Interpreting the Prophets

By James Luther Mays; Paul J. Achtemeier | Go to book overview
Save to active project

6
Isaiah in
Old Testament Theology

J. J. M. ROBERTS

Isaiah's recurring emphasis on God's plan gave impetus to the concep-
tion of an overarching divine plan for history, a conception the New
Testament found useful for interpreting the meaning of Jesus Christ.

It has become traditional to treat the theological message of Isaiah in terms of the distinct theologies of First Isaiah, Second Isaiah, Third Isaiah, and “Other” Isaiahs.1 Outside very conservative circles there has been little concern to treat the theology of the book as a unified whole, though recently Brevard Childs has forcefully reminded the scholarly guild that it was as a single book that Isaiah was received into the Christian canon.2 Yet it remains a very serious question whether one can describe “the” theology of the Book of Isaiah without sacrificing many of the important exegetical and theological insights of several generations of scholars. A simple return to precritical scholarship implicitly demands a sacrifice of the intellect that is unacceptable. Nor can this writer agree with Childs's assessment of the degree to which the “canonical editors” stripped Second Isaiah of its original historical context.3

An adequate treatment of the place of the Book of Isaiah in Old Testament theology cannot simply ignore the evidence of different historical settings preserved in the book. Nor can one simply read the book in its present literary sequence as though there were no evidence for that sequence being the result of a rather haphazard use of the catchword principle of arrangement. To do so would be to engage in an elaborate pretense that we know far less about the book than we actually do.

On the other hand, there is a certain inner consistency in the growth of the

1. This formulation comes from William L. Holladay, Isaiah': Scroll of a Prophetic Heritage
(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978).

2. Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1979), pp. 311-38.

3. Ibid., p. 325. See the trenchant critique of Sean E. McEvenue, “The Old Testament:
Scripture or Theology?” Int 35:229-42 (1981) 234.

-62-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Interpreting the Prophets
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 287

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?