Description: The first systematic and comprehensive attempt to identify and analyze the role of Isaianic language and imagery in literature, art, and music
Using reception history as its basis for study, Isaiah Through the Centuries is an unprecedented exploration of the afterlife of the Book of Isaiah, specifically in art, literature, and music. This is a commentary that guides the reader through the Book of Isaiah, examining the differing interpretations of each phrase or passage from a variety of cultural and religious perspectives, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Clearly structured and accessible, and richly illustrated, the book functions as a complete and comprehensive educational reference work.
Isaiah Through the Centuries encourages readers to learn with an open mind and to understand how different interpretations have helped in the teaching and comprehension of the Bible and Isaiah’s place in it. As part of the Wiley-Blackwell Bible Commentaries series, which is primarily concerned with reception history, the book emphasizes that how people interpret the prophet—and how they’ve been influenced by him—is often just as important as the sacred text’s original meaning.
Uses reception history to study the renowned prophet
Provides a historical context for every use or interpretation discussed
Offers essential background information on authors, artists, musicians, etc. in its glossary and biographies
Minimizes historical details in order to focus as much as possible on exegetical matters
Presents the role of Isaiah and the Bible in the creative arts
Will be useful to multiple disciplines including theology and religion, English literature, art history and the history of music, not just Biblical Studies
Comprehensive in scope, Isaiah Through the Centuries is a much-needed resource for all those interested in the influence of the Bible on Western culture, and presents unique perspectives for anyone interested in the Bible to discuss and debate for many years to come.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Isaiah, Literature, Methods, Reception History
Review by Marvin A. Sweeney
Citation: Marvin A. Sweeney, review of John F. A. Sawyer, Isaiah through the Centuries, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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