Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
The author of the Old Testament book of Isaiah flourished between 760 and 701/680 b.c.e., but many modern scholars think that much in the book by his name originated c. 540 and later. The author of the book of Jeremiah lived from c. 645 to after 587. A collection of his sermons appeared about 605, but the book was not completed before 585 at the earliest. Amos’s career lasted two years or less, but the book bearing his name presupposes the collapse of the Davidic dynasty in 587. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, but some of the materials in the book of Micah come from the period of the Exile (586-539) or slightly later.
The book of Isaiah may be divided into three basic parts. It develops chronologically, with chapters 1-39 dealing mostly with people and events between 742 and 697 b.c.e. Chapters 40-55 shift both scene and time, addressing the exiles in Babylon near the end of the enforced captivity of Jews in that land (539). Chapters 56-66 shift the focus back to Jerusalem, but many scholars think the time frame is the last quarter of the sixth century. While the name Isaiah appears fifteen times in chapters 1-39, and the prophet appears in several narratives (chapters 6-7, 36-39), neither Isaiah nor any other person or event from the eighth century is mentioned in chapters 40-66.
Within chapters 1-39, the first twelve contain a number of passages reprimanding Judah and...
(The entire section is 1829 words.)
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