Mit diesem ersten
Satz des Buches gibt der Vf. den forschungsgeschichtlichen Standort seiner überaus
anregenden Auslegung des Jos-Buches an. Eine 32‫־‬seitige Einführung informiert über den
Schauplatz des Buches, seine Entstehung, sein Geschichtsbild, seine Wirkungsgeschichte
und schließlich die verwickelte Textgeschichte. Der Kommentar bietet nicht nur
zuverlässige archäologische und landeskundliche Informationen zu den Texten, sondern
legt sie konsequent vor dem Hintergrund ihrer Entstehungszeit zwischen ca. 600 und 150
v.Chr. als Dokumente religionspolitischer Interessen und Konflikte aus: (1) Die Entstehung
des Jos-Buches beginnt um 600 v.Chr. als Schlußkapitel einer in Ex 2 einsetzenden
Exodus-Josua-Geschichte. Dabei entspricht das »verheißene Land« etwa dem Gebiet
Judas, das in der Zeit Joschijas erworben wurde (vor allem Benjamin und die Schefela) und
bis zum Ende des Königtums zu Juda gehörte (vgl. Jos 6-10* mit dem Abschluß in Jos
10,40-42). - (2) Eine grundlegende Neuedition erfuhr diese erste Buchfassung durch die
»D- oder >Pentateuch<-Redaktion«. Sie reicht bis Jos 11,16-23 * und schließt auch das
Bundesbuch und das dtn Gesetz ein. Diese Redaktion »kennt« bereits die noch selbständige
14

Geschichte der Königreiche in I Sam - II Kön; für ein »deuteronomistisches


Geschichtswerk« im Umfang von Dtn - II Kön gibt es keinen Hinweis. »Die politische
Grundhaltung« der D-Redaktion »ist aggressiv-maximalistisch« (18): Nicht nur schließt
sie das Gebiet der beiden untergegangenen Königreiche in ihrer maximalen Ausdehnung
ein, sondern sie geht auch von der totalen Vollstreckung des Banns an den Vorbewohnern
aus. Als zeitgeschichtlicher Hintergrund sind innerjudäische Konflikte in der persischen
Zeit zwischen den Heimkehrern aus dem Exil und den (benjaminitischen)
Daheimgebliebenen, die sich in der Provinzhauptstadt Mizpa und dem dazugehörigen
Tempel von Bet-El (!) versammelt haben und im Sinne der Religion der Gemeinde von
Elephantine durchaus noch polytheistisch orientiert waren, anzunehmen. In der Beurteilung
der Rückkehrer konnte die Jahwe-Religion des Landes, »die alte Religion Israels und
Judas« (19), nur mehr als heidnisch, ja als kanaanäisch eingestuft werden: Sie verstehen
sich als die wahre Exodusgemeinde und haben sich theologisch am Ende in der Tora
durchgesetzt. - (3) Als ein Gegenentwurf zur »D-Redaktion« (die Anleihen am
Pentateuchmodell Erhard Blums liegen auf der Hand) hat die Priesterschrift nicht nur die
Vätergeschichte der Exodus-JosuaGeschichte vorangestellt, sondern das Konzept eines im
Prinzip nicht mehr an Jerusalem gebundenen Tempels entworfen. Damit wurden die beiden
genannten Parteien miteinander versöhnt. P hat auch in Josua seine Spuren hinterlassen,
wie der Vf. mit der Minderheit der Forscher vorschlägt (vgl. 4,19a [?]; 5,10-12; 18,1;
24,29b). - (4) Die »Hexateuch-Redaktion« vereinigt die D-Komposition mit dem P-Stoff
und führt zugleich einen Dialog zwischen beiden Positionen in den Textbestand ein.
Erkennbar ist diese Hand in Jos 3-4, in der »Vertragskastenprozessionsschicht« in Jos 6
und in der Grundschicht von Jos 14-17*. Auch bei dem Summarium Jos 21,43-45 handelt
es sich (ein Kennzeichen dieser Redaktion) um »P-Theologie in D-Sprache« (21). - (5) Um
400 v.Chr. wird das Jos-Buch als eigenständiges Buch aus dem Hexateuch herausgelöst
und durch Jos 24 zu einem »Supplement zur Tora« (21) gemacht, und Jos 1 schlägt einen
Bogen zum Dodekapropheton. Josua wird hier als vorbildlicher Prophet in der Nachfolge
Moses stilisiert. - (6) Mit Jos 18,2-19,48 und Jos 23 wird eine Verbindung von Jos und Ri
hergestellt; das Ri-Buch ist dem Zusammenhang von Jos und I Sam - II Kön also erst später
zugewachsen. - (7) Wohl um die Mitte des 2. Jh. v.Chr. schließlich wird das Jos-Buch in
einem pro-hasmonäischen und antisamaritanischen Sinne redigiert. Diese Spuren sind in
der LXX, die eine im ganzen ältere Redaktionsstufe des Buches widerspiegelt, noch nicht
enthalten (vgl. Jos 24,1, wo ein ursprüngliches »Schilo« durch »Sichern« ersetzt wurde). -
So spiegelt das Jos-Buch geradezu idealiter wider, was der Vf. über die Bibel insgesamt
sagt: »Die Bibel ist von und für Mensehen geschrieben, die gerne selber denken« (12). Das
gilt erst recht für den Kommentar, der in seiner unkonventionellen, gelegentlich auch
provozierenden Art zum Mit- und Nachdenken reizt und in bestem Sinne »anregt«.

b) A. G. Auld, JSOT (2009) 67.


Κ. presents the book of Joshua as the result of political and theological controversies in
Jerusalem between late seventh and early fourth centuries BCE about the interpretation of
Torah and Israel's relationship to both God and land: its tensions are for engaging with, not
explaining away. The introduction deals with historical geography, the development of the
book between prophecy and history, historical outlook and theology of Joshua (finishing
with a Kipling quotation), reception history, and text and translation. The translation
attempts a clear break with 'biblical' German: hence (the equivalent of) 'treaty' not
'covenant', and 'chest' rather than 'ark'. Each translated section is first set in general context,
then provided with detailed verse-by-verse notes. K.'s commentary is a model of clear and
15

economical expression. However, some of the discussion is 'eased' by leaving Greek 'Jesus'
almost completely unmentioned: though K. recognizes that both Hebrew and Greek texts
had developed since the Greek translation was made, it is the longer inherited Hebrew text
that his redactional history seeks to explain: an Exodus-Joshua narrative is supplemented
and reworked in turn by D (or Pentateuch) redaction, Priestly writing, Hexateuch redaction,
prophetic or 'book' redaction, Joshua-Judges redaction, and Shechem or Torah Prophets
redaction.

11. Laughlin, J. C. H., Reading Joshua: A Historical-Critical/Archaeological


Commentary. Reading the Old Testament. Macon, GA: Smyth and Helves, 2015.
Pp. XX + 242.

Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review 42 (2016) 102-103.


Unlike the typical aims of this commentary series, which characteristically produces
volumes focused on literary and theological issues, Laughlin presents a thoroughgoing
historical-critical reading of Joshua informed by archaeological research. In fact, his
concern for theological and ethical readings seems minimal; he broaches these subjects
mostly in a polemic against conservative readers. This approach to the biblical text may
surprise some of the general lay (and religious) audience for this series. The sixty-page
introductory material begins with an analysis of two “very wrong approaches” to Joshua:
the literalists and the decoders. In the commentary proper, Laughlin provides a fresh
translation of passages before offering helpful comments. The author is clearly aware of
the major scholarly topics in the study of Joshua and is at his best when discussing the
archaeological data as it relates (or not) to this biblical book. Given the amount of violence
portrayed in Joshua and the perennial ethical questions the book raises, it is unfortunate
that the author's comments remain so firmly rooted in the ancient past. While other volumes
in the commentary series have attempted to fulfill its aim of providing “an aid to help
[readers] become more competent, more engaged, and more enthusiastic readers of the
Bible as authoritative Scripture,” this volume reads the text as a historical document
without addressing constructively its authority. This volume will serve a general audience
of students and scholars interested in Joshua and the archaeological issues therein.

12. Luis de León Azcárate, J., Josué, Jueces (Comentarios a la Nueva Biblia de Jerusalén
6), Desclée de Brouwer, Bilbao 2015. 384 pp.

13. Matties, G. H., Joshua (Believers Church Bible Commentary), Herald Press,
Harrisonburg Va. 2012, 525 pp.

James R. Engle, The Mennonite Quarterly Review 87 (2013) 407-409.


This is a fine addition to the Believers Church Commentary Series. The series is written
from an Anabaptist standpoint and is intended for use in congregational Bible study by
those not highly trained in specialized theological study. This does not mean that modern
historical-critical questions are avoided. But technical arguments take a backseat to the
search for the plain meaning of Scripture and implications for godly living. Matties has
crafted a masterpiece. How will a writer from a peace church position approach the
militaristic book of Joshua? Many across the broad range of the Judeo-Christian spectrum
already blanch at the warring and whoring of the Hebrew Bible. Can a writer steeped in the
16

nonviolent pacifism of Jesus find a place for Joshua in the Christian canon? In a word, Yes.
Matties redeems Joshua's cherem (holy warfare; total destruction; genocide) in
numerous ways. He is well aware of the contrasting impressions within the Joshua book
itself. How can there be a swift and total conquest when there are also those nagging
reminders that much of the land was not possessed? The neat and tidy taking of Jericho
(chap. 6), the southern campaign (chap. 10), and the northern campaign (chap. 11) are
summarized in chapter 12, but a careful reading of other parts of Joshua indicates that this
picture is overdrawn. In his judicious review of the archaeological evidence, Matties
indicates that the evidence is inconclusive; digs at Hazor and Lachish, for example, show
destruction that seems to support the Joshua account, but Jericho and Ai are problematic.
He finds other conquest narratives in extra-biblical Ancient Near Eastern writings that
overstate the victories and that parallel the idealized accounts in Joshua. As one pays
attention to genre and differences between history and historiography, it becomes clear that
a lot of theologically oriented history in Joshua is concerned with portraying Yahweh as a
warrior leading Israel into the promised land. One cannot miss Matties' repeated reminders
of the fascinating tension between the total annihilation of the Canaanites placed alongside
Rahab and the Gibeonites who are spared. Their sparing and eventual inclusion stands in
contrast to the severe demands of cherem as applied in Achan's failure. This exciting
reading "against the grain" admits that some Canaanites did survive, and not only survived,
but even eventually become "insiders" as Matties develops the idea. The understanding of
God's mysterious grace confounds us; this is not favor that can be earned or simply
"calculated through moral arithmetic." Somehow in the overarching scheme of things God's
steadfast love trumps God's "strange work." As with many passages of Scripture, one
section, one idea, should not be read in isolation from the overall emphases. One of the
balancing acts a writer in this commentary series faces is how to keep the material
accessible to readers who are not highly trained and yet to do so without insulting their
intelligence. Non-specialist readers might not fully appreciate how well Matties has
integrated respected scholarly approaches and theories as he helpfully highlights recurring
themes. What he gives us is also solid, academically respectable fare. He uses what is
sometimes called modem literary critical methods, such as noting ‫״‬bookends" that
introduce and conclude sections, or "hinges" that mark a shift or a bridge, and close reading
that pays attention to patterns, repeated terms, and recurring themes. Matties also makes
moderate literary and redaction critical observations that sharpen the analysis. Attention to
Deuteronomic themes prepares us to see connections between Joshua and Deuteronomy,
such as the anticipation of the land and then the taking and distributing of the land, or the
calls to commitment—to "choose"—both in Deuteronomy 30 and also in Joshua 24, or the
observation that over time Joshua can finally be called the "servant of the Lord" as Moses
is so frequently named. The widely accepted scholarly theory of the Deuteronomistic
History Writer(s) responsible for a larger "book" (Deuteronomy through II Kings) helps us
to view Joshua's place in a still larger work where history is arranged, or the story is told,
in such a way that it is clear that it is God who is at work, promising, fulfilling, punishing,
and extending hope. Almost one fourth of the book is taken up with essays and notes (eighty
pages) and bibliography (twenty-five pages). Many of the essays give further explanation
of key ideas and terms that reoccur or somehow connect to issues raised. The extensive
bibliography and the meticulous notes further attest to the commentator's dedication and to
decades of focused work. This commentary is unabashedly Christian and Anabaptist; that
is the intention of this series. But it could well be used for study and discussion by those of
other faiths or traditions. Matties analyzes the Joshua book in nineteen sections and follows
17

