Original Research

Moses’ praise and blame – Israel’s honour and shame: Rhetorical devices in the ethical foundations of Deuteronomy

Dominik Markl
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a861 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.861 | © 2013 Dominik Markl | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2013 | Published: 04 September 2013

About the author(s)

Dominik Markl, Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, California; Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article analyses the rhetorical devices of praise and blame employed in Moses’ speeches in the book of Deuteronomy. Praise and blame are mainly used in the framework of the central Law Code, Deuteronomy 1–11, 26–34. Some of the most prominent occurrences of Moses’ rhetoric of praise and blame form literary inclusions, in parallel (Dt 4:7; 33; 29) and contrasting (Dt 4:6; 29:24; 32:6) ways. Both praise and blame are used to inspire faithfulness to God and obedience to the Torah. In this way, Moses forms Israel’s ethical values as the foundation of the people’s legal order.


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