“The Wealth of Nations Shall Come to You”: Light, Tribute, and Implacement in Isaiah 60

In: Vetus Testamentum
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I draw on spatial theory, and particularly Edward Casey’s concept of “implacement,” to investigate the rhetoric of Isaiah 60. Implacement means being concretely placed. I argue that Isaiah 60 uses the motifs of light and tribute to “implace” Jerusalem for its audience. It uses these motifs to acknowledge Jerusalem’s degraded state in the early fifth century and to imagine the means by which the city’s restoration will occur. Drawing on Wells’ work on inner-Isaianic allusion and Strawn’s argument that Isa 60 incorporates and subverts Persian iconography, I argue that, in Isa 60, the motif of light implaces Jerusalem by marking it out as the cosmic center and by drawing the nations to the city. The motif of tribute, meanwhile, actually transfers the implacedness of the nations to Jerusalem. The rhetoric of the text encourages its audience to re-imagine the Jerusalem of their experience in its restored and glorified future state.

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