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The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66

The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66

John N. Oswalt

| Eerdmans | 1998

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The second of John N. Oswalt’s two-part study of the book of Isaiah for the NICOT series, this commentary provides exegetical and theological exposition on the latter twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah for scholars, pastors, and students who seek to know the perennial meaning of the text in contemporary terms.

Though Oswalt’s main introduction to Isaiah is found in his commentary on chapters 1–39, this second volume opens with an important discussion of scholarly debate over the unity/diversity of Isaiah. In this work Oswalt makes stronger his case for reading the entire book of Isaiah as written by a single author—a position not common in other recent commentaries. Oswalt’s work stands alone, then, as an attempt to take seriously Israel’s historical situation at the time chapters 40–66 were composed while also seeking to understand how these chapters function as a part of Isaiah’s total vision written in the late 700s or early 600s b.c.

Assuming the single authorship of Isaiah, the verse-by-verse commentary aims to interpret chapters 40–66 in light of the book as a whole. While not neglecting issues of historical criticism or form criticism, the commentary focuses mainly on the theological meaning of the text as indicated especially by the literary structure. Building on his earlier argument that the central theme of Isaiah is servanthood, Oswalt keeps readers focused on the character of Israel’s sovereign Redeemer God, on the blind servant Israel, and on the ultimate work of the Suffering Servant in whom the world can find its Savior.

Author Bio

Dr. John Oswalt returned to the Asbury Theological Seminary faculty in 2009 as visiting distinguished professor of Old Testament. He served as research professor of Old Testament at Wesley Biblical Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., since 1999. Prior to that, he was professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Asbury Seminary from 1989 to 1999. This was his second term on Asbury Seminary’s faculty, having first served from 1970 to 1982. In the interim, he was president of Asbury College from 1983 to 1986 and a member of the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., from 1986 to 1989. Oswalt received a B.A. from Taylor University; a B.D. and Th.M. from Asbury Seminary; and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University. His writings have appeared in Bible encyclopedias, scholarly journals and popular religious periodicals. Many of his these articles have dealt with the application of Biblical teachings to modern ethical questions. He has written eight books. His most recent book is a study of I John, entitled On Being a Christian (Francis Asbury Press, 2008). He was the Old Testament editor of the Wesley Bible, a study Bible from the Wesleyan perspective published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1990. He also served as consulting editor for the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997). He was a member of the New International Version translation team, and is currently one of a six-member editorial team that has revised the Living Bible (New Living Translation, 1996), and is continuing the revision process with Tyndale House Publishers. Oswalt is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, with membership in the Kentucky Annual Conference. He has served as a part-time pastor to congregations in New England and Kentucky, and is a frequent speaker in conferences, camps and local churches. He is married to the former Karen Kennedy, and they have three children and two grandchildren.