For the Comfort of Zion

The Geographical and Theological Location of Isaiah 40-55

Series:

This monograph seeks to determine the geographical provenance of Isaiah 40-55. It reassesses past research pertaining to Babylonian influence and reexamines the claims that all or parts of Isaiah 40-55 reflect the concerns of the exilic community in Babylon. It further challenges the prevalent view that the return of the exiles is of central concern in Isaiah 40-55, and instead proposes that Jerusalem and her imminent restoration is its focal point. It interprets Isaiah 40-55 as a polyvalent text that allows multiple and often contradictory views regarding Jerusalem’s current suffering. The monograph investigates these views, understood to represent the opinons of different segments of the target audience of Isaiah 40-55, with the aim of determining their geographical and theological locations.
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Biographical Note

Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, D.Phil. (2002) in Hebrew Bible, University of Oxford, is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at the University of Aberdeen, UK. She has published on the prophetic literature including Priestly Rites and Prophetic Rage (2006).

Review Quotes

“In this book, by means of extensive and detailed (often word by word) exegesis of the text, including discussion of semantics and textual variants, Tiemeyer presents a carefully constructed and clearly stated case for a Judahite provenance for Isaiah 40-55. Her conclusion has wide repercussions for future Isaiah studies, as Tiemeyer herself notes in her concluding remarks.”
Hilary Marlow, Cambridge


"Tiemeyer's examination is extremely detailed and thoroughly engaging. She treats the evidence in a judicious and fair manner, and remains flexible enough in the evaluation of details to allow for variations in interpretation. Her proposal and analysis of the source material significantly challenge scholarly assumptions regarding the social and geographic location of the author/s of Isaiah 40–55. [...] The overall impact of Tiemeyer's discussion forces the reader to ask serious questions not only regarding the assumptions one brings to the formation of the book of Isaiah but, indeed, to other texts often dated axiomatically to this-or-that period. For this reason and others, future research into Isaiah 40–55 (and other texts from the exilic or early Persian period) will need to reckon with Tiemeyer's substantial contribution to the ongoing conversation."
Mark Leuchter, Temple University

Table of contents

Preface
Table of Contents
Abbreviations
Preliminary Matters

Introduction
1. History of Research
2. Layout of the Monograph
3. Terminology

Chapter 1: Authorship, Dating, Redactional Development and Final Form
Introduction
1. Authorship of Isaiah 40-55
1.1. A prophetic individual or a group of prophets?
1.2. A female author of Isaiah 40-55?
1.3. A temple-singer author of Isaiah 40-55?
1.4. Summary
2. Geography and Date
3. The Final Form of Isaiah 40-55: A Rhetorical Unity
4. The Final Form of Isaiah 40-55: A Reading Drama
5. Conclusion

Chapter 2: Life in Judah and Babylon in the Sixth Century BC
Introduction
1. Life in Judah during the Exile: The Biblical Accounts
2. Life in Judah: The Archaeological and Sociological Evidence
3. The Literary Ability of the People of Judah
4. Life in Babylon: The Textual Evidence
5. Life in Babylon: The Archaeological Evidence
6. Conclusion

Chapter 3: Isaiah 40-55 and Babylonian Influence
Introduction
1. Methods in Comparative Studies
2. Neo-Babylonian Imperialism
3. Akkadian Influence in Isaiah 40-55: Loanwords and Literary Style
3.1. Loanwords
3.2. Akkadian influence over the language of Isaiah 40-55
3.3. Isaiah 44:28-45:8 and the Cyrus Cylinder
3.4. The “self predication” formula
3.5. The trial speeches
3.6. Excursion: The quality of the Hebrew language of Isaiah 40-55
3.7. Akkadian Influence – Conclusion
4. Specific Texts in Isaiah 40-55
4.1. The so-called Idol-Fabrication Passages
4.2. Babylon in Isaiah 40-55
4.3. Enûma Elîš and YHWH’s incomparability
5. Couleur Locale (Isaiah 44:27; 45:1-3)
6. Conclusion

Chapter 4: A Judahite Perspective in Isaiah 40-55
Introduction
1. Passages that Betray a Judahite Point of Reference
1.1. Isaiah 41:8-10
1.2. Isaiah 41:25
1.3. Isaiah 43:1-7
1.4. Isaiah 43:14
1.5. Isaiah 45:13
1.6. Isaiah 46:11
1.7. Isaiah 49:12
1.8. Isaiah 49:17
1.9. Isaiah 52:11
1.10. Conclusion
2. Temple and Sacrifices
2.1. Isaiah 40:16
2.2. Isaiah 43:23-24, 28
2.3. Conclusion
3. Conclusion

