Isaiah

Isaiah

[ahy-zey-uh or, especially Brit., ahy-zahy-uh]
Bowman, Isaiah, 1878-1950, American geographer, b. Waterloo, Ont., B.S. Harvard, 1905, Ph.D. Yale, 1909. He taught geography at Yale (1905-15) and was director (1915-35) of the American Geographical Society. He led the first Yale South American expedition (1907), served as geographer-geologist on the Yale Peruvian expedition (1911), and led the American Geographical Society Expedition to the Central Andes (1913). He was chief territorial adviser to President Wilson at the Versailles conference and served the Dept. of State as territorial adviser in World War II. Bowman was a member of the executive committee of the National Research Council from 1919 to 1929 and was its chairman from 1933 to 1935. He was president of Johns Hopkins Univ. from 1935 until his retirement in 1948. His work on many commissions and boards includes contributions as an active officer of the Explorers Club, the Association of American Geographers, and the Council of Foreign Relations and as president (1931-34) of the International Geographical Union, and as vice president (1940-45) of the National Academy of Sciences. Bowman's books include Forest Physiography (1911); The Andes of Southern Peru (1916); Desert Trails of the Atacama (1924); The New World (1922); The Pioneer Fringe (1931); and Design for Scholarship (1936).
Thomas, Isaiah, 1749-1831, American patriot and printer, from Worcester, Mass. Thomas printed outspoken Whig editorials in the Massachusetts Spy, a newspaper that he helped to found. He fought at the battles of Lexington and Concord and after the Revolution settled in Worcester as a printer. He published in 1783 A Specimen of Isaiah Thomas's Printing Types, valued as evidence of the printing equipment of a leading American printer of the time. His other ventures included the Massachusetts Magazine (1789-95) and a folio Bible (1791). In 1810 he published the History of Printing in America, compiling during his research one of the most important collections of early American newspapers and pamphlets. He also founded and endowed the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester.
Isaiah, prophetic book of the Bible. It is a collection of prophecies from a 300-year period attributed to Isaiah, who may have been a priest. Some scholars argue that a long-lived "school" of Isaiah preserved his oracles and supplemented them in succeeding centuries. He received his call to prophesy in the year of King Uzziah's death (c.742 B.C.) and preached during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. His message was partly political; he urged King Hezekiah to recognize the power of Assyria, then at its height, and not to ally himself with Egypt, as a party of nobles urged. Like other 8th-century prophets (Amos, Hosea, Micah), Isaiah indicts the people of God for perpetrating social injustice. The book falls into the following major sections. First are oracles of doom against Judah and Assyria interspersed with oracles of salvation in which a Davidic king and a renewed Jerusalem play prominent roles. These are followed by oracles against foreign nations and prophecies announcing the destruction and subsequent redemption of Zion. Next is an account (paralleled in 2 Kings) of Sennacherib's unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem and his assassination long after. The sickness of Hezekiah is recounted; his prayer and his subsequent recovery are followed by his reception of an embassy from Babylon and prophecy of captivity there. The rest of the book is divided into three parts—delivery from captivity, redemption from sin, and the redeemed state of Israel. The book contains prophecies interpreted by Christians as references to Christ; the most famous such prophecy is the vision of the suffering servant. Later biblical allusions to Isaiah are frequent. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are two manuscripts of the book of Isaiah dating from the 2d-1st cent. B.C. As pre-Masoretic texts, these are important witnesses for establishing the contours of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 1,000 years before the earliest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic text.

See C. Westermann, Isaiah 40-66 (1969); J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah 1-39 (1986).

Isaiah, Ascension of: see Pseudepigrapha.

(born June 9, 1909, Riga, Latvia—died Nov. 5, 1997, Oxford, Eng.) Latvian-born British political philosopher and historian of ideas. His family immigrated to Britain in 1920. Educated at the University of Oxford, Berlin taught there from 1950 to 1967, serving as president of Wolfson College from 1966 to 1975 and thereafter teaching at All Souls College. His writings on political philosophy are chiefly concerned with the problem of free will in increasingly totalitarian and mechanistic societies. His most important works include Karl Marx (1939), The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), Historical Inevitability (1955), The Age of Enlightenment (1956), and Four Essays on Liberty (1969).

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(flourished 8th century BC, Jerusalem) Prophet of ancient Israel after whom the biblical book of Isaiah is named. He is believed to have written only some of the book's first 39 chapters; the rest are by one or more unknown authors. Isaiah's call to prophesy came circa 742 BC, when Assyria was beginning the westward expansion that later overran Israel. A contemporary of Amos, Isaiah denounced economic and social injustice among the Israelites and urged them to obey the Law or risk cancellation of God's covenant. He correctly predicted the destruction of Samaria, or northern Israel, in 722 BC, and he declared the Assyrians to be the instrument of God's wrath. The Christian Gospels lean more heavily on the book of Isaiah than on any other prophetic text, and its “swords-into-plowshares” passage has universal appeal.