the pattern of other writers in this series by regularly including in each section a discussion
of "The Text in Biblical Context" and a discussion of "The Text in the Life of the Church."
Matties not only deals capably with the use of similar or contrasting ideas within the
Hebrew Bible but he also easily moves into its uses in the New Testament. It is particularly
in the "Life of the Church" essays that the applications can get interesting for discussion
groups. Some of the New Testament use of Joshua is already rather fixative and typological,
but when one of the Early Church fathers, Origen (d. 254), does his typical allegorizing
with scriptural interpretation, one might question how useful it is, or how often it is worth
mentioning. In the "Life of the Church" there are opportunities to decry the overly
simplistic use of Joshua by the medieval Crusaders or in modem times the application to
Israeli-Palestinian land issues and Zionist perspectives. It is particularly here that if the
commentary writer gets on a bandwagon for too long, or focuses in too much detail on a
localized event or experience, the commentary can become "dated" pretty quickly. Again
Matties manages to do well by making helpful connections without getting overly preachy
or parochial.
As a reviewer I find little to criticize. Admittedly I read the text more as an academic
than many readers will, but I have resonated with and benefitted at many points from
Matties' diligent and reverent scholarship. At more than one point, I wanted to say, "Yes, I
could preach this!" Thanks to Gordon Matties for his careful scholarship and to the editors
for their meticulous work.

14. McConville, J. G. & S. N. Williams, Joshua. Two Horizons Old Testament


Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Pp. xii + 257.

L. D. Hawk, «Christianizing Joshua: Making Sense of the Bible's Book of Conquest»:


Journal of Theological Interpretation 5.1 (2011) 121-132, cf. 122-125.
McConville and Williams present their commentary as a work of collaborative
interpretation. They succeed in generating a thoughtful and stimulating dialogue that
demonstrates how much can be gained when biblical scholars and theologians reflect
together on the biblical text. McConville opens with a brief introduction that takes up
requisite topics (overview of the book, the audience, dating and historicity, reading Joshua
as Scripture, and Joshua and theology) and utilizes them to orient the reader to the threads
that figure prominently in the ensuing commentary and essays. He skillfully assists readers
in coming to Christian terms with the open-endedness that characterizes various aspects of
Joshua's interpretation and puts the question and import of Joshua's historicity directly:
"The issue for theological interpretation therefore is this: in what sense does the book of
Joshua have to be 'historical' in order to be valid theologically?" (p. 5). McConville lays
out the historical problems frankly and addresses them forthrightly. This must be done, he
notes, because Christian theology is grounded in the testimony of events that happened in
history, and Israel's claim to being a divinely chosen people requires a correlate in historical
actuality. Counseling a measure of openness, he identifies factors that should be taken into
account when evaluating how Joshua testifies to what happened—namely, the theological
character of Joshua as proclamation, its appropriation of ancient Near Eastern literary
conventions, assessment of the kind of historical claims being made, and recognition that
the concerns modern readers bring are not necessarily concerns that configure the narrative.
McConville also acknowledges the indeterminacy of Joshua as a narrative text. Instead
of offering an account of its compositional history, he speaks of the various ways that the
audience of Joshua can be conceived (from first hearers to the exilic audience) and the
18

different meanings audiences would have discerned in different contexts. Because of this
diversity of reading contexts, he asserts, no one audience can be determinative for
interpreting the book. A corresponding discussion, however, does not take place with
respect to the author. Although McConville cites authorial intention among the factors that
must be taken into account when interpreting the book, he does not identify who this author
(or authors) might be or what issues and perspectives shape what they wrote. Joshua bears
the traces of a complex process of composition. If no one audience can be determinative
for its interpretation, neither can any particular author or authorial perspective.
McConville's commentary on the biblical text and Williams's essay on the theological
horizon of Joshua constitute the core of the volume. McConville's exposition of Joshua is
insightful, cogent, and masterful. His succinct commentary elucidates the theological
character and affirmations of the book, providing an important biblical framework for the
following essays. Williams's first essay opens the theological conversation by identifying
five themes in Joshua and extending them into the NT and Christian theological discourse.
He begins by discussing the meaning of the land, its possession and loss as expressions of
God's faithfulness and Israel's disobedience, its eschatological resonances in the NT, and
its canonical significance as the place on earth where corruption is to be reversed. The
second theme concerns the extermination of those who inhabited the land that Israel
conquered. Williams articulates the ethical problem as forthrightly as McConville earlier
introduces the historical problem: "Is God actually capable of commanding anything
'morally abhorrent? Could he actually have commanded anything like what he supposedly
commanded in these accounts? Is such a representation anything but a religious
monstrosity?" (pp. 110-11). His response addresses related topics (for example, why
extermination and not assimilation, the inscrutability of divine justice, and whether the text
reflects what God actually commanded) before situating the discussion within a more
fundamental question, that is, the problem of evil and suffering and God's allowance of it.
The struggle against idolatry, the third theme, emanates from this question. Idolatry
threatens to draw worship away from the Creator, short-circuiting the new work God has
begun through Israel and producing tangible evil within Israelite society. By contrast,
Israel's covenant with Yahweh (the fourth topic) established a people and land where
righteousness could be lived out in the world. God's gracious work in Israel therefore
constituted a particular action in time that was undertaken for the sake of all humanity. The
fifth thread, which addresses the world of miracle and mystery presumed by Joshua, takes
a different tack and explores the clash between the biblical and modern world views.
Williams notes that the disintegration of the concept of universal reason has undercut the
Western world's rejection of miracles and the dismissal of non-Western world views as
primitive and subrational. Reminding readers that biblical narratives are rendered as
testimonies of what happened, he cautions against a too-facile rejection of their reports of
a transcendent God's supernatural involvement in human affairs. Scientific thought is
necessary, as superstition still abounds, but critical and scientific thinking overreach when
they refuse to engage the more mysterious world of the Bible.
McConville follows up with an essay that sets Joshua within the theology of the OT.
After examining the extension of its themes in the Pentateuch (particularly Deuteronomy)
and through 2 Kings, he turns to the issue of violence and the question of how Joshua may
contribute meaningfully to Christian theology. Joshua, in his view, must be set within the
Bible's affirmation that God uses human subjects to bring justice and righteousness to a
world in which violence is intrinsic. Human violence must be viewed from the perspective
of the Bible's mythic thought—as a worldly manifestation of the Chaos that God is working
19

to overcome. Israel plays a role as God's witness, representative, and instrument of


salvation. It is, however, flawed and inevitably implicated in violence. Joshua therefore
looks beyond itself to a fuller realization of God's purposes and stands as a counterpoint to
God's ultimate response to violence through the Suffering Servant.
Two essays by Williams follow. The first presses McConville on the indeterminacy of
the narrative and argues that a definitive interpretation of Joshua is both crucial and possible
when the book is read in relation to Christ. Christian interpretation does not impose
something new or external onto Joshua but discerns its continuity with patterns of thought
that configure the whole of the canon. Joshua thus "finds its deepest theological integration
when integrated into the witness to Jesus Christ in the New Testament" (p. 202). The second
essay addresses the two problems that confront the contemporary reader: the problem of
history and the book's portrayal of God. Williams begins with the issue of Joshua's
historical veracity. As it does in his discussion of miracle, the resurrection occupies a
critical point of reference, not only because Williams detects an empirical foundation in
the resurrection accounts but also because the resurrection vindicates all that is presupposed
by the NT. Joshua appropriates the same narrative conventions as the Gospels and confronts
readers with a testimony to events of such import that they cannot be viewed with
dispassionate detachment. "It matters," then, "that Israel knew what it was talking about"
(p. 210). Moving to the portrayal of God, Williams identifies three prominent attributes:
God's power (manifested in God's ability to fulfill promises), the moral characteristics of
God (admitting the problems with the adjective), and God's universal sovereignty. The
aspects of God that cause affront for readers, he asserts, arise from a monopersonal
presentation of God that was a necessary divine accommodation to the times. A Trinitarian
perspective, however, reveals that this problematic image is incomplete and may reflect
only the surface of God's ways and being. With respect to God's exercise of power,
Williams once again prompts readers to set Joshua within the context of God's full
revelation in Jesus Christ. In sum, God's acts in Joshua are revealed as a specific divine
dispensation in a particular time and economy. Given the presence of evil expressed in
violence, God used the violence instrumentally in Joshua's day—a day that is now long
gone.
The final word belongs to McConville, who in response to Williams returns to the
problem of history a final time. "Why, and in what way," he asks, do "we believe the Bible's
story gives a true account of God and of the human condition? What is the connection
between narrative and event, or reality?" (p. 231). He reiterates his earlier points that it is
difficult to take some of the events in Joshua as strictly factual and that we must take into
account how biblical texts were written to address particular audiences. Better, he avers, to
view Joshua as "cultural memory," a remembered history that shapes self-understanding
and gives encouragement in the present. The concept of cultural memory enables us to
appreciate Joshua "as a perpetually renewing dialogue between event and the reception of
it" (p. 234), within the context of a community united by the conviction that God is present
and active in the world. Different modes of conveying memories do not necessarily
diminish the truth of those memories, even if they may not conform to the conventions of
modern historiography. In the end, biblical history is proclamation that calls for belief and
response.

