NOTH, MARTIN° (1902–1968), German Bible scholar, disciple of Albrecht *Alt, to whose ideas Noth was deeply indebted. Noth was born in Dresden and served as professor at Koenigsberg (1930–45) and Bonn (1945–65). He edited Zeitschrift des deutschen Palaestina-Vereins from 1929 to 1964 and was director of the Deutsches Evangelische Institut in Jerusalem from 1965 until his death, Noth brought his extensive topographical studies, mainly published in Palaestinajahrbuch and Zeitschrift des deutschen Palaestina-Vereins, linguistic research (in particular, Die israelitischen Personennamen, 1928), and form-criticism studies to bear on problems of Israelite history. Of primary importance was his thesis that from the time of the settlement, Israel was organized into a 12-tribe confederation, similar to the Greek amphictyony (in his Das System der zwoelf Staemme Israels, 1930). He felt that virtually nothing can be known about pre-settlement history.
Noth was one of the foremost representatives of the form-critical approach, and his studies of pentateuchal traditions, Ueberlieferungsgeschichte des Pentateuchs (1948, 19602), and Deuteronomy (Ueberlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien, 1 (1943, 19572)), had widespread influence on biblical research. In the former work he examined the themes of the pentateuchal narrative and the history of its traditions and presented the idea that both J and E go back to a common source, G (Grundlage). In the latter he originated the idea of the Deuteronomic history work, a unified history extending from Deuteronomy to II Kings (minus insertions), in which previously independent units were joined and unified by a distinctive theology and philosophy of history. In Die Gesetze im Pentateuch (1940) he linked Hebrew law to the religious confederation rather than to the monarchy. He wrote commentaries to individual books of the Bible: Exodus (19592, Eng. tr. 1962), Leviticus (1962, Eng. tr. 1965), Numbers (1966), Joshua (19532), and I Kings 1–16 (1964). He also wrote Geschichte Israels (19542, 19615; The History of Israel, 19602); and Die Welt des Alten Testaments (1946, 19573). Some of his articles were collected in his Gesammelte Studien (1957, 19602). The Laws in the Pentateuch and Other Studies (1966) is an English translation of some of his works.
[Michael V. Fox]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.