Death in the Iron Age II and in First Isaiah 978-3-16-151751-8 - Mohr Siebeck

Christopher B. Hays

Death in the Iron Age II and in First Isaiah

[Tod in der Eisenzeit II und im Jesajabuch.]

2011. XVIII, 445 pages.

Forschungen zum Alten Testament 79

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On the basis of an up-to-date assessment of ancient Near Eastern beliefs about death during the Iron Age II, Christopher B. Hays analyzes the ways in which death functioned rhetorically in the Hebrew Bible. He identifies death and deliverance from death as major themes in the early strata of the book of Isaiah, offering fresh interpretations of more than a dozen passages in Isa 5–38, and showing how they illumine and are illumined by their contexts.
Death is one of the major themes of 'First Isaiah,' although it has not generally been recognized as such. Images of death are repeatedly used by the prophet and his earliest tradents.
The book begins by concisely summarizing what is known about death in the Ancient Near East during the Iron Age II, covering beliefs and practices in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria-Palestine, and Judah/Israel. Incorporating both textual and archeological data, Christopher B. Hays surveys and analyzes existing scholarly literature on these topics from multiple fields.
Focusing on the text's meaning for its producers and its initial audiences, he describes the ways in which the 'rhetoric of death' functioned in its historical context and offers fresh interpretations of more than a dozen passages in Isa 5–38. He shows how they employ the imagery of death that was part of their cultural contexts, and also identifies ways in which they break new creative ground.
This holistic approach to questions that have attracted much scholarly attention in recent decades produces new insights not only for the interpretation of specific biblical passages, but also for the formation of the book of Isaiah and for the history of ancient Near Eastern religions.

Christopher B. Hays Born 1973; 2008 Ph.D. at Emory University; presently D. Wilson Moore Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.


The following reviews are known:

In: Old Testament Abstracts — 35 (2012), S. 455 (D.E.G.)
In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 125 (2013), S. 357 (A. Berlejung)
In: Orientalistische Literaturzeitung — 109 (2014), S. 207–210 (Stefanie Ernst)
In: Biblische Notizen — 157 (2013), S. 142–143 (Stefan Beyerle)
In: Jahrbuch f.Liturgik u.Hymnologie — 51 (2012), S. 73 (Hermann Michael Niemann)
In: Journal of Hebrew Scriptures — (10/2012) (Konrad Schmid)
In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 22.3 (2012), S. 429–431 (Gary V. Smith)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 36.5 (2012), S. 148 (J.P. McKeown)