15. Pitkanen, P. Joshua. Nothingan Apollos 2010, 454 pp.

R. Ryan, JSOT (2011) 98-99.


20

This is a Christian reading of Joshua in which Ρ explains 'how the book can be applied
by the present-day Christian community in its devotion, worship and teaching' (p 23).
Joshua is read as sacred history (second millennium BCE), 'actual historical events, even
though one cannot prove the matter' (p 40). Each chapter of the Hebrew text is newly
translated, followed by notes, a discussion of form and structure, verse-by-verse comments
and explanation. Ρ allows that there may have been just a 'modest' town at Jericho for
Israelites to conquer (pp 44, 169) and that there is little to support a conquest or settlement
at Ai, concluding that archaeological remains for a conquest have been eroded and 'lost in
the mists of history' (p 169). However, negative archaeological evidence is not conclusive.
On the issues of conquest and genocide, Ρ allows that the systematic destruction of
indigenous peoples 'amounts to genocide in modern terms' (p 77). He argues that the
genocidal rhetoric of Joshua reminds us of our common humanity and that 'Christians
should demonstrate respect and solidarity towards others as they are' (p 89), something
which is lacking in the experience of contemporary Palestinians (pp 89-90). Like many
Christian commentators, Ρ seems at pains to defend God. However, might the character of
God m Joshua be answerable for crimes against humanity? Ρ could have been more
revealing in response to his theodicy question, 'why would God work in such a way in
history?' (p 98), which is left unanswered. A stimulating commentary (in places) with
introduction and topical excursus essays. A worthy addition to the Joshua corpus

16. Rösel, H. N., Joshua (HCOT), Peeters, Leuven 2011, xxx + 386 pp.

a) Philippe Guillaume, The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 12 (2012)


As required by the series Historical Commentaries of the Old Testament, each chapter
of Harmut Rösel's Joshua provides a fresh translation, a short bibliography, and a section
called “Essentials and Perspectives” that in a few lines provides a very informative
overview of the main issues. The verse-by-verse exposition that follows makes abundant
reference to German and Israeli exegetes, which makes this volume a valuable tool for
readers who do not master these languages.
The volume opens with a 10-page general bibliography and a 20-page introduction that
discusses the place of the Book of Joshua in the Bible, the emergence of the book, and its
theological significance—in particular the ban and how Calvin dealt with it. Also addressed
are the historicity of the Conquest (“Israel emerged within its country, not before its
country”), etiological stories, the figure of Joshua, Joshua in Judaism, and the text-critical
issues in Joshua. A map of the geography of Joshua 1–13 appears here as well.
Although the commentary focuses on the final text, Rösel does not shy away from
diachronic issues. He refrains, however, from mentioning specific historical contexts and
only assigns early, late, or very late dates to the different pericopes. On the one hand, this
approach saves on endless speculations concerning when and why each section of Joshua
arose. On the other hand, stating that a passage is late or very late begs the historical
question without revealing the intricate scaffolding that supports it. This results from the
paradox of this series of commentaries, which uses the term “historical” in its title while
assigning priority to the final stage of the text. This issue is a faithful reflection of the
present dilemma of the exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures, stuck between the excesses of
redaction criticism and the impossibility of dealing with a book like Joshua without taking
into account its development in stages. In this sense, Rösel has managed the impossible,
and the volume is a case study for the current situation.
21

Taking a post-Noth stance, Rösel insists on the presence of very late post-
Deuteronomistic stages often shaped under Priestly influence, and thus ignores the
hypothesis according to which Josh 5:10–12; 18:1 constitute the conclusion of the Priestly
Document (a hypothesis that does not imply the existence of a Hexateuch). In line with his
earlier work demonstrating the lack of a comprehensive leitmotiv in the Deuteronomistic
History, Rösel drops the notion of “Deuteronomistic History” and reveals the weaknesses
of Noth's celebrated hypothesis in regard to the Book of Joshua. This is probably one of
the major contributions of the volume, an important read at a time when it is fashionable to
save oneself the trouble of drawing the full consequences of the current state of research
by adding the words “so-called” in front of the designation “Deuteronomistic History.”
Rösel's excellent command of the literature enables him to offer several options to
various issues with clear explanations of which solution seems more probable. The volume
closes with a six-page index of site identifications that lists the Arabic name of its likely
location, the map coordinates, and the references in the Book of Joshua.
The realization of this long-time dream by a student of Martin Noth and Rudolph Smend
is a remarkable accomplishment thanks to the breadth of knowledge written in such concise
fashion. At 45 Euros, it is an excellent deal, and the crown of a fruitful career.

b) J. G. McConville, JSOT 37 (2013) 95-96.


The commentary follows the usual format of the series: author’s translation of each
pericope. Essentials and Perspectives summarizing the results of the exposition, then
Scholarly Exposition from first a synchronic and then a historical-critical perspective. An
important premise is R.’s doubts about theories of either a Deuteronomistic History or a
Hexateuch: Joshua should rather be understood as a work in its own right. However, R.
follows Noth in tile belief that the core of chs. 1-12 was created by a 'Sammler’, whose
work was supplemented by a Deuteronomist, and that there was further post-
Deuteronomistic editing. Joshua 13-22 resembles P, but does not belong to the Priestly
writing (p. 5). R. believes that the book’s narratives do not intend to convey realistic
history, but rather to stress certain themes, and he demonstrates that only a process of
accretion can explain certain inconsistencies in its composition, although he is cautious
about assigning specific dates to stages of this. For example, he questions the view of' E.
Blum and others that the Rahab narrative must belong to a Persian layer, on the grounds of
its affinities with Joshua 9 ‘which basically is an earlier text’ (p. 44). R. draws broadly on
background material from the ANE, and embeds the story of Joshua generally m that
context. However, there is no strong sense of the finished book having its setting at any
particular time. Theologically, R. thinks Joshua ‘has no special significance distinct from
other books of the Old Testament’ (pp. 7-8). One of its features, the herem or ‘bail’, in its
developed form, is Utopian and late.

c) D. Jericke, ZAW 126 (2014) 151-152.


Der Kommentar des 1973 in Tübingen promovierten und seit 1974 in Haifa lehrenden
Ebelwissenschaftlers knüpft an das einschlägige Werk Martin Notbs an. Wie Noth geht
Rösel davon aus, daß ein »Sammler« (»collector«) zunächst die einzelnen Überlieferungen
von Jos 1-12 zusammengetragen hat, bevor diese deuteronomistisch überarbeitet und zu
einer kohärenten Erzählung geformt wurden. Anders als Noth nimmt Rösel jedoch an, daß
die Kapitel 14-19 in einer Bearbeitung vorliegen, die sich an den priester(schrift)lichen
Passagen des Pentateuchs orientiert. Jos 1-12 und Jos 14-19 werden durch eine
spätdeuteronomistische Redaktion zusammengehalten, die Rösel in Jos 13 und Jos 23
22

erkennt, während er Jos 24 als eine ältere, Jos 23 vorausgehende Überlieferung bestimmt.
Die überlleferungsgeschichtlichen Fragen sind jedoch nicht in der gleichen Weise
bestimmend wie im Kommentar von Noth. Für Rösel steht die inhaltliche Kommentierung
im Vordergrund, Die Abschnitte zu den einzelnen Kapiteln sind jeweils gleich
übersichtlich angelegt: Übersetzung, Bibliographie, kurze Auslegungsgeschichte,
versweise Kommentierung des Kapitels. Die Auslegung ist geprägt vom reformierten
Traditionshintergrund, dem die Kommentarreihe verpflichtet ist. Daraus leitet sich
möglicherweise auch die Reduzierung der theologischen Deutungen auf einfache
Kernaussagen ab: Alles ist Jhwhs Plan, zentral ist die Observanz der Tora. Erzählzüge wie
den Bannvollzug und die Vernichtung der in Kanaan lebenden Völker, die aus heutiger
Sicht nicht nachzuvollziehen sind, erklärt Rösel damit, daß diese Vorgänge aus historischer
Sicht nicht in der geschilderten Weise stattfanden. Ob eine solche Einschätzung kritische
Nachfragen heutiger Leser zureichend beantwortet, erscheint fraglich. Hilfreich sind
dagegen die eingehenden Erörterungen historisch-topographischer Fragen zu den im
Josuabuch genannten Ortsangaben. Entsprechend wird der Kommentar durch eine Liste
von »site identifications« und durch eine ausführliche Bibliographie ergänzt. Insgesamt
stellt das sorgfältig gearbeitete und immer abwägend argumentierende Buch ein wichtiges
Referenzwerk für die Arbeit am Josuabuch dar, unabhängig davon, welche theologische
Tradition die Auslegenden leitet und welcher Auslegungsweg gewählt wird.

17. Sicre, J. L., Josué, Verbo Divino, Estella 2002. 520 pp. = Giosuè. Borla, Roma 2004.

Thomas Römer, Biblica (2004) 562-565.


Le commentaire du livre de Josué en langue espagnole par J.L. Sicre se distingue des
commentaires récents consacrés au même livre par V. Fritz, Das Buch Josua (HAT 1/7;
Tübingen 1994), R.D. Nelson, Joshua. A Commentary (OTL; Louisville, KY 1997) et
J.F.D. Creach, Joshua (Interpretation; Louisville, KY 2003). Alors que Fritz et Nelson
interprètent Josué surtout dans la perspective de l’hypothèse de l’«historiographie
deutéronomiste» — Fritz à la manière de M. Noth et Nelson à la suite de F.M. Cross — et
que Creach propose une explication homilétique et parfois apologétique, le commentaire
sous recension se caractérise pour sa part par une grande attention au texte ainsi qu’aux
enjeux théologiques du livre de Josué. L’auteur est tout à fait au courant du débat actuel
autour de ce livre, comme l’attestent les bibliographies et les résumés des différentes
positions exégétiques qu’il met à disposition de ses lecteurs.
Le commentaire s’ouvre par la présentation du livre, d’abord sur un plan synchronique
(contenu et structure du livra, ses acteurs principaux), ensuite sur le plan de la diachronie.
Sicre y résume fort bien l’histoire de la recherche depuis Wellhausen jusqu’au débat actuel.
Ce dernier se caractérise, selon Sicre, par la coexistence des différentes visions sur
l’histoire deutéronomiste: l’hypothèse d’une édition josianique de cette histoire dans le
modèle défendu par l’école de Cross, la théorie de trois couches rédactionnelles successives
exiliques voire postexiliques (école de Smend) et l’idée d’un seul auteur deutéronomiste
exilique, dont l’œuvre aurait connu plus tard une révision yahwiste (J. Van Seters). Sicre
n’adhère pas explicitement à l’une ou l’autre de ces théories.
En ce qui concerne les récits de conquête (Jos 1-12), il semble souscrire à l’idée que ces
narrations sont en grande partie l’œuvre du Deutéronomiste. Sicre admet au moins deux
rédactions deutéronomistes (p. ex. 50), mais il semble hésiter quant à la question de savoir
si le premier Dtr est à situer sous Josias ou plutôt à l’époque de l’exil babylonien. Ainsi,
23

