Session 6: The Deuteronomistic History Part 1


By the end of this session you should be able to: 

  • understand the significance of the figure of Moses in the Old Testament;

  • describe the structure of the book of Deuteronomy and begin to understand the theological themes of the Deuteronomistic History;

  • continue to develop an understanding of Israelite laws and their significance;

  • identify the geographical areas key to the Old Testament and its stories and to understand its significance


Blessed are you Lord our God,

for you come to us and seek to make your home in us.

As we study now,

let our eyes and our ears be open to you

let our hearts find their rest and their joy in you

that we may grow in grace and live to your glory.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.



Watch the videos and make notes in your journal about anything that strikes you.


Deuteronomy is a key book in the Old Testament and its themes reverberate through the nation's history.  Gordon Wenham (2003) goes as far as to call it “arguably the most influential book of the Old Testament” (p.123). It presents laws that emphasize social justice and personal responsibility, charging the Israelites to care for the weak, the oppressed, the orphan and the widow.  As we will see in session 10 these themes will be taken up by the prophets. In terms of authorship, as Hayes clearly notes, it would have been impossible for Moses to have been the author of the end of this book and, because of its themes and textual features, it is highly likely that much of it was compiled in the 8th Century BCE with some parts being edited and completed as late as the 6th Century BCE.



Make a note of the major themes of the book of Deuteronomy and reflect on how these relate to our faith today to bring to your tutor group for discussion.

Spotlight on Doctrine


The book of Deuteronomy is replete with themes about God's care for the poor. We see this in the first line of our creeds 'I believe in God in the Father' - the image of God as Father here is about care, protection and provision. How do we as God's chidren's today continue this charge to care for, protect and provide for the weak and vulnerable?

Spotlight on Spirituality


Care for the weak and oppressed has been at the heart of a number of religious orders over the years and it is also one of the main focuses of both the Church Army and the Salvation Army. Can you think of other Christians whose spirituality has this charge at its heart?


Spend some time prayerfully thinking about what you have discovered in this session.  Below, in the Resources section, you will find some resources from the Study Day for you to download and keep.


Blessed are you, Lord our God, all things come from you:

from you come our life, this world and all that we have and are.

Teach us to love and respect your creation and give glory to you.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  Amen

Structure of Deuteronomy - Brief.png

Something Practical To Do

Listen carefully to the words of the service - the liturgy, the hymns, the intrecessions and the readings.  How much of the theology of the book of Deuteronomy can you hear? Make a note of what you find - what are you hearing and where it is located within the service?

OR: where in the world do you see the theology of the book of deuteronomy being worked out at the moment?

Post your findings on the discussion board in the Forum