Prophetic Faith in Isaiah

Prophetic Faith in Isaiah

Prophetic Faith in Isaiah

Prophetic Faith in Isaiah


This is a book about a book of the Bible. It seeks to set forth the thought of the men who wrote the book called Isaiah. It contemplates their faith there revealed. And it does so not as a chapter in the history of ancient religions -- though that, too, were a worthy project -- but, I hope, as a provocation to religious thinking in our day.

Some things this book is not. It is not an "introduction," it is not a "commentary," it is not a "survey of recent literature upon" and it is not a polemic.

It is an effort to find meaning in parts of the book of Isaiah and to set it forth. Occasionally the interpretations are "new," but new insights must be rare in a literature studied by so many, so long and so earnestly.

From time to time in the body of this work, I acknowledge conscious borrowings. Here, in the Foreword, I acknowledge a debt too great to specify. Two men, Moses Buttenwieser and Julian Morgenstern, exerted a formative influence on me. I have given up trying to define the boundary between their teaching and my understanding. It is still my privilege to consult my colleague, now emeritus, Julian Morgenstern, dean of American Jewish Bible scholars, who guided my early steps in Bible paths. And I belong to the fortunate generation of students who caught from Moses Buttenwieser a spark of enthusiasm and of love for Israel's prophets.

For the thought that hope is a duty, an essential thought in the exposition which follows, I owe a special debt to Leo Baeck, whose death one year ago brought sorrow to many, whose life brought consolation to countless thousands, and who, perhaps of all our generation, best knew the meaning of the words: hope is a duty.

I have done the most of my learning in the give-and-take of the . . .

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