The Unity Of Isaiah -- By: J. J. Lias

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:288 (Oct 1915)
Article: The Unity Of Isaiah
Author: J. J. Lias


The Unity Of Isaiah

Chancellor J. J. Lias

Not a doubt was entertained for some twenty-five centuries about the genuineness and unity of authorship of one who was well known to Christians by the title of the “Evangelical Prophet,” from his remarkable and sublime prophecies about the Person and Work of the Coming Redeemer. Authors in all lands who were masters not only of style, but of the highest art in composition, admitted this genuineness and unity of authorship without the slightest hesitation. Of late the members of a school that arose not very long ago in Germany have developed a preternatural facility for slicing up the works of authors into their supposed component parts, and assigning them to writers of various characters and periods. Their conclusions have usually been received with coldness and treated with contempt,1 save where the question of revealed religion is concerned. But when that is introduced, these conclusions have met with more attention, because their acceptance has relieved readers who could not bring themselves to recognize the supernatural from the necessity of admitting either prophecy, or miracles, or any evidence for religious belief beyond the sphere of the unassisted intellect of mankind.

At first it was regarded as sufficient to set aside the last twenty-seven chapters as the work of a Deutero-Isaiah, who was pronounced to have unmistakably shown that he wrote at the time of the Babylonish Captivity. But a fuller examination of the contents of the prophecy showed clearly that the principles on which this conclusion was reached required further application. Accordingly we are now2 asked to believe in a heterogeneous jumble of authors, whose works, ‘embracing “not much less than two thirds “of the whole prophecy, show “manifest traces of composite authorship,” and who are not less in number than ten, making altogether eleven authors of the prophecy. This strange jumble is most confusing in its character. The contents of the ten authors and Isaiah himself are mixed up together in the direst confusion, while “even the genuine discourses of Isaiah stand in an entirely different order from that in which they were uttered.” 3 It should be added that “several other passages are denied to Isaiah by a considerable number of recent critics,” while some “dispute the genuineness of all the promises of salvation found in “one of the earlier prophecies in the book. Surely, if the critics are not agreed among themselves, they can hardly demand our unconditional submission to their dicta.

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