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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Origins of Isaiah 24–27: Josiah’s Festival Scroll for the Fall of Assyria
Hays, Christopher B.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019 pp. xiv + 334. $99.99

Description: Isaiah 24-27 has been an enduring mystery and a hotly contested text for biblical scholars. Early scholarship linked its references to the dead rising to the New Testament. These theories have remained influential even as common opinion moderated over the course of the twentieth century. In this volume, Christopher B. Hays situates Isaiah 24-27 within its historical and cultural contexts. He methodically demonstrates that it is not apocalyptic; that its imagery of divine feasting and conquering death have ancient cognates; and that its Hebrew language does not reflect a late composition date. He also shows how the passage celebrates the receding of Assyrian power from Judah, and especially from the citadel at Ramat Rahel near Jerusalem, in the late seventh century. This was the time of King Josiah and his scribes, who saw a political opportunity and issued a peace overture to the former northern kingdom. Using comparative, archaeological, linguistic, and literary tools, Hays' volume changes the study of Isaiah, arguing for a different historical setting than that of traditional scholarship.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Isaiah, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, History of Israel, Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism

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Review by Brad E. Kelle
Published 5/28/2020
Citation: Brad E. Kelle, review of Christopher B. Hays, The Origins of Isaiah 24–27: Josiah’s Festival Scroll for the Fall of Assyria, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

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