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Obbblin Theological Sbmikaby 

Professor Gray's commentary on Numbers (1903) not only 
filled a vacant place in English exegetical literature, but had to 
do with a book that has usually been perfunctorily treated by 
serial commentators; and this made an intrinsically valuable 
work doubly welcome. Isaiah, on the contrary, competes with 
the Psalms for the distinction of being the subject of more com- 
mentaries than any other book in the Old Testament, and of some 
of the best. The inevitable question therefore is. Wherein does 
the volume before us mark an advance beyond its predecessors? 
To answer this question it will be necessary to indicate the prob- 
lems with which the critical study of Isaiah is at present chiefly 
concerned, and to show what progress has been made toward a 
solution of them. 

There are three clearly marked periods in the criticism of Isaiah: 
from 1778 to about 1820; from 1820 to 1880; and from 1880 to 
the present time. 

The first period begins with Bishop Lowth's translation of 
Isaiah (1778). Lowth was interested primarily in the aesthetic 
appreciation of the prophet. It was the glory of Hebrew poetry 
which he wished to see revealed. This glory was often obscured 
by the corruption of the text. Hence much attention was given 
to the establishment of a better text, often by brilliant conject- 
ural emendations which have become a part of subsequent exe- 
getical tradition. Lowth's work was translated into German in 
1779-81 by Richerz, and supplied with notes by Koppe. In these 
notes Koppe for the first time directs attention to the critical 
problems of the book. Are the connections between its various 
sections original and organic, or are they artificial and com- 

' A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, I-XXXIX. 
By George Buchanan Gray. Vol. I, Introduction, and Commentary on I-XXVII. 
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912. 


pilatory? Koppe maintained the latter view. Again, are the 
historical backgrounds of the prophecies in all cases the real back- 
grounds, or are they sometimes assumed backgrounds? This 
question was most urgent in connection with what may be called 
the Babylonian elements in Isaiah.^ The usual theory had been 
that Isaiah, projecting himself by inspiration into the future, 
had taken the point of view of the Babylonian exile, or even of 
later times. Koppe suggested that what was supposed to be 
only an assumed background was after all the real background. 
Koppe's hints were taken up and elaborated by several schol- 
ars at the close of the eighteenth and beginning of the nine- 
teenth centuries, of whom Eichhorn was the most influential. 
In Die hebraischen Propheten (1816) Eichhorn resolved Isaiah 
into some eighty-five fragments, dating from various periods in 
the history of Judah, and in his Einleitung, the fourth edition of 
which (1823-24) may be considered to close the first period 
of criticism, he summed up in precise form the arguments against 
the genuineness of the expressly Babylonian elements in Isaiah. 
By this time chapters 24-27 and chapters 34 and 35, out of the 
first part of Isaiah, had also been drawn into the critical stream 
and carried off to the exilic or post-exilic period. In the criticism 
of these chapters, especially in the case of chapters 24-27, not 
only the probable historical backgrounds had been used as argu- 
ments against their genuineness, but also their peculiar reUgious 
ideas; for example, the doctrine of the resurrection in chapters 

The second period in the critical Isaiah-analysis lasted above 
sixty years, say, from 1820 to 1880. In it fall the works of three 
great commentators: Gesenius, whose commentary appeared in 
1821, Hitzig (1833), and Ewald (1840-41; last edition, 1867- 
68). Upon the philological, exegetical, and critical foundations 
laid by these scholars most of the other work in this period was 
based, either by way of strengthening and continuing their work 
or in the attempt to check further building operations on the 
lines they had laid out. Both Gesenius and Ewald represent a 
distinct reaction from the disintegrating tendency of Koppe and 
Eichhorn, while Hitzig carried on the work of the earlier critics, 

' Primarily, 44-66; 13 1-14 23; 21 1-10. 


though in a more tempered form. But the great authority of 
Gesenius and Ewald prevailed, and at the end of this second 
period there was general agreement among critics only in the 
elimination of the prophecies already mentioned,' though a feel- 
ing of insecurity was often expressed as to certain other chapters 

But with the removal of Isa. 40-66, or Second Isaiah, to the 
exile, a large part of the consolatory prophecies in the book had 
been taken away from Isaiah. Of the rejected parts of Isa. 1-39, 
chapters 24-27 and 34-35, also, were consolatory. The elimina- 
tion of so many of the consolatory prophecies could not fail to 
react on the conception of Isaiah's outlook upon the future. A 
new problem thus emerged, namely, to determine what at dif- 
ferent stages of his career the prophet Isaiah expected the future 
to bring forth, in distinction from the expectations of other men 
and other times which are embodied in the Book of Isaiah. 
This was to prove the central problem in the criticism of the 
book, into which all others finally lead. But until the end of 
the second period little had been done toward disengaging this 
problem from the multitude of critical and exegetical questions 
which had arisen in the progress of investigation. 

The merit of having first grasped and formulated the problem 
of Isaiah's eschatology on the basis of the critical results generally 
accepted in the middle decades of the nineteenth century may 
fairly be given to Bernhard Duhm in his Theologie der Propheten 
(1875). Robertson Smith's Prophets of Israel, which has the 
same critical premises with the Theologie, did not appear till seven 
years later (1882). It is perhaps not so original as Duhm's essay; 
yet it has exerted an equally profound infiuence upon subsequent 
investigation, and still remains the most brilliant exposition of 
Isaiah's rehgious significance which we possess in EngHsh. At 
crucial points these two essays are in the sharpest antithesis, and 
the differences mark the lines of division in the subsequent crit- 
icism and interpretation of Isaiah. 

' Isaiah 40-66; 13 1-14 23; 21 1-10; 24-27; 34 and 35. 

* E.g. Ewald harbored doubts as to the genuineness of chapters 12 and 33. 
Hitzig's vigorous attack upon 19 16-25, in which he followed the lead of Koppe, 
had also made some impression. 


If chapters 1-39 are closely examined, four great prophetic 
doctrines are found in them: The doctrine of the Day of the Lord; 
the doctrine of the Remnant; the doctrine of the Messianic 
King; and the doctrine of the impregnability of Zion, which 
last may be considered the obverse of the prophecies which fore- 
tell the destruction of Assyria. Of these doctrines Duhm lays 
the main emphasis upon the Day of the Lord, Smith makes the 
Remnant central. The difference between the two writers at 
this point had interesting consequences. The conception of the 
Day of the Lord, according to Duhm, approximates to the Chris- 
tian conception of the Last Judgment. It is primarily a day 
of wrath (see ch. 2). At first Isaiah thinks of it as impending over 
Israel and Judah only, but later he comes to realize that all na- 
tions will be involved in the catastrophe. The present order of 
the world is to be changed. The future is in no sense a con- 
tinuation of the present or an evolution out of the present, but 
the direct opposite of the present. The present must be totally 
destroyed in order to prepare the way for the future. The trans- 
ition to the futiu-e is to be supematurally effected, and the char- 
acter of the future itself is supernatural. It is marked by a 
miraculous change in nature and the charism of the spirit (see 
chapters 11 and 32). Duhm's interpretation is based partly upon 
the implications of what may be called the anti-Assyrian proph- 
ecies,* partly upon the sudden, unmediated transitions from 
threat to promise, as seen particularly in chapters 28-33.* In 
all these prophecies the transition to the future era seems to be 
attributed to the direct intervention of God. Thus, if Duhm's 
interpretation be accepted, Isaiah's eschatology ' in its most char- 
acteristic features is apocalyptic. And in proportion as it is 
apocalyptic, the historical and moral interest is absent. Duhm 

' The most typical of these are chapters 10 and 18; but compare also the 
briefer prophecies, more or less fragmentary in character, 8 9f.; 14 24-27; 17X2-14; 
29 6-8; 30 27-33; 33; 37 22ff. 

* Compare 28 1-4 with verses St.; 29 1-4 with verses 6-8; 29 9-15 with verses 
16-25; 30 1-17 with verses 18-26 and 27-33; 31 1-4 with verses 5-9. 

' The reader should be apprised that here and throughout this article the 
word "eschatology" is used, after the example of some recent German authors, 
for the prophet's expectations or predictions about the future of his people, with- 
out implying that these expectations were "eschatological" in the etymological 
sense or in the established English meaning of the word. — Ed. 


himself is quite aware of this. He deliberately exalts what he 
calls the religious element in Isaiah's eschatology, by which he 
means the supernatural and apocalyptic element, at the expense 
of the ethical and historical. This involves him in difficulties, 
however, with the doctrines of the Remnant and the inviolability 
of Zion. If there is a Remnant, if Zion is not to perish in the final 
catastrophe, there would seem, after all, to be left something 
out of the present which passes over into the future. Even the 
figure of the Messianic king, who is a Davidic king, and so has 
historical connections, is not quite congruous with Duhm's apoca- 
lyptical interpretation of the future; and it is interesting to ob- 
serve how little prominence Duhm gives to this conception. In 
particular the Messianic significance of Immanuel (7 14 and 8 8) 
is denied. 

In contrast to Duhm, Smith lays the emphasis upon the ethical 
and historical. This is because he makes the idea of the Remnant 
central in Isaiah's teaching. For Duhm the Remnant is a future 
ideal; for Smith it is "a practical principle" in the present. The 
Remnant, accordingly, takes concrete shape: it is nothing else 
than the prophetic party which Isaiah developed out of a small 
group of his disciples' into an effective organization. This Rem- 
nant is to be the basis of the ideal kingdom of the future. It 
is the connecting link between the present and the future, and 
through it the transition from the one to the other is to be morally 
achieved. The future is not a wholly new creation, as Duhm 
would have us believe, due to the sudden irruption of the divine 
into history; the future is the purified, idealized present. There 
is continuity in Jahweh's work. The doctrine of the Remnant 
is in turn connected with the doctrines of the inviolability of 
Zion and of the Messianic King. "Because the community of 
Jehovah [the Remnant] is indestructible, the state of Judah 
and the kingdom of the house of David cannot be utterly over- 
thrown. . . . The capital and the court appeared to him as the 
natural centre of the true remnant." But how does all this rhyme 
with the doctrine of the Day of the Lord in which Judah and 
Israel are to be destroyed? In general. Smith seeks to supply 
moral connections between the threats and the promises. The 

' See 8 16-18, a passage hardly noticed by Duhm. 


threats are recalled if, or when, king and people repent. But 
the difficulty is precisely that the ethical transitions have to be 
supplied by the reader. In the present form of the prophecies 
both judgments and consolations are expressed unconditionally. 
They are placed side by side, without any hint of an organic con- 
nection between them (see especially chapters 28-33, and note 6 

We begin to see our problem defining itself more sharply. How 
are we to reconcile those prophecies which unqualifiedly foretell 
the doom of the nation in the Day of the Lord with the predic- 
tions of a brighter future — ^the prophecies of the Remnant, the 
inviolability of Zion, and the Messianic King? * It is the problem 
created by the conflicting representations of the national future 
in Isaiah 1-39, a problem illustrated by the divergent expositions 
of Duhm and Smith, which has given rise to the new develop- 
ment that characterizes the third period in the recent criticism 
of Isaiah. Investigation and discussion in this stage have cen- 
tred about the problem of Isaiah's eschatology.^" 

This period, which may be said to run from about 1880 to the 
present time, may itself be divided into three stages: the stage 
of critical disintegration, from 1881 to 1892; the stage of critical 
reconstruction, from 1892 to 1905; and the stage of critical re- 
action, from 1905 to the present time. 

