Institution Granting Degree
Dallas Theological Seminary
This study examines the continuity and cohesiveness of the prophecies comprising Isaiah 56-66, or Third Isaiah (TI). The method used is rhetorical criticism, a discipline set forth by James Muilenburg in his address before the Society of Biblical Literature in 1968. Because of the doubts concerning the authenticity of some of the prophecies in TI, and skepticism from some scholars about an overall theme in TI, the need for studies of TI from a rhetorical perspective are warranted. Using the method initiated by Muilenburg and developed by many able scholars in recent years, this limited examination of TI from a rhetorical perspective was performed.
The first chapter of this study is an examination of the history of interpretation of Isaiah 56-66. It demonstrates that the interpretation of TI has gone through four stages. This chapter examines these stages and shows that the current state of the critical studies of Isaiah views TI as a literary unity, though not as an authorial unity. It then describes rhetorical criticism and the method and procedure used.
Chapter two examines the continuity and cohesiveness of TI from a rhetorical perspective. It demonstrates that there is an overall structure and central message of the prophecies in TI, as well as setting forth an overall concentric design in chapters 56-66. Also contained in the chapter is a presentation of how all of the various prophecies are linked together to set forth the prophet's overall message.
Chapters three through five are studies of the three major sections of TI, 56-59, 60-62, and 63-66. These chapters examine the rhetorical devices that Isaiah uses to structure the messages and to highlight or emphasize the theme he is setting forth. Included in these chapters are translations, discussions on the unity of the various sections, the strophic structure of the major prophecies, and verse analyses of each section. Chapter six is a conclusion of the overall study.