Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55.

By Journal of Biblical Literature

  • Release Date : 2004-03-22
  • Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
  • FIle Size : 0.17 MB


Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55. Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55, by Klaus Baltzer. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Edited by Peter Machinist. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001. Pp. xxv + 597. $78 (cloth). More than a commentary in the typical sense, this work represents the most original contribution to the study of Isa 40-55 in the past half century. It moves decisively beyond the current scholarly consensus in three ways. First, Baltzer argues that Isa 40-55 is a liturgical drama, a text performed by actors with roles that can be reconstructed. Second, Baltzer maintains that these chapters were written in Jerusalem during the last half of the fifth century B.C.E. rather than in the Babylonian exile during the last part of the sixth. Finally, Baltzer suggests that the servant in Isa 42; 48; 50; and 53 (one of the main dramatis personae) is none other than Moses. These theses are exciting and creative. Unfortunately, none of them receives any serious support. Nevertheless, Baltzer's focus on dramatic elements in these chapters highlights the vivid nature of Deutero-Isaiah's rhetoric and the crucial role of dialogue in these speeches, and thus this commentary contributes to the literary analysis of these texts. At the same time, precisely because of the bold and speculative nature of Baltzer's proposals, this book raises central questions regarding what should count as evidence in biblical studies, which will constitute my main focus in this review.