par exemple à la page 88: «Si la Historia dtr se escribió en Babilonia, al menos en su
segunda edición...»). De manière générale, on peut regretter que l’auteur ne développe pas
plus explicitement sa propre position concernant cette problématique. Sicre admet
également, avec la majorité des commentateurs, des interventions de type sacerdotal à
l’intérieur de Jos 1-12 (cf. 51-52). Les listes en Jos 13-19, dont certaines datent
probablement de l’époque de la monarchie (Josias?) ont également connu des retouches
sacerdotales, mais il paraît difficile d’attribuer tous les textes de type «P» à la même strate
rédactionnelle: «es posible que dentro la misma tradición existan diversas tendencias, como
sugieren los textos referentes a la heredad de los levitas (13,14.33; 14,3b-4; 18,7)» (52).
Sicre traite ensuite, peut-être un peu trop brièvement, du problème posé par le texte de
la LXX de Josué, donnant d’abord une liste des «plus» du texte grec et discutant ensuite le
fait que dans d’autres cas LXX offre un texte plus bref que celui du TM. En conclusion, il
déclare suivre le TM avec la majorité des chercheurs, tout en signalant dans le commentaire
certaines divergences préservées par la LXX «en los casos en que puede mejorar el texte
hebreo y a veces a título de curiosidad» (55). L’auteur de ce compte-rendu regrette pour sa
part cette utilisation assez restreinte de la LXX. En effet, des travaux récents d’A.G. Auld
et d’E. Tov rendent plausible l’idée que le texte hébreu sur lequel se sont basés les
traducteurs grecs pourrait être antérieur au texte massorétique actuel.
L’introduction au commentaire se poursuit par un paragraphe consacré aux problèmes
théologiques et éthiques que le livra de Josué pose pour le lecteur contemporain; elle se
termine par la question de l’apport du livre quant à la reconstruction de la préhistoire
d’Israël. Sicre y rejette avec raison les tentatives de l’école d’Albright visant à utiliser Jos
pour reconstruire l’époque dite de la conquête, et caractérise le livra comme «un ejemplo
típico de historiografía teológica» (70).
Après quelques pages de bibliographie (commentaires, monographies et articles, 70-76)
commence té commentaire proprement dit. Chaque péricope est traitée de la manière
suivante: bibliographie complémentaire, traduction du texte hébreu, notes de critique
textuelle ou sur des termes présentant des difficultés de traduction, structure et problèmes
majeurs du passage, commentaire verset par verset. Très souvent, Sicre résume de manière
fort utile les différentes positions défendues par rapport à tel ou tel problème (p. ex. sur la
diachronie de Jos 1,1-9 [84], sur l’interprétation de Jos 10,12-14 [266-268], etc.).
Malheureusement, ces résumés se terminent parfois d’une manière quelque peu abrupte et
le lecteur reste sur sa faim, ne sachant pas toujours très bien quelle est la solution défendue
par l’auteur du commentaire, Pour d’autres péricopes, Sicre se montre plus affirmatif.
Ainsi, il suit Van Seters et d’autres qui considèrent l’histoire de Rahab en Jos 2 comme un
ajout postdeutéronomiste interrompant la chronologie deutéronomiste entre 1,11 et 3,2
(109-110). L’histoire de Rahab, qui circulait peut-être d’abord comme une tradition
indépendante (cf. Jos 24,11 qui semble présupposer une autre version de la conquête de
Jéricho) aurait été insérée entre Jos l e 3 en vue de corriger l’idéologie exclusiviste du
milieu deutéronomiste qui s’exprime dans des textes comme Dt 7 ou 9,1-6 (116-117).
Rahab symbolise ainsi des groupes étrangers qui vivent à l’intérieur d’«lsraël» à l’époque
perse. Pour les narrations de conquête Sicre admet pour certaines des anciennes traditions
(sans que l’on ne sache très bien où celles-ci ont été préservées, ni de quelle manière) tout
en insistant sur l’idéologie deutéronomiste qu’elles véhiculent dans leur forme actuelle,
Pour le matériel géographique en Jos 13-19, Sicre suit souvent les explications de Noth et
de Fritz. Les chapitres Jos 20-21 sont des textes tardifs. Pour Jos 21, Sicre offre une synopse
fort utile avec 1 Chr 6 (432-434); pour Jos 22, il se range à l’avis de ceux qui y voient un
texte de l’époque perse, une sorte d’étiologie du culte synagogal naissant (447-448).
24

Quant à la question de la finale originale de Jos, fortement débattue aujourd’hui, Sicre


la voit clairement en Jos 23. Le texte de base du ch. 23 aurait formé la conclusion de la
première édition deutéronomiste du livre sous Josias; les vv. 7b-8 et 16 sont des ajouts qui
insistent sur le danger de la vénération des dieux des autres peuples (462). Reste le
problème que le texte de base contient en 23,6.7a une référence explicite à Jos 1,7-8 que
Sicre lui même (89) attribue à une deuxième rédaction deutéronomiste. Jos 24 est
clairement un ajout de l’époque postexilique «sin basarse en tradición antigua alguna»
(457, cf. aussi 478). Sicre reste cependant discret quant à la raison qui a provoqué l’ajout
de cette nouvelle finale du livre.
Le commentaire contient sept excursus. 1. La formation de Jos 2 (Sicre y présente les
théories de Holzinger, Steuemagel, Noth, Anbar, Newmann, Floss, Langlamet et
Bieberstein). 2. Les différentes désignations de l’arche (l’expression «arche d’alliance»
apparaît seulement en Jos et est probablement dtr, alors que l’«arche du témoignage» est
une expression typiquement sacerdotale). 3. L’histoire de l’arche (hypothèses sur l’origine
et la fonction de l’arche). 4. Les listes des peuples (Sicre y donne un résumé utile sur les
différentes listes, le plus grand nombre comporte six peuples, quelques textes en Dt et Jos
sept. Il conclut en citant Noth qui souligne l’impossibilité d’identifier précisément la
plupart des peuples qui y sont mentionnés). 5. La diachronie de Jos 3-4 (théories concernant
la formation du passage du Jourdain: étiologiques, cultuelles, mythiques, etc.). 6. La
formation de Jos 6 (Sicre y présente notamment les théories de Bieberstein et de
Schwienhorst). 7. Les villes lévitiques (Sicre discute notamment une étude de Ben-Zvi qui
souligne le caractère utopique et sacerdotal des textes en Jos). Ces excursus sont fort utiles,
bien que l’on puisse regretter, à nouveau, que Sicre ne fournisse que très rarement une
appréciation personnelle du débat. L’ouvrage se termine par deux indices (sujets et
auteurs). A part quelques erreurs (problèmes de sauts de lignes dans la citation de l’hébreu
[90, 490]; Biberstein au lieu de Bieberstein [68]; van Seters au lieu de Van Seters [169];
l’oubli de Vink, cité à la page 447, dans la bibliographie et dans l’index) la présentation est
agréable. Il s’agit d’un bon commentaire, qui reflète bien la complexité du débat sur le livre
de Josué (il manque cependant la monographie de J. Nentel sur le milieu producteur de
l’histoire deutéronomiste: Trägerschaft und Intentionen des deuteronomistischen
Geschichtswerks. Untersuchungen zu den Reflexionsreden Jos 1 ; 23 ; 24 ; 1 Sam 12 und
1 Kön 8 [BZAW 297; Berlin 2000]); l’ouvrage aurait toutefois encore gagné en pertinence
si l’auteur avait été un peu moins modeste quant à ses propres idées sur la formation du
livre.

18. Scherman, N. (ed.), The prophets: the early prophets with a commentary
anthologized from the rabbinic writings. [1], Joshua-Judges. Mesorah
Publications, Brooklyn, Nueva York 2007.

Studi

1. Ballhorn, E. Israel am Jordan: Narrative Topographie im Buch Josua (BBB 162).


Gottingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011.

D. Jericke. ZAW (2012) 442-443.


Es bietet eine »fortlaufende Lektüre des gesamten Josuabuches unter topographischem
Schwerpunkt« (S. 20). Diachrone Aspekte werden zwar stellenweise referiert, spielen für
25

die Interpretation der Texte jedoch keine Rolle. Vielmehr wird nach der Pragmatik des
Textes, vornehmlich nach den didaktischen Interessen gefragt. Der Vf. beruft sich auf
»Raumtheorien«, die u.a. von Martina Löw und Rolf Gehlen ausgearbeitet wurden, v.a.
jedoch auf den von Michel Foucault eingeführten Begriff der »Heterotopie«, der einen
»Gegenort« oder eine verwirklichte Utopie bezeichnen will. Unter den genannten
Prämissen bietet der Vf. einen Durchgang durch das Josuabuch, der in eine breit angelegte,
versweise vorgenommene Auslegung von Jos 22 mündet. Die in dem Kapitel erzählte
Klärung des Verhätnisses von ost- und westjordanischen Stämmen setzt möglicherweise
die historische Situation eines etablierten »Diasporajudentums« voraus (S. 467f.). Im
Gesamtzusammenhang des Josuabuchs lassen sich in Jos 22 nach Ansicht des Vf.
»geradezu modellhaft alle Aspekte des Gesamtbuches wiederfinden« (S. 473): das
»Gedächtnis des Exodus« mit dem Motiv des Jordanübergangs, das »Gedächtnis der
Steine« mit dem Altarbau und das »Gedächtnis der Namen« mit der allerdings schwierig
zu verstehenden Benennung des Altars am Schluß des Kapitels. In diesem Sinnhorizont
sei das Josuabuch als »Lernlandschaft« (S. 481) bzw. als »Gedächtnislandschaft« (S. 482)
zu verstehen und biete ein »Modell, wie Israel mit der Tora sein Leben gestalten soll« (S.
490) bzw. »eine narrative Übersetzung der Tora in die Gegebenheiten des
Verheißungslandes hinein« (S. 495). In den letztgenannten Verstehensaspekten
konkretisiere sich die Rede vom Josuabuch als »Heterotopie«. Die teilweise etwas
redundant formulierte Arbeit, die wichtige, sicher auch weiterhin zu diskutierende
Aspekte für das Verständnis des Josuabuchs bietet, wird durch ein Literaturverzeichnis
erschlossen.

2. Billings, R. M., “Israel Served the Lord”: The Book of Joshua as Paradoxical
Portrait of Faithful Israel. University of Notre Dame Press, 2013. Pp. x + 177.

Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review (2014) 148.


This literary and theological reading of Joshua supplements nicely other recent literary
and thematic studies of Joshua by focusing on a single verse. Josh 24:31, “Israel served
the Lord during all the days of Joshua,” as a key to the book’s overall message. Billings
argues that the statement should be taken as a sincere one (as opposed to an exaggeration
or ironic comment) and offers a clue to interpreting Israel's actions throughout the book.
In the first couple of chapters, Billings presents the thesis and a history of scholarship
succinctly and clearly. Then, the author turns to four stories and a theme, all of which
appear to contradict the declaration that Israel served God: Rahab’s story in Joshua 2,
Achan’s sin in Joshua 7, the Gibeonites' deception in Joshua 9, the Transjordanian altar
story in Joshua 22, and the theme of complete versus partial land occupation found
throughout the book. Each of these stories is reread in order to demonstrate that Israel’s
obedience and disobedience are encompassed in the idea that the nation served God. I
highly recommend this book to all academic libraries and to scholars of Joshua.

3. Braber, M. E. J. den, Built from Many Stones. An Analysis of Ν. Winther-Nielsen and


A. G. Auld on Joshua with Focus on Joshua 5,1-6,26 (Amsterdamse Cahiers voor
Exegese van de Bijbel en zijn Tradities Supplement Series, 8), 2VM Uitgeverej,
Bergembacht 2010, pp ix + 279.

A. H. W. Curtis, JSOT (2011) 92.


26

This volume presents an analysis of what are claimed to be 'two relatively new exegetical
methods' (p 3, though the description may be felt to be more appropriate for one than the
other') as applied to the book of Joshua, and chs 5 and 6 in particular. These are Ν.
Winther-Nielsen's use of 'functional discourse grammar' (which builds in part on the
methodology of E. Talstra, whose four-cornered matrix for exegesis informs some of the
later comparisons) and A G Auld's 'analytical and exegetical' approach with its emphasis
on the witness of the Septuagint The starting point of the comparison is how the choice
of data influences the method and analysis of each, and what 'stones' the methods provide
for 'building' a reading of the text The approaches of Winther-Nielsen and Auld to Joshua
are set in the broader context of the views of other scholars and of their own priorities in
engaging with a text, and their interpretations of Joshua 5 and 6 are outlined and
compared Perhaps unsurprisingly it emerges that their interpretations reflect their
different priorities and emphases, and that each has something to contribute to the
exegesis of the passage What becomes clear particularly towards the end of the book is
that the underlying concern is the usefulness of the methods for Church ministers and
pastors in preparing their sermons It is encouraging to know that there are those who think
that sermons should pay attention to serious exegetical issues' (The book mcludes a
summary in Dutch).