The first of these stages is represented by the work of Stade, 
Soerensen, Guthe, Giesebrecht, and Duhm. With the exception 
of Duhm, these scholars have dealt only with particular prob- 
lems in Isaiah." I shall not attempt at this time to give a de- 
tailed statement in chronological order of the various contribu- 
tions which these scholars have made to our subject. I must 

' Since the doctrine of the Remnant implies some sort of a judgment from 
which the Remnant escapes, this doctrine is not in such sharp contrast with the 
eschatology of doom as are the doctrines of the invuhierability of Zion and the 
Messianic King. 

1" See especially chs. 2, 10, 18. 

" See the series of articles by Stade in the Zeitschrift f Ur die Alttestamentliche 
Wissenschaft (1881-84), supplemented by his Geschichte des Volkes Israel (Vol. 
I, 1881-85); A. Soerensen, Judah und die assyrische Weltmacht (1885); Guthe, 
Das Zukimftsbild des Jesaia; Giesebrecht's article. Die Immanuel-Weissagmig, 
in Theologische Studien und Kritiken (1888), and his monograph BeitrSge zur 
Jesaiakritik (1890); Duhm, Das Buch Jesaia (1892, 2d ed. 1902). 


content myself with setting forth the logical relations of the 
questions which they have discussed, as these bear upon the 
criticism and interpretation of Isaiah. 

In Isaiah 1-39 (after the elimination of 13 1-14 23; 21 l-lO; 
24-27, and 34-35), there are four main critical problems which 
overshadow all others in interest and importance: first. The 
genuineness and date of the anti- Assyrian group of prophecies; 
second, The historical credibility of the narrative section, chap- 
ters 36-38; third. The unity, genuineness, and date of the remark- 
able section, chapters 28-33, with which chapter 22 is also to be 
associated; fourth. The interpretation and date of the prophecies 
of the Messianic King, namely, the Immanuel prophecies, chap- 
ters 6-8, and 9 1-7; 11 l flf.; 32 1-8. 

Stade's criticism was concerned mainly with the first two of 
these problems, though important hints were also dropped with 
respect to the last two. The immediate subject of Stade's first 
studies was not Isaiah, but Zechariah and Micah. The genuine- 
ness of Zech. 9-14 and Mic. 4-7 was denied, and these important 
sections were ascribed to a period after the time of Ezekiel. The 
argiunent turned mainly, though not exclusively, on the agree- 
ment between these sections and Ezek. 38 and 39. In all three 
passages there is a conception of a great duel between Jehovah and 
the nations, in which Jehovah was to triumph, and thus vindicate 
his absolute supremacy as a universal God. Stade argued that in 
Ezekiel this idea is worked out in an organic and intelligible way, 
whereas in the disputed portions of Zechariah and Micah it is 
not worked out at all, but is presented in an allusive fashion 
which implied that the idea was already well-known and a part 
of prophetic tradition. Hence it was inferred that Zech. 9-14 
and Mic. 4-7 probably followed Ezekiel. But it thereupon 
became evident that the assignment of these sections to post- 
exilic times put in question the genuineness of several of the anti- 
Assyrian prophecies of Isaiah in which substantially the same idea 
of a conflict between Jehovah and the world power, or powers, 
was expressed. Stade was thus led ultimately to reject, in addi- 
tion to Zech. 9-14 and Mic. 4—7, the anti-Assyrian prophecies, 
Isa. 8 9 f.; 14 24-27; 17 12-14; 29 7; 33; 37 22 ff. It will be 
remembered that these prophecies teach by implication the doc- 


trine of the inviolability of Zion. Stade's criticism is thus seen to 
make a large inroad upon those prophecies in which this doctrine 
is expressed or implied. Yet Stade still held to the genuineness 
of Isa. 10; 18; 30 27-33; and 31 5-9; and so long as this was 
done, the rejection of the other anti-Assyrian prophecies did not 
in principle affect the eschatology of Isaiah. ^^ 

In the rejection of 37 22 £E. the trustworthiness of the surround- 
ing narrative section, chapters 36-38, in which the campaign of 
Sennacherib in 701 B.C. is narrated, became involved. Stade 
showed that, instead of one narrative of this campaign, chapters 
36 and 37 contain two accounts of the same campaign, which 
differed in various ways and gave evidence of legendary accre- 
tion. Now critics had referred most of the anti-Assyrian proph- 
ecies, particularly chapters 10 and 18, to the time of Hezekiah's 
revolt and Sennacherib's invasion of Judah (705-701 B.C.), asso- 
ciating them chronologically with the campaign in which they 
were conspicuously fulfilled. But what would be the result when, 
on the one hand, the genuineness of the anti- Assyrian prophecies 
as a group began to be impugned, and, on the other, the credibility 
of the historical narrative was thrown into doubt? This question 
did not present itself to Stade, inasmuch as he accepted the most 
characteristic anti-Assyrian prophecies and also the truth of the 
central fact in Isa. 36 f., namely, the deliverance of Jerusalem. 
But it is evident that others who followed him so far might not 
stop where he did. 

Stade's rejection of chapter 33, also, had far-reaching conse- 
quences. The close connection between chapters 32 and 33 was 
obvious, and this led Stade to include both in the same judgment. 
Now chapters 32 and 33 have two important characteristics. 
In content they are thoroughly eschatological, doom and de- 
liverance alternating in unmediated juxtaposition, and the escha- 
tology of hope predominating. In literary connection they had 
always been associated with chapters 28-31, as a kind of ap- 
pendix. When they were abandoned, therefore, a considerable 

^ Stade sought to justify his retention of a part of the anti- Assyrian prophecies, 
while rejecting the rest, by pointing out that in the accepted group Isaiah was 
dealing with the one historical nation, Assyria; whereas the rejected prophecies 
dealt vaguely with many nations. The accepted prophecies were thus construed 
historically, while the rejected prophecies were vaguely eschatological. 


body of eschatological material was further subtracted from 
Isaiah, and a breach was made in the integrity of the section, 
Isa. 28-33. This attack was advanced by Giesebrecht in a very 
thorough discussion of the opening chapter of the section. He 
undertook to show that the present sequence of the several proph- 
ecies in this chapter (Isa. 28 1-4, 5 f., 7-22, 23-29) cannot pos- 
sibly be an original and organic sequence, and attempted to 
account for the present order as due to successive revisions by 
Isaiah himself at different periods of Ms life. To support this 
view he sought evidence of revision elsewhere in the book, and 
contended that 8 9 f. and 17 12-14 (prophecies against Assyria 
which had been rejected by Stade) were, indeed, incongruous in 
their contexts, but could be explained as later revisions by Isaiah 
himself of the earlier and gloomier prophecies that preceded. 

The question whether Giesebrecht's theory of revisions by 
Isaiah himself or Stade's theory of later additions and interpola- 
tions by other writers is the more probable explanation in such 
cases of incongruous contexts, confronts us again when we turn 
to the main body of chapters 28-33. Here we find the most 
abrupt transitions from threat to promise (see above, note 6). 
These transitions are all the more inexphcable when the proph- 
ecies in which they occur are properly dated. As long as the 
integrity of Isa. 28 was maintained, it was common to let 28 
1-1, which must belong to a time before the fall of Samaria 
(722), determine the age of the whole. But when the unity of 
chapter 28 was given up, it was easy for Giesebrecht to show that 
at least 28 7-22 was intimately connected with chapters 29-31, 
and the latter chapters, which are directed against an Egyptian 
aUiance, were most naturally placed between 705 and 701 B.C., 
when it is known that Judah was negotiating with Egypt against 
Assyria. The alliance with Egypt was, however, in direct oppo- 
sition to the advice of the prophet in chapters 28-31. We should 
therefore expect in these chapters, as Giesebrecht himself points 
out, threats, not promises; and this expectation is justified by 
22 1-14, which very clearly reflects the situation in 701, and con- 
tains only denunciations. Thus, both from the point of view 
of their literary connections — or, rather, lack of connections — 
and from the point of view of the historical situation, the position 


of the hopeful prophecies in Isa. 28-31 is seen to be inca-easingly 
diflScult; and it is not surprising to find Soerensen denying that 
these prophecies belong in their present connections at all. His 
observations, however, were casual, and made little impression 
at the time. 

It is more important for the present to note the effect which 
Giesebrecht's criticism and his dating of Isa. 28-31 has upon 
the anti-Assyrian prophecies. When it has been shown that 
a group of prophecies predominantly threatening in tone belong 
to the time of Sennacherib, and that it is menacing prophecies 
which are to be expected in the circumstances, what is to be 
judged about the anti-Assyrian prophecies, which are all unqual- 
ifiedly consolatory and encouraging.'' Giesebrecht accepts the 
genuineness of these prophecies, but removes them all (with the 
exception of 37 a S. and the two oracles, 30 27-33 and 31 5-9, 
which lie within chapters 28-31) to an earlier period in Isaiah's 
life (711). By this proceeding the prophecies of hope in chapters 
28-31 are left in a still more isolated and unaccountable position. 
It is evident that, when once chapters 28-31 are included in the 
discussion, the problem of Isaiah's previsions of the future in 
the days of Sennacherib becomes increasingly perplexing. Are 
the anti- Assyrian prophecies genuine? If so, are they to be 
assigned to the time of Sennacherib? What is their relation to 
chapters 28-31? What is the relation of the threats in chapters 
28-31 to the promises? These are the questions which press 
for a solution. 

Stade's rejection of chapters 32 and 33, which began the work 
of disintegrating Isa. 28-31, also initiated the criticism of the 
Messianic prophecies. Isaiah 32, in which the Messianic proph- 
ecy, 32 1-8, occurs, had usually been placed in the later years of 
Isaiah's career. Chapter 11 was supposed to be organically con- 
nected with 10 through the contrast between the felled forest 
of Assyria (10 33 ff.) and the revived sprout of the stump of Jesse 
(11 l). Hence 11 l £f. was also assigned to Isaiah's latest period. 
Guthe rejected chapter 32, with Stade; but he went a step farther 
and denied that the connection between chapters 10 and 11 was 
original: it was, as he had no difficulty in showing, compilatory 
and not organic. With the separation of chapter 11 from 10, 


the Messianic prophecy in chapter 11 became chronologically 
homeless. Guthe foxind shelter for it by associating it with 
the closely kindred prophecy, 9 1-7. The latter was apparently 
organically connected with chapters 7 and 8, which were securely 
anchored in the period of the invasion of Judah by the alhes, 
Syria and Israel (734). The effect of denying the genuineness 
of 32 1-8 and of shifting 11 1 fl. to a place beside 9 1-7 was that 
all the prophecies of the Messianic King, including the Immanuel 
prophecies in 7 14 and 8 8, which Guthe interpreted messianically, 
fell in an early period of Isaiah's ministry, whereas the figure of 
the Messianic King disappears altogether from the later prophe- 
cies. In the latter the doctrines of the Remnant and the in- 
violability of Zion take its place. Guthe's reconstruction of 
Isaiah's eschatology may thus be regarded as a kind of synthesis 
of the theories of Duhm and Smith. In the early period Isaiah 
is supposed to have entertained a more supernaturalistic con- 
ception of the future, which centres about the ideas of the Day 
of the Lord and of the Messianic King, who, according to Guthe, 
belongs to the new order, after the old things have passed away. 
In the later period of his life Isaiah's view of the future is shaped 
by his doctrine of the Remnant and the invulnerabiUty of Zion, 
and is consequently more historical and ethical than his earUer 
conception. Guthe's labored attempt to account for these 
changes in Isaiah's anticipations of the future need not detain 
us ; for no sooner had this theory been built up than it was under- 
mined, though unawares, by Giesebrecht. Giesebrecht also re- 
jected chapter 32, with Stade, and, with Guthe, severed 11 from 
its connection with 10, ascribing it to the same age with 9 1-7; 
but he followed Duhm in denying the Messianic import of Im- 
manuel in 7 14, and by textual criticism eliminated Immanuel 
from 8 8. Now, the strongest Unk by which 9 1-7 is united with 
chapters 7 and 8 is the supposed identification of the Messianic 
child in 9 1-7 with Immanuel (interpreted messianically) in 
7 14 and 8 8. 

