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The Fifth Gospel: Isaiah in the History of Christianity
Cambridge University Press / 1996 / Paperback
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There is currently much interest in the history of interpretation, reader-response and the sociology of sacred texts--in what the text does as much as what it means. Isaiah 'more evangelist than prophet' according to Jerome and others, provides an ideal case study, because of his profound influence on the language and imagery of Christianity. With illustrations from art, music, literatureand the media as well as commentaries, sermons and official churhc pronouncements, Professor Sawyer shows how Isaiah has been used in all kinds of context, from the cult of the Virgin Mary, mediaeval passion iconography and antisemitic propaganda to Christian feminism and liberation theology. This first attempt at a comprehensive critical study of an essential part of biblical interpretation will provide a model for further research, and ensure that commentaries will never be the same again.
This is a new type of commentary on some of the most familiar language and imagery in the Bible, showing how Isaiah has been used by Christians in all kinds of contexts up to the present. There is much interest in reader-response, the history of interpretation and the sociology of sacred texts--in what the text does as much as what it means. With full documentation and illustrations, Sawyer gives an insight into Isaiah's influence, from the cult of the Virgin Mary and anti-Semitism to Christian feminism and liberation theology.
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