4. Brueggemann, W. A., Divine Presence Amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of


Joshua. Eugene, Ore. Wipf & Stock 2009.

D. J. Stark, Word & World (2010) 442-443.


Walter Brueggemann's Divine Presence amid Violence is one among many recent studies
of the Old Testament that observe God's inextricable connection to violence and war. With
remarkable clarity, Brueggemann engages Scripture relevant to our own contemporary
theological discussions. This curious little title suggests a difficult question: What are we
to do with all the unspeakable human violence and bloodshed in the Old Testament that is
done in the name of God? These sixty-odd pages provide a classic example of Walter
Brueggemann's theological agenda—if you've read him before, you'll know what to
expect: Brueggemann's signature emphasis on the central importance of the paradigmatic
salvific and liberating activity of Yahweh over against violent royal domination systems.
Exodus theology is the lifeblood that inundates every page.
The reader must keep in mind that the work in this book is not intended to be an
exhaustive study—it would be impossible even to mitigate the problems of violence in the
book of Joshua in sixty-some pages. Instead, Brueggemann provides the reader with a
concise midrash on divine presence and its connection to violence in Josh 11 that is both
a practical and accessible pastoral offering, appropriate for layperson and clergy alike. His
writing draws from a considerable knowledge of Scripture. Moreover, it is informed by a
pantheon of scholars, old and new, rendering a considerable bibliography for any aspirant
to the understanding of biblical warfare. Certainly, this book is an excellent starting place
for those who wish to join the ongoing conversation about war, the Bible, and the church
today.
Brueggemann's work here is a long overdue departure from countless classic pastoral
treatments of the connection of the divine and violence, most painfully expressed in
apologia and pleading on the behalf of Scripture, God, and country. Furthermore, it is a
refreshing change from the typical treatment of Scripture in popular biblical scholarship—
27

the reader is not nettled with bothersome text-critical matters, but is troubled instead by
the intense reality of horse and driver and Solomonic economics, as immediate and living
as our own communities. For Brueggemann, Scripture portrays a reality that replays itself
over and over in the world today. Consequently, Brueggemann's work is never a
disconnected autopsy on a "dead letter," but is always a conversation with the living,
breathing word of God. He therefore prays a desperate prayer concerning our reading and
understanding of Josh 11: "We must read the narrative as disclosure 'from the other side'
within communities of domination" (64). Readers of this book will find themselves to be
deeply engrossed and challenged by this exercise.
The problems of divine permission and violence in texts such as Joshua are traditionally
dealt with by transposing the political-historical violence into "ontological violence"—
customarily expressed as "God's struggle with death." This "bourgeois construction,"
however, is not characteristic of Brueggemann's writing. The struggle here is not between
"God and death" but "Yahweh and empire." The message couldn't be clearer—our world
is the same as the world disclosed within this difficult Scripture, and we are playing out
the same drama as the ancient domination systems of the Bible. To miss this element is to
distort biblical faith into a benign, innocuous affair. Here Brueggemann does no such
thing. His task is not to jettison the problems of violence that are aroused by the text, or to
exonerate God, but to offer an appropriate, reasonable, and theo-political lens for the
difficult enterprise of understanding biblical violence and its connection to the divine. If
you are looking for an apologia for "American empire," you must look elsewhere.
Brueggemann does not offer exoneration for empire, but instead invites us to see our
present society of militarism in the royal domination systems of the Bible: "The powerful
lineage of Pharaoh, Sisera, Nebuchadnezzar never learns in time. But the text persists and
is always offered again" (64).
Our world today, not unlike the world disclosed in Scripture, cries out for liberation.
Brueggemann refuses to let those cries fall on deaf ears: "Generation after generation, the
strange turn of the Exodus is reenacted with new characters, but each time on behalf of
helpless Israel" (48). I recommend that you read this book with Scripture in one hand and
a newspaper in the other. You may be left without words, but Brueggemann will surely
place some upon your lips: "We are more fully embedded in communities of horses and
chariots, more fully committed to domination" (64).
Brueggemann's work, like the book of Joshua, "is a disclosure of hope to those
embedded in reliance on horses and chariots, a warning that all such arms cannot secure
against God's force for life" (64). The need for the liberation of helpless "Israel" persists
in the world today, and Brueggemann is one liberating voice that refuses to surrender to
the crushing silence of Western passivity.

5. Elssner, T. R., Josua und seine Kriege in jüdischer und christlicher


Rezeptionsgeschichte, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2008. 336 pp.

C. Stenschke, ETL (2010) 475-477.


In der hier veröfflichten Habilitaionsschrift (Kath. Theologie, Universität Erfurt, 2008)
gibt Thomas Elßner einen hervorragenden Überblick über die Rezeptionsgechichte der
ersten Hälfte des Buches Josua. Nach einer Einführung in die gegenwärtige Wahrnehmung
von Religion und Gewalt im Buch Josua und einem knappen Forschungsüberbhck (17f)
beschreibt Elßner sein Anliegen (18-21) wie folgt:
28

Unter methodischem Aspekt fragt die Arbeit mit dem Vorverständnis eines
Alttestamentlers, aber auch eines mit Friedensethik Beschäftigten danach, wie spätere
Generationen beispielsweise Texte der Landnahme-Erzählung des Buches Josua (Jos 1-
12) verstanden und rezipiert haben, die durch Gewalt gekennzeichnet sind. Dem
korrespondiert, dass diese Arbeit keine Einzelexegese oder eine Endtextexegese des
Josuabuches vomimmt (19).
Zur Rezeptionsgeschichte im AT gehört Sirach 46 und die Hinweise auf Josua in den
beiden Makkabäerbüchern (22-81). Das NT bezieht sich auf das Buch Josua in der
Stephanusrede, dem Hebräer- und Jakobusbrief (82-104; ‫״‬Das NT hat selbst in seiner
Vielschichtigkeit kein besonderes Interesse an der unter Josua durchgeführten
Landnahme“, 104) Weiter beleuchtet Elßner Josua bei Philo von Alexandrien und Josephus
(ausführlich in Antiquitates V.1.1, 105-128):
Mit der bei Josephus im einzelnen geschilderten Brutalität des Tötens im
Zusammenhang mit der Landnahme korrespondiert die Überzeugung, dass es besser ist,
sich durch Worte besiegen zu lassen, als erst die Erfahrung von Kriegen machen zu
müssen {Ant v .l. §110). Vielleicht spricht sich auch hier sein Erfahrungshintergrund aus
der Zeit des Judäischen Krieges aus (128).
Im Kapitel zur rabbinischen Tradition (129-169) beschreibt Elßner die
unterschiedlichen Kategorien des Krieges in der Mischna sowie im pal. und babylon.
Talmud, die sog. drei Sendschreiben Josua an die Einwohner des Landes vor der Eroberung
und die Hinweise in den Midrashim Rabba. Die Landnahme wird zu einem streng an den
Kriegsgesetzen orientierten Geschehen, bei dem jeder der Vorbewohner
eine gut begründete Chance hatte, mit dem Leben ... davonzukommen. ... Die Kehr-
Seite aber ist die, dass damit aus kriegeehtlicher Perspektive der Landnahmekrieg ein
Krieg wie jeder andere erscheinen kann (168).
Zur jüdischen Rezeptionsgchichte gehört ferner Maimonides (169-197).
In der frühchristlichen Literatur erscheint Josua im 1 Clemensbrief, im Barnabasbrief
und bei Justin Märtyrer (198-225; hier wird vor allem die Geschichte mit der Hure Rahab
herausgegriffen). Eine breite Rezeption fand Josua in den Josua-Homilien des Orígenes
(226-254); vgl. dazu die neue deutsche Übersetzung Die Homilien des Orígenes zum Buch
Josua: Die Kriege Josuas als Heilswirken Jesu durch R. Elssner - T. Heitrer (Beiträge zur
Friedensethik, 38), Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, 2006; meine Rez. in Theologische Zeitschrift
65 (2009), 83-85; vgl. auch die neue englische Ausgabe B.J. Bruce - C. White, Origen:
Homilies on Joshua (The Fathers of the Church), Washington, Catholic University of
America Press, 2002. Aufgrund der Namensgleichheit im Griechischen zwischen Josua
und Jesus ist im Sinne einer theologia nominis im alttestametlichen Josua der
neutestamentliche Jesus präsent. Die Kriege, die Josua führt, kämpft auch schon Jesus mit,
der Sohn Gottes. Daher sind die Kriege des Josua durch die Allegorese ganz als geistliehe
Kriege zu deuten. Ob die Erzählungen des Josuabuches dabei gchichtliche Ereignisse
wiedergeben, ist für Orígenes nicht mehr relevant. Der von ihm entfaltete geistliche Gehalt
der Texte ist von vornherein auch der primäre Schriftsinn, denn
Nur missverständliches Lesen könne dann Texte wie Josua 6-8 allein als Wiedergabe
exakter historischer Begebenheiten begreifen (253).
Augustinus diskutiert Josua vor allem im Zusammenhang des gerechten Krieges (255-
270). Für Augustin gilt Josua als ein gerechter Mensch, der die gerechten Kriege
widerspruchsfrei zur Gerechtigkeit führt, da Gott selbst, in dem keine Ungerechtigkeit ist,
diesen Krieg befohlen hat. Gott ist der auctor belli und Josua der minister belli, der den
Befehl Gottes vollstreckt. Ein knapper Ausblick gilt der weiteren Wirkungsgeschichte in
der Zeit der Scholastik (Decretum Gratiani, Thomas von Aquin, Johannes de Lignano), in
29

der Zeit der spanischen Spätscholastik und bei Hugo Grotius (legitime Quelle der
Kriegsführung, vom Hinterhaltlegen zur vorgetäuschten Flucht, göttlich legitimierte
Tötung Unschuldiger).
Im Resümee (290-311) schildert Elßner, wie die Kriege Josuas als Vorbild und
Vorlagen für Kriege überhaupt gesehen wurden (Vorbild für kriegerisches Verhalten und
Vorlage für Kriegsrechtliche Bestimmungen). Ferner fasst er die unterschiedlichen Wege
einer interterpretatorischen Einhegung der Kriege Josuas zusammen (legendarische
Einhegung, zweifach unbestimmte zeitliche Einhegung, völkerrechtliche und
naturrechtliche Einhegung sowie jüdisch-hellenistisch philosophische, konfessionale und
frühchristlich-theologische Einhegung). Zwei geläufige Pfeiler der Interpretationsbrücke
sind der alttestamentliche und der neutestamentliche Jesus. Die Landnahmekriege Josuas
sind immer wieder zu Rechtfertigung und Theoriebildungen im Kontext von Krieg und
Kriegsrecht von jüdischen und christlichen Autoren herangezogen worden bzw. dienten sie
als deren Grundlage. Diskutiert werden Josuas Taten als Bezugspunkt für Krieg und
Kriegsrecht und indirekte Aussageabsichten. Abschließend beschreibt Elßner drei
ineinander verwobene Aspekte einer Interpretation des Bannes, nämlich einen
theologischen, einen sittlichen und einen eher soziologischen Interpretationszugang (in
Anlehnung an die Verlautbarung der Päpstlichen Bibelkommission Das jüdische Volk und
seine Heilige Schrift in der christlichen Bibel von 2001):
Auf diese Weise kann letztlich eingestanden werden, dass die im Buch Josua
anzutreffende Theologie der Landgabe einen problematischen Aspekt immer behalten
wird, der ihr nicht nur äußerlich anhaftet (311).
Literaturverzeichnis und Sellenregister beschließen den Band.
Elßner’s Band bietet einen hervotragenden Überblick sowie Analyse der
Rezeptionsgeschichte des Buches Josua bis Hugo Grotius. Die weitere
Rezeptionsgeschichte unter Juden und Christen, aber auch darüber hinaus, ist noch ein
Desiderat. Elßner beschränkt sich auf die Rezeption der Erzählung von der Eroberung des
Landes in Josua 1-12, andere Teile des Buches bleiben in ihrer Wirkungsgeschichte
weitgehend unberücksichtigt. Elßners Verdienst ist es, die Wirkungsgeschichte eines Teils
der Bibel dargestellt zu haben, der nicht erst in der Gegenwart vielfach als problematisch
empfunden wurde. Er zeigt, dass es neben dem Literalsinn, der seit der Reformation die
Bibelauslegung weitgehend bestimmt, noch andere Möglichkeiten gab (und gibt!), diese
Texte des Kanons - wenn man sie nicht weitgehend stillschweigend vernachlässigen und
verschweigen will - fruchtbar zu machen (im Sinn der Friedensethik - daher erklärt sich
auch, warum die Studie in der Serie Theologie und Frieden erschienen ist!). Dies ist umso
wichtiger angesichts der intensiven Diskussion um das Verhältnis von Religion(en) und
Gewalt im vergangenen Jahrzehnt sowie um alle religiös motivierten Ansprüche auf Land,
die ja nicht nur auf das Heilige Land erhoben wurden und werden!