If Immanuel is not the Messiah, this link is broken, and only 
one slender filament connects 9 1-7 with chapters 7 and 8, namely, 
the verse 9 l compared with 2 Kings 15 29. The latter describes 
the devastation of Gilead and GaKlee by the Assyrians in 734, 


and the reference to the same events in Isa. 9 1 might seem to 
fix the date of the following prophecy in the same period. If this 
connection with chapters 7 and 8 were broken, the Messianic 
prophecies in 9 2-7 and 11 1 fiE. would be set chronologically 
adrift. On what unknown shores would they finally land.'' 

The disintegrating work of the scholars mentioned above 
reached its climax in the commentary on Isaiah by Bernhard 
Duhm (1892). This commentary makes an epoch in the criti- 
cism and interpretation of the prophet. In the influence it has 
exerted it ranks with the commentaries of Gesenius, Hitzig, and 
Ewald. Yet I have ventured to assign Duhm's commentary to 
the era of disintegration rather than to the era of reconstruction. 
As a matter of fact, the theory of the significance of Isaiah ad- 
vanced in the commentary differs in no essential particular from 
that presented in the Theologie der Propheten. But Duhm per- 
ceived clearly and appUed consistently the great critical prin- 
ciples of which previous investigators had only caught gUmpses, 
or which they had been able to apply only in isolated instances. 
In so doing he brought all previous criticism to a head, and pre- 
pared the way for an entirely new conception of the significance 
of Isaiah's teachings. 

Three things distinguish this commentary from its predecessors. 
First, Duhm attacked the literary sequences in the Book of Isaiah 
in a more determined way than had ever been done before. The 
book was analyzed into a large number of unrelated sections. 
This was in effect a return to the fragmentary hypothesis of 
Koppe and Eichhorn. But, as would be expected after nearly a 
century of study, Duhm's analysis was much more systematic 
and discriminating than that of the earlier critics. Secondly, in 
separating the fragments from one another, the principles of 
Hebrew poetry were employed. It was shown how changes in 
rhythm often concurred with a change of subject. The frag- 
ments stood out formally distinct from each other. A great gain! 
At this point Duhm revitalized the work of Lowth as he had re- 
vitalized the work of Eichhorn and Koppe. The great commen- 
taries of the nineteenth century had given too little attention to 
the poetic structure of Isaiah's oracles. But Duhm saw, as his 
predecessors had not seen, the great importance of this criterion 


for textual and even for historical criticism. The result of Duhm's 
analysis was to demonstrate more forcibly than had ever before 
been done that the Book of Isaiah is the product of centuries of 
compilers and editors. This had, of course, long been acknowl- 
edged to a certain extent, especially since the time of Stade, but 
it had commonly been supposed that Isaiah had a considerable 
share in the work. It had been tacitly assumed that Isaiah was 
an author; in Duhm's view Isaiah was a preaching prophet rather 
than a writing prophet, and took Uttle pains to preserve his utter- 
ances.^' It follows that the more or less fragmentary oracles 
that have been preserved to us are not ordinarily to be interpreted 
by the contexts in which they now stand; the order and con- 
nection are secondary and artificial. Each fragment must be 
interpreted by itself. This principle is not stated by Duhm in so 
many words, but it underKes all his exegesis. Thirdly, closely 
connected with this more purely literary criticism is Duhm's his- 
torico-religious criticism. He supposes that the final redaction 
of the book was made largely in the interest of eschatological 
dogmas which prevailed among the Jews in the last two cen- 
turies before Christ. The eschatological problem which, though 
not always recognized, gave direction to the criticism of Isaiah, 
is now brought to the front with full consciousness of its central 
importance. In these three particulars — the adoption of the 
fragmentary hypothesis, the employment of the principles of 
Hebrew poetic form to support it, and the emphasis upon the 
eschatological problem — Duhm's commentary lays the founda- 
tion for the further development of criticism. It is beside our 
present purpose to exhibit all the results at which, in the em- 
ployment of this method, Duhm arrives. We must confine our 
attention to those which bear directly upon the questions we 
have been considering. 

If we turn to Duhm's criticism of chapters 28-33, we find that 
the unity of this section, which had been attacked at its end (chap- 
ters 32-33) and its beginning (chapter 28) by Stade and Giese- 
brecht, is now thoroughly shattered. The transitions from threats 
to promises in these chapters are recognized to be impossible, 

" Only chapters 6-8 and 28-31 (in their original form) are allowed to have 
been composed by Isaiah. 


and the genuineness of many of the promissory passages is denied." 
They are held to represent a later eschatology than Isaiah's. 
The threatening nucleus of chapters 28-31 is placed in the time 
of Sennacherib (705-701), with Giesebrecht. On the other hand, 
most of the great anti-Assyrian prophecies are retained, and as- 
cribed to the same period. The difficulty which Giesebrecht 
sought to avoid by assigning the anti-Assyrian predictions to an 
earlier period, Duhm attempts to dispose of in another way. 
He thinks that the threats in chapters 28-31 are directed pubKcly 
to the people, whereas the promises in these chapters whose gen- 
uineness he defends, and the promises in the anti-Assyrian group, 
are given privately to the Eemnant. But there is no hint in 
these consolatory prophecies that they are addressed exclusively 
to an inner circle. Further, Duhm does not tell us how both 
the threats and the promises can be realized at the same time. 
If Zion is to be destroyed on account of the sinners, how is the 
righteous Remnant to be saved? If it is to be preserved for the 
sake of the Remnant, how are the sinners to be destroyed? 
Could not the imgodly also find refuge in Zion? As criticism 
advances, the contradiction between the eschatology of hope and 
the eschatology of doom becomes more and more apparent, and 
it would seem as if a choice between them must be made. 

Again, Duhm takes the step in the criticism of the specifically 
Messianic prophecies for which Guthe and Giesebrecht had pre- 
pared the way. He treats 9 1 as a gloss, and thus breaks the 
one remaining Unk between the Messianic prophecy, 9 2-7, and 
chapters 7 and 8. This leaves 9 2-7 and its companion piece, 11 
1 ff., without chronological anchorage. Duhm combines these two 
prophecies with 32 1-5, which he accepts as genuine, and 2 i-i, 
which is similar in form and feeKng though not in subject-matter, 
and thinks that they were uttered toward the close of Isaiah's 
life; 9 2-7 is assigned to the time of Seimacherib's campaign; the 
other prophecies are placed vaguely in Isaiah's old age and re- 
garded as "swan songs." Duhm's arguments for these dates are 
very inconclusive, and the real reason for attributing them to the 

"Among these are 28 5-6 (a gloss upon verses 1-4); 29 lS-25; 30 18-26; 
31 5-9, in its present form; chap. 33. On the other hand, 28 23-29; 29 5-8 
(substantially); 30 27-33; and all of chap. 32 are accepted. 


latest years of Isaiah's career would seem to be that Duhm is 
unable to find a convenient place for them anywhere else. This 
is not at all reassuring. If we can find a place for these prophe- 
cies, 9 2-7 excepted, only by locating them in a period of Isaiah's 
life about which nothing is known, the question inevitably arises. 
Are they prophecies of Isaiah at all.'' Thus in the criticism of the 
prophecies assigned to the time of Sennacherib and in the criti- 
cism of the Messianic prophecies, Duhm's positions cannot be 
regarded as final. They raise problems which they do not solve. 
In another respect Duhm leaves the student in doubt. His crite- 
rion for distinguishing between early and late eschatology is 
often vague. He holds that Isaiah was the creator of the escha- 
tology of hope, and in consequence his eschatology is usually fluid 
in character, whereas the eschatology of the later writers is allu- 
sive, implying fixed dogmatic ideas. This criterion is interesting, 
but often fails to carry conviction. For example, it is difficult 
to see how Duhm can accept 32 15-20 or 30 27-33 but reject 
30 18-26; or how he can accept the nucleus of 31 5-9 but reject 
10 33 f. It would appear as if the passages which he accepts 
and those he rejects were often too similar in character to warrant 
such different treatment; and the question presses whether the 
disintegrating process which culminates in Duhm's commentary 
should be brought to a stop, and the passages which he rejects 
be defended on the basis of the passages which he accepts, or 
whether criticism should push still further and, on the basis of 
the passages which Duhm rejects, abandon many passages which 
he still accepts. The latter is the course which criticism actually 
took in the next stage of its development. The result was a new 
positive construction of the rehgious significance of Isaiah.^^ 

It was Hackmann who laid the foundations for the new con- 
struction. His work was carried on by Cheyne, Bruckner, and 
Volz. The capstone was placed upon it by Marti." 

^ In the criticism of chapters 36-37, the other main problem of Isa. 1-39, 
Duhm accepted Stade's results. 

'* Cf . Hackmann, Zukunftserwartungen des Jesaia (1893); Cheyne, Intro- 
duction to the Book of Isaiah (1895); Bruckner, Die Composition des Buches 
Jesaia, 28-33 (1897); Volz, Die Vorexilische Jahwehprophetie und der Messias 
(1897); Marti, Das Buch Jesaia (1900). 


In his literary criticism Hackmann agrees in general with 
Dnhm though he arrived at his conclusions for the most part 
independently of Duhm. The methodical principle of his his- 
torical construction is that all investigation of Isaiah's eschatology, 
and for that matter of every problem connected with the book, 
must start from the prophecies which can be dated with tol- 
erable certainty. The datable prophecies gather around the two 
great political crises in Isaiah's hfetime, the Syro - Ephraimite 
war in 735-734, and the revolt from Assyria and the campaign 
of Sennacherib in 705-701. It is to be assumed that in these 
crises the profoundest convictions of Isaiah would find classic 
expression. In chapters 6-8 are found the views of Isaiah, as 
developed in 735-734. In consequence of the refusal of Ahaz 
and the people to follow the prophet's counsels, his message at that 
time became a message of doom for both Israel and Judah. The 
only hopes which he cherished were concentrated upon his own 
immediate followers (8 16-18), who constitute the Remnant. 
With Duhm and Giesebrecht, Hackmann denied the Messianic 
character of Immanuel, and, with Duhm, he separated 9 2-7 
from the preceding Syro-Ephraimitic prophecies. Thus the escha- 
tological outlook in 735-734 was, so far as the nation was con- 
cerned, pessimistic in the extreme. 

The situation in 705-701 was analogous to the situation in 
735-734. The people refused to follow Isaiah's warnings not to 
rely on Egypt, and again the prophet announced doom. The 
prophecies which most accurately reflect Isaiah's views at this 
time are found in chapters 28-33 (for the date, see Giesebrecht 
and Duhm). Hackmann completes the work of Duhm, and 
denies the genuineness of all the hopeful predictions in these 
chapters except 28 23-29 and 32 15-20 (!), these two passages 
being ascribed to other periods of Isaiah's life. What is left of 
chapters 28-33 is thus a series of denunciations and predictions 
of doom. But contrary to Isaiah's expectations — here Hackmann 
introduces an important variation — ^Jerusalem was dehvered 
(c/. Stade and Duhm). The prophet interpreted this as a special 
dispensation of Jehovah, who thus sought to give a respite to his 
people that they might repent. But the people, whose heads 
were turned by the unexpected dehverance, far from amendment, 


plunged into mad revelry, which drew from Isaiah his direst oracle 
(22 1-4), foretelling the utter destruction of the nation.''' The 
two groups, chapters 6-8, and 28-31 with 22, are thus the two 
foci from which Isaiah's eschatology is to be described. 

