The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction

The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction

The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction

The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction

Excerpt

Recent research on the book of Isaiah has been dominated by discussions of its unity, and the present work seeks to make a contribution to this continuing enterprise. As the opening chapter indicates, however, an unsettling division is developing between those who continue to operate within the established tradition of historical-critical study of the Old Testament and those who believe that we should move beyond this to various forms of post-critical literary readings. This disagreement about a correct method and approach in biblical interpretation is by no means confined to Isaiah, of course, but because multiple authorship of this book is so widely agreed it raises some of the underlying issues in a particularly acute form.

Many scholars, who I suspect form a 'silent majority', still cling to the hope that ultimately it should be possible to reconcile these divergent approaches at the rational level if the redactional processes that lead from diversity to unity could be more intensively explored. Undoubtedly, much of the evidence necessary to undertake this fully is lost to us, but at the same time awareness of the problem can sometimes enable us to trace elements of it in areas that were inevitably overlooked by earlier generations of scholars. An underlying theme of this book, therefore, is the argument that approaches to the unity of Isaiah should be pursued by way of a more intense application of traditional methods rather than an ignoring or bypassing of them.

If I am right, my conclusions will have important implications for interpretation, and some readers may be disappointed that I have not developed these further. To have done so, however, would have been to write a completely different book. In my opinion, which is an inevitable consequence of what has just been said, interpretation should follow critical analysis. If the latter is mistaken, interpretation will be askew. I have, therefore, confined myself here to arguing for one—perhaps the most—significant

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