Chapter: Pedagogy in Deuteronomy
Throughout Deuteronomy Israel is urged to learn Yhwh’s commands as it is a matter of life and death to observe them and behave accordingly instead of imitating the Canaanites once in their land. While most studies take a positive stance towards the “pedagogy” of Deuteronomy, this paper is more critical, approaching it more from the perspective of social control. Before applying modern didactical terms like “pedagogy” to the biblical text, one should investigate all the terms used for teaching/learning, and its teachers. Given the tension between the different “classrooms” and the different “teachers” in Deuteronomy, fear may indeed be the best descriptor of Deuteronomic learning. Social control may thus encapsulate Deuteronomy’s didactics as teaching, learning, and instruction that are considered more at the societal than individual level. Little interest is given to the individual mind and heart, the internalization of practical and ethical skill and knowledge, what is termed Bildung in German.