THE JOSIANIC REFORM
The Josianic Reform: Deuteronomy, Prophecy, and Israelite Religion
by Adam Porter and David Tabb Stewart
Politics and religion in Biblical Israel.
The Josianic Reform: Deuteronomy, Prophecy, and Israelite Religion, set just before a monotheistic reform of Israelite religion (622 BCE), takes up several tensions within the Bible: “the one versus the many gods,” the nature of sacred text and prophecy, and the conflict of ideas within the Bible itself. The central conceit is that the action takes place at the moment of 2 Kings 23:1-3a when all the elders and people of Judah assemble to hear a newly discovered “Scroll of the Teaching” read out to them. The de Wette hypothesis proposes that Deuteronomy is the very text found. The game makes this moment the center of gravity around which discussion of the Hebrew Bible and the practice of Israelite religion revolve. The disintegrating power of the Assyrian Empire supplies an international context for the nation to imagine recovering lost territory if it pleases God by reforming. The Documentary hypothesis—the literary-historical notion that the Torah grew out of a set of traditions, documentary “sources,” and editorial activity—takes seriously the competing idea sets within the Bible. Why does the found-scroll differ in tone and ideas from the Priestly and Yahwistic traditions? The game’s factions “embody” these idea sets and play out their tensions.
Using the Game
You can adjust the assignments to fit the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing. All roles are typically required to give formal speeches, although for students who cannot (perhaps for religious reasons), a "chronicler" role exists. This person takes notes and publishes the "official" record of the meetings.
Class Size and Scalability
Reacting Consortium members can download all game materials below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.
All students need a Gamebook, which includes resources and historical content. Members can download the Gamebook, and provide it to students for free or at cost.
Instructor's Guide and Role Sheets
The Instructor's Guide includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more. Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, suggestions for further reading, and role-specific info or assignments.
Adam Porter is the Joel Scarborough Professor of Religion at Illinois College. He is very interested in innovative pedagogical methods and has been involved with Reacting for over a decade. Additionally, he is interested in digital humanities and how Satan is represented in popular culture.
David Tabb Stewart received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley – a degree focusing on Hebrew Bible and Hittitology in their Department of Near Eastern Studies, an M.A. in Middle East Studies-Hebrew from the University of Utah, and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Oregon. He joined the CSULB faculty in 2007. His special interests include biblical and ancient Near Eastern religion and law, the literary art of the Hebrew Bible, intertextuality, and ancient notions of disability, otherness, sex, and gender. Dr. Stewart has taught at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, San Francisco State University, and Southwestern University (Texas). Before his life as a professor, Stewart was involved in the management and financial guidance of a number of NGOs including ones that focused on homeless youth and college students.