The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40–66
The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40–66

The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40–66

in New International Commentary on the Old Testament

by John N. Oswalt

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Pages 755
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 1/1/1998
ISBN-13 9780802825346


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This book, distinguished by the evangelical interpretive tradition of the Bible as the Word of God, follows the author's first volume on Isaiah 1-39 (1986); it is comprised of an introduction, a translation, commentary, and indexes. John Oswalt is eclectic in method, drawing on canonical criticism, new literary criticism, reader response theories, and is responsive to gender based and ethnic readings. He is irenic, in conversation with the full spread of biblical scholarship, differing at times from scholars in the evangelical as well as in the main stream tradition. While positive toward Duhm's analysis of the three portions of the book of Isaiah, Oswalt rejects their rigid separation, citing Childs' work (1979) that the historical settings of Second and Third Isaiah are suppressed by the theological unity of the book. He cites also Brueggemann's assessment that Second Isaiah is seen organically derived from First Isaiah, and Rendtorff's judgment that Third Isaiah has no independent existence. Oswalt differs from mainline scholarship, however, by maintaining that this unity is due not to a later editor, but to the eighth-century prophet who by predictive prophecy foretells the total settings of the sixth-century Babylonian and post-exilic Palestinian periods. He believes that the author of Isaiah 40-55 strenuously denies plural authorship and that this writer's argument for superiority of Israel's God over the nations' idols is dependent on the eighth-century prophet's predictive prophecy. John Oswalt agrees with Duhm that the four servant songs differ from their literary contexts in that they emphasize an individual servant, whose mission is related to the nations. [Full Review]