Talk:Book of Isaiah

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It would be wonderful if we could find some good copyright free or public domain photos of the book of Isaiah. There are many out there but I am unsure of their copyright status. Although I haven't done too much looking yet. fischersc 16:31, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


I started a bibliography, but more sources on Isaiah 1-39 are needed. --db

I just updated this page with much more detail. Some of the original content was preserved.

Nathan Hill

Does the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the whole of Isaiah ?[edit]

Many apologies, I am a novice, a complete novice, in everything.

I read that the book of Isaiah foretold the destruction of Babylon by King Cyrus and the coming of Jesus, written in 732 B.C.E.

I need to ask if the Dead Sea scroll was genuinely carbon dated and if the complete book or which small fragments of Isaiah were found in the Dead Sea scrolls.

I sense the end is coming, just like the people before me, am I crazy ?

See Matthew 24 (mostly verse 36)[1] Am I responding to a troll? --Midnightcomm 02:42, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
The Dead Sea Scrolls do indeed contain a complete copy of Isaiah. I have seen the entire thing myself at the Israel Museum. --billspry 22 June 2006


The lack of attention which this article draws to the near certainty of multiple authorship seems highly problematic to me. john k 01:51, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

The term Second Isaiah, which redirects here is only mentioned in the bibliography, for instance. john k 01:56, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

And Third Isaiah, and even the generally accepted idea of dividing the book in three, is not mentioned at all. john k 01:56, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

It is necessary to mention, that not all scholars held the theory of joint authorship. Edward Joseph Young was among them. Here is his article on this subject. george 02:02, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

This article as it stands implies, and dwells on, the idea that the vast majority of scholars have shifted their position, from seeing the book of Isaiah as having three authors, to having a "two part structure". The supporting documentation for this precept all comes from the same place: Westminster John Knox Press. I wonder if this really is all scholars' consensus, or an agenda being pushed by someone? Friendly Person (talk) 15:39, 8 August 2014 (UTC)


I added a cleanup tag to this article. The two main reasons I found for doing so are:

  1. The intro section, which should be 1-3 paragraphs, is more than a full page in most browsers, reducing the utility and convenience of the table of contents.
  2. The entire "Use in the New Testament" section is edited in a form that is rendered poorly by the wiki engine. It should either be wiki-formatted as suggested by the edited text, or be restructured to look good in plain wiki formatting.

I suspect there are other aspects of this article that could use some attention as well. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 21:38, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Jeff Q, (or others) I removed the Cleanup tag after reviewing the article. It appears that all your requested items had been removed. I would add though that the 1st introduction paragraph contains info on authorship that then later in the article is debated. Perhaps that one little thing could be dealt with in the Single Authorship sectionl, but doesn't require the Cleanup tags. Lsjzl 21:00, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Single Authorship[edit]

There are two paragraphs championing single authorship for Isiaah. They are awkwardly interspersed with what appear to be the original article. They do not cite any sources and refer to 'many scholars' without mentioning any.

FWIW the theory of multiple authorship is not in any serious dispute among critical scholarship. Fundamentalist students of the Bible object to the idea of multiple authorship but adhere to critical methods to support their position. In fact they do not believe in applying the tools of critical scholarship to the Bible which they hold to be innerant, therefore above critical study.

In response to the above, it is true that the vast majority of scholars hold to multiple authorship, and in fact, there are indications, e.g., Cyrus' name, talk of rebuilding the temple in C 64, which seem to indicate that the original author could not have written the entire book in his own lifetime. However, there are some scholars who would argue for the entire book being "essentially" the work of a single author, perhaps edited and somewhat expanded by his followers, but that no large part of the book was in fact the product of a separate author and appended to the original. Far more scholars today, however, are focused on a unity of the book of Isaiah, but not necessarily a unity in the sense of being the product of a single author in the timeframe of Isaiah the son of Amoz, but rather an intentionally crafted work of literature which may have used disparate sources, but nonetheless has a single provenance, design, and message.

Response: I have moved the multiple authorship paragraph to the primary position in this article because it is the most prominent theory on the subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Undue weight is placed upon the opinions of these "scholars." These are their opinions and this should be the way it is labeled in the article. There definitely should be more coverage given to the other side. That is, the side that believe that Isaiah is the work of a single author. As for prophecy being "proof" that the book was written at a later time and by someone else, that opinion is based on the misguided thinking that there is no such thing as predicting events prior to their occurrence. (talk) 13:36, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
You may want to read WP:RNPOV. It clearly states that scholars are to be given respect in writing Wikipedia articles. It is official Wikipedia policy. Although the following is not official policy, you may also want to read WP:ABIAS. It explains more clearly that historians decide what the facts are. History is an empirical science and it could never work with paranormal assumptions (such as supernatural causation). This is explained at Historical method and falsifiability. Your statement that Isaiah predicted future events isn't falsifiable through the empirical-analytical model, therefore it cannot be scientific. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:23, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
As I have implied on another talk page, it would be preposterous for historians to claim that a 10th century manuscript describes troop movements from Operation Barbarossa and gives the names of all generals involved in the conflict. Historians would default to "forgery" for that manuscript by the very requirements of the historical method. While it could be great theology to claim that Isaiah has paranormally predicted future events, it is ludicrous to state it as empirical science (namely as history). Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:19, 22 July 2013 (UTC)


But why should the accurate mention of future events and Cyrus' name automatically mean that Isaiah did not write those parts? If Isaiah was indeed a real prophet why should such accuracy rule out his authorship? For example: if in the future lions actually start eating straw like an ox etc etc, does that mean those parts couldn't have been written in the past?

Say if one accepts that Isaiah was a prophet, are there any inconsistencies in the "Book of Isaiah" text that would preclude single authorship? Or is there other evidence? If there aren't any then it also seems a stretch to claim that just because the book of Isaiah contains accurate prophecies those prophecies couldn't have been written by the alleged prophet.

Funny that accurate prophecy should automatically disqualify books allegedly written by prophets from being accepted as being written by those very prophets!

IMO it would make more sense that the lack of accurate and clear (rather than vague) predictions would automatically disqualify "prophetic books" from being treated seriously ;).

This is how science works (read what I wrote above). If you want to edit Wikipedia, you should have high respect for science, since scientific standpoints are mentioned often when writing Wikipedia articles and you cannot choose to ignore them, as an editor. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:38, 20 June 2013 (UTC)


The statement of accurate prophecy is interesting, as prophets in the OT cannon are mostly forthtellers of what is happening to Israel, or what will happen soon in general terms, not a specific name.

I am not trying to put into doubt Yahweh's prophets, but very rarely does that kind of prophetic work occur in the Bible at all.


Of course it is rare because when it happens, as it does in Isiah you assume a different author. --Teacherbrock (talk) 17:46, 13 February 2009 (UTC)


It is necessary to mention in article, that most but not all scholars held the theory of joint authorship. Edward Joseph Young was among those defending single writership. Here is his essay on this subject.--george 02:25, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

As Bart Ehrman said:

This isn’t simply the approach of “liberal” Bible professors. It’s the way historians always date sources. If you find a letter written on paper that is obviously 300 years old or so, and the author says something about the “United States” — then you know it was written after the Revolutionary War. So too if you find an ancient document that describes the destruction of Jerusalem, then you know it was written after 70 CE. It’s not rocket science! But it’s also not “liberal.” It’s simply how history is done. If someone wants to invent other rules, they’re the ones who are begging questions!

