Recent research on the book of Isaiah has been dominated by discussions of its unity and authorship. Professor Williamson's important new study provides a major and highly original contribution to these key issues, and is based upon a more rigorous methodology than used ever before. Isaiah is usually regarded as the work of several authors, including prominently Isaiah of Jerusalem (Isaiah 1-39) and Deutero-Isaiah (the author of Isaiah 40-55). Professor Williamson argues that the author of Isaiah 40-55 was in fact strongly influenced by the work of the earlier writer. Secondly, he demonstrates that the earlier work was regarded as a book which had been sealed up until the time when judgement was past and the day of salvation had arrived, and that Deutero-Isaiah believed himself to be heralding the arrival of that day. Thirdly, and most provocatively, Professor Williamson argues that Deutero-Isaiah both included and edited a version of the earlier prophecies along with his own, intending from the start that they should be read together as a complete whole. This innovative and scholarly work, which sheds much new light on some of the more neglected passages in Isaiah, is certain to have significant implications for the future interpretation of this much-loved prophetic book.
`All this is welcome, though the fact that such a detailed and closely reasoned work comes to very different conclusions from other recent studies only serves to demonstrate again that we are dealing here with questions that admit of no easy or obvious answers.
`In this carefully argued monograph Williamson presents a fascinating theory and comes to daring conclusions ... He proceeds by a careful analysis of relevant texts and by detailed attention to the work of his scholarly predecessors to produce a work that is clear, convincing and challenging. It marks an important contribution to work on the book of Isaiah ... This is the kind of study that keeps one gripped by the argument and fascinated to see in which
direction the author will move next; a rare treat in modern biblical studies.'
Reviews in Religion and Theology
Very positive and forward-looking study...there is a very clear statement of the problems here, a well argued and fair assessment of the methods and resources with which they need to be dealt with, and a positive attempt to mark out some useful steps forward. It will perform a great service if it draws fresh attention to the undoubted fact the the basic structure of the book of Isaiah poses many still unresolve questions.
`This monograph is a major contribution to the study of the composition of the Book of Isaiah, and will necessitate a reorientation of critical perspectives whether its thesis is accepted or rejected. It is written in a lucid and elegant style, and the necessary discussion of text-critical problems in a number of passages is conveniently relegated to an appendix. The scholarly world is deeply indebted to Williamson for such a stimulating contribution to an
A. Gelston, Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 41, No. 1, '96
`Williamson writes clearly, and it is not difficult to follow his argumentation.'
Antti Laato, Hebrew Studies
`Williamson's economical hypothesis has the strength of its simplicity ... Much remains uncertain, but one of the admirable qualities of the work under review is its frank admission of the fact.'
Journal of Biblical Literature
`Williamson's economical hypothesis has the strength of its simplicity...Much remains uncertain, but one of the admirable qualities of the work under review is its frank admission of the fact.'
Journal of Biblical Literature