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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Isaiah 1–12 as Written and Read in Antiquity
de Bruin, Wim M.

Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix, 2013 pp. x + 493. $95

Series Information
Pericope: Scripture as Written and Read in Antiquity, 8

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Description: This scrupulous study foregrounds an often forgotten element of the Masoretic texts of these important prophetic chapters: the Masoretic systems of indicating smaller and larger parts of the text through the use of spaces and accents.

The Masoretes were not only transmitters of the biblical text but also exegetes and interpreters of it, so taking the Masoretic text divisions seriously should be an essential part of our contemporary exegesis. That is not to say, however, that the Masoretic text divisions should be followed uncritically; de Bruin compares the Masoretic delimitation of textual units with his own structural analysis of the text based on its internal characteristics, as well as with the text division in other ancient manuscripts of Isaiah 1–12. He concludes that such comparisons show the reliability of the Masoretic system and its value for modern exegetes.

Finally, the multitude of data reported here on text division in ancient Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Latin witnesses, including commentaries of the Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome, and the discussion of their interpretative consequences, make this book a treasure house of information for every exegete and Bible reader seeking to gain a clearer insight into Isaiah 1–12.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Prophetic Literature, Isaiah, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by Ibolya Balla
Published 4/2/2015
Citation: Ibolya Balla, review of Wim M. de Bruin, Isaiah 1–12 as Written and Read in Antiquity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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