The Prophet and the Book of Isaiahin an Age of Empires
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In recent years, an interest in empire(s) has emerged in Assyriology, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies and in other areas of the study of the ancient world. Collaborative research projects are devoted to questions of empire and imperialism, and the prophets of Israel and Judah and the books named after them are explored as agents in the contexts of the empires of their times. To some degree, all of this may be seen as a revival of the intense interest which the works of Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee and Karl Wittfogel generated in the twentieth century, in historical situations very different from our own age. But then we too live in an age of transition characterized by insecurity and a lack of orientation and are driven to study the rise and fall of empires through the ages. The present volume, containing essays which are the fruits of the fifth meeting of the Aberdeen Prophecy Network, at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg of the University of Göttingen in October 2015, provides a distinctive perspective on prophecy in the context of empire. It is inspired by the fact that the book of Isaiah enables us to follow the vagaries of a particular prophetic tradition through five centuries under three different empires. The essays in the present volume focus on the history of composition of the constituent parts of the book of Isaiah as well as their correlations with the political and cultural histories of the empires under which they were produced. The volume thus navigates some of the key points of the history of Isaiah and the book named after him.