The Integrity Of The Book Of Isaiah -- By: William Henry Cobb

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 039:155 (Jul 1882)
Article: The Integrity Of The Book Of Isaiah
Author: William Henry Cobb


The Integrity Of The Book Of Isaiah

Rev. Wm, Henry Cobb

The Bibliotheca Sacra for April and October 1881, and for January 1882, contained Articles aiming to show a linguistic correspondence between the main divisions of the Book commonly ascribed to Isaiah too minute and undesigned to be accounted for on the hypothesis of a diversity of authorship. Since those Articles were written, the thirteenth volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica has appeared, with an Article on Isaiah from the pen of Rev. T. K. Cheyne, which may be regarded as giving the high-water mark of recent exegesis, as its author has written the latest, and in some respects the best, commentary on the prophecies of Isaiah.1 This commentary, especially its appended essays, should be read in connection with the Article in the Encyclopedia, as the latter is too brief to express justly the writer’s cautious, reverent, and thoroughly Christian spirit. It is gratifying to find him treating the conservative view with far more respect than was evinced in his earlier work.2 It is well to remind a certain class of critics that such epithets as “blind conservatism,” “hard-and-fast traditionalism,” fail to meet the present conditions of the problem. Professor Plumptre, for example, who cannot be accused of an orthodox bias, declares3 : “My own conviction is, that the second part of Isaiah bears as distinct traces of coming from the author of the first as Paradise Regained does of coming from the author of Paradise

Lost.” The British Quarterly Review for last October, in a favorable notice of Dr. Bruce’s recent work, remarks: “He accepts the idea of a Deutero-Isaiah, which, on grounds of exact criticism, is, to say the least, a mere hypothesis, and, we think, a gratuitous one.” Professor W. S. Tyler, whose accurate and fair-minded scholarship is as conspicuous as his conservatism, stated a few months since that he considered the argument for the unity of Isaiah to come as near a demonstration as is possible in an investigation of this kind.

Mr. Cheyne is far enough from agreeing with the writers just quoted, but his progress during ten years is worth noting. In 1870 he held that Isa. 40–66 is the work of a single author, who wrote at Babylon in the time of Cyrus; he noted with evident satisfaction that “the principal passage (Isa. 56:9–57:11), which has been thought by some to imply the authorship of a resident in Palestine, is given up by Delitzsch as incapable of ...

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