Hackmann finds no period within the known hfetime of Isaiah 
in which the Messianic prophecies (9 2-7; 11 l ff.; 32 1-5; 2 2-4) 
can be placed. Duhm had removed them to the last years of 
Isaiah's life; Hackmann finds this imsatisfactory, and pushes 
them beyond the prophet's horizon altogether. The argument 
against the genuineness of these prophecies is strengthened by 
several new and important considerations drawn from their char- 
acter. The great anti-Assyrian prophecies, with their messages 
of encoviragement, are either rejected or ignored, with the excep- 
tion of chapters 10 and 18. These two chapters are placed 
between 705 and 701, but 18 is interpreted as a conditional prom- 
ise (!), and the usual interpretation of 10, which infers from its 
denunciation of Assyria a deliverance for Jerusalem, is denied. 
Hackmann thus arrives at a consistent theory of Isaiah's escha- 
tology. Beginning with some hope of a better future beyond 
the coming judgment, such as is expressed in 1 21-26 and 32 
15-20 (!), Isaiah is convinced by the obstinacy of Ahaz that this 
expectation is vain, and the only hope he now allows himself is 
that expressed in 8 I6-I8, which concerns his immediate followers 
exclusively, and has nothing to do with the nation. The con- 
viction of coming national disaster which was gained in 735-734 
was intensified as time went on, till it reaches its climax in chap- 
ters 28-31 (expurgated of their consolatory sections) and 22. 
Instead of a prophet of eschatological hope, Isaiah has become in 
Hackmann's interpretation "a prophet of faith," who sets right- 
eousness above patriotism, and, clinging to faith beyond the forms 
of faith, is ready to surrender his hope for the nation, and for Zion 
itself, with which the rehgion of Judah was so closely bound up. 
Thus, in the alternative, defined above, between the eschatology 
of doom and the eschatology of hope, Hackmann decides for the 
former. Of the four great eschatological doctrines in Isa. 1-39, 
the doctrines of the Day of the Lord and the Remnant are ac- 

" In dating 22 1-14 after the withdrawal ot Sennacherib, Hackmann followed 
a suggestion of Soerensen. 


cepted, and the doctrines of the invuhierability of Zion and the 
Messianic King are rejected. And it is interesting to note that the 
criticism which has led to this result leads also to a renewal of 
the emphasis upon the ethical and historical in Isaiah's teaching 
upon which Robertson Smith insisted, as against the supernatural 
and apocalyptic elements which Duhm had stressed. 

Cheyne's Introduction to the Book of Isaiah (1895) followed 
closely along the lines of criticism marked out by Duhm and 
Hackmann, but with a preference at important points — for ex- 
ample, in the rejection of the Messianic prophecies — for Hack- 
mann's results. The Introduction has the adventitious importance 
of being the first comprehensive work in EngUsh on the advanced 
criticism of Isaiah; but it was perhaps unfortunate that the task 
of introducing the newer criticism to English-speaking students 
should have devolved upon Professor Cheyne. His great learn- 
ing is cordially recognized by all Old Testament scholars. He 
is the possessor of a literary style which lends charm to all that he 
writes. He has in an unusual degree the gift of exegetical divina- 
tion — ^a divination which, unfortunately, in his "Jerahmeel" 
period borders on the mantic; but his logical faculty is deficient. 
He lacks the ability to present his evidence in a convincing way, 
and his readiness to assume the thing to be proved is almost un- 
Umited. In the Introduction he adopts the plan of criticising 
the chapters of the book seriatim. The student is accordingly 
plunged in medias res, since the first chapter happens to present 
some of the most deUcate problems of the book; and one who is 
not thoroughly famihar with previous criticism is likely to be- 
come bewildered. Phenomena whose critical significance would 
be readily understood if they were presented in their proper setting 
make no impression when viewed in the isolated way in which 
they must be considered when the present order of chapters is 

It might be thought that Cheyne's method is a proper appKca- 
tion of the principle of induction, and adapted to clear his results 
from the suspicion of bias in favor of any particular theory of 
Isaiah's eschatology.*' But all fruitful induction starts from 

" This seems to be the author's own view of his work; see Encyclopaedia Bib- 
lica, col. 2184. 


facts which are in themselves well ascertained, and whose signifi- 
cance can be fairly well understood, and, with the principles de- 
rived from these facts as a starting-point, the more complicated 
phenomena can be studied. This is the method of Hackmann, 
whose criticism thus takes on the form of a closely knit inductive 
argument, and in spite of incidental weaknesses proceeds with 
cumulative power. Not so in the case of Cheyne's Introduction. 
It is hardly more than a vast collection of more or less detached 
observations and suggestions, whose value is consequently ob- 
scured for those who are not already familiar with the criticism 
of the Book of Isaiah. In two respects, however, Cheyne goes 
beyond anything attempted by Duhm or Hackmann, namely, 
in the development of the linguistic argument against suspected 
passages, and in the almost exhaustive collection of parallels in 
the later literature to the content of these passages. In the ac- 
cumulation of linguistic evidence, Cheyne has expended his 
strength on a kind of proof the value of which is not estimated as 
highly as it used to be; but by his collection of parallels he has 
earned the gratitude of all subsequent investigators. 

The scholars who carried on Hackmann's work in the most 
effective way were Bruckner, Volz, and Marti. Bruckner de- 
voted himself to strengthening and refining Hackmann's criti- 
cism of Isa. 28-33, but his work does not compare with that of 
Volz in importance. Volz particularly assailed the genuineness 
of the Messianic passages, setting himself to prove that the idea 
of a Messianic king was alien not only to Isaiah's profoundest con- 
victions, but to the most characteristic teachings of pre-exilic 
prophecy generally. If this can be demonstrated, the burden 
of proof rests upon those who defend the genuineness of the Mes- 
sianic prophecies, and not upon those who reject them. There is 
a weakness in Volz's position, however, just at this point. He 
himself admits the presence of the Messianic idea, or at least of 
nearly related conceptions, in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, though, 
upon his thesis, these ideas agree with the ruling convictions 
of those prophets as little as the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 
with his; and he tries to account for this by alleging that in the 
age of Jeremiah and Ezekiel the Messianic eschatology was in 
the air, and that the prophets were unconsciously influenced by 


it. But, if so, may it not have been already in the air in Isaiah's 
day, and cannot Isaiah have been influenced by it in the same 
way? Volz gives no adequate consideration to this possibility, 
and until the question is settled his theory must be regarded as 
exposed to attack at a vulnerable point. 

Marti, finally, sought to complete the criticism, begun by Stade, 
of the anti-Assyrian group of prophecies. He rejects all of them 
except chapters 10 and 18. By questionable criticism and exe- 
gesis he attempts to show that, in their original form, neither of 
these prophecies predicts the overthrow of Assyria, and hence that 
they do not imply the deliverance of Jerusalem; they give no 
support, therefore, to the opinion that, at one time in his life, 
Isaiah entertained a hopeful view of the future of Judah. 

But the importance of Marti's commentary does not lie merely 
in its criticism of the anti-Assyrian prophecies. In it the criti- 
cism which we have been following since the time of Stade, and 
especially since Hackmann, reaches its logical conclusion. The 
commentary cannot be called an original work. It sets forth no 
new principles for the interpretation of Isaiah. In fertilizing 
power it is in marked contrast with Duhm's commentary. Marti's 
talent is for lucid exposition and orderly arrangement. He does 
not scintillate new ideas; he presents accepted ideas in clear 
and definite form. This estimate is not intended to depreciate 
the excellences of his commentary. Marti's special gifts of both 
analysis and synthesis are admirably displayed in it, and the vol- 
ume is perhaps the best Baedeker which the student could have to 
the criticism of the past generation. The skill shown in handling 
the mass of matter accumulated by preceding scholars cannot be 
too highly praised. It is all analyzed with the greatest care, and 
the important things are brought out and disposed in a way that 
concentrates attention upon them. The eschatological problem, 
which we have seen to be the chief problem of the book, occupies 
the central place in the exposition. In the selection and arrange- 
ment of the material, and especially in the perfecting of the 
exegetical basis for the newer criticism, there is abundant op- 
portunity for independence of judgment, if not for originality of 
conception, and independence of this kind the commentary un- 
questionably has. 


Two fundamental propositions underlie Marti's work. The 
first is adopted from Hackmann: Isaiah "is not the prophet of 
eschatology, but the prophet of faith." By eschatology is here 
meant not the eschatology of doom, but the eschatology of hope, 
expressed most concretely in the two doctrines of the inviolability 
of Zion and the Messianic King. The second thesis, also, had 
been advanced by some of his predecessors, but the thoroughness 
with which it is applied is characteristic of Marti's commentary. 
This proposition is that down to the exUe Isaiah's prophecies were 
preserved with but little change, except for accidental corruptions, 
but that in and after the exile extensive additions and interpola- 
tions were made to the collections of his oracles, in the spirit of 
the times, so that almost every prediction of doom now has its 
pendant of glowing promise. The reason for this can be readily 
understood. In the exilic and post-exilic periods, owing to the 
completely changed historical conditions the sense for the real 
meaning of pre-exiUc prophecy was lost. The message of doom 
which was the heart, or, perhaps better, the conscience, of the 
earlier prophecy was no longer understood. What the people 
longed for, what they needed, under the foreign rule to which 
they were subject for centuries was a word of hope and courage. 
Now the interest of the scribes who collected and preserved the 
remains of the ancient literature that survived the catastrophe 
of the exile was not an antiquarian or historical interest; it was a 
religious interest. And to make pre-exilic prophecy rehgiously 
edifying to their contemporaries, the scribes used the predictions 
of national ruin, which had been fulfilled in the exile, as a dark 
background, against which the golden age to come shone out more 
glorious. Marti has endeavored to separate these two elements 
more consistently and completely than his predecessors, and this 
is one of the chief merits of his commentary. The following 
analysis, based on Marti, will enable the reader to see at a glance 
the results of criticism in this stage: — 


I. Isaiah I-XII 

Chajder Chapter 

i Judgment offset by ii, 2-4 (5) Eschatological Hope " 

ii, 6-iv, 1 " " " iv, 2-6 

V, 1-29 ' V, 30 

vi, 1-viii, 18 (19-21) " " " ix. 1-7 " " ^o 

ix, 8-x, 4 « « « ^ g_^^ g 

i-ix, as a whole, culminating in x-xii " " 

n. Isaiah Xm-XXVn 

xiii-xxiii. Judgments on tlie nations, culminating in xxiv-xxvii, Eschato- 
logical Judgment of the World.^' 

m. Isaiah XXVin-XXXV 

xxviii, 1-4 Judgment oflFset by xxviii, 5-6 Eschatological Hope 

xxviii, 7-22 " " " xxviii, 23-29 " 

xxix, 1-4 (6) ' xxix, 5, 7-8 " 

xxix, 9-15 " " " xxix, 16-24 " 

XXX, 1-17 " " " XXX, 18-26, 27-33 " 

xxxi, 1-4 " " " xxxi, 5-9 " 

xxviii-xxxi, as a whole, culminating in xxxii-xxxiii, Eschatological Appen- 
dix I 
xxxiv-xxxv, Eschatological Appen- 
dix H 


Narrative Section Eschatologized 

It must not be supposed that the only work done on Isaiah in 
the twenty years from Stade to Marti was done by the school of 
advanced criticism whose history we have been following, but it 
can fairly be said that they have done nearly all the fruitful work, 
for it is they who have really grasped the problems of Isaiah 

" In attaching ii, 2-4 to chapter i, Marti follows Lagarde; i, 27 f., also, is an 
eschatological gloss. 

^ Isa. vi, 136 and vii, 15 are eschatological glosses, and viii, 86-19 is an escha- 
tological fragment ofiFsetting viii, 5-Sa. 

