Master Scribe and Forefather of a Scribal Guild: Moses in Deuteronomy
Benedetta Rossi [+]
Pontifical Biblical Institute
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.