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:35, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
In order to draw the logical conclusion from the quote above: we have a word for "Isaiah has predicted Cyrus", it is called pseudohistory. This is the consensus in any bona fide history department of every US and European university. It may be fine and dandy as theology, but presented as history, it is pseudohistory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:07, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Pseudohistory is the term people would have to use to describe prophecy if they don't believe in the possibility of prophecy. The historians' dating methodology works just fine under ordinary circumstances where there is no question of prophecy, and the conclusions it would draw are not only logical, but simply incontrovertible under those circumstances. I'll be the first one to say that most prophecies are false. It has always been so: ancient ones, medieval ones, modern ones - 99.99% false (conservative estimate). But Isaiah? This is not ordinary circumstance. God has revealed to people what is coming, within limits He set, at any number of times and places in history, and on into modern times (so I assert as a Christian). Those who don't share my belief will not believe it; imagine my surprise - I wouldn't either if that were all there is to my belief. But if God is Who He is purported to be, He has the power to do this, and the testimony that He has done so. He has not made revelations willy-nilly to just anyone, but to people of faith and obedience to Him, like, say, Isaiah, and not for their own edification, but for that of all His people, the Church. That is why the prophets proclaim what they are told.
So, it is logical to draw the conclusion that historians would while using their methodology. And it is appropriate to accept that finding if you find no reason for an occasion for prophecy. But as the pseudohistory article itself states, that term is a pejorative. So it amounts to an in-your-face rejection of any possibility of prophecy. That may be one's opinion, even a reasonable opinion, but it's not a respectful way of saying so. For the opinion that permits for prophecy is not illogical for being in contradiction to the other. It simply takes into consideration a different set of circumstances and capabilities. I find it best to avoid pejoratives in general, whatever the circumstance. Evensteven (talk) 04:04, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
You conflate a theological claim with a historical one. History seeks to establish objective facts, i.e. determine past events based upon an analysis of evidence. If such facts have to be objective, they don't have to depend upon choosing for or against a religion, they have to hold true for all people, regardless of their religious persuasion. As Bart Ehrman said, historians have no access to God, they cannot say that God helped the Protestants fight the Catholics, since that is a theological claim, not a historical one. Specifically, it is a claim pertaining to Protestant theology, but not to Catholic theology: Catholic theologians would disagree with it for theological reasons. Historians never have enough evidence in order to establish miracles, this is why it can be never stated as an objective fact that Isaiah has prophesied the future. It is perfectly okay as a theological claim, since theology consists or religious claims which are accepted subjectively. Miracles and prophecies could thus never count as objectively established historical facts, these can only be believed as a matter of subjective faith. Any normally thinking person is able to distinguish between subjective beliefs and objective facts, that is why the theological claim that there were real prophecies in the past could never be conflated with the methods of historical scholarship. It is simply low-quality apologetics to conflate history and theology in order to present such purely theological claims as if they could be accepted as objective facts. Such lame apologetics gives a bad name to theology and to the Christian faith. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:41, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not conflating the two types of claims. I think I distinguished them quite clearly in what I said. And I also think I stated accurately what a historical claim is based on. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the idea that only historical claims are legitimately placed in a WP article about a topic related to faith. Surely, of all places, theological claims are also part of the topic. There is also a problem with continual insistence upon "objective facts" as the only legitimate means by which people draw conclusions. There are many cases, both in faith topics and in history, where there simply is not enough evidence for a "scientific" or purely logical conclusion to be drawn. And as people, there are many instances in life where we must draw conclusions without such support. For example, can I trust <person X>? In life, we can and do answer such questions for ourselves, with a general reliability backed up by experience. Such judgments are neither irrefutable nor indisputable, but in practice they work at least as well as our logical reasoning does. (Science history is full of logical arguments which have been shown to be flawed later. Actually, that's part of how science itself works.)
So, theological claims have their place in this article, even when they're not "objective", just as non-objective decisions have a place in life itself. I think it's lame to reject this fact in principle. No one in fact lives that way. Quite apart from giving a "bad name" to theology, faith makes it robust (from a human perspective), for logic does not pervade all aspects of human essence. That does not automatically make it illogical (contrary to logic). But faith certainly can be "alogical", if you will: that is, it is not reached through reason alone. And that is why the pejorative term "pseudohistory" is inappropriate. Theological claims are not necessarily contrary to reason; they are simply distinct from claims arrived at through reasoned conclusion. Both are a part of the topic here. And pejoratives are still not respectful. Evensteven (talk) 06:09, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't have problems with that theological claim, I only have problems with rendering it as objective historical fact. Of course, according to WP:RNPOV theology matters and should be rendered when notable. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:02, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
And on the surface of what you say, I have no problems with it. But some theological claims are that certain things are historical facts: Jesus the Son of God, divine and human, who was fully human and lived 2000 years ago, born in Bethlehem, etc; He died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, lives still; miracles; prophecies (here's where Isaiah comes in). All these are claimed as historical fact. "Objective" is another thing, and what it means seems to change depending on who one talks to. But let's try to get within striking range to say it involves being able to make a purely rational verification of historicity on the basis of "evidence" (and there you'll also get differences as to what constitutes evidence). I fully agree that viewpoints that require (or attempt) that type of verification are acceptable for article inclusion; many people hold to those kinds of views, and they are part of topic. But let us not equivocate about what the "theological" viewpoints include: the point is still historicity, historical fact. There is no requirement that anyone "have faith", but there is faith that these things are historical fact. Some people torture and twist "logic", producing wholly indefensible and unreasonable conclusions, and those give logic and objectivity a bad name. Likewise, some twist "faith" into direct opposition to all reasonableness, and they give faith a bad name. But there is faith that is not unreasoned or unreasonable, but considers more than what is available only through physical evidence processed by close observation and logic. Those who do not hold that faith may not accept its conclusions, and some/many do reject them. But it is still disrespectful of thinking, rational, reasonable people of faith to use pejoratives to label their beliefs. Pseudohistory is inappropriate. It is enough to say how conclusions were drawn and how they accepted or rejected a theological claim (or an objective historical one), and that is where it ought to end. Evensteven (talk) 07:52, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
My point was: such "facts" would not pass through peer-review in any historical journal worth its salt. These could be very well published as theology, but not as history. There are some requirements for writing history and methodological naturalism is one of them. Methodological naturalism does not claim that it would be impossible that Jesus rose from the dead, it only claims that it cannot be affirmed as an objectively known fact (it can only be believed through faith and faith is subjective). Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:58, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Considering the question "is Jesus God?", no amount of historical scholarship could answer it, since it is not a question amenable to historical research. Its answer can only be believed, it cannot be known. There is a difference between knowledge and belief. So it can never be an objective historical fact that Jesus is God. Stating "Jesus is God" as history amounts to pseudohistory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:42, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Pseudohistory is still pejorative. And historical scholarship is not entirely objective. It certainly can (and does) use techniques from science and similar to science in order to examine whatever physical evidence we have, which it would need to do to be complete or comprehensive. It would be unreasonable to leave that aspect out. But history is more than such deduction. Historical scholarship must weigh all sorts of things like what the people of a different time thought, and said, and wrote, their motivations for doing so, their own understandings and sense of proportion about their own times, and how reliable they might be considered in expressing things in a fair and balanced way especially as regards adversaries. None of that is susceptible to a truly objective inquiry. Scholarship must (and does) go beyond techniques of science. Not everything boils down to "fact". Very much is the result of analysis which, though it may be logical, is also different from fact. For a different analysis may also be fully logical but yield different conclusions. How different? Sometimes just in fine details, sometimes in fundamental evaluations. That's history, and even historical scholarship, and still all publishable by reputable journals.
Religious or theological history may apply different weights and proportions in its analysis, but it need not (and does not) shy away from any of the reputable general historical techniques, scientifically based or not. Calling it pseudohistory denies that it does, denies its honesty, and denies its integrity. Well, some people do claim that. The article can contain those claims, stated neutrally. It is still only a claim, and the use of "pseudohistory" is not neutral and not appropriate. It is the statement of the oppositional claim itself, pejoratively, and not neutrally. The sources may make such statements, but WP must avoid them in order to remain neutral. And that goes for talk pages as well as articles.
If it will help to take this out of a religious framework, would you consider Homer's Odyssey or the Aeneid to be history? I remember a time when the city of Troy was though to be mythological, though later archeological finds have produced much evidence for its actual historical existence. What then do we do with these ancient accounts of wars? Why were they written, and for whom? What literary forms do they represent? They are, of course, nothing like our modern idea of verified, analyzed history. From a different age with different concerns, they are full of imagery that seems superfluous to a modern eye, a heroic, epic nature and account far from any dispassionate newspaper-style report. But do they not convey matters that were of importance to their audience. And if we see a different set of things as being important today, does that eliminate the possibility that they were trying to relate the truth of real events as they saw it? Does that make them unreliable? Well, it is true we cannot absolutely depend on them in order to try to reconstruct a newspaper-style report from them. How far we may go in that direction is a matter of historical judgment, and scholarly opinions will differ. But would it not be a mistake not to take the original materials on their own terms? And if they are not objective, then they just aren't. Objectivity is overrated, not because it is actually less significant than it is, but because it is not all-significant, and it is said to be.
One key point to remember is that objective inquiries have severer limits on what they can accomplish than other techniques do. In many of these matters of Biblical materials, there is insufficient evidence available to draw any factual conclusions. It is a great mistake to say therefore, that religious views are therefore disproved. They are not, and that is a fact. They are not proved, either, and that is a fact. They are not provable, and that is a fact. To say they are "pseudohistorical" is to say they are disproved, and that is a falsehood. And disrespectful. Evensteven (talk) 23:56, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
They are not provable, I agree. That was my point: you cannot claim that an unprovable event would be objectively proven, and to claim that an unprovable event is historically proven amounts to pseudohistory. It does not mean that it is disproved, it only means there is no way to know it and we cannot pretend to know what we cannot know. Pseudohistory claims to know (instead of believe) events which cannot be known (they can only be believed). Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:29, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
We can know what cannot be proved, we just can't prove it; but we can believe it. And pseudohistory is pejorative because it says that only what is provable can be known. As I have pointed out above, repeatedly, we know many things we can't prove. For another example, we "know" that the properties of matter and energy as we have explored and tested them, are consistent throughout the known universe. All the evidence says so. There is no reputable physicist that argues to the contrary. But it is not proven; it is simply the only reasonable hypothesis. To actually prove it, we would have to go to all the places in the known universe, or send probes there and get their reports back. Never going to happen. Neils Bohr knew that science never really proves anything either. He was strongly opposed to drawing any type of absolute conclusions or making absolute statements about anything, preferring to stick simply with the evidence itself. He understood that to formulate a conclusion, one must reason and argue, and that such things are always subject to human error. With the much less concrete issues one is confronted with in history, there is far less absolute certainty about any conclusion, such as "did this happen" or "did it not". Psychological research is strong in this direction also. You are being unreasonably absolute in your statements, and pseudohistory is a term that arose specifically because people want to make unreasonably absolute statements and make them sound like they're supported by ironclad reasoning and science. It's a fallacy. You're intelligent and a reasonable editor, but in this case, I think you are way off. Evensteven (talk) 03:16, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

So this makes history look like a kind of battleground. In other words “you have got my story and I have got mine”. As a matter of actual historical practice, when you read historians, I don’t think this is a bad description of the way they actually work. I don’t know why certain neo-conservatives like William Bennett find this to be relativism, when I see it as a just good description of the way historians actually practise their craft, and its not a simple minded thing like “everyone has an axe to grind”, it’s not like you don’t get surprised even based on your own interpretation and its also not the case that as you work through your interpretation you do not change it radically and change your mind and your prejudices, in fact, when you do that, that’s when you are doing your best work usually. So I don’t see this as outrageous as many other people do.

