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ISAIAH, ASCENSION OF

mach as that of Bernhard Duhm, a fascinating commentary published in ISQ2. See also Cheyne, Jewish Quarterly Review, July and October 1891; Introd. to Book of Isaiah (1895), which also point forward, like Stades Geschichte in Germany, to a bolder criticism of Isaiah. IV. N on—I saianic Elements in Chaps. i.-xxxix.-We have said nothing hitherto, except by way of allusion, of the 'disputed prophecies scattered up and down the first half of the book of Isaiah. There is only one of these prophecies which may, with any degree of apparent plausibility, be referred to the age of Isaiah, and that is chaps. xxiv.-xxvii. The grounds are (1) that according to xxv. 6 the author dwells on Mount Zion; (2) that Moab is referred to as an enemy (xxv. IO); and (3) that at the close of the prophecy, Assyria and Egypt are apparently mentioned as the principal foes of Israel (xxvii. 12, 13). A careful and thorough exegesis will show the hollowness of this justification. The tone and spirit of the prophecy as a whole point to the same late apocalyptic period to which chap. xxxiv. and the book of joel; and also the last chapter (especially) of the book of Zechariah, may unhesitatingly be referred.

A word or two may perhaps be expected on Isa. xiii., xiv. and xxxiv., xxxv. These two oracles agree in the elaborateness of their description of the fearful fate of the enemies of Yahweh (Babylon and Edom are merely representatives of a class), and also in their view of the deliverance and restoration of Israel as an epoch for the whole human race. There is also an unrelieved sternness, which pains us by its contrast with Isa. xl.-lxvi. (except those passages of this portion which are probably not homogeneous with the bulk of the prophecy). They have also affinities with Jer. l. li., a prophecy (as most now agree) of postexilic origin.

There is only one passage which seems in some degree to make up for the aesthetic drawbacks of the greater part of these late compositions. It is the ode on the fall of the king of Babylon in chap. xiv. 4-2I, which is as brilliant with the glow of lyric enthusiasm as the stern prophecy which precedes it is, from the same point of view, dull and uninspiring. It is in fact worthy to be put by the side of the finest passages of chaps. xl.-lxvi.-of those passages which irresistibly rise in the memory when we think of “ Isaiah.”

Y. Prophetic Contrasts in Isaiah.-From a religious point of view there is a wide difference, not only between the acknowledged and the disputed prophecies of the book of Isaiah, but also between those of the latter which occur in chaps. i.-xxxix., on the one hand, and the greater and more striking part of chaps. xl.-lxvi. on the other. We may say, upon the whole, with Duhm, that Isaiah represents a synthesis of Amos and Hosea, though not without important additions of his own. And if we cannot without much hesitation admit that Isaiah was really the first preacher of Ll personal Messiah whose record has come down to us, yet his editors certainly had good reason for thinking him capable of such a lofty height of prophecy. It is not because Isaiah could not have conceived of a personal Messiah, but because the Messiahpassages are not plainly Isaiah's either in style or in thought. If Isaiah had had those bright visions, they would have affected him more.

Perhaps the most characteristic religious peculiarities of the various disputed prophecies are-(1) the emphasis laid on the uniqueness, eternity, creator ship and predictive power of Yahweh (Xl. 18, 25, xli. 4, xliv. 6, xlviii. 12, xlv. 5, 6, 18, 22, xlvi. o, xlii. 5, xlv. 18, xli. 26, xliii. 9, xliv. 7, xlv. 21, xlviii. I4); (2) the conception of the “ Servant of Yahweh ”; (3) the ironical descriptions of idolatry (Isaiah in the acknowledged prophecies only refers incidentally to idolatry) xl. 19, 20, xli. 7, xliv. 9-17, xlvi. 6; (4) the personality of the Spirit of Yahweh (mentioned no less than seven times, see especially xl. 3, xlviii. 16, lxiii. ro, 14); (5) the influence of the angelic powers (xxiv. 21); (6) the resurrection of the body (xxvi. 19); (7) the everlasting punishment of the wicked (lxvi. 24); (8) 'vicarious atonement (chap. liii.).

We cannot here do more than chronicle the attempts of a Jewish scholar, the late Dr Kohut, in the Z.D.M.G. for 1876 to prove a Zoroastrian influence on chaps. xl.-lxvi. The idea is not in itself inadmissible, at least for post-exilic portions, for Zoroastrian ideas were in the intellectual atmosphere of Jewish writers in the Persian age.

