Composition of the Book of Isaiah


Approximate date: 700s B.C.E. (Right, some conservative-moderate); 500s B.C.E. (some conservative-moderate); 500s-300s B.C.E. (Left)

Time period: the Southern Kingdom of Judah preparing to see the Northern Kingdom of Israel/Ephraim fall to Assyria

Prophet/author(s): Isaiah son of Amoz (Right); Isaiah son of Amoz and later editors (some conservative-moderate); Isaiah son of Amoz, “Deutero-Isaiah” (some conservative-moderate, some Left); Isaiah son of Amoz, “Deutero-Isaiah,” “Tritio-Isaiah” (some conservative-moderate, some Left)

Location of author: Land of Israel or Jerusalem (Right, some conservative-moderate); Land of Israel, Jerusalem, and/or Babylon (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Target audience and their location: people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Right, some conservative-moderate); Southern Kingdom Israelites in Babylonian exile (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Theological Summary: One of the most important and frequently discussed books of the Bible is undoubtedly the Book of Isaiah. In the Jewish theological tradition Isaiah (Heb. Yeshayahu) is the first of the Latter Prophets (considering that Joshua-Kings compose the Former Prophets). Many songs, important theological concepts, wisdom ideas, and even some Western social concepts are derived from Isaiah—sometimes without people even realizing it. Isaiah is a text that speaks in very broad terms to individuals, communities, and entire nations about their relationship with God. Isaiah is not something that is read easily like one of the histories of the Tanach, and requires a person to read it very observantly. It has been a widely considered and debated text throughout Jewish and Christian history, and this will probably continue as the Messianic movement grows.

The Prophet depicted in this book is identified by name as Isaiah the son of Amoz (1:1), something that is upheld by the Apostolic Scriptures (Matthew 12:17-21; John 12:28-41; Romans 10:16, 20-21). This Isaiah was a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Micah, beginning his service in 740 B.C.E., and some Jewish tradition considers him to be a relative of the royal court (b.Megillah 10b) and even sawn in two (cf. Hebrews 11:37).

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reproduced from A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic

One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.

Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.

A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.

290 pages