—Rick Roderick, The Self Under Siege, The Teaching Company
I offered this quote, which I agree with, in order to balance your impression about my statements. I don't think that most historical facts would be ironclad, there is room for differences of opinion among historians, but there are certain rules for getting a history article through peer-review, and one of them is that there has to be objectively assessable evidence for establishing a fact. According to Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, the rub with the Bible lies in the Age of Enlightenment distinction between the historical and the miraculous. Historians, even if they may privately think that miracles are possible, are forced to argue their theses taking heed of this distinction, so the Age of Enlightenment changed historiography for good. There is an old philosophic distinction between knowledge (science) and belief (opinion), and the Age of Enlightenment has relegated the miraculous from the holy books to mere opinion. It has not disproved the miraculous, it just stated that it is not objectively assessable. So now historians justify their claims based upon information which is objectively assessable, like looking at the Bible through the criteria of authenticity, so that their claims be acceptable to the believers of all religions and even to those who don't have a religion. There is the argument that we cannot grant that only Christian miracles would be true, either we accept all miracles from the holy books are true or we don't. If we accept all of them, then all religions are true, but this leads to all sorts of absurdities, since the various religions severely contradict other religions. This is the reason why the Age of Enlightenment has relegated the miraculous to subjective belief instead of objectively assessable; it did not claim that religions are false, it just stated that in matter of religion we agree to disagree. Objective facts are a matter of rational debate and subjective beliefs are exempted from rational criticism, since we don't claim that they are objectively true (i.e. having universal validity). Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:44, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Tgeorgescu. I grant the accuracy of your description of Age of Enlightenment beliefs, still much in favor. I just don't find all of them quite as enlightening as they are sometimes taken to be. Don't mistake; I think science has some extraordinarily powerful tools to support good reasoning, and it has uncovered much knowledge about our physical world. I'm not one to denigrate science as anti-religious; I don't think that is so. But along with the benefits of that age came some unfortunate tendencies as well (is that not always the case in history?). Specifically, the capabilities of human reasoning were raised high; I would say that they have come almost to be worshipped. I think I have less faith in human reason than you do. I find it fragile, sometimes untrustworthy, and needful of confirmation. Have you ever read Richard Feynmann's pair of popular "autobiographical" books? In college, he proved to a group of his fellow classmates, who "understood" elementary calculus perfectly well, a mathematical proposition that was untrue, completely contrary in a direct way to what they already knew. (He was mischievous.) My observation is pretty the same as his: people know or prove anything within limits; our comprehension, based on reason or on faith, is not boundless. Our frailties frequently show themselves. It's one reason I can't get behind this absurdly overstressed notion of objectivity that floats through modern thought. Science, and scientists, are not any more objective than anyone else. What they do par excellence is to observe, and observe closely, and observe in as complete detail as they can conceive to do so. They also verify through repetition/recreation, a technique that can't apply to many things historical. As for reasoning, they practice logic well; a good group will produce an argument that's about as well-constructed as humans can do. But we all have prejudices. Einstein couldn't get his arms around quantum mechanics either. It's not a fault; it's a limit.
At the same time as "reason" became highly touted, "belief" became denigrated. It is so often looked down upon as superficial, prejudicial only, having no reasonable or factual basis, accepted without cause, something people do without thinking. Well, look around you and observe scientifically (if you will). You can find examples of that kind of belief everywhere, surely the poorest kind. You can also find flawed chains of logic all over the place, equally poor examples of reasoning. Like science, historical scholarship attempts to review materials to eliminate the poor examples. It is not reasonable to judge things from their weakest examples, and we must sift.
So it is with beliefs, if we try, but we have now largely forgotten to try. We prejudicially cast belief aside as an intellectually unworthy adjunct. That's unreasonable. There is such a thing as belief and faith that has the full attention and contains the full exercise of all human attributes and techniques, including reason, observation, verification, and more. If it doesn't always follow the techniques initiated in the Age of Enlightenment, that doesn't mean that it is necessarily the weaker for it, for that age has its flaws and weaknesses just like any other. Objectivity? Impossible; we are too prejudiced. The best we can strive for is some degree of impartiality, even-handedness, willingness to take another look and do a good job of verifying. That's good in scholarship, and it's good in belief, and done right it strengthens faith. Some people hate it when I say they have faith in reasoning, because they don't want associations with religion. But not all faith is religious; it can be quasi-religious. And so is faith in objectivity. I recognize and support the efforts of historical scholarship; I just don't give them absolute allegiance. And I still assert that the reason "pseudohistory" is pejorative is that it derives from unreasoned prejudice against belief and faith. That is how it is disrespectful of what that belief and faith really represent, even in the relatively lower and non-religious terms of the human search for truth.
All this is rather philosophical for a talk page, but I have seen it arise repetitively in hotly contested issues from religion to science, and even applied to sports. Consider how many times you have seen disputes and contentions on WP that rest upon editorial claims to irrefutable logic, and tell me that it's not the worst kind of "religious" argument. Then consider the issues you have seen in religious topics resolved by reasoned, supported, and respectful discussion, and tell me that belief and faith are absent the qualities we respect in scholarship. Prejudices sometimes yield to close observation. We depend on that in editing here - it can be a part of what discussion is for. And we should therefore avoid pejoratives lest we arouse prejudicial influence. Evensteven (talk) 18:38, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Full objectivity is unattainable, but this does not mean that scholars should not strive towards objectivity. My point is that proving paranormal phenomena or supernatural causation is not what historians do for earning a living. Otherwise we would have peer-reviewed articles like "Have leprechauns dictated the Book of Isaiah? An alternative theory for the claim that angels have dictated the Book of Isaiah", "Historical proof that Attila the Hun was possessed by evil spirits", "Vespasian's godly status confirmed through archaeological finds" and "The role of elves and fairies in World War II combats". Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:12, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I'm fully with you on that comment. But as I've said repeatedly, the term "pseudohistory" is still unsuitable because it casts all Christian belief into the same mold as the examples of the ridiculous that you give. It is bias and represents POV to be indiscriminate about this matter, and is disrespectful besides. I don't find you introducing POV or bias into articles when you edit, and would like you to withdraw use of this offensive word also on talk pages. Evensteven (talk) 07:12, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Christian belief isn't pseudohistory because it is not science or historical scholarship. People are entitled to subjectively believe whatever they want, that isn't pseudohistory. Pseudohistory is when people present subjective belief as objective fact (i.e. having universal validity, like Jesus is God being valid for Muslims, Hindus and atheists). Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:09, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
"Jesus is God" isn't a scientific discovery and it should not be presented as scientific fact. That's what I mean by pseudohistory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:31, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
I felt sure that what you meant by it was reasonable, and so is your qualification here. Yet the term itself needs such qualification to be used in a reasonable way, because it is also a pejorative that really can mean belittling Christian belief. That is a language usage I have seen employed in just that way, and the nature of language is that words can hold multiple meanings and even more connotations. So my point is then that qualification or some indication is necessary in order to indicate that a denigration is not intended, for otherwise I think your reasonable point can be readily mistaken. Thanks for talking this out with me.
Here's another point that makes this whole thing complicated to talk about. From a Christian point of view (within Christian belief or faith), there really is no "objective fact" in the sense you speak of. It is God Who is absolute, and He whose perspective is unflawed. He is Fact, the measure against what is fact and what is not. To be objective is to be in agreement with Him. To grow is to learn and be guided to come into better agreement with Him. Understand that it is not "religion" that does the guiding, not even the Church (though it can help); the ultimate source must be God, from which the Church and religion must also be guided and informed. "Objective" is another way of saying "revealed". Every human view is subjective: subject to human limitation, human flaw, human finiteness, human frailty. So, if God is God, and Jesus is God, then He is God for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, satanists, and every other person and group. He really does have "universal validity". He is also infinite. There is room for people to be different, because we all have our origin in Him. He relates to us as we are because we are limited, and He knows not only the limitations but the full expanse of humanity. It is how we relate to Him that determines our success in growing and learning in His direction instead of something else. And it is beyond our knowing how God Himself reconciles it all. Christians are told in the Bible that there are many things we do not know, that it is not for us to know, and that some of it will be revealed when it is right. We get ourselves into great and disrespectful troubles when we try to usurp His role and say that we know what we do not know, and that our belief is complete. Our belief is limited because we our limited, as is our understanding, and we all still need to learn that our role is human, in kinship with other humans, not godlike above them. That is an objective fact, and illustrative of how limited our view of objectivity can be. For a non-Christian view? Well, we're almost speaking a different language, for we're not really talking about the same things at all. The Christian would say that the humanly "objective" fact is still subjective, and that the difference between "objective" and "subjective" is a matter of degrees. Evensteven (talk) 19:01, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
I know, I know: most Christians believe that "Jesus is God" is universally true and most Muslims that it is universally false. But they cannot be right at the same time and there is no way to tell who is right. That's why we call their beliefs subjective. In everyday parlance the words "subjective" and "objective" have the meaning defined by Kant. They do not imply godly superpowers. And most Christians also use these words in the meaning defined by Kant. It is when theologians advocate true belief that they get another meaning. Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:21, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
All fair points. We can't depend on everyday parlance exclusively in a religious subject, though, when the other meanings come into play. And our own senses of truth and falsity are limited. Today, they also tend to be always rigid, binary, mathematical, even when talking about the non-mathematical, and that too can produce misleading results. In Christianity, Christ is the Truth, so truths are what they are by being "true to God". You're right that logic won't get us there. And groups are not right about universals; in most things, they're not even agreed among themselves: still variable, still subjective. I don't think Kant was quite on target, but that's ok. I do understand the commonplace definitions. Though being more nebulous than they purport to be, it's not like they don't still have some use. It's good enough to help demarcate some of that hazy region between good and bad scholarship, after all. Evensteven (talk) 21:10, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Authoring Aid[edit]

