History and the Hebrew Bible ; The Myth of the Empty Land ; The Babylonian Captivity of the Book of Isaiah ; A Way in the Wilderness
Barstad, Hans M.
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A Way in the Wilderness. The 'Second Exodus' in the Message ofSecond Isaiah (Journal of Semitic Studies. Monograph, 12; Manchester: The University of Manchester, 1989); The Babylonian Captivity of the Book of Isaiah. 'Exilic' Judah and the Provenance of Isaiah 40-55 (The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture. Series B, 102; Oslo: Novus, 1997); The Myth of the Empty Land. A Study in the History and Archaeology of Judah During the 'Exilic' Period (Symbolae Osloenses Fasc. Suppl., 28; Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1996); History and the Hebrew Bible. Studies in Ancient Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern Historiography (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, 61; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008). A Way in the Wilderness is a study of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 40-55. In this volume I argue that many of the references to 'wilderness', 'water', and 'way' have misguidedly been taken as allusions to a 'second Exodus'. Rather than being Exodus motifs, the majority of these texts refer to a new Judah after the exile, and the likely location of the text is Jerusalem/Judah, not Babylon. Another important outcome of this study concerns the nature of prophetic language. Whereas numerous scholars have dealt with linguistic, grammatical, and literary features of Hebrew poetry, not many have taken into consideration that metaphoric/poetic texts also have a different cognitive status from Hebrew prose. In The Babylonian Captivity of the Book of Isaiah, I follow up the textual study of Isaiah 40-55 with a study of the history of research surrounding the birth of the Babylonian location thesis of this Isaian text. Based on a thorough study of the older secondary literature, particularly in Germany, I am able to conclude that none of the 19th century arguments (many of them still prevailing in recent scholarship) can be upheld today. The 'Babylonian Isaiah' therefore provides us with a striking example of how a thesis has continued to be influential long after the presuppositions that once led to its birth have ceased to be valid. One of the major premises for placing Isaiah 40-55 in Babylon and not in Judah was the former belief that Judah and Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. However, recent archaeological excavations and surveys have demonstrated beyond doubt a continued material culture in Judah and Jerusalem in the period. In The Myth of the Empty Land, I use archaeology, economical models, and Hebrew and Neo-Babylonian sources to argue for continuity rather than a gap in the culture of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Simultaneously with textual, historical, and archaeological research, I have always taken an interest in method and theory. Some of my studies in these areas, together with the updating of The Myth of the Empty Land by considering also the most recent discussions, are collected in History and the Hebrew Bible.These four volumes are all dealing with a unified topic: The history and literature of Judah in the post exilic period illuminated through the Hebrew text of Isaiah 40-55, as well as with questions concerning theory and method.