Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer argues for an eight century setting for Deutero-Isaiah.

Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, "Isaiah 40-55 and Babylonian Influence," For the Comfort of Zion : The Geographical and Theological Location of Isaiah 40-55 (Leiden, Brill Publishers, 2010), 77-130

Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
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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. I shall examine these claims and determine to what degree they actually support a Babylonian origin of Isa 40–55. As we shall discover, most, if not all, of these claims do not support a Babylonian setting of Isa 40–55 but presuppose it.

I shall begin 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. I shall then turn to the matter of Neo-Babylonian imperialism and argue that both the Neo-Assyrian and the Neo-Babylonian Empires exercised considerable influence over Israel and Judah from the eighth century bc onwards. We should therefore not be surprised to find a relatively large degree of shared phenomena between the ruling superpower and the state of Judah living in its shadow, both in terms of language and with regard to societal, cultural and religious matters. It follows that superficial knowledge of Babylonian customs in a text is not an argument that proves that its author was a Babylonian resident. I shall also discuss the Akkadian influence on the language and literary style of Isa 40–55 and argue that nothing in Isa 40–55 necessitates a Babylonian-based author. In particular, I shall investigate the alleged similarity between Isa 44:28–45:8 and the Cyrus Cylinder, as well as the potential Akkadian influence on the so-called “self predication” formula, found throughout Isa 41–45, 48, 49 and 51.

In addition, I shall look briefly at the latest research pertaining to the development of the Hebrew language and what the characteristics of the Hebrew of Isa 40–55 can tell us about its geographical origin. I shall turn finally to 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 (Isa 40:19–20; 41:6–7; 44:9–20), the references to Babylon (Isa 43:14; 46:1–2; 47; 48:14, 20), the references to Babylonian religious practices (Isa 44:24–25; 46:1–4; 47:12), and the descriptions of God’s supremacy and his incomparability (e.g. Isa 45:5, 6, 18b, 22; 46:9)—in order to determine what they tell us about the geographical whereabouts of the authors of Isa 40-55 and their target audience.

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