If anybody wants to tackle this and needs a start, here: the link goes to a college level intro to old testament textbook, with an entire chapter for isaiah. it's supposed to be mainly secular in its examination (maybe my prof lied?) good luck. Dreamer.redeemer 01:46, 9 December 2005 (UTC)


I added those tags because this article is highly disputed from a Jewish POV. It contains mistranslations from the Hebrew. etc. ems 06:46, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

From your addition of identical tags on the Simeon the Righteous, it would seem that your objection focuses on Isaiah 7:14. As the comments on the discussion page for Simeon indicated, it is the Septuagint that made the translation with the word parthenos. But more importantly, the txt on this page indicates already that there is some dispute. Perhaps you'd feel less frustrated(?) with Wiki if you actually attempted to rephrase the text you object to rather than just leave these tags in place. JGF Wilks 16:08, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Until the article is fixed those tags should be there. ems 17:02, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. Angr (talkcontribs) 19:32, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
May I respectfuly note that virtually ALL conversvative Bible Beliving scholarship teaches that ALL of the book of Isaiah was written by the Prophet Isaiah himself... That not one verse was written later by anyone else... The same Liberal scholars who denigrate Isaiah likewise denigrate or late date the prophet Daniel as well likely because they refuse to acknowledge the supernatural inherent in prophecy. Lewisharry (talk) 01:55, 16 February 2014 (UTC) Sources, "Things to come"J Dwight penticaust ...J Vernon McGee commentaries ...IB Baptist seminary... The harmony of ALL scripture Lewisharry (talk) 01:55, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Traditional view is the book has one author. Noted. Ckruschke (talk) 16:12, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke

Photo added[edit]

I've added a photo of the book. I've also uploaded a cropped version to wikicommons available at It might be better, it gives a closer view of the writing- anway feel free to swap the images or resize it or remove it ...or whatever! Hope its of some use. --Trounce 20:10, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


Someone should fix the huge whitespace it the middle of the article. Also, there should be a page about the potential second Isaiah.

Done. I've long been thinking about creating pages for proto and deutero Isaiah, so maybe I will soon. If you would like to, feel free, and I'll jump in with some help. AdamBiswanger1 01:19, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Christian view[edit]

There should be a separate section for Christian views on Isaiah. The way it stands is confusing and gives the misleading impression that there is a strong connection between Isaiah and Christianity. I've added in the Jewish view on deutero Isaiah and I will try to expand.Wolf2191 00:13, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Well, I'm dubious about having a separate section - and if you expand, be really careful about POV issues. It would be inappropriate to see a Christian view as something imposed on the book - Christian interpreters would say it's an integral part of the book. That is, according to the Christian interpretation, Isaiah really is taling about Jesus. StAnselm 00:31, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

After looking it over, I retract. I was a bit too quick to comment. Any further christian additions (e.g. the famous almah) would require a seperate section or it will confuse. Second, I mentioned Ben Sirah and the Dead Sea Scrolls but that may constitue OR. If so, maybe I can add in a citaton needed or something. Thanks Wolf2191 00:55, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Use of term Palestine[edit]

Sorry, I am not a wikipedia regular and I will probably never check back to see what became of this. I was thinking that using the term Palestine and Palestinians is probably not the best way to refer to the countries in this time period. After all the Philistines were just another group of people in the area and the area was named after the Philistines something like 700 years after Isaiah. Personally I wouldn't care what the area is called but because of the politically charged atmosphere I think there are better terms. Thanks, Jon 20:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Second Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah[edit]

The terms "Second Isaiah" and "Deutero-Isaiah" are frequently encountered [2], [3], and as you can see redirect to this article, yet are not mentioned in the article. We should mention these terms in the text of the article, presumably in the section "Authorship". -- 08:58, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

- The term "Deutero-Isaiah" mentioned, but "Second Isaiah" not explicitly mentioned. -- 09:01, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Chapters 24-34 and the messiah[edit]

Chapters 24-34, while too complex to characterize easily, are primarily concerned with prophecies of a "Messiah,"

Really? I've just read them and to be honest I don't see it. There are brief passages that could be interpreted in this way but I don't see any coherent narrative here. Evercat (talk) 01:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

vandalism by omglol101[edit]

On april 13 2008 a user called 'omglol101' added words like 'false', 'incorrect' etc. everywhere in the article claiming that the prophesies made by Isaiah were false. Apart from the fact that no references, citations or clarifications were added, the editing was in my opinion clearly an act of vandalism, because a sentence like 'The remaining chapters of the book contain no prophecies of the future glory of Zion under the rule of a righteous servant (52 & 54).' makes no sense at all. I therefore suggest that the changes made by omglol101 on april 13 be reverted. I'm new to wikipedia editing, so if I should have posted this somewhere else or should have handled this otherwise, please inform me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lindert (talkcontribs) 15:24, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree completely; I'm reverting them. Best not to call them vandalism; we should assume good faith. Tb (talk) 17:09, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

"the restoration of the nation under a divine king"[edit]

The current version of the article's introduction states, "The last 27 chapters, called "The Book of Comfort," prophesy the restoration of the nation under a divine king." I don't know when this became part of the text, but to me it is blatant, wholly unsupported Christian propaganda. The sentence could read much more accurately: "The last 27 chapters, called "The Book of Comfort,' prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel," a sentence that would be supported by ample textual citations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Big Mac (talkcontribs) 11:31, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Someone is angry[edit]

"As indication of the fractious character of analysis of Isaiah authorship, The Transforming Word: One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, published in 2009, asserted that "The book of Isaiah contains materials originating over four centuries" according to John T. Willis of Abilene Christian University;[13] no sooner was the print dry on Willis' statement before he was alleged to have "infidelic bias" by Christian Courier editor Wayne Jackson, fellow member with Willis in the Churches of Christ. In a commentary weighing almost 7 lb, extending to viii + 1127 pages, and containing numerous examples of analytical discussion influenced by contemporary scholarship,[14] Willis' comment on the authorship of the book of Isaiah is the one point which Jackson chose to assay, even summoning to defense of the one-author position Gleason Archer and other fundamentalist commentators not necessarily compatible with either Willis or Jackson on other topics.[15]"

It sounds like Willis wrote this himself and he's not too happy about what happened. (Actually, I think four or so people wrote this, pretending to be Willis.) The language is not encyclopedic. (talk) 21:01, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 21:06, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Number of sections issue in the introduction[edit]

Hello, I had added mention of the theory that there were possibly more than one or two authors of the Book of Isaiah. I'm not good at adding citations in the right format off the top of my head, but I do have references:

Navarre Bible "The Major Prophets" ISBN 1-59417-023-1 p.32 — This source gives an outline of these authorship theories though it favors the traditional single authorship.

The Catholic Study Bible ISBN 978-0-19-528278-8 pp. 280-295 — This source supports having three or more authors.

Harper Collins Study Bible ISBN 978-0-06-122840-7 pp. 912-941 — The introduction in this Bible equivocates between two or more possible authors.

Bible de Jérusalem ISBN 978-2-7289-1294-0 pp. 1474-1476 — This is firmly on the side of three separate authors.

For the record, I don't have a preference between these ideas but I think the Trito-Isaiah hypothesis should be included in the introduction. LovesMacs (talk) 02:32, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

What I removed was not for the idea that it may have had three authors-- but that it has three major sections. If this idea of having three sections was clearly stated in the work I think you would give a particular page to find it on, not just "pages 558-562." Three separate authors does not equle three major sections. Everything I read considers it to have TWO major sections.Carlaude:Talk 00:14, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Isaiah at "J. Alberto Soggin writes: "As has been mentioned several times already, in 1892 B. Duhm suggested in his commentary that Isa. 56-66 should be separated from Deutero-Isaiah. From this time onwards, the independence of Trito-Isaiah from the texts which precede it has been generally accepted, outside conservative theological circles." (Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 335-336) (talk) 00:31, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Carlaude, you raise a fair point. I think there is some confusion between authors and sections, and whether something written by an author or two or more constitutes one or more sections. I had been thinking author=section without even realizing it. I'll read up on it. Thank you for your input. LovesMacs (talk) 01:02, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. If I recall, most authors note the great contrast in subject and tone beween, the first 39 chapters, and last 27 chapters-- even if they consider the last 27 chapters to be from two different time periods. Carlaude:Talk 06:19, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
The number of sections appears to be a matter of disagreement among scholars. The introduction in the Harper Collins Study Bible is unambiguous in referring to three sections:
Scholars normally distinguish between three main sections in the book: chs. 1-39, referred to as First Isaiah and attributed to the eighth-century BCE Judean prophet whose name the book bears; chs. 40-55, referred to as Second Isaiah, or Deutero-Isaiah, and attributed to an unknown prophet who lived in Babylon during the Babylonian exile of the sixth century; and chs. 56-66, referred to as Third Isaiah, or Trito-Isaiah, and attributed to a prophet or prophets who lived in Judah after the return from Babylonian exile in 539 BCE. (Harper Collins Study Bible, p. 912)
The book A Guide to the Bible by Antonio Fuentes ISBN 1-85182-022-1 echoes this division in three parts: "There are 66 chapters in all, and these are usually divided up into three sections. (p. 109)"
The Navarre Bible also says three sections: "For these reasons [I am not typing the preceding paragraphs here] the book of Isaiah can be taken as having three parts, in line with the content and the historical background of each part. (Navarre Bible, p. 30)"
The Catholic Study Bible contradicts itself. The Biblical text is divided into two main sections, chapters 1-39, subtitled "A. The Book of Judgement" and ch. 40-66 "B. The Book of Consolation". The introduction immediately preceding the text also uses this division (p. 930). However, the Reader's Guide at the beginning of the book talks about three parts: "Scholars conventionally refer to the three sections as First, Second, and Third Isaiah, though it is possible that there were actually only two prophets. (p. 280)"
What do you think we should do next? LovesMacs (talk) 09:46, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
From the quote, it seems the Harper Collins Study Bible may just be meaning three sections of authorship, time writen, etc., not three sections of message, tone, etc. The Catholic Study Bible doesn't contradicts itself-- there are three sections (or parts) and two main sections. The last two section are just not main sections.
We can just talk about (when needed) two "main sections" and three "sections" (or better yet "parts") without taking a stand on the issue and without doing a detailed reading of the therotical "scolarly consensus" -- which would be very hard, at best, because this is not likely the type of thing scolars would consider worthy of a full-blown debate. (Is such and such a main section or a main subsection?)
If you do try to document the various opinions on this please leave it in the body of the text, rather than the intro. It could also be put mostly in a footnote. Carlaude:Talk 10:13, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
The Catholic Study Bible does actually distinguish between thematic differences between three parts, in the Reader's Guide discussion, but I think discussion of two main sections is good enough for the purposes of this article. LovesMacs (talk) 01:31, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Ch 29 Verse 12[edit]