6. Hall, S. L., Conquering Character: The Characterization of Joshua in Joshua 1–11.


(LHB/OTL 512), T. & T. Clark, New York 2010. xii + 231 pp.

Richard J. Ounsworth, O. P., Journal of Theological Studies (2011) 270-272.


This book is the fruit of Hall's doctoral research, and in respect of its subject-matter and
the arrangement thereof this is very obvious, but it suffers from none of the defects one
sometimes encounters in such work. The methodological introduction is lucid and entirely
covers the necessary ground without being tedious in its exhaustiveness, and there is a
very brisk survey of other relevant literature; by page 10, we are engaging directly with
30

the text of the Book of Joshua and the exegetical questions it raises. Throughout, Hall's
writing is clear and engaging, not burdened with impenetrable jargon but expounding the
issues helpfully for the non-expert and arguing persuasively for worthwhile conclusions.
Hall makes two important and wise decisions that guide her reading of this first section of
Joshua. The first is that she will engage specifically with the Masoretic Text,
acknowledging it as a distinctive textual tradition with its own theological Tendenz;
sometimes the MT is compared with other versions—particularly of course the Septuagint,
the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Targums—but never with a view to establishing the
authentic reading of the Book. Secondly, and harmoniously, Hall's approach is a narrative-
critical one, focusing on the final form of the text as a consciously and intelligently
composed literary artefact rather than a badly redacted mishmash to be mined for its
textual pre-history. Such an approach is certainly not uncommon in Old Testament studies
today, but it is a particularly bold one to take with this book, which is often seen to be
especially riven with narrative inconsistencies. Hall's great contribution is to argue very
forcefully that the Book of Joshua is susceptible to a coherent synchronic interpretation
that bears valuable theological fruit. For the most part, the book follows a regular pattern
that makes it very easy to engage with: each section of the Book of Joshua (generally, but
not invariably, it is divided by chapter) is first analysed according to its content and the
exegetical difficulties that arise, and thereafter an account is offered of the way in which
the chapter contributes to the characterization of Joshua. The character that emerges is a
well-rounded one, neither a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out nor an improbable or
inconsistent cipher, and so Hall's view is strengthened that Joshua can be read as a coherent
narrative, the creation of a literarily competent author, comprehensible to the putative
audience for which the book was written. (A minor defect, perhaps, is that relatively little
attention is given to the nature of this audience—that of the Masoretic Text specifically—
and what might have been its competence as the readership of the book.) Joshua is not
'stereotypically perfect' (p. 195), but neither is he as deeply flawed in the understanding of
the book, as has often been suggested. Some aspects of his character and actions that have
been perceived by recent commentators as weaknesses are condoned rather than
condemned by the narrator. Here Hall especially engages with, and offers an important
corrective to, the valuable contribution of L. D. Hawk: Every Promise Fulfilled (1991).
Two particularly important conclusions in respect of the characterization of Joshua are,
first, that he is consistently portrayed as successor of Moses—inheriting many of the
latter's strengths and imitating him in various respects, but also compensating for Moses'
weaknesses, in particular excelling Moses in faithfulness and obedience to the word and
promises of God, and thus able to complete the conquest of the Land, which Hall rightly
sees as the telos of the exodus. She argues that many aspects of Joshua that have been seen
as pointing forwards to the good kings of Judah—especially Josiah—are more likely to be
intended as successor-to-Moses characteristics. Hall does not, though, acknowledge the
extent to which Joshua is not clearly superior to the priests, and in particular to Eleazar,
successor of Aaron, as Moses is to Aaron. Admittedly this is only clear in the second part
of the Book of Joshua, but this does raise the question of how legitimate it is to read this
section in isolation from the remainder of the book. Secondly, Hall shows that Joshua is
in many ways a precursor to the prophets of Israel. I would have welcomed a little more
discussion of how this role of typifying the prophets, rather than the kings, as leaders of
God's people relates to Moses' status within the Deuteronomic tradition as first and
greatest of the prophets. This book is important not only for the conclusions about the
character of Joshua but also for numerous smaller contributions to particular exegetical
31

debates about those parts of the Book of Joshua that are covered, even though some of
these contributions are tangential to the broad thrust of the book. The puzzle of Joshua's
encounter with the commander of the army of the Lord in chapter 5 is of particular interest,
and Hall argues well that the episode is more strongly connected to the subsequent siege
of Jericho than is often acknowledged. There are excellent treatments of the saving of
Rahab and her family, the Achan episode, the pact with the Gibeonites, and the standing
still of the sun. At the end of the book, Hall suggests some ways in which her approach
and her work might be taken, developed and expanded. It is to be hoped that she does so
herself, and I look forward to reading a full-scale commentary on Joshua from her in due
course. In the meantime, this work is an important contribution that no commentator on
Joshua will be able to overlook.

7. Krause, J. J., Exodus und Eisodus. Komposition und Theologie von Josua 1–5 (SVT
161), Brill, Leiden 2014. xviii + 488 pp.

Uwe Becker, ZAW (2015) 363-364.


Die bei Erhard Blum entstandene Tübinger Diss. versteht sich schon von ihrem Haupttitel
her als ein Beitrag zur aktuellen Debatte um den Hexateuch und das deuteronomistische
Geschichtswerk, denn von der Studie ist »neben neuen Einsichten zum kompositionellen
Kontext der Josua-Erzählung auf der Ebene der dtr Überlieferung insbesondere auch eine
Antwort darauf zu erwarten, wie es an dem kritischen Übergang aus der Wüste ins Land
um die Hypothese eines ursprünglichen literarischen Hexateuch - eines vor-dtr ebenso wie
eines »priesterschriftlichem - steht.« (s. 11) Im Zentrum der angenehm klar geschriebenen
Arbeit steht eine detaillierte Analyse des Komplexes Jos 1-5, dessen
Entstehungsgeschichte von den ältesten Überlieferungen bis zur vorliegenden Endgestalt
samt literarischen Vernetzungen nachgezeichnet wird. In den durch LXX* und 4QJ0sh a
repräsentierten Textgestalten sieht Vf. neben dem MT zwei weitere eigenständige
Ausgaben des Josuabuches, die deshalb konsequent in die kompositionsgeschichtliche
Analyse einbezogen werden müssen. Die wesentlichen Ergebnisse lassen sich wie folgt
zusammenfassen: Den literarischen Kern des untersuchten Komplexes bilden die
Einführung Josuas in Jos 1* und der Jordandurchzug Jos 3-4*. Nach Ansicht des Vf.s hat
man es hier mit der dtr Grundschicht zu tun, zu der möglicherweise auch schon die gern
als später eingestuften Verse 1,7-9 gehört haben. Dieser Kernbestand aber steht nicht in
sich, sondern setzt einen »Vorkontext« zwingend voraus: zum einen die Thematik der
Nachfolge Josuas (vgl. Jos 1,2.5-6 mit Dtn 3,27-28; 31,2.7-8 und 34,1-6*), zum andern
die Ostjordanier-Texte (vgl. Jos 1,12-18; 4,12 mit Dtn 2-3*). Dies bedeutet, dass das Dtn
und die mit Jos 1 einsetzende Josuaerzählung »in einem Werkzusammenhang Stehen« (s.
413), wodurch Vf. die klassische DtrG-Hypothese Nothscher Prägung im Kern als
bestätigt ansieht. - Als Teil einer »post-priesterlichen« Bearbeitungsschicht klassifiziert
Vf. die Rahab-Geschichte Jos 2 und einige markante Überarbeitungen in Jos 3-4 (3,1.5.9
11.13.16a*; 4,21-5,1). Literarisch gesehen ist Jos 2 als eine Gegenerzählung zu Num 25,1-
5 komponiert worden; aus diesem Bezug erklärt sich auch die »eher unerwartete
Ortsangabe« (s. 418) »Schittim« in Jos 2,1 (wiederholt in Jos 3,1). Spuren dieser
Bearbeitung finden sich aber auch darüber hinaus: in Jos 4,21-24; 6,17-25* undvor allemin
der Geschichte von Achans Diebstahl Jos 7, die als Gegenstück zu Jos 2 komponiert ist.
Denn in ihrer theologischen Ausrichtung zielt Jos 2 auf »die soziale Integration Jhwh-
fürchtiger Nicht-Israeliten in die judäische Bevölkerung im Jehud der Perserzeit« (s. 419).
32

Im Ergebnis unterstützt die post-priesterliche Schicht in Jos 2 und3f.* die These eines
Hexateuch-Zusammenhangs nicht. - Als dritte markante redaktionelle Arbeit in Jos 1-5
hebt Vf. schließlich die drei »Exodusreminiszenzen« in Jos 5 heraus, die - wahrscheinlich
in zwei Phasen (Jos 5,1٥12 / 5,2-9.13-15) - dem bereits post-priesterlichen Kontext
sekundär eingeschrieben wurden. Die drei Stücke greifen deutlich auf die
Exodusüberlieferung zurück (vgl. Jos 5,10-12 mit Ex 12; Jos 5,2-9 mit Ex 4,24-26; 12,43-
50 und Jos 5,13-15 mit Ex 3,1 ff.). Somit wird das, was die post-priesterliche Bearbeitung
in Jos 2 begonnen hat, nämlich die Gestaltung einer Entsprechung von Auszug und
Einzug, hier fortgesetzt und ausgebaut: »in einer großen heilsgeschichtlichen Inclusio wird
der Exodus »vollendet(« (s. 438). Auch hier aber, so stellt Vf. resümierend fest, liegen
keine Bearbeitungen im Sinne eines übergreifenden, womöglich mit Jos 24 zum Ziel
kommenden hexateuchischen Zusammenhangs vor. - Man muss nicht unbedingt allen
Argumenten und Ergebnissen der detail- und beobachtungsreichen Studie voll und ganz
zustimmen, um sie als einen grundlegenden Beitrag zur Josuaforschung bezeichnen zu
können, der überdies die methodische Handschrift des Betreuers erkennen lässt.
Erschlossen wird die Untersuchung durch Stichwort- und Stellenregister.