^ Within chapters xiii-xxiii are various eschatological fragments or glosses, 
notably xiv, 24-27; xiv, 28-32 (especially verse 32); xvii, 12-14; and cf. xvii, 
7 f.; xviii, 3, 5, 7. 


and tried methodically to solve them. The hypothesis, more or 
less clearly defined, which has guided their investigation is that 
the present Book of Isaiah is the product of a long process of com- 
pilation, accretion, and redaction, and that even with the earhest 
collections of his oracles Isaiah had very little to do. When it 
is recognized that the present connections of the various oracles 
or groups of oracles are not original, the book falls apart into 
conflicting prophecies of threat and consolation, between which 
no sufficient transitions can be discovered. The next step is 
plain, namely, to deny the genuineness of the chief prophecies of 
consolation, for which no adequate occasion can be found in the 
historical situation in Isaiah's day, and which contradict the mis- 
sion given to the prophet in his inaugural vision (Isa. 6). 

If the position is to be successfully attacked, it must be in one or 
more of three ways: First, The attempt may be made to prove 
that the prophecies stand in the connections in which the prophet 
himself put them; and a hypothesis may be framed to explain 
the unmediated juxtaposition of doom and deliverance. Secondly, 
the question may be raised whether the eschatology of hope 
which recent critics ascribe to the post-exilic period accords in 
fact with the known eschatology of that period. If not, can 
the various elements in it be wrought into an organic unity with 
Isaiah's known eschatology of doom? Finally, if this cannot 
be done, is it possible to show that there was in Isaiah's day a 
popular eschatology, which Isaiah inherited, but did not succeed 
in fusing with his own ruling ideas? In that case the eschatology 
of hope found in the present form of Isaiah's prophecies might 
conceivably be genuine, even though not brought into organic 
relation with his other teachings. Isaiah would then be like 
Luther, whose original ideas radically conflicted with many of 
his inherited beliefs, though he himself was often unaware of 
the contradiction. 

Most of the commentaries and introductions that appeared 
between 1880 and 1900, and even down to the present time, have 
either ignored the problems raised by recent criticism or have 
been contented with animadverting upon points of detail, without 
a thorough discussion of its fundamental principles. For this 
reason these works are, for the most part, of subordinate interest, 


and a detailed criticism of them in this article is unnecessary.^^ 
But before proceeding to the next definite stage something should 
be said about some important monographs and essays upon the 
narrative section of Isaiah (chapters 36-38) and upon the anti- 
Assyrian prophecies.^ Winckler adopted Stade's analysis of 
the narrative chapters (Isa. 36-39) with some modifications, but 
advanced the theory that there were two campaigns of Senna- 
cherib against Judah, a successful one in 701, to which 2 Kings 

^ The following representative commentaries and introductions cited by the 
names of their authors may be mentioned. Cheyne (1880, 5th ed. 1890), suggest- 
ive of what was to come, but now largely antiquated; Bredenkamp (1886-87) and 
Orelli (1887, 3d ed. 1904), representatives of the strict conservative position; De- 
litzsch (4th ed. 1889), because of the piety and learning of its author, exerted an 
important influence in recommending the older criticism to timid students, but 
shows little apprehension of the fundamental problems of the book, which are too 
often glossed over by means of a somewhat sentimentalizing exegesis; Dillmann (5th 
ed. 1890), a lineal descendant of Ewald, and the best representative of the older 
critical position, characterized by solid learning, a thesaurus of the history of crit- 
icism and exegesis, but with a strong tendency toward harmonizing exegesis; the 
sixth edition (1908), edited by Kittel, has all the merits of the fifth, with important 
concessions to recent criticism, a work of permanent value; G. A. Smith (Expositor's 
Bible, 1889), a work of great originality and inspiration, which has perhaps done 
more to interest the lay reader and the preacher in Isaiah than any other work, 
but the glowing imagination which has accomplished this tends to fuse many sec- 
tions of Isaiah into a false unity, and thus obscures the real problems of the book; 
Skinner (Cambridge Bible, 1896) and Whitehouse (Century Bible, 1905), two 
works whose value is not to be judged by their limited scope, both representing 
the principles of the older criticism; Skinner's introduction, an admirable exposi- 
tion of Isaiah's religious significance on the basis of these principles; Whitehouse, 
to be especially commended for its wealth of archaeological illustration; Box 
(1908), an excellent translation in metrical form, with brief but illuminating intro- 
ductions, and notes to the several prophecies, embodying the principles of Duhm 
and Cheyne; a handbook of results, not of processes; McPadyen (Bible for Home 
and School), elementary; Wade (Westminster Commentaries, 1911), a fair com- 
mentary of the reproductive kind, showing incidental traces of Duhm's exegesis, 
but making no very positive contribution to the subject; Kuenen's Introduction 
(Onderzoek, 1889), an admirable, condensed exposition of the older critical views 
of Isaiah, regarding many of Stade's positions as hypercriticism; Driver (Litera- 
ture of the Old Testament, 1891) maintains the older critical positions; in the 
revised edition (6th ed. 1897) he describes many of the results of recent criticism, 
but occupies a very reserved attitude toward them; Cornill's Introduction (Eng- 
lish trans., 1907) may be said, in general, to occupy Duhm's standpoint, but the 
discussions are not at all exhaustive. 

^Winckler, Alttestamentliche Untersuchungen (1892); Meinhold, Die 
Jesaiaerzahlungen, Jes. 36-39 (1898) ; Nagel, Der Zug des Sanherib gegen Jerusalem 
(1902); Prisek, Sanheribs PeldzUge gegen Juda (1903); to which I venture to 


18 13-16 refers, and a second, which ended in a great disaster, 
after 691. This theory is defended by Prdsek and in my own 
essay. Meinhold and Nagel reject this theory, but differ in their 
judgments on the narratives. Meinhold, on the ground of 
2 Kings 18 13-16 and Sennacherib's own inscriptions, denies the 
historical credibihty of the accounts, while Nagel defends it. 
The importance of the subject lies in its bearing upon the group 
of anti-Assyrian prophecies. If Isa. 36 and 37 relate to the cam- 
paign of 701 and are substantially trustworthy — ^that is, if there 
was a signal deliverance of Jerusalem at that time — ^and if Isaiah's 
threats and promises at that time are both accepted as genuine, 
then the promises were confirmed by the event, and the threats 
were not. If the signal deliverance in 701 is admitted, and the 
genuineness of the promises in 701 is denied, then Isaiah must be 
regarded as having been agreeably disappointed by the outcome 
(Hackmann). If, on the other hand, it is denied that there vi^as 
any remarkable deliverance in 701, the threats were fulfilled, and 
the promises were not. This is the view of Meinhold, who accepts 
both groups of prophecies, and thinks that Isa. 36-37 has been 
made to agree with Isaiah's prophecies of deliverance. If the 
signal deliverance is denied and the consolatory prophecies are re- 
jected, then there is perfect agreement between the situation in 
701 and Isaiah's attitude toward it. Finally, if there were two 
campaigns, a successful one in 701 and a disastrous one after 
691, it is conceivable that Isaiah's prophecies of doom may date 
from 701 and his prophecies of promise from the later period. 
In view of these various possibilities the problem of the narra- 
tive section in Isaiah is, as Meinhold contends, fundamental to 
any sound criticism of Isaiah's prophecies in 701. 

Wilke and Kiichler take up the other side of the problem, and 
discuss the attitude of Isaiah toward Assyria generally. Wilke 
denies the present sequences in the Book of Isaiah, but adopts a 
conservative position with respect to the anti-Assyrian prophecies. 
His discussion is very well arranged, and for that very reason 
the weaknesses in his position can be the more readily detected. 

add my own essay. The Invasion of Sennacherib, Bibliotheca Sacra (1906); 
Wilke, Jesaia und Assur (1905); Kiichler, Die Stellung des Propheten Jesaia 
zur PoUtik seiner Zeit (1906); Staerk, Das assyrische Weltreich im Urteil der 
Propheten (1908), (not accessible to me). 


Kiichler accepts in general the critical position of Duhm.but denies 
totally the trustworthiness of chapters 36-37. In consequence he 
must hold that Isaiah's expectations as expressed, for example, 
in chapter 10 were grievously disappointed." In addition to 
the above essays, attention should be called to fouj other mono- 
graphs which treat of various phases of oiu- problem.^ Mein- 
hold's monograph on the Remnant is reactionary as compared 
with recent critical theories. It is a strange mixture of acute 
incidental exegesis and impossible combinations. For example, 
to explain how the righteous can be saved in Jerusalem while the 
wicked are destroyed — ^the question in which his essay really 
culminates — ^he suggests that the ungodly went out of the city 
to the war against Sennacherib (pp. 156 ff.). In Guthe's most 
recent exposition of Isaiah's teachings his earher imtenable theories 
are abandoned. He strongly inclines to the results of Hackmann 
and Marti, but finds in 28 16 and 1 21-46 evidence that toward 
the end of his hfe Isaiah entertained the hope of a national restora- 
tion — something that Hackmann will not allow. The Messianic 
passages are relegated to an appendix. This disposition of them 
is intended to manifest Guthe's serious doubt of their genuineness, 
though he is not quite prepared to reject them. The reader 
cannot find a more admirably balanced resum6 of the chief 
results of modern criticism than Guthe's little book. Kennett's 
theory is that the present Book of Isaiah was compiled in the 
Maccabaean age, and that many of the prophecies in chapters 
1-39 originated in that time — an extreme development of Duhm's 

In the works just described no new principles of criticism or 

^ KUchler's monograph is also important for its polemic against another 
thesis of Winckler propomided in his Geschichte Israels (1895) and in his Keilins- 
schriften und das Alte Testament, namely, that the eighth-century prophets were 
largely actuated in their attitude toward Assyria by political considerations. 
Kiichler shows conclusively that Isaiah, at least, was governed exclusively by 
religious and idealistic motives. 

^ Meinhold, Studien zur israelitischen Religionsgeschichte, Bd. I, Der 
heilige Rest (1903); Guthe, Jesaia (Rehgionsgeschichtliche VolksbUcher, 1907); 
Kennett, The Composition of the Book of Isaiah (1910); Nowack, Die Zukunfts- 
hoffnimgen Israels in der assyrischen Zeit (Festschrift Holtzmann, 1902, inac- 
cessible to me). 


interpretation are advanced, but only fresh exegetical or critical 
combinations, based on the general principles either of the earlier 
or the recent critical school. We have now to turn to a new 
formulation of the problem which definitely marks the third stage 
in the latest period of criticism. The parentage of the idea is to 
be imputed to Gunkel. In his Schopfung und Chaos in Urzeit und 
Endzeit (1895) he proved that in many passages in the Bible, and 
particularly in the first chapter of Genesis, there are borrowings, 
reminiscences, or allusions which can be traced to The Babylonian 
Cosmogonic Poems. The method he pursued was to take many 
phrases, words, and ideas in the Bible, and show that by themselves 
they are unintelligible; to be understood, theymust be set inalarger 
context. The Babylonian Creation epic furnishes this context. 
In the application of this method it appeared that many ideas 
which now are found only in late portions of the Bible and which, 
for this reason, were supposed to be themselves late, had a long 
antecedent history in Hebrew literature or tradition. Gunkel 
himself suggested that the same method should be applied to the 
subject of Israelite eschatology generally, and in (Bousset und 
Gunkel) Forschungen zur Religion und Liter atur des Alien und 
Neuen Testaments, Heft 1 (1903), he sketched out a history of 
the eschatalogical idea of the Day of the Lord on the basis of 
this new method of research. But it remained for Gressmann 
in his Ursprung der israelitisch-jiidischen Eschatologie (1906) to 
subject for the first time the whole problem of Old Testament 
eschatology to a re-examination in the light of Gunkel's new 
method. The result for the criticism and interpretation of 
Isaiah was extraordinary. 

