Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John J. Schmitt

Second Advisor

William J. Kelly


The Biblical book of Judges contains two versions of a story whose central character is Deborah, a judge and a Prophetess of Israel. One of these versions (Judges 4) is prose, while the other (Judges 5) is poetic. The poetic version is considered by scholars to be the older of the two versions.

A great deal of scholarly activity has centered upon the interpretation of these two chapters, and those many previous works are gratefully acknowledged here. Some of this previous scholarly work has been incorporated into this essay.

However, although many scholarly studies had treated either one version of the Deborah story or the other, there are few investigations that inquire into the relationship between the two versions. This essay seeks to address the problem of the relationship between the prose version and the poetic version by looking critically at both versions with the intent of proposing a theory of their relationship to each other.