Hosea vs. Dtr

This has been a long day, so please excuse any incoherence or roughness in this post. Potential job interviewers who are looking at my blog: please read one of my earlier posts.

For my daily quiet time, I am currently reading the Book of Hosea. Here is what strikes me: Hosea seems to view the priesthood of Northern Israel as legitimate. At least that’s the impression I’m getting. Hosea criticizes the priesthood of Northern Israel because it is not doing its job of spiritually feeding the people. Hosea also predicts a time when Northern Israel will lack a priesthood, almost as if exile will be a time when Israel lacks divine guidance. Doesn’t that presume that the priesthood of Northern Israel is in the business of mediating the divine presence?

Hosea appears to differ from the Deuteronomist (the author of Joshua-II Kings). According to the Deuteronomist, the problem with the Northern priesthood is that it exists. For him, the only legitimate priesthood that God recognizes is the one in Jerusalem, which consists of the Levites, whom God handpicked for the role. The Northern priesthood, by contrast, includes the lowest of the people who were selected by the apostate King Jeroboam (I Kings 12:31).

The difference is this: Hosea believes that the Northern priesthood has a divinely appointed function that it is not following. The Deuteronomist doesn’t really think that, since he denies that the Northern priesthood should even exist, let alone follow a divinely ordained function. For Dtr, the only legitimate priesthood is the one in Judah.

Yet, Hosea and Dtr also seem to differ on the issue of the monarchy, only, in this case, Hosea is more Jerusalem-oriented than the Deuteronomist. Hosea predicts that the Davidic line will rule all of Israel (north and south) after her restoration. The Deuteronomist, however, seems to recognize the kings of Northern Israel as legitimate, since God appointed Jeroboam and Jehu.

I’ve never read Moshe Weinfeld’s book on the Deuteronomist, but I’ve heard that he places Dtr’s origin in the north. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, since Dtr seems to be pro-South, at least as far as the priesthood is concerned. But maybe he addresses my qualm.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Hosea vs. Dtr

  1. wayman29 says:

    Excellent Job. Loved the thoughts in this post. Keep up the good work!


  2. James Pate says:

    Thanks, wayman. I’m finding that Hosea is even more complex than I presented it. He’s against Jeroboam’s calf, for example.

    I checked out your blog–a lot of deep thoughts there.


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