We have seen how Duhm considered Isaiah to be the real 
founder of the eschatology of hope; and how, on the other hand, 
Hackmann, Cheyne, Volz, and Marti sought to show that the 
eschatology of hope was irreconcilable with the eschatology of 
doom proclaimed by Isaiah; and, further, how from the contra- 
diction between the two sets of ideas they drew the conclusion 
that the eschatology of hope could not have originated with 
Isaiah, but must have arisen later. Gressmann grants the premise 
of these critics, namely, that there is no organic connection 
between the eschatology of doom and the eschatology of hope, 


but he denies their conclusion. He raises the question whether 
the eschatology of hope may not be earher than Isaiah, earlier 
than the prophecy of the eighth century altogether. If it were 
so, these prophets might have accepted the eschatology of hope 
as a part of their traditional faith notwithstanding the fact that 
it could not be combined with the eschatology of doom in an 
organic unity (see above, p. 504). The way in which Gressmann 
works out this point is very interesting; but only the briefest 
outline of his argmnent is here possible. 

There are, according to Gressmann, three ways in which the ex- 
istence of a preprophetic eschatology may be established: First, It 
may be inferred from the prophetic polemic; the prophetic antithe- 
sis impUes a preprophetic thesis. Secondly, it may be inferred from 
those eschatological views which are not organically related to the 
fundamental convictions of the prophets, but stand in a more or 
less manifest contradiction to them. Thirdly, it may be inferred 
from conceptions or phrases which are not of themselves in- 
telligible, and hence imply an antecedent history. By evidence 
of this kind Gressmann first seeks to establish the existence of a 
preprophetic eschatology of doom. Here he has his strongest 
case. It must be admitted that the Day of the Lord in Amos 
(5 18) is already a standing phrase. He uses it without explain- 
ing it, assuming that his hearers would imderstand it. The idea 
of the Day of the Lord must therefore be older than Amos. What 
is its history? What was understood by the phrase? If we turn 
to Zephaniah, the Day of the Lord appears as a cosmical catas- 
trophe (1 2 ff., 18). According to the modern critical school (cf. 
Stade) Zephaniah was the first prophet to conceive the Day of the 
Lord as a cosmical catastrophe. But this position is untenable, 
since the conception in Zephaniah is altogether vague, not concrete 
and definite as we should expect if it was original with him. How 
the catastrophe is to come about is not clearly explained; con- 
trast Zeph. 1 18 with 1 16. Moreover, Zephaniah is not the first 
prophet to express the conception of a cosmical catastrophe: 
it is plainly imphed in the earlier prophets (see Amos 8 9; Hos. 
4 2; and above all Isa. 2). But it did not originate with any one 
of these prophets; their conception is no more coherent than 
Zephaniah's. Finally, the idea of a cosmical catastrophe is itself 


a mythical idea, and as such prehistoric; it cannot, therefore, have 
originated with the prophets.^* 

Gressmann surmises that in the development of the idea of the 
Day of the Lord there were three stages. There was, first, the 
mythical stage, in which some physical disaster, such as a flood 
or a fire or an earthquake, must have been in mind. In support 
of this assumption the prophecies against the heathen nations are 
alleged. The doom denounced in these prophecies upon all 
nations presupposes the idea of a cosmical catastrophe. The 
second was the popular Israelite stage, in which the primitive 
notion became blurred and indefinite, as we now find it reflected 
in the prophets, and at the same time the catastrophe was limited 
to the nations, whereas Israel was to escape. This stage may be 
inferred from the polemic of Amos (see Amos 5 18 ff.). Finally, 
there is the prophetic stage, in which the idea of the Day of the 
Lord is historical and moral. The Day of the Lord is a day of 
destruction, not solely for the enemies of Israel, but for Israel 
itseK, because of its sins. This destruction is to be accomplished 
by a foreign foe — ^the Assyrians or the Chaldaeans, the Persians, 
the Syrians, as the case may be. The natural convulsions, there- 
fore, which are described in Isa. 2 or in Zephaniah, are not to 
be taken in the original mythological sense. The prophets are 
speaking of the destruction of Israel by the kingdoms which 
Jehovah commissioned to execute his judgment. Yet the con- 
vulsions of nature are not to be interpreted allegorically any more 
than literally. They are nothing more than poetic formulas 
which the prophets borrow from the past to heighten the mys- 
terious and awful effect of their predictions of doom. They 
describe the historical ruin of the nation poetically in the terms 
of the old mythical catastrophe. 

In the same way, Gressmann tries to reconstruct a preprophetic 
eschatology of hope. In the pictures of the Golden Age, for 
example, there are many traits which would not naturally be 
suggested to the prophet's mind by the historical situation and 
the needs of the people. The predictions of freedom from foreign 

'* Gressmann argues, further, that Palestine was physically not the kind 
of a land in which the idea of cosmical catastrophe would be likely to arise, and 
infers from this that the whole notion is foreign. 


oppression, restoration from exile, and the like, may be so ex- 
plained, but others cannot be. The covenant with the beasts 
of the field (Hos. 2 20), or the idylUc description of peace in 
nature (Isa. 11 6-8), can only be explained by mythology. This 
is corroborated by analogies in other Uteratures. Thus the 
notion of the harmlessness of the wild beasts is especially as- 
sociated in classical mythology with the animals that dwell in 
sacred groves — a garden of the gods. It is easy to imagine that 
the same notion existed in Hebrew mythology in connection with 
Paradise, the Garden of the Lord (Ezek. 28 13), and to infer that 
the Golden Age to come, in such passages as Isa. 11 6-8, is painted 
in the colors of Paradise. Similarly, such imaginative pictures 
of a transformed nature as those in Isa. 41 18-20; 48 21; 55 12 ff. 
may best be explained as derived from a myth of a restored Eden. 
This conjecture is supported by Isa. 51 3, where the new Jerusalem 
is described as Eden. It is not said in this passage that Eden 
itself will return, but Jerusalem is described in the terms of a 
restored Eden. The descriptions in Deutero-Isaiah thus disclose 
an old mythological background; but the prophet uses mythical 
features in a purely poetical way, to paint the glory of the restored 
Jerusalem, just as the mythical features of the eschatology of 
doom were seen to have lost their original meaning and to have 
become traditional poetic imagery. This use of mythological de- 
scription is characteristic of "the prophetic style." 

In the same way it is argued that the references to milk in Joel 
3 18, where the figure is by no means self-explanatory, and to milk 
and honey in Isa. 7 15-21 are in origin mythical. In other rehg- 
ions milk and honey are the food of the gods; their natural place 
is in a description of the abundance of a garden of the gods. The 
phrase, "a land flowing with milk and honey," does not occur 
in the Hebrew stories of Paradise, but is a standing hyperbole for 
the productiveness of Palestine. Originally, however, it must 
have had a mythological connotation.^' Gressmann contends 
that these prophecies and phrases, and many others of similar 
character, can best be explained by the hypothesis that there was 
an old myth of an eschatological Eden, the counterpart of the 
primitive Eden. But if the prophecies of eschatological hope 

" Gressmann, op. cit., p. 212. 


have a mythical background, the eschatology of hope, as well as 
the eschatology of doom, is prehistoric, and therefore preprophetic. 
By similar combinations he endeavors to establish the prepro- 
phetic origin of the idea of the Messianic King. 

It must be admitted, I think, that Gressmann makes a very 
strong argument for the preprophetic origin both of the eschatol- 
ogy of doom and the eschatology of hope. Its real force can 
scarcely be estimated from the brief resume given above. But 
granted that he establishes this part of his case, the genuineness 
of the hopeful prophecies in Isaiah is not thereby proved. It is 
quite conceivable that Isaiah may have adopted and modified the 
eschatology of doom without at the same time adopting the es- 
chatology of hope, as indeed Gressmann himself admits that the 
pre-exilic prophets, as contrasted with the post-exilic prophets, 
were stormy petrels, whose main message was one of warning. 
In favor of such a supposition it may be urged that the eschatology 
of hope has not been made moral and historical in any such de- 
gree as the eschatology of doom. Yet why should not the prophets 
have been able to spiritualize the former as they transformed 
the latter.? Gressmann's theory is that the eschatology of hope 
in the prophets is an unwilling concession to the popular pre- 
prophetic eschatology. But why was it necessary for them to 
make such concessions? Finally, the contradiction between the 
eschatology of doom and the eschatology of hope in the present 
form of the prophecies remains — a contradiction which Gress- 
mann admits. All this would seem to make strongly against the 
genuineness of the eschatology of hope in Isaiah, even supposing 
it to be established that its ideas were ciurent before his day. It 
is conceivable that the pre-exilic prophets resisted the popular 
eschatology of promise,^' while the later prophets, under changed 
conditions, were more tolerant of it. 

Gressmann has an extremely ingenious way of getting around 
these difficulties. He reminds us that the myth of a cosmic catas- 
trophe which is supposed to He behind the eschatology of doom 
and the myth of an eschatological Eden which is supposed to lie 
behind the eschatology of hope are both purely hypothetical. As 

*' Gressmann even conjectures that this optimistic outlook was cultivated 
in the schools of the "false prophets." 


a matter of fact, no such myths have been discovered. They are 
matters of inference;^' but Gressmann is sure of his inferences. 
He next assumes that these myths had been sundered in very 
early times, before they became known to the IsraeUtes. They 
had once stood in an organic relation to each other; but this re- 
lation had been broken, and all memory of it had disappeared 
in remote times. The lack of connection between the eschatology 
of hope and the eschatology of doom which recent critics have 
made so much of, and which Gressmann admits, is to be explained 
by this early sunderance and disintegration of the great pair of 
eschatological myths. The unmediated juxtaposition of hope and 
doom in our prophetical books is but the inheritance from an al- 
ready disjointed past. The juxtaposition of contradictory utter- 
ances thus becomes a feature of "prophetic style" once more, 
a convention of prophetic writing. 

For this very subtle theory Gressmann thinks he can offer proof 
in one striking instance, namely, in the prophetic doctrine of the 
Remnant. Did the idea of the Remnant originally belong to the 
eschatology of doom or to the eschatology of hope? To the es- 
chatology of doom, unquestionably, answers Gressmann. The 
Remnant implies a catastrophe, and was originally intended to 
emphasize the greatness of the catastrophe (see Amos 3 12; 5 2 f.; 
Isa. 6 11 ff.; 17 5 ff.). But in the prophets the Remnant is incor- 
porated into the eschatology of hope. This reversal of significance 
was not made by the prophets themselves; for, when they speak of 
the Remnant, they assume that their hearers will apprehend 
the word as they do — the hope of the future is lodged in this Rem- 
nant. Thus Isaiah gives no explanation of the name of his son, 
Shear- jashub; he expects the people to understand the allusion.'" 
Similarly Amos alludes to the Remnant of Joseph (Amos 5 14 fi.) 
without explaining it. If we may infer from the way in which 
Amos speaks of the Day of the Lord that his contemporaries were 
famihar with the idea and the phrase, it may on the same grounds 
be inferred that they were familiar with the idea of the Remnant. 

^ Gressmann is here at a decided disadvantage as compared with Gunkel. 
In SchBpfung und Chaos Gmikel had a real myth to start with, whose existence 
in the earliest times could be proved; Gressmann has none. 

'"Scholars have often conjectured that Isaiah explained the name in some 
prophecy now lost. 


