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“Take A Large Writing Tablet And Write On It”: Isaiah – A Writing Prophet?

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Chapter Summary

The role of writing in the creation of the biblical books of prophecy has attracted more attention. As the scribes were the ones who produced most early Hebrew writing, they were responsible for collecting and editing prophetic oracles, according to Karel van der Toorn. The Hebrew epigraphic corpus illustrates the availability of writing, the Deir 'Alla and Egyptian texts the possibility of lengthier compositions than the oracles in cuneiform. The Mari letters certainly exhibit a readiness to write the prophetic words as soon as they were heard. It is easy to discount ancient statements and replace them with hypothetical reconstructions but they appear and disappear over the decades while the ancient texts remain. The book of Isaiah testifies to the work of a prophet whose words were fulfilled, at least in part, and so deserved preservation.

Keywords: Assyrian literature; Babylonian literature; biblical books; Hebrew writing; Isaiah



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