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The Social World of Deuteronomy:

A New Feminist Commentary

By Don C. Benjamin

The Social World of Deuteronomy

The Social World of Deuteronomy:

A New Feminist Commentary

By Don C. Benjamin

A discussion of the social context of Deuteronomy, using feminist theory to give voice to the marginalised people of the ancient Hebrew world.

Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback, PDF

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Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780227176467

Specifications: 229x153mm (9x6in), 296pp

Published: April 2017


PDF eBook

ISBN: 9780227906255

Specifications: 297pp

Published: April 2017

The book of Deuteronomy is not an orphan. It belongs to a diverse family of legal traditions and cultures in the world of the Bible. The Social World of Deuteronomy: A New Feminist Commentary brings these traditions and cultures to life and uses them to enrich our understanding and appreciation of Deuteronomy today. Don C. Benjamin uses social-scientific criticism to reconstruct the social institutions where Deuteronomy developed, as well as those that appear in its traditions. He uses feminist criticism to better understand and appreciate how powerful elite males in Deuteronomy view not only the women, daughters, mothers, wives and widows in their households but also their powerless children, liminal people, slaves, prisoners, outsiders, livestock and nature. Through the lens of feminist theory, Benjamin explores important aspects of the daily lives of these often overlooked peoples in ancient Israel.

List of Contributors

Literary Patterns in Deuteronomy
Social Settings for Deuteronomy
Intentions of Deuteronomy

Traditions about Moses (1:1–4:43)
A Covenant between YHWH and Israel (4:44–11:30)
Deuteronomic Code (11:31–25:19)
Covenant History (26:1–15)
Covenant Promulgation (26:16–27:26)
Covenant Curses and Blessings (27:11–28:68)
Covenant Witnesses (29:1–31:29)
Traditions about Moses (32:1–34:12)


Don C. Benjamin teaches Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Arizona State University (Tempe campus). He is the author of Deuteronomy and City Life and the chapter on Deuteronomy for the forthcoming Jerome Biblical Commentary. He is also the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Deuteronomy.

The Social World of Deuteronomy is a rich – and enriching – book, suitable for all interested in the topic. It is not powerful male voices that Benjamin means us to hear, but rather the 'still small voices' of the poor and marginalised. ... Interpretation is a splendidly communal act in the hands of Don C. Benjamin, who empowers and authorizes good skills and open hearts. If I were teaching Deuteronomy, this book would be required. Toni Craven, Emerita Professor of Hebrew Bible, Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University
Don Benjamin has provided a ground-breaking study of Deuteronomy that makes great strides in the study of the social context of this reform-minded book of the Pentateuch. Drawing upon the works and words of a wide variety of scholars, Benjamin's volume points to the importance of Deuteronomy for understanding our contemporary social world as well. A highly recommended work for students, clergy and scholars. Marvin A. Sweeney, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Claremont School of Theology; Professor of Tanak, Academy for Jewish Religion, California
The Social World of Deuteronomy is a highly innovative approach to the genre of biblical commentary that will also be a very helpful lens for students of this book. Mark Glanville, in Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies, March 2017
This is a fine example of what an exegesis informed by social-scientific theory can contribute to our understanding of a biblical text. Anselm C. Hagedorn, in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Vol 42, Issue 5