The transition from the eschatology of doom to the eschatology 
of hope through the change in the significance of the Remnant was 
not an original transition. An organic connection between the 
two eschatologies is not established in this way. The idea of the 
Remnant naturally belongs to the eschatology of doom. It can 
be transformed into hope only when the Remnant is identified with 
Israel. This is not expUcitly done by the prophets, which shows 
that they did not originate this new conception of the Remnant, 
but adopted it from the popular eschatology. But if the Prophets 
could in this instance adopt the popular eschatology of hope, al- 
though it had no organic connection with the eschatology of doom, 
there is no objection in principle to supposing that they adopted 
other elements of the popular eschatology. "With the idea of 
the Remnant [interpreted as a hope], the rigid eschatology of doom 
is broken through. A breach is now made, through which the en- 
tire eschatology of hope, or at least a great part of it, can enter. 
... It must also be borne in mind that the material was tradi- 
tional, and could therefore be handed on, without much concern 
about its consistency" (p. 243). 

Gressmann consequently lays down the following canon for the 
criticism of the prophets: "The sole warrantable criterion upon 
which the genuineness of an eschatological passage may be de- 
nied is the contemporary historical situation presupposed in it. 
So long as this is not irreconcilable with the ascription of the pas- 
sage to the author in whose book the prediction of future salva- 
tion (die Heilseschatologie) has come down to us, so long its gen- 
uineness may be maintained" (p. 243). Thus the criterion of 
religious ideas, which recent critics made the chief ground for 
denying the genuineness of the eschatological passages in Isaiah, 
is formally rejected by Gressmann. 

Gressmann did not propound his theories in an apologetic in- 
terest; in fact, in the form in which he presents them they are 
radical in the extreme. The genuineness of the Messianic pas- 
sages is indeed rehabihtated, but at what a price! They are the 
outgrowth of an alien mythology. As it was to be expected, how- 
ever, Gressmann 's rejection of the principles which have guided 
critics for a generation and his novel solution of the problems 
of the book were turned to account by scholars of a more con- 


servative temper. In Der aUtestamentliche Prophetismus (1912) 
Sellin attempted to re-establish, on the basis of Gressmaim's work, 
something very much like the old orthodox doctrine of Messianic 
prophecy. He denied, of course, that the eschatological ideas 
were derived from a foreign mythology, and tried to show that they 
all had their source in the revelation of Jehovah at Sinai. 
Mythical traits, the presence of which he admits, are only embel- 
lishments, borrowed from kindred ideas in other nations, and do 
not affect the substance of Israelite eschatology. With the work 
of Sellin criticism would seem to have boxed the compass, and 
to incline once more to positions held before 1880. 

I have contented myself with giving only a resume of Gress- 
mann's positions so far as they bear upon the genuineness of 
Isaiah's prophecies, without going into a criticism of these posi- 
tions which would be likely to lead rather far afield. But the 
reader ought fully to realize what an enormous drain upon his 
speculative faculty is required by Gressmann. It must be as- 
sumed (1) that there were originally two clearly defined eschato- 
logical myths, one of a world catastrophe, one of a restored Eden, 
for which there is no historical evidence but which are admit- 
tedly only matters of inference; (2) that these two hypothetical 
myths were once organically connected; (3) that before they 
entered into Israel the connection between them was forgotten, 
and that each myth became so disintegrated that at present we 
have only fragments of them left; (4) that the prophets adopted 
these disjecta membra from the popular uncanonical eschatology, 
but that, while they were able to ethicize the myth of doom, they 
were not able to ethicize the myth of hope, at least to the same 
degree (why not?); (5) that the prophets made no attempt to 
join together again the two hypothetical myths once hypotheti- 
cally connected, but left the fragments in the same disjointed 
state in which they found them, except for the artificial and 
inadequate connection supplied at times (not always) by the 
doctrine of the Remnant. In spite of Gressmann's genius for 
brilliant combination, in spite of the great suggestiveness of his 
work, in spite even of the probability that there was a preprophetic 
eschatology of some sort, for the establishment of which thesis the 
greatest credit is due to Gressmann, yet when his theory is allowed 


to stand out stark and stripped of incidental protecting exegesis, 
its inner weakness is revealed. The defence of Isaiah's prophecies 
by such a purely conjectural construction is precarious. Yet 
Gressmann has struck out a new mode of attacking the problem 
which may lead to important results. 

From this survey of the history of criticism we turn to the most 
recent contribution to the voluminous Uterature on Isaiah, the 
commentary of Professor Gray. 

Commentaries may be of two kinds, creative, of which small 
class Duhm's is a conspicuous example, or reproductive, like 
Marti's. The commentary of Professor Gray belongs to the latter 
type. From what has been said above about Marti the reader will 
understand that this implies no disparagement of Professor Gray's 
work. There is ample room in a reproductive commentary for 
learning, acumen, and independent judgment, and the volume 
before us exhibits all these qualities. 

In the Introduction Gray adopts the three fundamental prin- 
ciples of the modern critical school, namely, that the Book of 
Isaiah is a collection of oracles of widely diverse age and character; 
that the oracles are in poetical form, and that differences of form 
often enable us to determine the limits of a prophecy or to recog- 
nize interpolations; and that in the outlook upon the future, types 
characteristic of earlier and later periods respectively may be 

On the first point he remarks: "The fact that the Book of Isaiah 
is not the work of the prophet Isaiah'^ but a post-exilic compila- 
tion, ought to be the starting-point in all detailed criticism, or 
interpretation of the Book" (p. xxxii). In a continuous work, 
like the history of Thucydides, the presumption is always in favor 
of the genuineness of any section, but this presumption does not 
hold in a compilatory work; "each piece must be judged by it- 
self." On p. xcvi Gray turns this principle against Gressmann's 
canon, that the historical background of a prophecy is the only 
legitimate criterion for the determination of its genuineness. 

'' "Prophet 0/ Isaiah" is a misprint. Other misprints noticed are "Chs. 
28-32" for 28-33 (p. xlvii); "unlike" for alike, p. 32; "Cheyne, p. 29" for p. 27 
(p. 110); "vv. 18-23" for 19-23 (p. 157); "8a-10" for 8c-10 (p. 148); "pro- 
phetic" for aniiprophetic (p. 377, line 11). The last mistake results in a se- 
rious misunderstanding of the view criticised. 


This assumes that the presumption is always in favor of the gen- 
uineness of a prophecy which is contained in a book bearing a 
prophet's name; but in a compilation there is no such presumption. 
In general, Gray does not seem to have been much impressed by 
Gressmann's discoveries. 

In regard to the age of the compilation. Gray does not follow 
Duhm and the more radical critics in putting it in the Maccabaean 
period. Against so late a date he argues from the history of the 
canon, and especially from the age of the Greek translation. 
Here Gray puts the case admirably. The Maccabaean theory 
is based on one of several possible interpretations of a number of 
prophecies; and "a possible, but not necessary, theory of the in- 
terpretation and origin of a section may rightly be judged un- 
proven if it conflicts with the probable, even though not certain, 
history of the prophetic Canon" (p. xliv). Gray himself inclines 
to a date toward the close of the third century b.c.^^ His criti- 
cism of Kennett (p. lix) is just and trenchant. 

The discussion of the poetic form of the prophecies (pp. lix- 
Ixviii) is also excellent. In a former number of the Harvard Theo- 
logical Review^^ the attempt was made to apprise the reader of 
the state of this question at the present time. It is a pleasure 
to be able to refer him now to Gray's elucidation of the subject. 
It would be hard to find anything in brief compass more inform- 
ing and satisfactory. In general it may be said that the poetical 
analyses of the various prophecies are among the strongest feat- 
ures of the book, and in this respect Gray has made a distinct 
advance upon the commentaries of Duhm and Marti. In keep- 
ing with the general scheme of the Hand-Commentar, Marti did 
not give a continuous translation of the prophecies. His results 
are therefore not apparent to the eye, and not easily judged. 
Duhm translates in metrical form, but practically says to the 
reader, "Trust my ear." He seldom seeks to justify his views 
of the poetical structure of the prophecies. Gray, on the other 
hand, has adopted a system by which the phenomena are made 
clear even to a student unacquainted with Hebrew, and the im- 
partial way in which this is done caimot be too highly commended. 

*^ A concise and clear statement of the author's theory of the successive stages 
in the formation of the book will be found in § 40 (pp. Iv-lvii). 
3»Vol. V (1912), pp. 86 ff. 


Most writers are so in love with their metrical schemes that they 
find it hard to resist the temptation to gloss over difficulties in 
the application. Gray always apprises the reader at the outset 
of the actual facts of the case, so that an opportunity is given to 
judge of the aptness of the metrical emendations he proposes. 

In another connection (pp. liii-lv). Gray discusses the important 
question of the relation of the present form of the prophecies to 
the spoken word. His opinion is that the bulk of the [genuine] 
prophecies in the Book of Isaiah "are condensations into artistic 
poetic form of what Isaiah had said in public at greater length, 
but without the same restraint of form." This would seem to 
imply after all that Isaiah was an author. Just what effect this 
theory would ultimately have on the theory of the composition 
of the book, Gray does not tell us. This particular subject has 
not yet been sufficiently investigated. Thus far the Introduction 
has given clear, balanced, and sufficiently complete statements of 
the problems of the book. When we come to the eschatological 
question, however, the treatment is less satisfactory.'* 

Gray recognizes that it should be one of the main aims of a 
commentary on Isaiah to "disengage the work of that prophet 
from the later accretions which it has received, and so to recover 
. . . the spirit and teaching of a single personality in place of the 
confused and composite form that must present itself, if we at- 
tempt to treat the entire book as the work of a single hand" 
(p. xi). But it is also an important part of his task "to do justice 
to the other contributors to the book, and, above all, to approach 
with sympathy the work of, perhaps, many nameless writers that 
now forms a large part of it" (p. xii). These represent the con- 
victions and hopes of the post-exilic Jewish church, and as such 
are of the greatest significance. 

Of the first part of this double task Gray acquits himself in 
§§ 74-89, "Isaiah as Prophet and Teacher" (pp. Ixxxi-xcvi). 
The second part, an examination of the reKgious ideas and expec- 
tations of the other contributors to the book, is touched upon only 

^* In passing, one inexplicable omission should be noted. In §§ 58-73, 
"Isaiah in relation to the political and social conditions of his age," there is 
no reference to Hezekiah's reforms. Since the attempt has often been made to 
connect the prophecies of hope in one way or another with these reforms, a dis- 
cussion of their date and character is of great importance. 


incidentally in the volume before us; it is to be hoped that it 
is the author's intention to treat this subject connectedly, includ- 
ing the eschatology of these authors, in the Introduction to the 
second volume. Otherwise, a serious omission in the Commen- 
tary would have to be recorded. 