There is an equally striking difference among the disputed prophecies themselves, and one of no small moment as a subsidiary indication of their origin. We have already spoken of the difference of tone between parts of the latter half of the book; and, when we compare the disputed prophecies of the former half with the Prophecy of Israel's Restoration, how inferior (with all reverence be it said) do they appear! Truly “in many parts and many manners did God speak ” in this composite book of Isaiah! To the Prophecy of Restoration we may fitly apply the words, too gracious and too subtly chosen to be translated, of Renan, “ ce second Isaie, dont l'arne lumineuse semble comme imprégnée, six cent ans d'avance, de toutes les rosées, de tous les parfums de l'avenir ” (L'Antéchrist, p. 464); though, indeed, the common verdict of sympathetic readers sums up the sentence in a single phrase-“ the Evangelical Prophet.” The freedom and the inexhaustibleness of the undeserved grace of God is a subject to which this gifted son constantly returns with “ a monotony which is never monotonous.” The defect of the disputed prophecies in the former part of the book (a defect, as long as we regard them in isolation, and not as supplemented by those which come after) is that they emphasize too much for the Christian sentiment the stern, destructive side of the series of divine inter positions in the latter days.

VI. The Cyrus Inscriptions.-Perhaps one of the most important contributions to the study of II. Isaiah has been the discovery, of two cuneiform texts relative to the fall of Babylon and the religious policy of Cyrus. The results are not favourable to a mechanical view of prophecy as involving absolute accuracy of statement. Cyrus appears in the unassailable authentic cylinder inscription i“ as a complete religious indifferentist, willing to go through any amount of ceremonies to soothe the prejudices of a susceptible population.” He preserves a strange and significant silence with regard to Ahura-mazda, the supreme God of Zoroastrianism, and in fact can- hardly have been a Zoroastrian believer at all. On the historical and religious bearings of these two inscriptions the reader may be referred to the article “ Cyrus ” in the Encyclopaedia Biblica and the essay on “ II. Isaiah and the Inscriptions ” in Cheyne's Prophecies of Isaiah, vol. ii. It may, with all reverence, be added that our estimate of prophecy must be brought into harmony with facts, not facts with our preconceived theory of inspiration.

Authorities.-Lowth, Isaiah: a new translation, with a preliminary dissertation and notes (1778); Gesenius, Der Proph. Jes. (1821); Hitzig, Der Proph. Jes. (1833); Delitzsch, Der Pr. Jes. (4th ed., 1889); Dillmann-Kittel, Isaiah (1898); Duhm (1892; 2nd ed., 1902); Marti (1900); Cheyne, The Prophecies of Isaiah (2 vols., 1880-1881); Introd. to Book of Isaiah (1898); “ The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, " in Paul Haupt's Polychrome Bible (1898); S. R. Driver, Isaiah, his life and times (1888); J. Skinner, “ The Book of Isaiah, " in Cambridge Bible (2 vols., 1896, 1898); G. A. Smith, 1n Expositor's Bible (2 vols., 1888, 1890); Condamin (Rom. Cath.) (1905); G. H. Box (1908); Article on Isaiah in Ency. Bib. bi Cheyne; in Hastings' Diet. of the Bible by Prof. G. A. Smith. R. Kennett's Schweich Lecture (1909), The Composition of the Book of Isaiah in the 3Li, ght of Archaeology and History, an interesting attempt at a synthesis of results, is a brightly written but scholarly sketch of the growth of the book of Isaiah, which went on till the' great success of the Jews under Judas Maccabaeus. The outbursts of triumph (e.g. Isa. ix. 2-7) are assigned to this period. The most original statement is perhaps the view that the words of Isaiah were preserved orally by his disciples, and did not see the light (in a revised form) till a considerable time after the crystallization of the refor s of josiah into laws.


ISAIAH, ASCENSION OF, an apocryphal book of the Old Testament. The Ascension of Isaiah is a composite work of very great interest. In its present form it is probably not older than the latter half of the 2nd century of our era. Its various constituents, however, and of these there were three—the Martyrdom of Isaiah, the Testament of Hezekiah and the Vision of Isaiah—circulated independently as early as the 1st century. The first of these was of Jewish origin, and is of less interest than the other two, which were the work of Christian writers. The Vision of Isaiah is important for the knowledge it affords us of