8. Langlois, M., Le texte de Josue 10: Approche philologique, épigraphique et


diachronique (OBO 252). Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2011.
9. Lee, Eun-Woo, Crossing the Jordan: Diachrony versus Synchrony in the Book of
Joshua (LHB/OTS 578), London/New York, T&T Clark, 2013. Pp. xiv + 237.

[Studia l’argomento soltanto nei capitoli 3-4, non in tutto il libro]


Thomas B. Dozeman, JThSt (2014) 133-134.
Crossing the Jordan is a revision of Eun-Woo Lee’s dissertation, written at Edinburgh
University under the supervision of Professor A. Graeme Auld. The narrative of the
crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3-4 is not for the faint-hearted*, it includes significant
textual and literary problems both in plot and in the function of characters that have
challenged interpreters throughout the modern critical period of study. Lee wades into
the water with a combination of literary-critical and textual tools that allow for a new,
more complex analysis of Joshua 3-4. The core of the study is a comprehensive analysis
of the textual and literary-critical development of Joshua 3-4. The diachronic study allows
for the critical evaluation of a variety of recent synchronic readings (R. Polzin, L. D.
Hawk, G. Mitchell, and N. Winther Nielsen) that propose a unified interpretation of the
present form of the narrative. The synchronic readings are summarized in chapter 2.
Polzin’s application of Bakhtin’s theory on point of view is highlighted in chapter 3,
where Lee illustrates the dependency of Polzin on the MT version of the story. The
diachronic reading of Joshua 3-4 progresses in three stages. Chapter 4 explores the
literary layers of Joshua 3-4 by comparing the text to other ark narratives (e.g. Num.
10:33-6‫ ؛‬I Sam. 4:1b-7:2; 2 Samuel 6//1 Chronicles 13-16‫ ؛‬and I Kgs. 7:51 - 8:11//2
Chronicles 5). Chapter 5 shifts the focus of study from the ark narratives to other accounts
of water-crossings by Israel at the Red Sea (Exod. 13:17 - 14:31) and by Elijah-Elisha at
the Jordan River (2 Kings 2). Chapter 6 reconstructs the entire textual development of
Joshua 3-4. Lee summarizes his research in chapter 7. He argues that the textual history
of the OG Vorlage and the MT are different. The OG Vorlage indicates a five-stage
development: (1) the base text about the ark (3:2-11, 13-17; 4:10b-11a, 17-19); (2) the
incorporation of the twelve stones based on the influence of Deut. 3:18; 6:20-1; 27:1-6)
33

(3) the etiology of the twelve stones (4:9); (4) redactional insertions at the outset of the
narrative (3:1), and the internal reference to the twelve tribes (3:12); and (5) further
redactional insertions to link the crossing of the Jordan to the crossing of the Red Sea
(4:15-16; 20:24). Surprisingly, the MT yields only a four-stage development: (1) the ark
narrative (3:1-11, 13-17; 4:10-14, 17-19); (2) the twelve stones (3:12; 4:1-9); (3) the
linking of the story to the crossing of the Red Sea (4:15-16, 20-4); and (5) the many pluses
in the MT. The comparison and merger of the OG Vorlage and the MT leads to a six-
stage development of the story. The text of Joshua 3-4 is difficult, and the research of Lee
is dense and open to further debate. Two lasting insights emerge from the study, however.
The first is the importance of relating textual and literary criticisms in evaluating the
compositional history of Joshua 3-4. The second is the realization that the MT and the
LXX (or OG Vorlage) are different texts and that they yield distinct synchronic readings.
On this basis, Lee criticizes Polzin’s reading for being limited to the MT, and especially
dependent on the MT pluses. Synchronic and diachronic readings are becoming more and
more inseparable in the study of the Hebrew Bible.

10. Noort, Ed (ed.) The Book of Joshua (BETL 250), Peeters, Leuwen 2012.

11. Brenner, A. – G. A. Yee (ed.), Joshua and Judges. Fortress Press, Minneapolis 2013.

Sull’insediamento in Canaan

Yigal LEVIN, «Conquered and Unconquered: Reality and Historiography in the


Geography of Joshua», in The Book of Joshua, edited by E. Noort (BETL 250), Leuven:
Peeters 2012, pp. 361-370.
Mazani, P., «The Appearance of Israel in Canaan in Recent Scholarship», in Critical
Issues in Early Israelite History, edited by R. S. Hess, G. A. Klingbeil, and P. J.
Ray (BBRSup 3) Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns 2008, pp. 95-109.

Van Bekkum, K., From Conquest to Coexistence: Ideology and Antiquarian Intent in the
Historiography of Israel’s Settlement in Canaan. Culture and History in the Ancient
Near East. Leiden: Brill 2011. xxi + 691 pp.

Ernst Axel Knauf, Biblica (2012) 457-460.


The scope of this book, originally a dissertation submitted at Kampen Theological
University, is so unusual that one might well call it aberrant: it is a historical study of Josh
9,1-13,7 — a sequence of episodes rarely, if ever before, treated as a unity — a treatment
that requires a thorough neglect of all questions of literary structure. The author claims from
the beginning that Joshua— indeed, all of Genesis to Kings — is “historiography” with
factual “truth claims” and actual “truth values”, written in the 10th or 9th centuries at the
court of Jerusalem with access of documenting from the Late Bronze age with the ideological
purpose of presenting the “Davidic empire” as fulfillment of Joshua’s conquest. In the 13th
century, “several tens of thousands of people” came from Transjordan (585), concluded a
treaty with the Gibeonites, and fought a Canaanite coalition headed by Jerusalem in the south
and another one in the north which resulted in the destruction of Hazor. The “people out of
Transjordan” are identified with Merneptah’s Israel.
34

In the epilogue (593-597), the author “reveals” his evangelical background but claims his
“scholarship” to be independent of this. But in fact, that “revelation” comes to nobody’s
surprise. The whole book is to a great extent an exercise in evangelical rhetoric, starting with
its problematic perception of “truth” (see supra) and ending with polemics against toe
“empiricist ideology”. The author states his discomfort with present biblical exegesis and
academic history (7-92) and then bases his arguments on outdated (Albright, Alt, Noth) or
evangelical (Millard, Kitchen, Long) authors. The claim that all “historiography” is
ideological (31-40) is self-serving in making all the cats as grey as one’s own.
Epistemologically, history as a social and/or cultural science is “objective” in so far as it
does not present “truths” about the past, but probabilistic theories of the past which can be
tested (and refuted) by empirical evidence. There are no “facts” without theories which make
the “facts” function as such, and not each and every “narrative representation of the past”
meets the standards of today’s academic historians.
As for the misconception of Genesis through Kings as ،،history”, it is clearly Hellenistic
in origin, proven by Josephus, c. Apionem 1.37-43 in the late 1st century AD and by the
Chronicle’s reception of Genesis-Kings in the 3rd century BC. In pre-Hellenistic terms, as
preserved in the Jewish canon, Genesis through Deuteronomy is “Torah”, i.e. “universal
instruction”, and Joshua through Kings are prophetic books, i.e. authoritative interpretation
(and application) of Torah. As for the author’s theory of 13th century history, “several tens
of thousands of people” are the dimension of the population of all lsrael/Palestine west of
the Jordan. The population of Transjordan was less, and I know of no possible ecological
and social environment in 13th century Transjordan from where “several tens of thousands
of people” could have come. Regardless of whether a scholar or scientist believes in miracles
or not, she or he is not entitled to postulate miracles to make his or her theory work. There
is indeed some attestation for a deity who came in from the desert in Iron I Israel/Palestine,
viz. O. Keel’s “Lord of the Ostriches”, but its frequency is rather low, which implies that its
social base was rather small (O. Keel - Ch. Uehlinger, Göttinnen, Götter und Gottessymbole.
Neue Erkenntnisse zur Religionsgeschichte Kanaans und Israels aufgrund bislang
unerschlossener ikonographischer Quellen [QD 134; Freiburg 52001] is another Standard
work of reference ignored by the author, probably because it falsifies the author’s belief in a
monotheistic and aniconic Israelite religion from the beginning). It is impossible that
Merneptah’s Israel came out of Egypt; cf. E.A. Knauf, “From Archeology to History, Bronze
and Iron Ages. With Special Regard to the Year 1200 B.C.E., and the Tenth century”, in L.L.
Grabbe ed., Israel in Transition. From Late Bronze II to Iron IIa (c. 1250-850 B.C.E.).
Volume 1. The Archaeology (LHB/OTS 491 = ESHM 7; New York, London 2008) 72-85
(one of the many contributions to the present debate ignored by the author). It is also
impossible that Hazor was destroyed prior to Merneptah’s mentioning of Israel, since the
city is still mentioned in a letter from Ugarit from the beginning of the 12 th century; cf. D.
Arnaud, “Hazor à la fin de l’âge du bronze”, Aula Orientalis 16 (1998) 27-35. This is
confirmed by the destruction’s date according to the “Low Chronology”, which, by the end
of 2010, had won the “chronology debate”. The author’s relying on the dating by the present
excavators (462-465) is unfounded (or a bias towards the more “biblical” date). The task of
the excavators is to dig and to document what they have dug away. The interpretation of the
evidence presented (when it is presented in toll) is the task of the historian. It is perfectly
acceptable that few excavators withstand the temptation to turn into historians, but some do
it more competently (like Israel Finkelstein), others less competently (as Ammon Ben-Tor
in the case of Hazor). The pig taboo clearly did not function as an early Israelite “identity
marker” (585-586), for the frequency of pig bones in Israel is as low as in Edom. Did Israel
35

and Edom share an ethnic identity at a time when there is no evidence for an all-Israelite and
all-Edomite identity at all? Following the approach of Marvin Harris’ “cultural materialism”,
what later became an element of religious practice would have served a practical purpose at
the time of its origin, like the “holy cow” in India. This purpose is easy to find: early Israelite
society, and Edomite society through the ages, was a society permanently at the edge of
starvation. Now pigs eat exactly the same foodstuffs that men eat, but they return less calories
in meat than they consume during their raising. In a society at the edge of starvation, pig-
husbandry is a luxury nobody can afford. On the other hand, in an affluent society with food
going to waste, pig raising is a reasonable strategy of waste management. This is why the
Philistines feasted on pork (up to 20% pig bones in their garbage disposals as opposed to
0.1% in Edom and early Israel), and not because they followed a commandment by Dagon
like “Thou shalt eat pork”. For everybody acquainted with the written evidence from the
Near East in the 10th and 9th century, a dating of Joshua to this period is as unlikely as to the
Late Bronze age. It does not help that Mesha uses the term herem, too, for Mesha’s “sacrifice
of wholesome destruction” in specific cases is quite different from the application of the term
to whole populations, a semantic development which, as was observed long ago by N.
Lohfink and others, presupposes the historical experience of the Assyrian mode of warfare
(cf Isa 37,11). In addition, the author feels no need to engage with T. Römer, The So-called
Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction (London
2005).
The promise of the title “from conquest to co-existence” is fulfilled in so far as this,
according to the author, was a historical process in the time from Joshua to David. Those
readers, for whom that term rather denotes a thought process among the scribes who wrote
Joshua, might direct their attention to Th.R. Elßner, Josua und seine Kriege in jüdischer und
christlicher Rezeptionsgeschichte (Theologie und Frieden 37; Stuttgart 2008) and E.
Ballhorn, Israel am Jordan: Narrative Topographie im Buch Josua (BBB 162; Bonn 2011).
At the end of the day, we leave it to the readers to judge the merits and limits of this
dissertation.

