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Schools of Thoughts on the Prophetic Book of Isaiah - Research Paper Example

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The paper 'Schools of Thoughts on the Prophetic Book of Isaiah" states that the concept of multiple authorship is a counterargument to the evangelical view, since there is neither prophecy in writing about Cyrus, after his existence, nor is there anything unique, special or inspired about it. …
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Schools of Thoughts on the Prophetic Book of Isaiah
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Topic: The Authorship of Isaiah
There are two main schools of thoughts on the prophetic Book of Isaiah. There is the traditional school of thought which holds that there is only one author identified as Isaiah, son of Amoz to the entire Book of Isaiah. On the other hand, there is another school of thought which postulates that there are multiple authors to the Book of Isaiah. The latter group is bifurcated, with the latest group differing with the older counterpart, by seeing three individuals as being behind the authorship of the Book of Isaiah, instead of two. The crux of the matter is that the traditional school of thought sees the Book of Isaiah as entirely Isaiah's work, while the latter group maintains that chapters 40 up to 66 are a result of another individual's work, other than Isaiah. Of the same group, there are certain who maintain that the chapters 40 to 66 are written by two individuals, so that the whole book is a result of three individuals' works. These groups are thus summed up as proponents of single authorship and proponents of multiple authorship.
Whether the Evidence Best Support the Traditional View That Isaiah Wrote the Entire Book or the Critical View of Multiple Authorship
It is a true that the evidence that Richard Schultz provides to support the view of single authorship are sufficient to uphold the traditional view of a single author.
One of the facts that Schultz presents to serve as evidence to the perspective of a single author is the consistently throughout the text. Schultz explains that the author uses the same structure throughout the book, and particularly, even in both the former Isaiah and deutero–Isaiah. Schultz posits that the consistency in the use of the same structure serves as a pillar of the theory of single authorship. For one, the use of God's definitive titles such as Redeemer, Creator and Savior run through the entire book as can be seen in passages: 1:27; 12:1, 2; 17:10; 14:1; 25:9; 29:22; 27:11; 30:18; 35:10; and 29:221.
There are other words which run through both the former Isaiah and deutero-Isaiah. There is the use of the word bachar [meaning, to choose] as can be seen in 1:29; 14:1 and 7:15, 6. There is also the use of the word halal [meaning praise] and 13:10 and 38:18. There is the use of word paer [meaning to glorify]. This word can be found in verse 10:15. The author also consistently uses tsemach, meaning, to spring forth as can be seen in 4:2. The word patsach is also used to mean, to break forth into joy, as can be seen in 14:7. The author also uses the word zero, to refer to the arm of the LORD, as can be seen in verses 9:20; 30:30; 17:5; and 33:22.
To further underscore his standpoint, Schultz points out that there are over 300 words and phrasal expressions
There is also the argument that the theory of multiple authorship may not be worthy of credence, since throughout the text, the author identifies himself by name, as Isaiah. To this effect, the New Testament refers to the author of the Book of Isaiah as Isaiah, in over 21 times. Eleven of these passages in the New Testament attribute Isaiah as being responsible for the words in deutero-Isaiah. Only ten of the New Testament references refer to the former Isaiah. In respect to this, there is the argument that in the same New Testament, there are different authors and figures who took it for granted that the authorship behind the book of Isaiah is Isaiah himself. For instance, Christ Himself speaks of Isaiah as being the author of the former Isaiah [Matt 13:14; 15:7 and mark 7:6] and deutero-Isaiah [Matt 12:17]. Matthew also believes the same, as can be seen in verse 8:17. Luke also holds the same belief, as can be seen in 3:4; 4:17 and Acts of the Apostles, 8:28; and 30. John the Evangelist also considers the former Isaiah and deutero-Isaiah as a work of one man [John 12:39, 41 and 12:38]. Apostle Paul also mentions 4 times that Isaiah is responsible for the former Isaiah [Acts 28:25, Rom 9:27, 29 and 15:12] and Deutero-Isaiah, twice [Rom 10:16, 20].
The Bearing That This Issue Has On the Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Book of Isaiah
The issue at hand has great bearing on inspiration and inerrancy of Isaiah. If the postulation of multiple authors being responsible for the Book of Isaiah is an admission of the belief that it is impossible for an individual to have divine precognition [as is given by the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit]. The same is a covert admission of the disbelief in God's limitless ability. Thus, arguing that Isaiah could not have predicted King Cyrus' existence and exploits 200 years beforehand, is to gainsay some of the fundamental characteristics of not only the Book of Isaiah, but the rest of Biblical Scriptures.
Whether An Evangelical View of Inspiration Require People to Affirm the Traditional View of Isaiah as the Single Author of the Book, or Not
It is a fact that the evangelical view of inspiration would have people affirm the traditional view of the single authorship of the Book of Isaiah. This is because, when the evangelical movement began as a worldwide Protestant Christian movement in the 1730s, it believed in the Scriptures as having been illumined and inspired by the Holy Spirit [and thereby, also being inerrant]. The concept of multiple authorship is a counterargument to the evangelical view, since there is neither prophecy in writing about Cyrus, after his existence, nor is there anything unique, special or inspired about it. Such a case is not any different from compiling a newspaper article.
Schultz, L. R., PhD. 2009. How Many Isaiahs Were There and What Does It Matter? Prophetic Inspiration in Recent Evangelical Scholarship. New York/ London: IVP Academic. Read More
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