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Isaiah 40–55 And Babylonian Influence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the frequent claims that the Babylonian setting of Isa 40-55 is supported by close similarities between the language of Isa 40-55 and Akkadian, by explicit references to Babylon, and by familiarity with its religion and culture. It begins with a general discussion of the methods involved in comparative studies of the Bible and the ancient Near East, showing what one can and cannot prove. The chapter discusses Neo-Babylonian imperialism and argues that both the Neo-Assyrian and the Neo-Babylonian Empires exercised considerable influence over Israel and Judah from the eighth century BC onwards. It examines the Akkadian influence on the language and literary style of Isa 40-55. The chapter then focuses on the specific texts in Isa 40-55 that have often been cited as evidence of a Babylonian provenance of Isa 40 55 - the co-called idol fabrication passages.

Keywords: Akkadian influence; Babylonian influence; Isaiah 40-55; Judahite tradition; literary style



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