Isaiah The Myth And Isaiah The Prophet -- By: Howard Osgood

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 058:229 (Jan 1901)
Article: Isaiah The Myth And Isaiah The Prophet
Author: Howard Osgood


Isaiah The Myth And Isaiah The Prophet1

Howard Osgood

Isaiah The Myth

The multiple division of the prophecy of Isaiah is not new. It is more than eighty years old, and the successors of the first great divider have not yet quite attained to the vigor and number of divisions by their learned and bulky forerunner. In 1816–19 Eichhorn, at sixty-four years of age, published his “Hebrew Prophets” in two volumes. It was the ripe fruit of more than forty years’ study. He divided the sixty-six chapters of Isaiah, containing 1,292 verses, into sixty-four sections, and of these he assigned only 300 verses, less than cue-fourth of the whole, to Isaiah. The other 992 verses he divided among many “unnamed” writers living from B.C. 710 to 465. Eichhorn made these divisions and assignments because he felt them. As he tells us in his former work,2 “The most convincing passages can only be felt.” One of the most imposing ex-

amples of the firm conviction induced by this ability to feel is found in his treatment of chapters 15:1–16:12, twenty verses. He says: “For experts in fine appreciation of the Hebrew language who have long accustomed themselves to distinguish the fine differences of expression and ideas in ancient writers, there are more numerous and convincing proofs from the contrast of language, of idea and treatment, of coloring, in short, of the whole manner in which the various parts in Isaiah are wrought out. What a difference, for instance, between the parts undoubtedly belonging to Isaiah and the oracle against Moab [chaps, 15 and 16] of which I have spoken! Does he work up and round off his expressions elsewhere as he does here? Does he in his pictures show such palpable hardness and roughness? Does he thus ardently strive to appear learned? Does he needlessly heap up geographical names? Is there in the whole piece a single trace of the customary manner of Isaiah?” Feeling thus with the fine appreciation of an expert in the Hebrew language (which he had then studied for over thirty years, being fifty-one years old), it was to him unthinkable that Isaiah could have written chapters 15 and 16. If this ground of judgment was secure, it would have stood all coming tests. But a further study of thirteen years blasts the diagnosis by “fine appreciation of the Hebrew language,” so that in 1816, the same Eichhorn quietly assigns chapters You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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