Message 1 of 18 (141504)
09-11-2004 2:56 AM
The Authorship of Isaiah
The traditional view is that the Book of Isaiah was written by a prophet, Isaiah son of Amoz, sometime between 739 and 681 B.C. Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah. Higher critics believe that Isaiah whose history we know was only the author of the first thirty nine chapters. They believe that another individual wrote Chapters 40-55 towards the end of the Exile, and yet another writer wrote the last ten chapters after the Exile.
Because this view is prevalent in quasi-intellectual circles, most just accept it. Yet the unbiased reader, when beginning at Chapter one and reader all the way through to the end of Chapter 66, finds no indication that the Book was written by more than one individual. Why then do the Higher Critics assume that it was?
Such an assumption is based entirely on their belief that there is no such thing as predictive prophecy. Certain prophecies do exist in the first thirty-nine chapters (i.e. The Oracle against Babylon (Isaiah 13-14) or the prophecy concerning the Apocalypse (Isaiah 24-27), it become impossible for the Higher Critic, because of his predetermined bias, to accept that Isaiah could have written in detail about events that would take place hundreds of years later. Hence, a second author is assumed to have written the chapters where such events take place. And a third author is deemed necessary, for he needs to have written about events that take place after the Exile.
So the denigration of a Sacred Book begins with the presupposition that predictive prophecy cannot occur. Now if the Higher Critic were to state such a belief in such clear terms at the beginning of an argument, few sincere believers would buy into his claim that there was more than one author. So they look for more evidence.
They claim that there is a substantial difference in style between Chapters 1-39 and between Chapters 40-66. Actually certain differences can not be explained by simply by attributing each difference to a different author. (Plus, these differences were not the first piece of evidence they suggested; it was the fact that different authors were needed to reduce different prophecies to historical recounts).
Some conservative scholars have been advancing the belief that the first section of Isaiah speaks of Israel and Judah's unfaithfulness, the threat of an Assyrian invasion, and the nations dependence on military 'allies' rather than on God. These scholars believe such information merely paves the way for the prophecies found later. For Chapters 40-66 speak of an invasion, and of the spiritual decline that led to such. Any differences in style or wording are non-existent, and while there is a difference in the subject and matters discussed, this can hardly indicate duo-authorship.
In fact there are some note-worthy similarities between Isaiah 1-39 and 40-66. The term 'Holy One of Israel' occurs fourteen times in the first thirty nine chapters (Isaiah 1:4, 5:19,24, 10:17,20, 12:6, 17:7, 29:19,23, 30:11,12,15, 31:1 and 37:23), while it occurs as many times between Chapters 40-66 (Isaiah 40:25, 41:14,16,20, 43:3,14,15, 45:11, 47:4, 48:17, 49:7, 54:5, 55:5, and 60:9,14). While this hardly constitutes as conclusive evidence for single authorship, the burden of proof remains on the Higher critic to show why the traditional view is mistaken. I have shown a detail supporting the similarity of the document. Higher speak much of the differences, but are in short supply of details.
We also find similar phrases like 'your hands are covered with blood,'
(Isaiah 1:15) and 'your hands are stained with blood,' (Isaiah 59:3) or 'a crown of glory and a diadem of splendor,' (Isaiah 28:5) and 'a crown of splendor...a princely diadem.' (Isaiah 62:3).
Isaiah is the largest Old Testament book of prophecy. The New Testament refers to it often. This also includes references to Isaiah 40-66 which the Higher Critic assumes to be written by another author or two.
Consider Luke 4:17 which says 'they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.' Jesus then reads from it, and what he reads from is Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus does not question the authorship of Isaiah. John 12:38 quotes from Isaiah 53:1 claiming that they were the 'words of the prophet Isaiah.' Mathew 3:3 refers the time when 'the prophet Isaiah spoke,' while John 1:23 cites John the Baptizer as claiming 'I am, as Isaiah prophesied,' and Mark 1:2 states 'It is written in the Book of Isaiah.' These three writers are referencing Isaiah 40:3 and all give credit to Isaiah for authorship. Yet the Higher Critic maintains that a different author wrote this. Matthew 12:17 speaks of events that 'fulfill the prophet Isaiah.' These are events that Isaiah, according to Matthew, prophesied about, and they appear not before Chapter 40 but after. (Isaiah 42). Acts 8:30 speaks of Philip hearing 'him reading the prophet Isaiah.' What part was he reading? The man was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 and yet Philip credited Isaiah. Romans 10:16 reads 'As Isaiah says,' and then goes on to quote Isaiah 53:1.
Higher critics claim that while three authors wrote Isaiah, all of their writings may be placed under the banner of the first author. This is nothing but special pleading; for the Higher Critic sees that their anti-supernatural foundation is crumbling beneath them, and there is nothing left to hold on to but a few arguments unable to support any weight.
Higher Critics have taken a historical Book (previously believed to be the work of one man) and have divided it into parts written by three men. Some scholars have accepted this, and others buy into it. Yet the New Testament authors credit ‘the prophet Isaiah’. Who shall we believe: John the Baptizer, Luke, Matthew, Mark, John, Paul and Jesus or Fred G. Bratton, George Knight, and William Barclay?
I believe the divinely inspired men ( though the way the Higher Critics blindly accept the writing of their co-workers, some reader may wonder which side I am referring to as divinely inspired), and because I believe in a God who can see from beginning to end, I have no difficulty accepting that God told Isaiah about what Cyrus would do. I do not reject the supernatural and because I do not I accept the obvious: That Isaiah was written by one man.
This message has been edited by Apostle, 09-11-2004 02:07 AM