can someone talk about Ch 29 Verse 12 of Isaiah which many Muslims assert foretells the Holy Prophet Muhummad (S.A.W.)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:45, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment on Co-opting of Hebrew Scriptures[edit]

I noted that someone above made a remark about someone else being angry. I came to this link looking for just a description of the Servant Songs, ie the beginning and ending verses of each one. Since the chapter breaks and verse numbering is a Christian invention, I was hoping to find this page accurately depicting where, under the current numbering system, the Songs begin and end according to the people who should know, after all this book is canonized in the 24 Hebrew Books - Tanakh.

Although I understand how Wikipedia works, I still was astonished and dismayed to find that this page has been co-opted by Christians creating another theological crime scene in the Tanakh. Angry? No, I guess I should be used to this tactic by now.

It reminds me of the Wikipedia page about the non-existent State of Palestine.

No, I am not Jewish. Despite that, I still resent having uninspired biblical 'scholars' putting the NT messiah into every nook and cranny in the Tanakh. If Christians wish to build a case for their god, perhaps a different book could be found on which to base their religion. Awikifixer (talk) 04:26, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm sorry, are you saying that the Jews have a monopoly on Hebrew scripture? How is it a crime to interpret ancient books according to your own religion? You may not realize it, but Jesus and his early followers were Jews, and Christianity was founded in Israel and perceives itself as a continuation of Judaism. But that is beside the point, because the Hebrew Bible, just like the New Testament, the Quran and other scripture are public domain, free for everyone to criticize, analyse and interpret, whether Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Humanist etc. Lindert (talk) 07:45, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Not Joseph Smith, but Charles Anthon and Martin Harris[edit]

I'm documenting here a little change I made to one line. "Read this, I pray thee / I cannot read a sealed book" is referred to as being understood by Latter-day Saints as referring to Joseph Smith. I explained that members of that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints largely believe this verse to refer to Martin Harris' attempts at getting famous academics to approve of Joseph Smith's translations--in this case, Charles Anthon, who supposedly wrote a letter of authenticity, then feared for his career, tore up the letter, and denied the whole event.--Mrcolj (talk) 14:37, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Eerdmans commentary on the Bible[edit]

Among some other edits that were recently reverted, the following passage was restored:

The original "servant" of Proto-Isaiah was probably Hezekiah in his ritual role as royal High Priest on the Day of Atonement, offering his own blood to heal the land, bringing judgment on his enemies and rescuing his people from the Assyrians.

Although sourced, this statement is highly problematic. First of all, the so-called servant, is afaik not identified anywhere in Proto-Isaiah (this is also not present in the source, the servant songs appear only in Deutero-Isaiah). Secondly, the term 'royal High Priest' is quite anachronistic. Anyone with some knowledge of Jewish tradition and scriptures understands that high priests in the temple were from a single Levite family unrelated to the royal family of David. Thirdly the notion of anyone sacrificing his own blood in any temple ritual is completely foreign to the Tanakh. The author of this part of the bible commentary, Margaret Barker in fact developed an approach called Temple Theology, which is far from mainstream and has a unique interpretation of First Temple worship (her views are incidentally often cited by Mormons). Earlier in the same commentary we read

(...) the most obvious explanation for the individual-then-corporate Servant would be that the original Servant had been the king, the Melchizedek high priest of the First Temple.

Note that Melchizedek lived in a completely different period has no connection to either the Temple, the Levitical priests or the kingdom of Judah/Israel, because none of these existed in the time of Abraham/Melchizedek. I believe that this kind of interpretation is bad for the image of Wikipedia as it is based on flawed and highly speculative theories and has no place in mainstream scholarship. I therefore suggest that we don't use this particular source. Lindert (talk) 11:52, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

I checked the source, and the article in fact tracks it quite closely. Eerdmans is a reliable source (a mainstream source, come to that), and we can't drop it simply because of your personal objections - the editors of Eerdamns obviously don't think Barker's views are flawed or highly speculative. Can you give some evidence to support your criticism? (BTW, the word "servant" was a designation of the king in ancient Judah - he was the servant of Yahweh - hence the source, and the article, are saying that Hezekiah was called "servant" in his role as king, and DI later turned this into Suffering Servant).PiCo (talk) 09:48, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think these are simply my personal objections. Also, I didn't mean not to use anything by Eerdmans, but only this commentary on Isaiah. Anyway, I'm glad that you at least removed the reference to Proto-Isaiah. However, the question then arises, if the "servant" is not identified anywhere in Isaiah (neither Proto-, Deutero- nor Trito-), then what is the relevance of this mention? This section deals solely with Isaiah 53, so the only relevant subject is the identification of the "servant" in (Deutero-)Isaiah. As to the identification of the "servant", I have done some searching in google scholar and google books and have found not a single source (apart from Barker) that calls Hezekiah even a probable or likely candidate for the origin of the "servant". Here are some references I found:
"Who is the Servant? The attempts to answer this question have been so many and varied (...) it would be arrogant to claim finality for any solution. It is easier to find objections to any answer, than to offer one that is adequate."
The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible (1975), The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, by A.S. Herbert, p. 10 link
"Modern scholarship has reached an impasse in regard to the identity of the "Servant of the Lord" in the servant songs in Deutero-Isaiah. The prevalent interpretation at the present time is some sort of "fluid" oscillating or linear concept that takes in Israel, some political, spiritual or ideal portion of Israel and/or some individual either in Israel's past, present or future."
The Servant-City: A New Interpretation of the "Servant of the Lord" in the Servant Songs of Deutero-Isaiah, Leland Edward Wilshire, Journal of Biblical Literature (sept. 1975) link
"No explanation for the identity of the servant of the Lord in the ‘servant songs’ of Isaiah commands a scholarly consensus."
GP Hugenberger - Irish Biblical Studies, 1979 link
For most scholars, however, German-speaking and anglophone alike, the identity of the Servant remains controversial. Blenkinsopp noted in 2000, “Since Christopher R. North surveyed the range of opinion on the identity of the Servant in 1948 (2nd ed., 1956), no significant new options have emerged. While there was then and still is a strong critical preference for an individual rather than a collective interpretation, none of the fifteen individuals named as candidates by one commentator or another and listed by North has survived scrutiny.”
The Servant Songs of Isaiah in the MT and the LXX: A Comparison of Their Portrayals of God, Maillet, Paul et. al., published by The Catholic University of America (Nov. 2010) p. 15 link
Summarizing, it seems that most scholars are much more hesitant than Barker to accept one explanation or the other, and there certainly is no consensus as to the identity of the "servant". If you know of any other independent source that confirms the current reading of the article, I'd like to see it, but as of now, I think this statement must be understood as the personal view of Margaret Barker and does not reflect any concensus. Lindert (talk) 12:28, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
EDIT: This is also, imo supported by the preface of "Eerdmans commentary on the Bible":
The sixty seven contributors include world-class scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith traditions. Their contributions stand out either for their fresh interpretations of the evidence, or for their way of asking new questions of the text, or for their new angles of approach, (...)
Anything that stands out for its 'fresh interpretation of the evidence' or for its 'new angle of approach' can, by definition, not reflect a scholarly consensus at the time it is published. Lindert (talk) 13:33, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
When I look at the section this is in, I see it's about the influence of Isaiah on Christianity. On that basis, we really don't need to worry about who the "servant" originally was - not here, at any rate, although no doubt it's vital for the appropriate section. All we really need here is "The earliest Christians saw the Servant a prophecy of the death and exaltation of Jesus, a role which Jesus himself seems to have accepted (Luke 4:17-21)". That does seem a bit thin, though - maybe the whole section should be re-written without the subdivisions. I leave it to you, since you seem well-read in the subject. (I like the piece from Blenkinsopp, it's a good summary - you might like to include that in the appropriate section on D-I).PiCo (talk) 12:12, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Wiki shall relay on reliable sources, and the Eerdmans commentaries are reliable, quite independently from who wrote the article (anyway M.Barker is a "name". This paper covers M.Barker's ideas [4]). It is also quite probable that the Deutero-Is built the servant-song having in mind something related to Isiah historical age. But, and I fully agree with Pico, what originated the servant-songs don't modify the importance of the later interpretations: as good wikipedians, we shall list all of them.A ntv (talk) 16:48, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
I've had a stab at revising the Influence on Christianity section so that it focuses more on that topic. Quite probably the material on the original meaning of these verses as written by DI needs to be strengthened. Anyone like to help? PiCo (talk) 12:31, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Possibly an easy, non-controversial task for someone who's studied this area and has sources to hand[edit]

Could we have an expansion on the 'early texts' section? I'm interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls version, as to how old it is generally held to be and the language it is in, but also other early versions, such as surviving copies of the Septuagint. I don't know so much about this area, so I'm worried I'd show whatever bias was in the first source I read if I tried myself! (talk) 12:11, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Chapter 40 reference correct?[edit]

Under the Composition section we have:

Anonymity → Isaiah’s name suddenly stops being used after chapter 39.
Style → There is a sudden change in style and theology after chapter 40...
Historical Situation → The historical situation goes through three stages: in chapters 1-39...

