1 Isaiah (Hermeneia Series)
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About "1 Isaiah (Hermeneia Series)"
The eighth century BCE Isaiah of Jerusalem, the so-called First Isaiah, is one of the most important theological voices in the Bible. J. J. M. Roberts takes a classical historical-critical approach to his interpretation of this material, making good use of his broad comparative knowledge of ancient Near Eastern historical and religious sources. In light of Isaiah's very long prophetic ministry of at least thirty-eight years, and perhaps as long as fifty-three years, Roberts also suggests Isaiah often reedited older oracles from early in his ministry to address new, though somewhat analogous situations, albeit with different players, later in his ministry, without erasing telltale signs of the material's earlier origin. In many cases, this suggestion provides a better explanation for glaring inconsistencies in an apparently connected text than the common fragmentation of the text that attributes such inconsistencies to later editors who either misunderstood or intentionally altered Isaiah's message for their own purposes.
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In common with all volumes in the Hermeneia series, 'First Isaiah' by Professor J.J.M. Roberts provides a close reading and detailed exegetical analysis of his allotted portion of Scripture (i.e. Isaiah 1 through 39, the so-called 'Proto-Isaiah). While this work is not as detailed as is Hans Wildberger in the Continental Commentary series, also by Fortress Press (Roberts provides 524 pages to Wildberger's 1,929 pages spread across three meaty volumes), Roberts' is likely to be of greater general utility to the average student or pastor. Noting the author sits towards the critical end of the theological spectrum, his analysis of Isaiah should prove extraordinarily useful to the diligent evangelical student. I'll close by commenting this is probably not going to be the first choice to reach for when preparing a sermon. However, 'First Isaiah' provides an able introduction to the prophet for the conscientious theological student, and is a good choice for cutting-one's-teeth before progressing to Wildberger, or perhaps, to Williamson's introduction in the International Critical Commentary series by t and t clark.