Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This paper investigates the often made claims that a Babylonian setting of Isa 40-55 is supported by (1) close similarities between the language of Isa 40-55 and Akkadian, (2) by explicit references to Babylon, and (3) by familiarity with its religion and culture. I shall examine these three claims and determine to what degree they really support a Babylonian origin of Isa 40-55. As we shall discover, most, if not all, of these claims do not support a Babylonian setting of Isa 40-55 but rather presuppose it.
The paper begins with a brief discussion of the methods involved in comparative studies of the Bible and the Ancient Near East. The bulk of the paper then looks at Neo-Babylonian imperialism and argues that both the Neo-Assyrian and the Neo-Babylonian Empires exercised considerable influence over Israel and Judah from the eighth century BC and onwards. It follows that superficial knowledge of Babylonian customs in a text is not an argument that proves that its author was a Babylonian resident. Likewise, Akkadian influence on the language and literary style of Isa 40-55 does not necessitate a Babylonian-based author. I shall finally look at a selection of texts that have often been cited as evidence of a Babylonian provenance of Isa 40-55 – for instance the co-called idol fabrication passages (Isa 40:19-20; 41:6-7; 44:9-20, and the reference to Babylon (Isa 4:14; 46:1-2; 47; 48:14, 20) – in order to determine what they tell us about the geographical whereabouts of the authors of Isa 40-55.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsaiah and Imperial Context
Subtitle of host publicationThe Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire
EditorsAndrew T. Abernethy, Mark Brett, Tim Bulkeley , Tim Meadowcroft
Place of PublicationEugene, OR
PublisherWipf & Stock
Pages122-136
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-1620326237, 162032623X
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventColloquium: Spiritual Complaint - Laidlaw Carey Graduate School, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 10 Feb 201111 Feb 2011

Conference

ConferenceColloquium: Spiritual Complaint
CountryNew Zealand
CityLaidlaw Carey Graduate School, Auckland
Period10/02/1111/02/11

Fingerprint

Akkadian
Language
Babel
Assyrians
Comparative Study
Fabrication
Babylonian Empire
Literary Style
Ancient Near East
Imperialism
Bulk
Bible
Religion
Israel
Idol
Residents
Familiarity

Cite this

Tiemeyer, L-S. (2013). Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55. In A. T. Abernethy, M. Brett, T. Bulkeley , & T. Meadowcroft (Eds.), Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire (pp. 122-136). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55. / Tiemeyer, Lena-Sofia.

Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire . ed. / Andrew T. Abernethy; Mark Brett; Tim Bulkeley ; Tim Meadowcroft. Eugene, OR : Wipf & Stock, 2013. p. 122-136.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Tiemeyer, L-S 2013, Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55. in AT Abernethy, M Brett, T Bulkeley & T Meadowcroft (eds), Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire . Wipf & Stock, Eugene, OR, pp. 122-136, Colloquium: Spiritual Complaint, Laidlaw Carey Graduate School, Auckland, New Zealand, 10/02/11.
Tiemeyer L-S. Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55. In Abernethy AT, Brett M, Bulkeley T, Meadowcroft T, editors, Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire . Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. 2013. p. 122-136
Tiemeyer, Lena-Sofia. / Imperial Influence on the Language and Content of Isaiah 40-55. Isaiah and Imperial Context: The Book of Isaiah in the Times of Empire . editor / Andrew T. Abernethy ; Mark Brett ; Tim Bulkeley ; Tim Meadowcroft. Eugene, OR : Wipf & Stock, 2013. pp. 122-136
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AB - This paper investigates the often made claims that a Babylonian setting of Isa 40-55 is supported by (1) close similarities between the language of Isa 40-55 and Akkadian, (2) by explicit references to Babylon, and (3) by familiarity with its religion and culture. I shall examine these three claims and determine to what degree they really support a Babylonian origin of Isa 40-55. As we shall discover, most, if not all, of these claims do not support a Babylonian setting of Isa 40-55 but rather presuppose it. The paper begins with a brief discussion of the methods involved in comparative studies of the Bible and the Ancient Near East. The bulk of the paper then looks at Neo-Babylonian imperialism and argues that both the Neo-Assyrian and the Neo-Babylonian Empires exercised considerable influence over Israel and Judah from the eighth century BC and onwards. It follows that superficial knowledge of Babylonian customs in a text is not an argument that proves that its author was a Babylonian resident. Likewise, Akkadian influence on the language and literary style of Isa 40-55 does not necessitate a Babylonian-based author. I shall finally look at a selection of texts that have often been cited as evidence of a Babylonian provenance of Isa 40-55 – for instance the co-called idol fabrication passages (Isa 40:19-20; 41:6-7; 44:9-20, and the reference to Babylon (Isa 4:14; 46:1-2; 47; 48:14, 20) – in order to determine what they tell us about the geographical whereabouts of the authors of Isa 40-55.

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