Did Isaiah write all of the book of Isaiah?

I am studying the Bible with the Great Adventure (Jeff Cavins). We are on the part about the return from Babylonian exile.

In Isaiah chapters 44-45 the prophesy of King Cyrus is written. King Cyrus did not reign in Babylon until well after Isaiah’s death, therefore making this a remarkable prophesy if Isaiah even predicted the future King Cyrus by name.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says the protestant scholars often assume that this part of Isaiah (second Isaiah) is written by another prophet hundreds of years after the original Isaiah. Catholic scholars aren’t so quick to assume that Isaiah did not in fact write the entire book, thereby making for a remarkable prophesy.

Does anyone have more information on this debate? What did the early church fathers think about this?


I don’t usually like to quote Wikapedia, but this is a help quote

Jews and Christians have understood the book to have one author, Isaiah himself. The Talmud (Bava Basra 15a) says that the book of Isaiah was written by King Hezekiah and his assistants, of whom Chaim Dov Rabinowitz (1909–2001) says, in the introduction to his Daat Soferim Isaiah, may have lived long after Isaiah. Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz (1872–1946) wrote that the question of the book’s authorship doesn’t affect Jewish understanding of the book.[18]

For Christians, this belief is reinforced by the New Testament, which quotes passages from Isaiah 40-66, together with a specific identification of Isaiah as their author, no fewer than seven times (Matt. 3:3, 8:17, 12:18; John 1:23, 12:38-40; Rom. 10:16, 11:26). Specifically, John 12:38-40 quotes from Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 6 and ascribes each quotation to Isaiah. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus also attributes both sections of the book of Isaiah to a single author.

Among the Christian churches, the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Oriental Orthodox churches maintain a strong historical position that the book was written by Isaiah himself following the teachings of Saint Cyril of Alexandria and others. Sirach 48:22-28, of the Orthodox and Catholic Deuterocanon, implies that Isaiah prophesied the prophecy of Isaiah 44.

Thanks! This is very helpful. I am leaning to believe the same belief that Isaiah was all written by the same prophet. Why not? God can do anything.:thumbsup:


upbeatj, you may want to check out Warren Carroll’s History of Christendom Vol. 1, The Founding of Christendom,aquinasandmore.com/catholic-books/Founding-of-Christendom/sku/2771/affiliate/catholicpage4375/t/3 and most particularly the footnotes from the chapter concerning Isaiah, for more in-depth consideration of this topic at your leisure.

I mean God does, from time to time, you know, tell His prophets thaings that haven’t happened yet! :smiley:


The is also, however, the hypothesis that in the days of Isaiah, the first name Cyrus ( Kurush Persian , Hebrew and greek Kowresh Kyros ) were nothing more than a common name meaning *king , chief, lord, master , guide, man mighty in words and in deeds, pastor , throne, shining star .
Moreover, even in ancient greek " kyros " , in addition to indicating the name of the king Cyrus, also meant "power , power, supremacy , absolute authority " and was the probable origin of the well-known term " Kyrios " ( lord, master , chief ) .

The possibility of misunderstand the proper name " Kyros " with the common names " Kyros " and " Kyrios " was described well by Jerome, who tells us how many translations Greek and Latin had been erroneously attributed to Christ the prophecies related to Cirus ( Jerome, Commentary to Isaiah, Chapter 45 , 1).

And is therefore possible that Isaiah’s prophecy has designated as a liberator a** generic king of the Persians** , people located to the east of Mesopotamia and able to dominate, at least within two centuries, on the Assyrian and Babylonian empires .

In fact, the first mention of the Persians comes from an ancient Assyrian inscription (dating back to 844 BC) in which they are called Parsu and are present together with the Medes, in the region of Lake Urmia.

According to the authoritative testimony of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the Persian king Cyrus was very asthonished reading the prophecies written two centuries earlier by Isaiah, and just reading these prophecies decided to release the Jewish people Josephus , Antiquities of the Jews , XI , 5-7 ] .

This is from the Navarre Bible, Introduction of the Prophet Isaiah (Composition and Historical Background):

**‘Given the historical contexts referred to or hinted at at different points in the book, it is reasonable to suppose that it was composed and edited over a period of more than two centuries, from 733 BC (the year when King Uzziah died and when Isaiah began his prophetic ministry) to the years following the return of the Babylonian exiles, that is, around 525 BC.’
This is just a little excerpt (it goes on for six more pages) analyzing the various theories of how the book came together, but this all I have time for this morning!

Even if it’s Deutero-Isaiah, it’s still presented as being a prophecy that was made while Judah was in exile. Therefore, even if there are two or more writers who contributed to the book of Isaiah, it’s still “a remarkable prophesy”… :wink:

The Catholic Encyclopedia says the protestant scholars often assume that this part of Isaiah (second Isaiah) is written by another prophet hundreds of years after the original Isaiah. Catholic scholars aren’t so quick to assume that Isaiah did not in fact write the entire book

The online Catholic Encyclopedia dates from around 1917. I wouldn’t take its word for what contemporary Catholic scholars believe… :wink:

Modern biblical scholarship has tools at their disposal to analyze ancient writings. They have computers that can decipher and analyze syntax, word use, sentence structure, the “dialect” of the language being used to assist in determininhg if a writing is by a single author.

Isaiah is one of those writings. The grammar, word use, syntax and style within Isaiah indicates there are definitely two…most likely three, and perhaps even four different authors to the book which over a period of centuries took it’s current form.

The gospel of John was not written by the same author at the Letters of John…or the Apocylypse…similar word use because they were texts of the same Johanine community, but they were not authored by the same hand…despite what “tradition” has said…the commentators and ECF’s didn’t have the tools at their disposal to make the determination, so pious faith stories arose to answer the authorship questions.

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