Is the reference to chapter 40 correct or should it be chapter 39 as well? If the chapter 40 reference is correct does it mean that there was another Isaiah (number one and a half?) who just wrote chapter 40? Quentin Durward (talk) 09:46, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Inclusion of earliest Jewish and Christian understandings of Isaiah[edit]

Concerning the Book of Isaiah, I believe Josephus and Eusebius are not primary sources, but secondary sources. I believe the authors of the book are the primary sources, but no one is suggesting that Josephus and Eusebius authored any part of Isaiah.

Here's my argument for inclusion:

The Book of Isaiah is an ancient Jewish text. The article should include an overview of the history of the understanding of the text. Josephus is an ancient Jewish writer, and perhaps the only one to have writings which survive on the topic of Isaiah apart from Philo (who really only talks unremarkably about elements of Isaiah other than the ones under consideration here to support his view that renaming things has religious importance [De Mutatione Nominum]). So including Josephus' account helps supply this overview by illustrating how the subject of the article was received in a context closer to that of its authorship, indeed, perhaps the closet for which we have direct textual evidence. Similar considerations apply to Eusebius, with respect to Christianity (as Isaiah is also an important text for Christians, and Eusebius' commentary is "the oldest extant exegetical work on Isaiah" [5]). The inclusion of the history of understanding of the text does nothing to undermine the coverage of the existing scholarly consensus on the text: No one will confuse the under-informed views of ancient scholars with the more developed views of current scholars. Indeed, cited is Hollerich, a current (1999), respected ([6]), mainstream (Oxford University Press) scholar who finds it fit to discuss the ancient understanding.

That "this is not the use for which footnotes are intended - they should simply refer the reader to the source of statements made in the article, so that they can be checked" seems to be contradicted by WP:EXPLNOTE which says that "Another kind of footnote is an explanatory footnote which is a comment that would be too detailed or too awkward to include in the body of the article." This is coherent with their usage in academic publications as well, and are used in a number of articles that currently have Featured Article status, including: [7] and [8] --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 09:58, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Atethnekos for this explanation of your position. For the benefit of other editors, the material we are discussing is this, and it appears as footnote 7 in the section headed Composition:
I have a problem with this, as I raised with Atethnekos on his own personal page. I'll outline those problems:
1. I have a distrust of ancient authors such as Josephus and Eusebius. As Atethnekos says, they are underinformed when compared to modern scholars. I gather, however, that Atethnekos agrees with me on that front and wants to include them because they represent the "reception history" of Isaiah. This is so, and I'll return to this aspect later.
2. This is a very lengthy footnote, and the material it contains would seem more suited to the text of the article - if it's worth saying at all, it's worth putting on the same footing as the rest. As Atethnekos quotes (something I put on his user page), I believe footnotes should be strictly for showing where material is sourced.
Now coming to the paragraph itself: If the intention is to describe the reception history of Isaiah, it doesn't come close to giving a good account. The treatment of Josephus focuses exclusively on his interpretation of the Cyrus prophesy - frankly I can't see that what Josephus has to say is of sufficient importance to merit a mention. The reference to Hollerich/Eusebius tells us nothing about what either of them said. In all,I can't see that this paragraph tells the reader anything of importance about Isaiah. Perhaps there's a use for a treatment of the reception history, but this doesn't do it to my mind. PiCo (talk) 11:07, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Mention of the Cyrus prophecy is important because this is the most fundamental aspect to dating and accounting for the authorship of Isaiah, as the next bit in the article references, citing Milton (2004). Just as Milton takes the Cyrus prophecy as important for explaining why Isaiah's prophecy was not actually written by Isaiah, so does Josephus take it as important to explain how the Cyrus prophecy could have possibly been written, giving a naturalistic account of it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mention of Josephus is important for the reason given above. So I've included two sentences in a footnote concerning the most ancient Jewish source available writing about the most important aspect of the authorship of the subject of the article (an ancient Jewish text). And this aspect is indeed covered by recent, respected, mainstream scholars of the subject of the article, so I'm reflecting the scholarship, which is not in any way fringe.
Concerning footnotes: You say that footnotes should be strictly for showing where material is sourced. But I've already linked to the WP Policy account at WP:EXPLNOTE which contradicts this. And I've supplied evidence that Featured Articles use such footnotes. If the problem is length, there are featured articles which use longer footnotes than the one I have supplied. The one I added is 717 characters as displayed. Footnote a on the Moon article is currently 799 characters as displayed: [9]. Footnote 11 on the Chinese classifier is currently 1075 characters as displayed: [10]. Footnote 112 on the Early life and military career of John McCain article is currently 843 characters as displayed: [11] --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 23:22, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm hoping other people might join the conversation - maybe too close to Christmas? Let's wait a bit. PiCo (talk) 07:19, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Problems with recent edits[edit]

An anon isp editor has made an edit which I reverted; he then re-reverted, and I reverted again. To avoid an edit war, I'm explaining the problems with the edit here.

The original text of the article is this:

Tradition ascribes authorship of the book to Isaiah son of Amoz, but now scholars widely agree that the book is the work of three different authors - few scholars deny this view, and those that do, do so for theological reasons. REF Stromberg, J., An Introduction to the Study of Isaiah (Continuum International Publishing, 2011), p. 2.END REF The first, termed Proto-Isaiah (chapters 1–39), contains the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet with 7th-century BCE expansions; the second, Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40–55), is the work of a 6th-century BCE author writing near the end of the Babylonian captivity; and the third, the poetic Trito-Isaiah (chapters 56–66), was composed in Jerusalem shortly after the return from exile, probably by multiple authors.REF May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977. and Williamson (1994), pp. 1–3] and Lemche (2008), p.96 and Kugel | first = James L. | authorlink = James Kugel | title = How To Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now | publisher = Free Press | year = 2008 | location = New York, NY | chapter = chapter 30: The Book of Isaiah(s) | pages = 538–568 | isbn = 978-0-7432-3587-7 END REF Rp|pp. 558–562 (I have no idea what that "Rp|pp. 558–562" is for).

The new edit was:

Tradition ascribes authorship of the book to Isaiah son of Amoz, but now scholars widely agree that the book is a composite of numerous authors, redactors, and editors, though three main sections exist. Most Evangelical scholars deny this view, arguing that the evidence against a single author or editor is not compelling and often rests on outmoded modernist presuppositions. <ref>Schultz, Richard L. “Isaiah, Isaiahs, and Current Scholarship” in J.K. Hoffmeier and D.R. Magary, eds., Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 243–61.</ref><ref>Schultz, Richard L. “How many ‘Isaiahs’ Were there and what Does it Matter? Prophetic Inspiration in Recent Evangelical Scholarship” in V. Bacote, L. Miguelez, and D. Okholm, eds. Scripture in the Evangelical Tradition: Tradition, Authority, and Hermeneutics (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004) 150-70.</ref><ref>Schultz, Richard L. “How Many Isaiahs Were There?” Areopagus Journal 12/2 (April, 2012).</ref><ref>Oswalt, John N. The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1–39. NICOT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.</ref><ref>Oswalt, John N. The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40–66. NICOT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.</ref><ref>Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.</ref> In fact, even among scholars who do not hold to single-authorship, there is a growing consensus that the book exhibits remarkable unity, often ascribed to a careful editor of the complete book.<ref>Tomasino, Anthony J. “Isaiah 1:1–2:4 and 63–66, and the Composition of the Isaianic Corpus,” JSOT 57 (1993): 81–98.</ref><ref>Clements, R. E. “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah,” Int 36 (1982): 117–29.</ref><ref>Clifford, Richard J. “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language” CBQ 55 (1993): 1–17.</ref><ref>Carr, David M. “Reaching for Unity in Isaiah,” JSOT 57 (1993): 61–80.</ref><ref>Carr, David M. “Reading Isaiah from Beginning (Isaiah 1) to End (Isaiah 65–66): Multiple Modern Possibilities,” in New Visions of Isaiah, ed. Roy F. Melugin and Marvin A. Sweeney, JSOTSup 214 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 188–218.</ref><ref>Webb, Barry. The Message of Isaiah: On Eagles’ Wings, BST (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996), 33–37.</ref><ref>Webb, Barry. “Zion in Transformation: A Literary Approach to Isaiah,” in The Bible in Three Dimensions, ed. David J. A. Clines, Stephen E. Fowl, and Stanley E. Porter, JSOTSup 87 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1990), 65.</ref><ref>Stromberg, J., ''An Introduction to the Study of Isaiah'' (Continuum International Publishing, 2011), p. 2.</ref> The first section, termed Proto-Isaiah... (The remainder of the original text hasn't been changed).

There are several problems with the newer version, but the first is that it doesn't actually add anything new to the article.

