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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

A Covenant with Death: Death in the Iron Age II and Its Rhetorical Uses in Proto-Isaiah
Hays, Christopher B.

Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015 pp. xx + 445. $50.00


Description: Death is one of the major themes of First Isaiah, although it has not generally been recognized as such. In this work Christopher Hays offers fresh interpretations of more than a dozen passages in Isaiah 5-38 in light of ancient beliefs about death. What especially distinguishes Hays's study is its holistic approach, as he brilliantly synthesizes both literary and archaeological evidence, resulting in new insights. Hays first summarizes what is known about death in the ancient Near East during the Second Iron Age, covering beliefs and practices in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria-Palestine, and Judah/Israel. He then shows how select passages in the first part of Isaiah employ the rhetorical imagery of death that was part of their cultural context; further, he identifies ways in which these texts break new creative ground.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Isaiah, Ancient Near East, Mesopotamian Literature, Egyptian Literature, Other ANE Literature, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, History of Religions, Archaeology

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Review by Francis Landy
Published 8/25/2016
Citation: Francis Landy, review of Christopher B. Hays, A Covenant with Death: Death in the Iron Age II and Its Rhetorical Uses in Proto-Isaiah, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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