Book of Isaiah

Isaiah

Isaiah (īzā´yə, īsā´–), prophetic book of the Bible. It is a collection of prophecies from a 300-year period attributed to Isaiah, who may have been a priest. Some scholars argue that a long-lived "school" of Isaiah preserved his oracles and supplemented them in succeeding centuries. He received his call to prophesy in the year of King Uzziah's death (c.742 BC) and preached during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. His message was partly political; he urged King Hezekiah to recognize the power of Assyria, then at its height, and not to ally himself with Egypt, as a party of nobles urged. Like other 8th-century prophets (Amos, Hosea, Micah), Isaiah indicts the people of God for perpetrating social injustice. The book falls into the following major sections. First are oracles of doom against Judah and Assyria interspersed with oracles of salvation in which a Davidic king and a renewed Jerusalem play prominent roles. These are followed by oracles against foreign nations and prophecies announcing the destruction and subsequent redemption of Zion. Next is an account (paralleled in 2 Kings) of Sennacherib's unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem and his assassination long after. The sickness of Hezekiah is recounted; his prayer and his subsequent recovery are followed by his reception of an embassy from Babylon and prophecy of captivity there. The rest of the book is divided into three parts—delivery from captivity, redemption from sin, and the redeemed state of Israel. The book contains prophecies interpreted by Christians as references to Christ; the most famous such prophecy is the vision of the suffering servant. Later biblical allusions to Isaiah are frequent. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are two manuscripts of the book of Isaiah dating from the 2d–1st cent. BC As pre-Masoretic texts, these are important witnesses for establishing the contours of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 1,000 years before the earliest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic text.

See C. Westermann, Isaiah 40–66 (1969); J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah 1–39 (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
Brevard S. Childs.
William B. Eerdmans, 2004
The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction
H. G. M. Williamson.
Clarendon Press, 1994
The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah: An Historical and Critical Study
Christopher R. North.
Oxford University Press, 1956 (2nd edition)
Isaiah's Christ in Matthew's Gospel
Richard Beaton.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Prophetic Faith in Isaiah
Sheldon H. Blank.
Harper, 1958
The Philosophy of the Old Testament
Charles H. Patterson.
Ronald Press, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Isaiah, the Son of Amoz" and Chap. 12 "Deutero-Isaiah"
Prophecy and the Biblical Prophets
John F. A. Sawyer.
Oxford University Press, 1993 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "The Prophets (II): Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel"
The Prophets: Their Personalities and Teachings
Beryl D. Cohon.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Isaiah" and Chap. XII "Deutero-Isaiah"
Eusebius of Caesarea's Commentary on Isaiah: Christian Exegesis in the Age of Constantine
Michael J. Hollerich.
Clarendon Press, 1999
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