Skeptics and some Christian textual critics have recently claimed that the Book of Isaiah has more than one author. There are three main arguments for the division of The Book of Isaiah into multiple books.
First, the historical argument. Some historians state that Isaiah could not have known things such as the Babylonian Exile, Post-Exile Conditions, and Assyria’s conquest of Israel.
Second, the grammatical argument. Some critics see key differences in writing styles in the different sections of Isaiah.
In response to this claim, James D Smart said:
An honest recognition of the meagerness of the evidence demands of us a suspension of judgment. Yet one commentator after another has proceeded to base his interpretations upon assumptions that have rested on the flimsiest of foundations.
The Third argument is the theological argument. This argument says that theological concepts such as the majesty of God change throughout the book.
The Case for a Single Authored Isaiah
There is a strong case for the Book of Isaiah to have only one author.
1.) Citations from the New Testament
There are significant number of quotations in Isaiah that support a single authorship. Here is a table of all these citations.
2.) Manuscript Evidence
There is no manuscript evidence for a divided Isaiah. The oldest manuscript, from the Dead Seas Scrolls, shows no division in the book.
3.) Prophecy is Frequent Throughout Isaiah
One reason for the “Second” Isaiah (Chapters 40-66) is because of how much prophecy is contained in these chapters. However, the so-called “First” Isaiah (Chapters 1-39) contains prophecy as well
4.) There is a Unity of Theology and Language Throughout Isaiah
Key themes such as injustice, hypocrisy, and the denouncing of violence occur both in “First” and “Second” Isaiah. Additionally, both “parts” of Isaiah refer to God as the “Holy One of Israel”. This is very uncommon in the Bible outside of Isaiah.
Like what I post?
Be sure to like us on Facebook for post notifications.
Also be sure to follow us on Twitter, for post notifications and more content!