  • The first line has been changed from "...scholars widely agree that the book is the work of three different authors..." to "...scholars widely agree that the book is a composite of numerous authors, redactors, and editors, though three main sections exist." This is more nuanced, but we're dealing here with the lead - this level of detail belongs in the body of the article.
  • A new sentence has been added, "Most Evangelical scholars deny this view, arguing that the evidence against a single author or editor is not compelling and often rests on outmoded modernist presuppositions." Maybe they do, but (a) no source is given, and (b), even if they do, it doesn't change the fact, which is sourced, that scholars widely agree that three major authors were involved and that the evangelicals are motivated by theological concerns rather than scholarly ones. (There's an amusing confirmation of this in one of the sources the anon editor has added, Richard Schultz's "How many ‘Isaiahs’ Were there and what Does it Matter?", where he complains on the first page that evangelical scholars who use a critical approach to Isaiah " have undermined their theological foundation" and represent a threat to biblical inerrancy).
  • This new sentence has also been added: "In fact, even among scholars who do not hold to single-authorship, there is a growing consensus that the book exhibits remarkable unity, often ascribed to a careful editor of the complete book." This is true, but there's a big difference between a final editor and an original author (or rather, succession of three or more major authors) - in other words, the essence of this sentence is accurate, the book does indeed show editorial unity, but this doesn't contradict the mainstream scholarly understanding that it had multiple authors. (Multiple editors, too, for that matter).
  • Finally, there are too many books cited (clogs the text of the article), and they don't relate correctly to the sentences they're attached to. When you reference a point, do it by getting just ONE source, and preferably a single sentence or paragraph from that source, and give a very specific page reference, not a range of fifty or so pages.

So to conclude, the new edit isn't entirely off-beam, but it needs two things to stay: (a) reduce the number of sources, and make the references concise; and (b), don't confuse editors and authors. PiCo (talk) 02:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

I oppose the anon ip editor edit and I support the return to the original wording (three main authors). The issue is not who collect the larger number of references, but to refer to the more solid and well-known scholars. Nowadays among the scholars, the single author theory is a fringe theory, even if it may be popular among some evangelicals. A ntv (talk) 07:40, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Authorship, 2013[edit]

Moving this thread from where it was, an addition to a thread from about 2006 - PLEASE start new threads for new discussions, otherwise interested editors simply won't see them) PiCo (talk) 04:07, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Most Christians and Bible-believers totally reject the concept of multiple authors for the book. The whole concept is based on pure speculation on the part of these "scholars." (talk) 13:36, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

I have updated the introduction concerning views on the authorship of Isaiah. Previously the intro said that only a "few" scholars accept single authorship and do so for "theological reasons." Concerning the first claim, it is true that if one considers the academy as a whole, those who defend single authorship are numerically small. However, the differences break down clearly along ideological lines (Evangelical vs. secular or liberal). Thus, I edited to note most evangelicals support single authorship (with a cross-reference to the page for evangelicalism). Concerning the second claim, this is biased and disparages the numerous arguments put forth by those who accept single-authorship. Furthermore, it implies that there aren't theological reasons for rejecting single-authorship. Such biased claims do not belong in a Wikipedia article. I also edited the claim that most scholars believe in "three" authors. This is not true. There is no-one who believe there were three authors (Goldingay's lay-level commentary notwithstanding, since he only identifies three authors for simplicity's sake). Rather, most scholars believe that Isaiah is a composite of many authors, redactors, and editors. Those who disagree believe in only one author. Finally, I also note that the the shift in the last decade or so in Isaiah studies in the academy is to emphasize the unity of Isaiah. This was largely pioneered by Roy F. Melugin in the Book of Isaiah study section of the yearly national SBL conference. Melugin was hardly a believer in single-authorship nor have been most scholars who have followed him. Nonetheless, with the emphasis on postmodern intertextuality, and synchronic as opposed to diachronic interpretation, the academy has started shifting towards a recognition of the unity of Isaiah, usually construed as unity by means of a final editor, or unity discovered by the reader (but unity nonetheless). All of my changes are well sourced by respectable academic sources published in respectable academic journals and publishers. Xj5115 (talk) 20:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
If by "outmoded modernist presuppositions" you mean methodological naturalism, it is not outmoded, it is a cornerstone of how science actually works. History is an empirical science and empirical sciences have no access to God or the supernatural. Otherwise we would have historical studies arguing that Vespasian was truly godly, as any dead Roman emperor, or that Attila the Hun was possessed by evil spirits. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
And it would be like using Julius Caesar's astrological chart as historical evidence of crossing the Rubicon. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:48, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
You are missing the point. The phrase you quote is in a summary of other scholars' arguments. When summarizing the view of a sub-group we are not supposed to render our opinion on whether their arguments are valid. Nor do we decide whether to include their views on the basis of whether their views are consistent with wikipedia editorial policy. If a substantial minority of scholars argued that Julius Caesar's astrological chart ought to be considered historical evidence, it would be incumbent upon wikipedia to report that in the relevant article. An absurd example, but I hope it illustrates how you are missing the point. Furthermore, as for the scholars' argument itself, they are not arguing against "methodological naturalism" or history as an "empirical science." In fact, many evangelicals offer mounds of evidence (convincing or otherwise) for their views (including single authorship of Isaiah) that adhere to methodological naturalism and empirical science. See Kenneth Kitchen's On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 2003) for the most significant example. Rather, by "outmoded modernist presuppositions," evangelicals typically refer to practices and assumptions of source critics that are even now recognized as obsolete by secular scholars. For instance, the assumptions held by former adherents of the documentary hypothesis are now rejected, leading to Neo-Documentary Hypothesis proponents (e.g., Jeffery Stackert at University of Chicago) that rely less on such outdated methods and assumptions. Xj5115 (talk) 02:04, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
In other words, nothing I wrote was intentionally biased. Rather, it was intended to remove bias and to update the article to reflect the true situation in the academy. Xj5115 (talk) 02:04, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

I removed the confusing "outmoded modernist presuppositions" and moved my previous edits to the composition section. Contra PiCo, hardly anything of what I wrote was anywhere else in the article, so my additions were relevant and needed. However, I did heed his comment that it was unnecessary and too large for the introduction. Consequently, I made very minor edits to the introduction (removed the biased claim by Stromberg, clarified what scholars actually believe—no-one believes in three authors—, and noted that a "minority" hold to Isaianic authorship, which is fleshed out in my additions to the composition section. All of my changes were needed, relevant, free from bias, and well sourced. Please contact me if you have a disagreement, or, per wikipedia policy, consider making revisions to my revisions, where you think it necessary, instead of simply undoing my edits. Xj5115 (talk) 02:33, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

@ Xj5115, I apologise for not noticing this thread until this morning - as I say in the italicised note at the top, it's best to start new threads for new discussions, even on old topics that have been discussed before, since people normally look at the bottom of these Talk pages for new material.
You say that the Stromberg material is biased, but I disagree - it seems to me to be a simple statement of fact, as those who hold to Isaianic authorship do so because they also hold to biblical inerrancy and the reality of divine prophesy.
You're right about the three-authors view is outdated, and I think you're arguing that the article treats the book as three separate books and totally ignores it as a unity, which is a valid point. If you give us some revisions aimed at overcoming that I'd support you.
A note on using sources: Don't oversource (one source to support one point is quite enough); make them precise (give as narrow a range of pages as possible); try to find sources that state clearly that they're expressing generally held views (not advancing a thesis, which is what monographs normally do - but we're not writing a monograph and not advancing any thesis, just informing the general reader). PiCo (talk) 04:18, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
@Pico, sorry for not starting a new thread. I should have done so. Also, I intended to put a note to check the talk page on my last revisions, but I forgot and clicked "submit" by mistake. That was my error and I couldn't figure out how to remedy it.
I do maintain that the Stromberg comment is biased for two reasons. First, evangelical scholars have put forth numerous arguments and evidence that isn't dependent on one particular view of scripture. Kitchen's On the Reliability of the Old Testament is a mammoth tome of modernist historiography that seeks to make his cases (one of which being that believing in a single author of Isaiah) with entirely naturalistic and empirical evidence. Many other scholars have likewise put forth arguments of a non-theological nature that need to be respected and not dismissed as merely garnish on an otherwise exclusively theological belief, which is what Stromberg's quote suggests. In fact, much of the evidence that has been cited by evangelical scholars in favor of single-authorship is now being picked up by critical scholars in favor of its unity (usually editorial). This suggests that the evidence is not inherently of a theological nature but can be employed by people of differing theological persuasions. Perhaps it is possible that the motive for defending a single author view is theological, but the Stromberg quote is incendiary and doesn't acknowledge the lengths evangelical scholars have gone to address the critical scholars on their own ground.
Second, the Stromberg quote is biased because it implies that there aren't theological reasons why people reject single authorship. An evangelical, if he wanted to be dismissive and snarky like Stromberg, could argue that scholars reject single authorship because they don't want to acknowledge that YHWH is a true god who controls and predicts history (the point of the Cyrus prophecy in Isaiah). I don't say that and neither do the evangelical scholars whom I cite. However, that is just as much a legitimate claim as the Stromberg claim. No-one gets anywhere with arguments like that, and such implication of motives is inappropriate for a wikipedia article. We deal with the facts and arguments. The Stromberg clause must go.
Concerning the unity of the book, several of the edits I put in place where directed toward that very end. In fact, at least half of them were. I will reinstate them with only one or two of the best sources. Xj5115 (talk) 23:39, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Please see the new thread below. PiCo (talk) 05:10, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Rewrite desirable?[edit]

Following the discussions with user Xj5115, I'd like to propose a rewrite of the article. This is because I think Xj5115 is right about the way the article seems to suggest that Isaiah is three separate books laid end to end. I don't think any modern scholar would support that view.

