Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 41:3 (September 1998) p. 469
The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah’s Role in Composition and Redaction. By H. G. M. Williamson. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994, 244 pp. + appendix + bibliography + indices, $55.00. Rhetoric and Redaction in Trito-Isaiah: The Structure, Growth, and Authorship of Isaiah 56–66. By P. A. Smith. Leiden: Brill, 1995, xi + 207 + bibliography + indices.
Among the many recent attempts at identifying and explaining the unity of the prophecy of Isaiah enter two thought-provoking entries. H. G. M. Williamson offers his readers a detailed explanation of the relationship between the so-called First and Second Isaiahs, while P. A. Smith addresses questions regarding the rhetorical and redactional development of so-called Third Isaiah.
Williamson advances three proposals concerning the role of Deutero-Isaiah (DI): (1) DI was especially influenced by the literary deposit of Isaiah of Jerusalem; (2) he regarded himself as the herald of salvation, able to reopen the sealed work of Isaiah of Jerusalem; (3) he included a version of the earlier prophecies with his own and edited them in such a way as to bind the two parts of the work together (p. 240).
Williamson exercises considerable caution in establishing his criteria for identifying a case of direct influence, readily acknowledging that similarity does not always entail influence. Thus, he recognizes the importance of citing only clear-cut cases. His basic criterion for determining influence is guided by the process of elimination: “Unless another book, passage, or tradition circle could be found that also embraced all the data to be considered, the most economical hypothesis would be to ascribe all possible example of influence to First Isaiah” (p. 29). He further observes that “‘influence’ should not be restricted simply to ‘imitation.’” Readers “must be alert to the possibility that the later writer may be in fact reversing quite as much as endorsing what was said or written by his predecessor, for that is just as much ‘influence’ as is continuation” (p. 28; italics mine).
Some examples of this clear-cut influence include the use of Isaiah 6 in chaps. 40–55, found in expressions such as “high and lifted up,” “the Holy One of Israel,” and “blind” and “deaf.” Other examples include “potter and clay” and “signs to the nations,” where Williamson notices a distinct change in tone—i.e. there is “development by means of reversal.” Williamson concludes that “the cumulative effect of all this material seems irrefutably to point to the direct literary influence of this chapter on the...
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