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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Black Hole in Isaiah: A Study of Exile as a Literary Theme
Poulsen, Frederik

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019 pp. xiv + 475. $181.00

Series Information
Forschungen zum Alten Testament, 125

Description: Frederik Poulsen investigates exile as a literary and theological theme in the book of Isaiah. While other biblical writings explicitly depict the destruction of Jerusalem and the inhabitants' deportation to Babylon in the early sixth century BCE, Isaiah is apparently silent. At the center of the book where readers would expect to find an account of these traumatic and defining events, there is just a strange gap. The author argues that the curious break between chapters 39 and 40 indicates an anti-climax – a destroyed and forsaken Jerusalem – and that several passages stress its importance by either pointing forward to it or looking back at it. Frederik Poulsen demonstrates that the exile in Isaiah hides itself as a »black hole” at the center of the book and thereby has a decisive influence on the literary structure, poetic imagery, and theological message of this prophetic scroll.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Isaiah, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches

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Review by Marvin A. Sweeney
Published 11/7/2019
Citation: Marvin A. Sweeney, review of Frederik Poulsen, The Black Hole in Isaiah: A Study of Exile as a Literary Theme, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2019).

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