(I got the folowing question and I thought some might appreciate the answer given about so called Deutero Isaiah.)
Do know of any information that you could point me to that deals with the issue of how many Isaiah's wrote the book of Isaiah? I was under the impression that the Book of Isaiah was written by a single individual. But someone in our study group at work says that it's 2, maybe 3 people and separate times.
Thanks for your help.
On Mon, 30 Oct 2000 21:57:06 -0600 "Howard Reitz" writes:
God bless you. This is the kind of answer I was looking for.
Thank you for taking your time to write such a helpful letter.
Heart of the Matter Bookstore Lectures
The MacLaurin Institute
do you believe in miracles? If you don't there is only one conclusion and answer possible to your question. No miracles -- then there are more than one Isaiah.
There is a small amount of technical criticism in the book of Isaiah,-- an alleged Aramaic - Chaldean word -- which if it is true is an anachronism and indicates an earlier and a later writer. But that is the only such word and I have explained its presence in Isaiah 63. Do you understand there is only ONE technical problem in the masoretic text?
After reading Isaiah in the original language and translating it from the masoretic (received) text as well as translating it from the DSS Isaiah Scroll and then making a commentary with idiom in mind I can truly say that the man we call Isaiah was a literary genius. Forget the prophetic nature of the book for a minute, his arrangement and development is a work of genius. If as some think, an editor put together the work of more than one man in the post exile period then he was a genius too. I do not believe that is so however and I am convinced in the unity of the book as the work of one man and the whole of the book that seems disconnected to some and those parts that are completely fragmentary to others only appears so because they have a superficial scope of the entire content. Pardon this last sentence but it does say what I mean, a bit clumsily however.
The main reason that some think there is more than one Isaiah is because Isaiah gives intimate details of the rise of Assyria, the fall of Israel to Assyria, the scattering of the northern kingdom (the so called 10 tribes) and the Assyrian unsuccessful assault on Jerusalem. AND then gives the intimate historical details concerning the Babylonian captivity of Judah some 120 plus years after the fall of Israel and further the details concerning the fall of Babylon some 70 years later. There is also much more historical material that is foretold but these are the biggest obstacles to those who do not believe that Prophecy is possible. A human without divine foreknowledge could not have lived long enough to record what is history to us. but future to him. Thus one man had to record the Assyrian assault on Israel and another the Babylonian assault on the kingdom of Judah And perhaps someone else the details which describe the fall of Assyria and almost 100 years later the fall of Babylon. IF, yes IF, the book is of human origin.
If prophecy is not possible then there is more than one Isaiah. But let me assure you that it is only when one sees the divine nature of the prophet's foresight that the genius of the book and author appears. There is nothing fragmentary about any part of Isaiah except in the mind of one who has only superficially dealt with the book and that includes so called "scholars" whose education is without doubt superior to mine.
Isaiah's style is to give prophecies in a manner of speaking as though they had already happened. That is his consistent style Isaiah 53 is an illustration of that style. Isaiah also bemoans the destruction of the temple and describes it as an event that is in the past from his view. He wrote from before 740 BCE to shortly after 695 BCE. if we accept the word of the writer himself. The Temple was destroyed in 585 BCE. Thus Isaiah was either a prophet with divine guidance, or: someone who lived after the exile wrote the 63rd chapter of Isaiah as history and someone else wrote about the 722 BCE fall of Samaria and 732 BCE devastation of Galilee by Tiglath Pileser mentioned in 8:22 to 9:3 with the promise of a second visitation to the same area north of the Sea of Galilee which Matthew says was fulfilled when Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum and struck the earth with the rod of his mouth! which striking Isaiah says was to be more weighty than that of the Assyrian visitation to the same territory.
Thus you will have to ask yourself. Do I believe in the mystical or is this existence of ours all materialistic. To the materialist there MUST be more than one Isaiah and if he is an intellectual he may even influence a believer in the Deity that he knows more than he does. If you believe the hand of the Spirit of God is in the book then you will gain a blessing by looking for the unity of the book in spite of occasional obstacles which will all fall satisfactorily in place with time and meditation.
I have given attention to this problem and the one supposed Chaldean - Aramaic word in Isaiah in the comments on the 63rd and 64th chapter.
follow the hyperlinks there for further information.
I hope this rather limited defense of Isaiah may at least send you off in a direction to discover more.
All the best