Chapter 5: The Exodus Motif and the Journey through the Wilderness Motif
Introduction
1. History of Interpretation: The Centrality of the Exodus Theme
2. History of Interpretation: The Peripheral Character of the Exodus Theme
3. Exegesis of the Passages said to contain References to a Second Exodus
3.1. Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11
3.2. Isaiah 41:17-20
3.3. Isaiah 42:10-16
3.4. Isaiah 43:2
3.5. Isaiah 43:16-21
3.6. Isaiah 48:20-21
3.7. Isaiah 49:7, 8-12
3.8. Isaiah 49:24-26
3.9. Isaiah 50:2-3
3.10. Isaiah 51:9-16
3.11. Isaiah 52:4-6
3.12. Isaiah 52:10-12
3.13. Isaiah 55:12-13
4. Conclusion

Chapter 6: Isaiah 40-55 as a Judahite Reading Drama: Preliminary Issues
Introduction
1. Personification and Historical Reality
2. Metaphors and Geographic Setting
3. Geography and Theology
4. Outline of Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7: Jacob-Israel in Isaiah 40-55
Introduction
1. Isaiah 40:27
2. Isaiah 41:8-16
3. Isaiah 42:18-25
4. Isaiah 43:1-7
5. Isaiah 43:22-28
6. Isaiah 44:1-5
7. Isaiah 44:21-23
8. Isaiah 45:4
9. Isaiah 45:14-19
10. Isaiah 45:25
11. Isaiah 46
12. Isaiah 48
13. Isaiah 49:1-6
14. YHWH, the God of Israel-Jacob (Isaiah 44:6; 45:15; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 49:26; 52:12; 55:5)
15. Conclusion

Chapter 8: Zion-Jerusalem in Isaiah 40-55
Introduction
1. History of Research
1.1. Zion-Jerusalem in Isaiah 40-55: physical city or symbol?
1.2. Zion, a symbol of the exilic community?
1.3. Zion-Jerusalem, a symbol of the post-exilic Judahite community of returned exiles?
1.4. Conclusion
2. Exegetical Overview
2.1. Zion-Jerusalem as God’s people – Isaiah 40:1-2; 51:16, 22; 52:9
2.2. Zion-Jerusalem as the recipient of comfort – Isaiah 51:3; 51:19; 54:11-17
2.3. Zion-Jerusalem and the herald – Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7-9; 44:26, 28
2.4. Personified Zion-Jerusalem – Isaiah 49:14-26; 50:1; 51:17-52:3; 54:1-10
3. The Judahite Timbre of Zion’s Voice
4. Conclusion

Chapter 9: God, the Prophet and the Servant – Competing Judahite Perspectives
Introduction
1. The Servant
1.1. The Servant and Zion-Jerusalem
1.2. Geographical Information in the Servant songs
1.3. The theology expressed by the Servant within Isaiah 40-55
1.4. The Portrayal of the Servant and the גבר of Lamentations 3
2. The Prophetic Persona
3. The Theology of God’s Voice in Isaiah 40-55 and Ezekiel
5. Conclusion
6. Excursus: Did Ezekiel and Isaiah 40-55 influence each other?

Chapter 10: Isaiah 40:1-11 – The Prologue of Isaiah 40-55
Introduction
1. Isaiah 40:1-11 – A Prologue
2. Isaiah 40:1-11 – A Literary unit
3. Allusions in Isaiah 40:1-11 to the Rest of Isaiah 40-55
3.1. Isaiah 40:1-11 – A conglomeration of themes from Isaiah 40-55
3.2. A Corresponding epilogue to Isaiah 40:1
3.3. Conclusion
4. Exegetical Consequences
5. Conclusion

Chapter 11: Isaiah 40-55 and Lamentations
Introduction
1. Inner-Biblical Textual Allusions
2. Allusions in Isaiah 40-55 to Lamentations: History of Research
3. Reading the Allusions to Lamentations through Judahite Eyes
3.1 Comfort My people – Isaiah 40:1; 49:13 and 51:12.
3.2. Forsaken and Childless to Remembered and Mother – Isaiah 49:14-26
3.3. Jerusalem’s starving and dying children – Isaiah 51:17-23
3.4. The return of the exiles
4. Conclusion

Concluding Remarks
Bibliography
Source Index
Author Index
Subject Index

Readership

All those interested in the historical and theological development of Isaiah 40-55, and the social situation and theology expressed by the community in Judah in the sixth century BC.

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