Guerra e violenza

Rowlet, L. L., Joshua and the Rhetoric of Violence. A New Historicist Analysis
(JSOTSupl 226), Sheffield Academic Press 1996. 197 pp.

L. Daniel Hawk, JBL (1998) 519-520.


This book, based on a dissertation written for the University of Cambridge, advances the
provocative thesis that the book of Joshua utilizes a rhetoric of violence in order to induce
submission to the lines of inclusion, hierarchy, and authority established by a fragile
centralized government. Approaching the text with the New Historicism's attention to issues
of ideology, power relations, and identity, Rowlett argues that the military rhetoric employed
by the book (rhetoric borrowed from Assyrian discourse) functions as an assertion of power
and is to be understood in the context of Josiah's attempt to consolidate political power in
the wake of Assyrian decline. She is particularly interested in the ways that military language
both constructs a sense of identity and issues an implicit threat to those who threaten the
established hierarchy. Accordingly, her study focuses on three parallel exhortations
embedded in Josh 1:1-9; 1:16-18; and 10:24-26. Rowlett's stated approach is informed by
the work of Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, and, most directly, Renaissance scholar Stephen
36

Greenblatt and leads her to focus "not on the edicts of royal propaganda, which many
scholars have identified throughout the DH" but "on the processes of marginalization within
the text and how the rhetoric of violence expressed in military language is used to set and
negotiate boundaries of inclusion, exclusion, and marginality" (p. 29) . Much of the book,
however, follows a more conventional tack. The core of the study is oriented toward
establishing the author's claim that the phrase #ma qzx derives from the language of the war
oracle. To this end, Rowlett reviews scholarship on the composition of the Deuteronomistic
History, adopts R. D. Nelson's notion that Joshua represents a thinly veiled cipher for Josiah,
and places the composition of the book within his reign. She turns next to the issue of Israel's
warfare institutions, theology, and language, aligning herself with those who argue that Israel
was not dissimilar to other ancient Near Eastern cultures. This position is substantiated by
the presentation of an extensive catalogue of warfare texts (war oracles, battle reports, etc.)
gleaned from diverse ancient Near Eastern sources: Ugarit, Moab, Egypt, Anatolia, and
Mesopotamia. Finally, Rowlett focuses on Josh 1:1-9, arguing that the passage appropriates
the language of the war oracle (against the view of Lohfink, McCarthy, and others who have
contended that the language of the passage derives from an ancient installation genre).
The author returns more explicitly to New Historical concerns in the penultimate chapter.
(The final chapter comprises a brief conclusion.) Beginning with an analysis of the phrase
#ma qzx in Josh 1:1-9; 1:16-18; and 10:24-25, Rowlett expands the frame to engage the larger
issues raised in her initial chapters. Noting that the phrase occurs in contexts of implied or
actual execution, she contends that the conquest narratives convey an implicit threat to
Josiah's potential enemies. Those who refuse to submit voluntarily to the established
authority structures are marked as Others. And the punishment for Otherness is death.
Joshua is a book about boundaries, and questions of identity, inclusion, and exclusion
figure prominently within it. Rowlett raises these questions with clarity, but her project as a
whole is hampered by its multiple focus. At least three lines of inquiry are pursued: the
ideological purpose of Joshua as an instrument of coercion and national identity, the book's
appropriation of military language drawn from Neo-Assyrian warfare literature, and the
militaristic resonances of the phrase #ma qzx. These are not mutually exclusive topics, but
they are not always integrated well, and none ultimately takes prominence. For example, the
largest chapter by far comprises a compilation and commentary on a vast list of ancient Near
Eastern warfare texts (often quoted in full), in which the author notes many points of
correspondence with the three target texts. Her observations here are significant for
comprehending the sense of the biblical language. Yet the connection is not taken up in the
next chapter, which surveys the use of #ma qzx in the Hebrew Bible and argues that Josh 1:1-
9 appropriates the language of the war oracle.
The majority of the study is devoted to matters of composition, genre, and comparative
literature, and a review of scholarship. The broader (and more interesting) question of
Joshua's propagandists function is thus not developed fully. A case in point is Rowlett's
treatment of the stories of Rahab and the Gibeonites. From her perspective the stories
illustrate the central thrust of the book: that one becomes an "insider" by voluntarily
submitting to the authority of the hierarchy whose apex is Joshua (thus Josiah). Yahweh is
relegated to the role of "political associate" whose worth is advertised through acts of
violence. Yet, given that the stories (and the book as a whole) might have functioned as
political propaganda, it is not clear that political interests subsume theological ones, nor that
the book shapes identity primarily in terms of submission to a monarch. The prominence of
the covenant theme in these stories (and in the book as a whole) suggests that identity is
rendered primarily along the lines of obedience to Yahweh. Rowlett, however, does not
37

substantively engage this issue in a way that enables her reader to appreciate its connection
to her reading.
On another front, a "New Historical" analysis might be expected to provide an overview
of the historical context. Yet there is no discussion of the social and political turmoil which
gave rise to the Josianic monarchy nor of contesting factions within the Judahite kingdom.
Attention to the "negotiations and exchanges" which inevitably took place within Judah and
between the greater powers in the region would considerably strengthen the overall
argument. These points made, however, it must be said that Rowlett has offered a perspective
worth further exploration; her focus on the militaristic language of the text provides a good
starting point for what has become a significant issue in the study of Joshua.

Elssner, T.R., Josua und seine Kriege in jüdischer und christlicher Rezeptionsgeschichte
(Theologie und Frieden; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer), 2008.

Noort, Ed, «War in the Book of Joshua: History or Theology?», in Deuterocanonical and
Cognate Literature Yearbook 2010, 69-86.

Achenbach, R., «Divine Warfare and YHWH’s Wars: Religious Ideologies of War in the
Ancient Near East and in the Old Testament», in The Ancient Near East in the 12th–10th
Centuries BCE: Culture and History. Proceedings of the International Conference Held
at the University of Haifa 2–5 May 2010, edited by G. Galil, A. Gilboa, A. M. Maeir, and
D. Kahn. Munster: Ugarit-Verlag 2012, pp. 1-26.

«Monotheism and Violence: How to Handle a Dangerous Biblical Tradition», in The


Land of Israel in Bible, History, and Theology: Studies in Honour of Ed Noort, edited by
J. van Ruiten and J. Cornelis de Vos (SVT 124) Leiden, Brill 2009, pp. 373-388.

de Prenter, J. A., «The Contrastive Polysemous Meaning of ‫ חרם‬in the Book of Joshua: A
Cognitive Linguistic Approach», in The Book of Joshua, edited by E. Noort (BETL 250),
Leuven: Peeters 2012, pp. 473-488.

Douglas, E., «Reading the Book of Joshua Theologically: The Problem of Violence»:
ScrB 35 (2005) 61-72.

Kim, W., «The Rhetoric of War and the Book of Joshua», in Seeing Signals, Reading
Signs: The Art of Exegesis. Studies in Honor of Anthony F. Campbell, SJ, for His
Seventieth Birthday, edited by M. A. O’Brien and N. Howard (JSOTSup 415) London:
T. & T. Clark 2004, pp. 90-103.

Schmitt, R., Der “Heilige Krieg” im Pentateuch und im deuteronomistischen


Geschichtswerk: Studien zur Forschungs-, Rezeptions- und Religionsgeschichte von
Krieg und Bann im Alten Testament (AOAT 381), Munster: Ugarit-Verlag 2011. 248 pp.

Charlie Trimm, Bulletin for Biblical Research (2012) 125-126.


This book is based on the author's involvement in the group project "Göttliche Gewalt:
38

Religionsgeschichtliche und rezeptionshermeneutische Analysen zu den Gottesbildern der


Hebräischen Bibel”. The first chapter surveys previous research on warfare in the OT
(focusing particularly on German scholarship), including Wellhausen, von Rad, the reaction
to von Rad's work, and more recent contributions. The tone of the chapter is mainly
descriptive rather than evaluative. The heart of the book involves Schmitt's study of the
warfare texts in the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History. He ascribes the vast
majority of these texts to the Deuteronomistic tradition (pp. 51-147), with a few assigned to
the Priestly writers (pp. 149-58) and other traditions (pp. 159-69). The wide diversity of texts
he includes in the deuteronomistic tradition leads him to postulate that several different
streams existed within the tradition.
Throughout his study of the Deuteronomistic texts, Schmitt emphasizes that these texts
are similar to other ancient Near Eastern texts insofar as they reflect a royal theology that
legitimates the king through the action of the divine warrior in battle. However, he dates
these texts to the exilic or postexilic period, arguing that their authors desired to create a
mythic history for the remnant that provided them with an identity and a rationale for taking
the land. The Deuteronomistic war narratives cannot be used to learn about preexilic Israelite
history but reflect postexilic realities: the wilderness wandering was a cipher for the exile,
while the borders to the Euphrates reflected the Persian-period province. Schmitt also
highlights the synergism in the war narratives, as both YHWH and the Israelites fought in
the battles. The war texts are not about war theology, but law theology: as Israel did their
part in the war stories, now postexilic Judah was to do their part by observing the law. ~rx
became a way to define themselves against their enemies and a yardstick of obedience. The
possession of the land is tied to obedience.
The priestly texts (Num 31; sections of Exod 14 and Joshua) are interested in ritual
problems rather than warfare. Genesis 14 (a product of the Persian period) indirectly
sacralizes war, while Exod 15 (dated to the Postexilic Period because it builds on many other
texts) reflects an exaggeration of an already sacralized past, solidifying the construction of a
glorious past in a powerless present. Numbers 21:21-32 is the pre-DtrH source for Deut 2:26-
37. 2 Chronicles 20 follows the Deuteronomistic and Priestly sacralization of war,
representing the high point of biblical holy war.
A final chapter looks briefly at the different ways the war texts were understood by later
interpreters, especially in Germany in the last five hundred years. Even though the war
narratives are fictitious, they still had an effect on later readers who took them literally. The
conclusion summarizes the previous chapters. An early theology of holy or YHWH war or
an early practice of ~rx is certainly not true. The term holy war is meaningless because there
is no profane war. Schmitt prefers the terminology of the "sacralization of war” which allows
for more factors to enter the discussion. The chapter ends with Schmitt's disagreement with
Assmann about monotheism. Biblical war texts were not based on monotheism, but on royal
ideology and on YHWH'S identity as a war god (like all the other gods in the area). In sum,
the biblical war texts represent exilic and postexilic reconstructions of history and
exhortations to obey the law, as well as treatises on ritual and political authority. The book
ends with a bibliography and three indexes (author, subject, and text).
Many readers of this journal will find much with which to disagree in this book. In
particular, Schmitt's methods and results for dating are quite unconvincing; just because a
story could be profitably applied to a particular time period does not mean that it originated
in that time period. Although he acknowledges that the war narratives are similar to other
ancient Near Eastern warfare texts, he does not explain how postexilic texts would continue
to exhibit these similarities. However, Schmitt's work is still valuable for those who disagree
39

with his dating. It provides a helpful survey of recent work on warfare in the OT written in
German, as well as the recent reception history of the texts. Schmitt's desire to see almost
everything as Deuteronomistic highlights the connections between Deuteronomy and the
Deuteronomistic History with the rest of the Torah. Finally, by focusing on how postexilic
Jews would have received the text (why they created the texts, in his opinion), he provides
us with many helpful ideas about intertextuality and how to apply the texts to our context.