Master Scribe and Forefather of a Scribal Guild: Moses in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy - Outside the Box - Diana V. Edelman

Benedetta Rossi [+-]
Pontifical Biblical Institute
Benedetta Rossi is Associate Professor of Old Testament Exegesis at Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome). Her research interests are Prophecy and the book of Jeremiah; Deuteronomy, its composition and production; the relation between Pentateuch and Prophetic Literature. She also focuses on Cultural Hegemony and the production of sacred texts in the Second Temple period. Her recent publications are articles and book chapters on Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and prophetic books. She recently coedited with Diana Edelman, Kåre Berge and Philippe Guillaume the volume Deuteronomy in the Making: Studies in the Production of Debarim (De Gruyter: 2021).


Among the various features of Moses’ portrayal, the depiction of Moises as ancestor has received scant attention. In the following essay, I shall show that Deuteronomy portrays Moses as master-scribe and the founder of a scribal priestly class, the Levitical priests. The sefer hattorah is the legacy Moses bequeaths. It represents a fictionalized compendium of a complete scribal curriculum, reframed as Moses’s farewell speech. As his personal bequest, the torah-scroll legitimized the authority of its keepers in relation to other priestly groups. In addition, Levitical priests use the sefer hattorah to put themselves forward as the authoritative and reliable guides of the community.

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Rossi, Benedetta. Master Scribe and Forefather of a Scribal Guild: Moses in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy - Outside the Box. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2025. ISBN 9781800503717. Date accessed: 21 Feb 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44605. Jul 2025

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