There's an informal standard layout followed for many of the Old Testament books - it's not formalised and not obligatory, but it's used in about half the books and most of the major ones - at Book of Genesis, for example. It has four major section-headers: Structure, Summary, Composition, Themes. Within those there's not really any set sub-headings. Structure deals with the way the book itself is structured, and is always taken from one or two important biblical commentaries (they usually tell you whether there's a recognised structure, and what it is). Summary is simply a summary of the contents, also taken from a major commentary if possible. Composition deals with how when where and why the book was composed, and by whom, mentioning traditional authorship in a single line or clause. (This is an encyclopedia, and readers sometimes like to know this information - we aren't endorsing anything, just informing). Themes is essentially everything else - what the book's about, essentially. Thois is the most important part of the article, usually, because far too many wiki-editors are preoccupied with authorship and forget that the books of the bible are all actually about something.

This article at present has three major sections (as opposed to sub-sections) on the three main parts. I think this skews the whole article - that sort of thing should be divided between the standard sections, Composition and Themes in particular.

The section on Influence on Christianity can probably stay, but could easily be longer (Isaiah is quoted in the NT more often than any other OT book, and seems to have been very important to Jesus himself, so far as anyone can tell); the little piece about JW can also stay, but should be rolled into the Christianity section (I just don't like very short sections in articles).

And finally: I don't want to do this myself, I have other things to do with my time. If someone else would like to have a go I'll watch and comment, but not much more. PiCo (talk) 05:28, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

I fully support all of these changes. Isaiah is a book rich with wonderful themes (e.g., messianism, kingship, servanthood, God as creator, second Exodus, new creation, international politics, etc.). Concerning structure, it will be difficult to narrow it down to one or two proposals since there are so many on the market. A section on Isaiah in the NT is an excellent suggestion (I think Psalms is the book most quoted, followed by Isaiah, and then Deuteronomy).
As for composition, it is necessary that some discussion of the three divisions remain, but modern scholarship has moved to 1) challenge whether Deutero and Trito Isaiah are really distinct sections, and 2) emphasize the unity of the book. Thus, these two facts (especially no. 2) need to comprise a much greater proportion of the content.
I also don't have a lot of spare time. I will do what I can, but someone else will probably need to do the bulk of the revisions. Xj5115 (talk) 15:23, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I've restructured the article by moving material around - which has thrown up the areas that need extra work, mostly the Themes section. I really don't feel like doing this, but if anyone else likes to take it up, you're most welcome. The Brevard Child book is a useful place to start. PiCo (talk) 04:34, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Rewrote the article[edit]

Following the previous discussion, I've rewritten the article using (mostly) the most recent sources I could find. Others might like to comment and make direct edits if I've gotten anything wrong or left material out or given undue weight anywhere or misused my sources. PiCo (talk) 04:59, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

To my mind there is some redundancy in the article's lead and later sub-sections Structure etc. Maybe the lead could be shortened using a briefer summary. Jonpatterns (talk) 10:51, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Misleading conclusions[edit]

Someone wrote that there is ample evidence to suggest that isaiah was composed during the babylonian captivity and cites footnote 3, page 79 of Sweeney 1998. I looked that page up and no where is that conclusion suggested by what is written there. That page only talks about breaking down the text into different narrative divisions, with no such conclusion being drawn from that fact. That comment should be removed until properly sourced, and then the evidence should be plainly stated for the reader. If the only evidence you have for concluding that isaiah was written during the babylonian captivity is the fact that it is mentioned prophetically then you must plainly state that for the reader to draw their own conclusions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

The first sentence of the second para of the lead says that, but it cites Sweeney page 76, not page 79, and doesn't mention a footnote. I checked page 76 and that is what it says. Is there another mention somewhere else? (talk) 02:09, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Era-style consensus[edit]

The article is inconsistent in era-style. A consensus is necessary whether it be BC/AD or BCE/CE. -- JudeccaXIII (talk) 02:44, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm a firm believer that out of respect for Jewish readers, all articles on Hebrew Bible topics should be BCE/CE format. Aristophanes68 (talk) 03:29, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Aristophanes68. Debresser (talk) 16:28, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The book is clearly in the Christian canon as well as the Hebrew. BCE/CE can be seen as a denial of what BC/AD implies as much as the other way around. The question revolves around who takes offense to what. Personally, I would not insist on either, because I would argue that it is best not to take offense. I do not see a need for a consensus, nor for consistency. I do see a need for objecting to meaningless controversies like this that do nothing but raise the possibility that editors will begin to fight. I wonder to think that any Christian, or any Jew, would take this seriously. Of course we would disagree about whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. But dating labels cannot settle that matter, and squabbling diminishes all. Yet significantly, I do not see Christians and Jews arguing. For whom then is this an issue? Evensteven (talk) 17:12, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Users Aristophanes68 and Debresser and somewhat even with Evensteven. No need to rock the boat. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 23:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The article was extensively re-written about a year ago, at which point it was BCE out of respect for the Jewish origins of the book. Any inconsistencies must have come in after then. PiCo (talk) 01:09, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with PiCo. BCE is more appropriate for Hebrew Bible articles, as well as being in keeping with scholarly usage. --Rbreen (talk) 20:49, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Can't agree with Evensteven. It's not about offense, it's about respect. Argument is only bad when it becomes circular. If we can't argue, we can't reach any meaningful consensus. On the other hand, consistency good. I think it's all BCE now. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:32, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Can't agree with Fiddlersmouth. Argument is generally unconstructive, unless it can be prevented from being argumentative. What we want to do to achieve consensus is to discuss, which is definitely about respect. BC vs BCE could not help but be circular. But I am very glad to see a consensus forming without a meaningless battle. Evensteven (talk) 00:01, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
I support BCE/CE for educational purposes. I am Christian, and I do not believe selecting BCE/CE is offensive. In fact, (WP:ERAS) actually favors Christianity by allowing Anno Domini to be placed in articles not based on Christianity or Christian texts. BCE/CE is just used for scholarly purposes and arguments but not actually representing religious groups. Only BC/AD represents one religious sect. -- JudeccaXIII (talk) 02:37, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
As a Christian, I support BCE/CE for practical reasons, so as not to offend, though I would say the same if BC/AD were practical. Neither do I find either offensive. But I think there are others who disagree. Of the offended, however, I expect that relatively few Christians or Jews are among their number, and that the issue is inflated from the outside, and again by relatively few. It has nevertheless become commonplace to accept the idea that use of BCE/CE is for the sake of respecting Jews. I think that represents a bit of back-handed disrespect for them, a way of saying they are not big enough to recognize BC/AD contains no intended slight, and I have much more confidence in the Jews that I have known than to countenance that. Neither does WP:ERAS favor Christianity; it simply recognizes the context in which BC/AD arose and was used for so long as a commonplace. Yet if anyone takes a different view, I yield and wish them well, for it is a small thing for me to do so. But fighting about small issues for which there is no answer? The fighting I will ever oppose. And I regard this discussion as a blessing in that no fight has arisen, for I have witnessed fights on WP about matters even smaller. Evensteven (talk) 06:38, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
@Evensteven...Please remain civil as your sarcastic response is a bit unnerving for the stability of this discussion. -- JudeccaXIII (talk) 17:53, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
Sarcastic? Evensteven (talk) 17:57, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

So,as far as I can tell, everyone here supports using BCE/CE? Editor2020 17:02, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

That's how I read it. Evensteven (talk) 17:54, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
Ditto. Aristophanes68 (talk) 23:48, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Internal Inconsistencies[edit]

There are a few internal inconsistencies within the Isaiah article. First, the supposed division between Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah is alternatively stated as 40-55/56-66 (in the Introduction and "Structure"), and 40-54/55-66 in "Summary," and implied in "Authorship"). My understanding is that the latter division is the preferred, but perhaps there are different camps on that. Bottom line is that there should be consistency within the article, with minority/majority positions noted if appropriate.

Second, I understand from previous posts that the article has been at least partially rewritten, with an implicit preference given for the "current research" dividing the book between 1-33/34-66, rather than Proto/Deutero/Trito-Isaiah. However, in that context, statements such as "Deutero-Isaiah addresses himself to the Jews in exile," "Deutero-Isaiah's predictions of the imminent fall of Babylon ... dates his prophecies to 550-539 BCE," and "Proto-Isaiah speaks of Israel's desertion of God and what will follow," are in conflict with those portions of the article that implicitly reject the tripartite division. Perhaps we should simply cite to the chapter/verse at issue, rather than the disputed shorthand of Proto-Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah, etc.

Perhaps a more fundamental issue is that the emphasis on the "newer approach" of 1-33/34-66 appears to be built on a slender reed, with almost exclusive reliance on Sweeney, 1998. Citation to a single source does not seem to justify the inference that the "newer approach" has supplanted the tripartite division. Either Sweeney should be supplemented with several additional sources, or the article should be revised in a way that no preference is given among the scholarly theories.

Finally, the "Structure" and "Summary" sections exhibit too much overlap. Much of what is now in "Summary" really needs to be merged into "Structure." Unlike the structure, the summary should not substantially vary based on whether we are following the "newer approach," the "tripartite" division, or a unitary approach. Summary should focus on what the book is about, regardless of where various scholars divide it up.

BenEsq (talk) 18:53, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Go ahead and edit it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

I will attempt to do so, time permitting, and I want to thank Evensteven for monitoring and reversing apparent vandalism to a few of my sourced edits from last week.

BenEsq (talk) 21:51, 6 November 2014 (UTC)