“The Deuteronomic entity called ‘Israel’ is not coterminous with Judah or its population,” writes Carly Crouch.1 The problem was not that some Judahites lived outside of Judah, but that some of the native population did not conform to Deuteronomic ideals. From the beginning, the Torah of Moses was an attempt to mold Judean identity in a particular way. There had been Judahites before Deuteronomy was composed, identified as such by their place of residence and political loyalty, and also by shared cultural traits including the (not necessarily exclusive) veneration of the God of the land, YHWH. There would still be Judeans well into the Second Temple period who did not define themselves by reference to the Torah (as seen in the earlier wisdom literature), and some even (in the case of Elephantine) who may not have been aware of its existence. Eventually, however, the composite Torah, which combined Deuteronomic and Priestly traditions, would come to be the dominant expression of Judean identity....
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