II. Structure, Meaning, And Significance of Deuteronomy
The research of literary critics into the form and structure of biblical books during the past thirty years has been fruitful for the study of Deuteronomy. Many ancient covenants have been unearthed and examined in detail. The basic structure of these covenants (called “suzerain-vassal treaties”) is reflected to some degree in the design of Deuteronomy. However, the book is more than a suzerain-vassal treaty; it seeks above all to establish relationships based on an appeal to love, not on the power politics of the ancient Near East. Thus it is a relational document more than a legal document.
At least four major areas of concern are fused here: (1) the theological, (2) the literary, (3) the historical, and (4) the canonical.