The author of the monumental 3-volume Anchor commentary on Isaiah ruminates on a bevy of intriguing points: Who was Isaiah? How did he influence the writer of the Gospel of Matthew so profoundly? Who exactly were the "remnant of Israel" ? How has "the suffering servant" been understood through the centuries?
This comprehensive history of this interpretation between the prophet Malachi and the first days of Christianity traces three different prophetic traditions in Isaiah: the "man of God," the critic of social structures, and the apocalyptic seer by encompassing several disciplines: hermeneutics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple studies, and Christian origins.
Of all the texts in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, perhaps no book has a more colorful history of interpretation than Isaiah. A comprehensive history of this interpretation between the prophet Malachi and the first days of Christianity, Joseph Blenkinsopp's Opening the Sealed Book traces three different prophetic traditions in Isaiah -- the "man of God," the critic of social structures, and the apocalyptic seer.
Blenkinsopp explores the place of Isaiah in Jewish sectarianism, at Qumran, and among early Christians, touching on a number of its themes, including exile, "the remnant of Israel," martyrdom, and "the servant of the Lord." Encompassing several disciplines -- hermeneutics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple studies, Christian origins -- Opening the Sealed Book will appeal to Jewish and Christian scholars as well as readers fascinated by the intricate and influential prophetic visions of Isaiah.
Joseph Blenkinsopp is John A. O'Brien Professor Emeritus ofBiblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Catholic Press Association, Third Place, Scripture (2007)
Toronto Journal of Theology
"It is always a pleasure and a challenge to read the works of Joseph Blenkinsopp a pleasure because he writes with clarity and erudition out of a long and fruitful career in biblical studies, and a challenge because he is unafraid to suggest interesting new ways of viewing old problems."
David Noel Freedman
University of California, San Diego
"Joseph Blenkinsopp has been a leading figure in the field of Isaiah studies for many years and in the last decade produced a monumental three-volume commentary on the book of Isaiah. Now he has crowned that remarkable achievement with Opening the Sealed Book. Blenkinsopp here traces the history of the book of Isaiah in the experience of the various Jewish communities in the homeland and abroad, during the era in which the different branches of Judaism and early Christianity emerged. This volume is a must-read for scholars and laypeople alike, serious and important for the information and opinions conveyed, written with artistic skill and facility. I recommend it enthusiastically to one and all!"
University of Sheffield
"In this sequel to his recent Isaiah commentary, Blenkinsopp not only explores the history of Isaiah's reception in early Judaism and Christianity but also uncovers the numerous links between the figure of the prophet (and his book) and Jewish apocalyptic and sectarian movements, including Christianity itself. A brilliant and largely convincing synthesis by a scholar renowned for the depth and range of his learning."
John J. Collins
"This wide-ranging and original book probes the interpretation and use of the book of Isaiah in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament. An impressive and stimulating contribution to the early history of biblical interpretation."
Columbia Theological Seminary
"Joseph Blenkinsopp brings his enormous learning to the use of the book of Isaiah in a later generation of Jewish and Christian reading. His particular interest is in the 'sectarian' communities of Qumran and Matthew ? thus the term 'sealed book' in his title. This important book makes two immense contributions to our learning. First, it greatly illuminates our historical understanding of formative Jewish and Christian communities in their use of Scripture; Blenkinsopp is a first-rate historian. Second, it makes clear how relentlessly pluralistic is our long-term reading of Scripture that resists any single reductionist reading. As usual with his publications, Blenkinsopp has served us well and placed us, yet again, in his debt."
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