This book provides the first major reinvestigation and reinterpretation of the history of centralization of worship in ancient Israel since de Wette and Wellhausen in the nineteenth century. Old Testament scholarship has thus far relied on the consensus that the book of Deuteronomy is the product of late monarchic Judah (7th century BC). Pitkänen places the biblical material in its archaeological and ancient Near Eastern context and pays special attention to rhetorical analysis. The author suggests that the book of Joshua, as well as its sources (such as Deuteronomy) may have originated as early as before the disaster of Aphek and the rejection of Shiloh.
6 x 9
Now reissued with a new introduction by the author, this book provides the first monograph length reinvestigation and reinterpretation of the history and theology of centralization of worship. Since de Wette and Wellhausen in the nineteenth century, Old Testament scholarship has thus far largely relied on the consensus that the book of Deuteronomy is the product of late monarchic Judah (7th century BC). However, after examining the Pentateuchal altar laws and the role of the central sanctuary during the premonarchical period in the biblical sources, Pitkänen concludes that Shiloh was seen as the central sanctuary for most of the premonarchical period. If so, the dominant historical critical model is inadequate, also because the examined sources indicate that there was no central sanctuary and no centralization requirement during the earliest days of the settlement in the land of Israel or after the loss of the ark to the Philistines at Aphek (1 Sam 4). Combining these insights with literary and rhetorical analysis of the book of Joshua, the author suggests that the book of Joshua, as well as its sources (such as Deuteronomy) may have originated as early as before the disaster of Aphek and the rejection of Shiloh.
"The study of the author deserves undivided attention in the academic study of the Old Testament. [Pitkänen] offers an abundance of viewpoints towards making possible a synchronic reading of the Pentateuch, juxtaposed from an interpretation of the altar and centralization laws. Thus the reading of the study, which is concluded by a bibliography and indexes and is of excellent publishing standard, is emphatically recommended" Eckart Otto, Zeitschrift für altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte 13 (2008): 440.
"This work engages with mainstream and evangelical scholarship and archaeological material. Its author is open to many options and realizes the limitations imposed by inconclusive data. He acknowledges that the proposed solutions are only possible reconstructions whose strengths and weaknesses remain to be assessed by others" D. Edelman, Society for Old Testament Study.
Pekka Pitkänen is currently Senior Lecturer in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham UK. His first degree was in Computer Science (BSc+MSc, Applied Physics programme) from Helsinki University of Technology. He subsequently completed an MDiv degree from Chongshin Theological Seminary in South Korea and a PhD in Old Testament Studies from University of Gloucestershire.