The survey of Isaiah's work as prophet and teacher will be dis- 
appointing to a reader who looks for an exposition of the develop- 
ment of Isaiah's ideas and expectations. After saying that the 
supreme interest in the study of Isaiah is to discover what he 
had himself learned from God, what he taught his own age, and 
what through it he has contributed to man's increasing knowl- 
edge and consciousness of God, Gray continues (p. Ixxxiii) : 

These questions can be answered up to a certain point; but, owing to 
the uncertainty that hangs over many questions of the literary origin of 
much of Isa. 1 1-39, . . . they cannot with advantage be pursued into the 
detail that has sometimes been attempted. Here, at all events, no 
fresh elaborate attempt will be made to trace development in Isaiah's 
conceptions and teaching, to bring to light conflicting conceptions in 
his view of the futiu-e, for example, or in his judgment of Assyria, and 
then to determine the chronological sequence of the changes. All the 
more elaborate structures of Isaiah's "theology" rest of necessity on 
shifting and insecure foundations; even if it were certain, and it is not, 
that passages such as 11 i-s; 9 i-6; 32 i-8 were the work of Isaiah 
at all, it is altogether uncertain at what period of his life he composed 
them, and how he came by, or how he modified, his conceptions of a 

I have given this quotation at length, because I believe it discloses 
the principal defect of the book. The author declines at the 
outset the attempt to solve the chief problem of Isaiah. He 
does not shun the task of improving on the metrical analyses of 
his predecessors, although the greatest uncertainty exists about 
the structure of Hebrew poetry; why should he refuse the obliga- 
tion to formulate the eschatological problem more precisely, even 
if he feels that the critical foundations are "shifting and insecure"? 
If they are so, it is the first business of the critic to try to make 
them more stable and secure. As a matter of fact. Gray inclines, 
though it is an irresolute and swaying inclination, to that wing of 
the modem school of which Hackmann and Marti are the most 
conspicuous representatives (see especially his treatment of the 


Messianic prophecies) ; but, in consequence of the over-cautious 
attitude avowed in the paragraph quoted above, the formulation 
of the eschatological problem, instead of being more precise and 
sharply defined than it was by Hackmann and Marti, is much 
vaguer and more blurred. My criticism is not directed against 
Gray's opinion that the eschatological problem is as yet not sat- 
isfactorily solved; it is that his commentary does not make as 
plain as those of his predecessors what, exactly, the elements of 
the problem are. I do not demand that he should decide among 
rival theories, but that a commentary at this date in the history 
of criticism should exhibit fully and clearly the different theories, 
with the critical and exegetical arguments by which they are sup- 
ported or confuted, and the consequences that follow from them. 

One example of the shortcomings of Gray's commentary in 
these respects must suffice. Isaiah 22 1-14 has been a corner- 
stone in many constructions of the eschatology of Isaiah. The 
first question is whether the passage is a description of what has 
occurred or a prediction of what will occur. Since the time of 
Soerensen a favorite theory has been that the passage is historical. 
This opinion is based mainly on verses 8-11 (and verses 6-7), 
which can hardly be construed otherwise than as historical, and 
on the prevalence of perfect tenses throughout the rest of the pas- 
sage. But, if historical, the most natural place to put the proph- 
ecy is after the invasion of Sennacherib in 701. From this a very 
interesting inference is drawn : the last datable utterance of Isaiah 
is a prophecy of unmitigated doom, and the prophet's life closes 
as it began (see chapter 6) without hope for his nation. This is a 
fundamental point in Hackmann's construction, and when Isa. 
22 is associated with chapters 28-31 (rejecting the consolatory 
pendants), which are prior to the arrival of the Assyrians be- 
fore Jerusalem, we have a consistently gloomy series of prophe- 
cies from the time of Sennacherib. 

There is a difficulty, however, in the way of this date for chapter 
22. If we turn to verses 1-3 with the reference to the Day of the 
Lord (22 s), and to verses 12-14 which announce disaster for sin 
(see verse 145), we are evidently in a time before disaster. This 
also best suits the careless attitude of the people. These verses 
are interpreted by Hackmann as expressing the frivolous joy of the 


people after the final withdrawal of Sennacherib. In that case the 
destruction which is announced cannot refer to the invasion of 
Sennacherib, but must mean some other, undefined destruction 
in the future. But this does not seem to be the natural interpre- 
tation of the passage. Consequently, Duhm, on the ground of 
verses 1-5 and 12-14, puts the prophecy at the beginning of the 
revolt against Sennacherib, when the people were confident of the 
result of the new Egyptian alliance. The objection to this view is 
that verses 8-11 (6 t.), which are almost certainly historical, im- 
ply a time of the greatest distress and anxiety in the recent past, 
such as must have been caused by the appearance of Sennacherib 
under the walls of Jerusalem. Accordingly, we have a third theory, 
represented by Robertson Smith and Dillmann. This theory 
puts the prophecy in the midst of the campaign, after the humilia- 
tion of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 13-16) and the supposed temporary 
withdrawal of Sennacherib, but before the final retirement of 
the Assyrians. This theory would account for verses 8-12 (&-7) 
as recalUng the anxiety of the people at the approach of Sen- 
nacherib; for verses 1-5 and 12-14 as the result of the feeHng of 
relief that ensued upon his temporary withdrawal; and for the 
stern warning of the prophet, who looked for a return of the foe. 
But the combination assumes the substantial truth of the narra- 
tive in Isa. 36 f . Another objection to it is the difficulty of finding 
a place for chapter 10, which is usually assigned to the same period. 
The only remaining possibility is to give up the unity of the sec- 
tion, and remove verses 8-11, and possibly verses 6-7. Then the 
passage can be placed most fittingly at the beginning of the Egyp- 
tian alliance, when perhaps, as Duhm suggests, Padi, the loyal 
king of Ekron, had been brought in irons to Hezekiah for safe- 
keeping.^^ Such is the problem of Isa. 22 1-14. It is seen to in- 
volve the credibility of chapters 36-37; and through its relation 
to chapters 28-31, on the one hand, and to chapter 10, on the other, 
the passage is of fundamental importance for the question what 
Isaiah, in the time of Sennacherib's invasion, expected the outcome 
to be. 

Let us see how Gray treats this problem. The people of 
Jerusalem may have given themselves up to revehy, "either be- 
cause they do not perceive the issue of things, and see in a tem- 
•^See Sennacherib's inscriptions. 


porary alleviation a permanent relief, or because, feeling the 
insecurity of the present, they are determined to drown their cares 
in wine and feasting (verse 13 f.)" (p. 363). Between these alter- 
natives Gray does not decide, yet an analysis of the manifestation 
of the people's feeUngs should shed some Ught on the question. 
But what is the danger, whether past or imminent, and what might 
be the "temporary alleviation"? On page 364 we appear to be in- 
formed: "The period to which we might most probably assign 
verses 1-5, 12-14 is that of Sennacherib; what is described is the 
revelry to which the city gave itself up when the Assyrian king 
in 701 B.C. raised the siege, or blockade, of Jerusalem." Here 
Gray appears to decide in favor of danger past and the joy of 
deUverance. But he does not tell us what he means by " a tempo- 
rary alleviation." Does he hold to the historical character of Isa. 
36-37, and put 22 1-14 in the midst of the campaign, as Robert- 
son Smith does; or does he hold that the prophecy is to be placed 
after the final withdrawal of Sennacherib.'* In the latter case 
Isaiah must have expected some immediate disaster from another 
quarter. The reader is not informed on these points. On the 
next page (365) we read: (22 l-s) "A rhetorical question addressed 
by the prophet to the merry-making city which has swarmed up 
to the fiat roofs to watch thence (Judg. 16 27) the spectacle of 
Sennacherib's retreat (cp. 37 22), or something similarly pleasing, 
such as the entrance into the city of the captive Assyrian vassal 
Padi, king of Ekron (Duhm)." Here again alternatives are pre- 
sented and this time, since 37 22 (which must be the final retire- 
ment) is introduced into the argument, it would seem as if the 
choice lay between the final withdrawal of Sennacherib" and a 
date at the beginning of the campaign. This alternative is pre- 
sented as if it made no difference which of the two possibilities is 
accepted. As a matter of fact, it makes the greatest difference. 
The significance of the prophecy for the eschatology of Isaiah is 
involved in this choice. 

In the Introduction the author has something further to say on 
the questions raised by Isa. 22 1-14. At p. xciii we read: "So later, 

'* The allusion to 37 22 in this connection is unfortunate. The joy at Senna- 
cherib's retreat is countenanced by Isaiah in chapter 37; in chapter 22 it is re- 
buked. The comparison suggests the great critical difficulties in which the proph- 
ecies supposed to be delivered in this period are involved. 


while Isaiah insisted that no harm would befall the city from Sen- 
nacherib, he may have held, and apparently did hold (22 14), 
that harm would befall it from another quarter, unless they 
repented. " Here Gray appears to have decided in favor of a date 
for 22 1-14 after the final withdrawal of Sennacherib. But in 
the comments on the passage itself this theory is presented as only 
one of several possibilities among which the reader is free to choose. 
Yet the view which Gray himself thus tentatively accepts in the 
Introduction is a very important element in his theory of the es- 
chatology of Isaiah. 

If we turn, finally, from the historical criticism of Isa. 22 1-14 
to the hterary criticism, the same vagueness and irresoluteness 
is observable. For example on pp. 363 S. the question of the imity 
of the passage is raised. About the difficult verses 6-7 Gray 
says: "If w. 6 f. are a real sequence, v. 6 describes some of the 
elements (Kir and Elam) in the army which on the day of Yahweh 
will attack Jerusalem " (p. 364). A Uttle further down on the page 
he says: "It is doubtful whether v. 6 fits into the political situa- 
tion "; and in fine print mentions the views of some of his predeces- 
sors about verse 6, among which Winckler's is pronounced "most 
improbable." The reasons for the views are not given. These 
remarks are made in the general introduction to the chapter. 
When we come to the exegesis of verses 6 and 7 we read: "On the 
question whether these verses form part of the vision of vv. 26, 
3, 5, see above pp. 363 ff." We are thus referred back to the In- 
troduction, in which the question is raised, but not discussed exe- 
getically. Neither is it discussed exegetically in what follows 
(pp. 367 ff.). That is, the relation of the verbs and suffixes in 
verses 6 and 7 to the preceding context, or of the subject (a siege) 
to the following context, is not commented upon, though these 
exegetical questions properly belong to the criticism of the verses. 
But on page 368 we finally discover something for which we have 
been looking, namely, a discussion of the question whether there 
can have been an Elamite contingent in the Assyrian army in 701. 
A good resume of the historical facts bearing on the question is 
given, and then the conclusion: "In the light of these facts other 
alternatives are: (1) to imderstand Elam as equivalent to such 
few Elamite mercenaries as might serve in an Assyrian army though 


Assyria and Elam were opposed to one another, or soldiers from 
those small portions of Elam which Sargon had temporarily an- 
nexed in 711; (2) to see in the verses the work of a later writer 
(cp. 11 11; 21 2); (3) with Winckler to treat the poem as a cele- 
bration of an Elamite attack, directed against the interests of 
Assyria, on a Babylonian town (Sippar)." With this the matter 
is dismissed. Gray thus concludes apparently with allowing the 
possibility of Winckler's view which he had just before pro- 
nounced "most improbable." No attempt is made to help the 
student to a decision between the various possibilities, and no ex- 
planation of the verses is given if the decision is in favor of their 
being late. 

The examination we have made of Isa. 22 1-14 illustrates another 
of the defects of this commentary. Not only does the author fre- 
quently leave us in doubt about his own conception of a problem 
or his judgment on disputed points, but the matter is at times so 
ill-arranged that the reader, even when he knows just what he is 
looking for, often has hard work to find it. This fault belongs in 
some measure to all the International Critical Commentaries, and 
is to be ascribed to the plan of the series. It is fair to say also that 
the character of the Book of Isaiah and the enormous volume of 
literatiu-e upon it makes the problem of ordering the material an 
unusually diflBcult one. But the fact remains that in Ihe volume 
before us the matter is not arranged and presented with that clear- 
ness which is one of the chief excellences of a commentary. 

After so much in the way of criticism, let it be said in conclu- 
sion that Professor Gray's work has very great merits. Scholars 
will find in it the history of criticism and interpretation concisely 
but comprehensively presented, even down to last year's crop 
of articles and dissertations. It is solidly learned, too, and the 
student of the Hebrew text will find in the exegetical notes a very 
useful apparatus. The author is eminently fair-minded in his 
statement and estimate of other men's opinions. The indeci- 
siveness which has been spoken of before is a result of the same 
temper; he does not want to make up his mind on insufficient 
evidence. It may be that judiciousness is sometimes in excess, 
but it is the defect of a good quality, even though on occasions 
an exasperating one.