John Dekker's Day

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2:01PM - The Status of the Transjordan #3: Thesis Abstract

My honours thesis is finally handed in – all I need now is a sympathetic marker. Here is the abtract – tell me if you would like me to email you a copy of the thesis.

Is the Transjordan part of the promised land? Was its settlement blameworthy? This thesis examines the biblical text of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua in order to determine the status of the Transjordan. Numbers tells of Moses' eventual land grant to Transjordanian tribes, and indicates that the Transjordan is in some way holy as a result of its conquest. Deuteronomy lays some stress on crossing the River Arnon, and refers to the Transjordan as a place of rest. Joshua affirms Moses' action in giving the Transjordan to the two and a half tribes, but emphasises the Jordan river crossing. In Joshua 22, we see ambiguity regarding the status of the Transjordan, but the status of the Transjordan tribes as part of Israel is affirmed. The settlement in the Transjordan is seen as a potential, but not necessary, obstacle to the unity of Israel. Thus, the Transjordan may be regarded as holy because it was conquered in holy war, because it was given to the Reubenites and Gadites, and because two and a half tribes settled there. It may be regarded as promised land in the wider sense of that term, since the concept has an inherent flexibility. Even though the Transjordan may not have originally been part of the promised land, it is holy land by virtue of its conquest and settlement, and the settlement there must be considered blameless. Finally, the books of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua may be seen to have complementary emphases regarding the status of the Transjordan.

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