Joshua and Judges: Historiography and Historical Reality

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The first two books of what is often called the Deuteronomistic History differ from each other in structure, in style and in content, but still share many literary and historiographical features. The book of Joshua focuses on the history of Israel under the leadership of one man – Joshua son of Nun, Moses' designated successor, who led Israel in the conquest of the Land and in its initial division between the tribes. Judges, set after the death of Joshua, tell of Israel's fate as a leaderless nation, in which they do not manage to live up to their mission. None of the dozen leaders sent to them live up to expectations – in fact, Judges is a book of unfulfilled expectations. As Judges 2 states, as long as Joshua was alive, the people remained faithful to the covenant; once he was gone the people were quick to stray – and to be punished. The book of Joshua is full of geographical information – all of which is a part of the fulfillment of the covenant – while Judges lacks such details. Both books, however, are full of symbolism, literary features which show the talented hand of the author(s). Yet another basic difference is the connection between literary creativity and historical reality behind each book. In both cases, the author(s) used the literary devices at hand to create a good story; but in both cases, there is also an underlying historical background behind the tale.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2011
EventThe Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20117 Jul 2011 (Website)


ConferenceThe Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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