Learn more about Isaiah with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born June 9, 1909, Riga, Latvia—died Nov. 5, 1997, Oxford, Eng.) Latvian-born British political philosopher and historian of ideas. His family immigrated to Britain in 1920. Educated at the University of Oxford, Berlin taught there from 1950 to 1967, serving as president of Wolfson College from 1966 to 1975 and thereafter teaching at All Souls College. His writings on political philosophy are chiefly concerned with the problem of free will in increasingly totalitarian and mechanistic societies. His most important works include Karl Marx (1939), The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), Historical Inevitability (1955), The Age of Enlightenment (1956), and Four Essays on Liberty (1969).

Learn more about Berlin, Sir Isaiah with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Isaiah (; Greek: Ἠσαΐας, Ēsaiās ; Arabic: اشعیاء, Ash-ee-yaa ; "Salvation of/is YHWH") is the main figure in the Biblical Book of Isaiah, and is traditionally considered to be its author. He was an 8th-century BC Judean prophet who declared that all the world belonged to God and that God will destroy it. "The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word." (Isaiah 24:3). Isaiah therefore warns the people of the world to turn back to God.

Bible

Isaiah was born in the 8th century BC to a man named Amoz (). He married a woman known as "the prophetess" (). Why she was called this is not certain. Some believe she may have carried out a prophetic ministry in her own right, like Deborah and Huldah (). Others maintain, however, that it was simply because she was the wife of "the prophet" and not because she was herself endowed with the prophetic gift. Isaiah had two sons by her, who bore symbolic names - Shear-jashub, 'Remnant will return' (see , 'Only a remnant will return') and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, 'Pillage hastens, looting speeds' ().

He prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1), the kings of Judah. Uzziah reigned fifty-two years in the middle of the 8th century BC, and Isaiah must have begun his career a few years before Uzziah's death, probably in the 740s BC. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah (who died 698 BC), and may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least forty-four years.

In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of Israel by the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-Pileser III (); and again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his office, by the invasion of Tiglath-Pileser and his career of conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Israel (). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the aid of Tiglath-Pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people carried captive to Assyria ().

Soon after this Shalmaneser V determined wholly to subdue the kingdom of Israel, Samaria was taken and destroyed (722 BC). So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah, who was encouraged to rebel "against the king of Assyria" entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (701 BC) led a powerful army into Judah. Hezekiah was reduced to despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (). But after a brief interval war broke out again, and again Sennacherib led an army into Judah, one detachment of which threatened Jerusalem (). Isaiah on that occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, which he "spread before the lord" ().

21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: This is what the lord, the god of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria,

22 this is the word the lord has spoken against him: The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.

23 Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!

According to the account in Kings (and its derivative account in Chronicles) the judgment of God now fell on the Assyrian army. "Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either southern Palestine or Egypt."

The remaining years of Hezekiah's reign were peaceful (). Isaiah probably lived to its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time and manner of his death are not specified in either the Bible or recorded history. There is a tradition that he suffered martyrdom in the pagan reaction in the time of Manasseh. Both Jewish and Christian traditions state that he was killed by being sawed in half. Some interpreters believe that this is what is referred to in the New Testament verse, which states that some prophets were "sawn in two". It is also mentioned in the book of The Martyrdom of Isaiah that he lived into the days of Manasseh, and was also sawn in half with a wooden saw.

Rabbinic literature

According to the Rabbinic literature, Isaiah was a descendant of Judah and Tamar (Sotah 10b). His father was a prophet and the brother of King Amaziah (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a).

Critical scholarship

In the 1700s, the break between the first part of Isaiah (Is. 1-39) versus the latter half of the book (Is. 40-66) caught the eye of critical scholars Döderlein (1789) and Eichhorn (1783), who advocated a source-critical reading of the book, seeing chapters 40-66 as later, post-exilic additions, or even totally separate works artificially appended to the earlier composition. The term "Deutero-Isaiah" described the anonymous later writer, to whom some ascribed some redactionary roles as well. Some more recent commentators have further divided 40-66 by adding a third Isaiah, Trito-Isaiah, who wrote 56-66. The provenance of the text in the latter half of the book seemed to support a post-exilic timeframe, with direct references to Cyrus, King of Persia (, 13), a lament for the ruined temple, and other details. Also, the tone of the two halves is different; the first seems to warn erring Judah of impending divine judgment through foreign conquest, while the second seems to provide comfort to a broken people.

Other scholars, such as Margalioth (1964) challenged the view of multiple authorship by pointing out the remarkable unity of the book Isaiah in terms of theme, message, and vocabulary. Even certain verbal formulas unique to Isaiah, such as "the mouth of the Lord has spoken," appears in both halves of Isaiah but in no other Hebrew prophetic literature. While clear differences between the two halves of the book were evident, thematically the two halves are remarkably similar, certainly more similar to each other than to any other existing prophetic literature.

Since the late 20th century, trends in critical scholarship have focused on synchronic approaches, which advocate a whole-text reading, rather than the traditional historical-critical diachronic approaches, which tend to be directed at taking the text apart, looking for sources, redactional seams, etc. Inspired by Hebrew Bible literary criticism done by Robert Alter, scholars have since tended to circumscribe authorship and historical-critical questions and look at the final form of the book as a literary whole, a product of the post-exilic era which is characterized by literary and thematic unity.

References

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