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ix + 493 pp.

£30 / $47.50 / €35
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Isaiah 1–12 as Written and Read in Antiquity
Wim M. de Bruin

This scrupulous study foregrounds an often forgotten element of the Masoretic texts of these important prophetic chapters: the Masoretic systems of indicating smaller and larger parts of the text through the use of spaces and accents.

The Masoretes were not only transmitters of the biblical text but also exegetes and interpreters of it, so taking the Masoretic text divisions seriously should be an essential part of our contemporary exegesis. That is not to say, however, that the Masoretic text divisions should be followed uncritically; de Bruin compares the Masoretic delimitation of textual units with his own structural analysis of the text based on its internal characteristics, as well as with the text division in other ancient manuscripts of Isaiah 1–12. He concludes that such comparisons show the reliability of the Masoretic system and its value for modern exegetes.

Finally, the multitude of data reported here on text division in ancient Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Latin witnesses, including commentaries of the Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome, and the discussion of their interpretative consequences, make this book a treasure house of information for every exegete and Bible reader seeking to gain a clearer insight into Isaiah 1–12.

Wim M. de Bruin is a minister in the Protestant Church in Stolwijk, near Gouda, The Netherlands.

Series: Pericope, 8
978-1-909697-05-8 hardback
Publication July 2013

1. Introduction
        1.1 Masoretic Text Delimitation and a Twofold Question
        1.2 Introductory Remarks on External Delimitation Markers
        1.3 The Ancient Texts Used
        1.4 Introductory Remarks on the Internal and Thematic Delimitation Data
                of the Masoretic Text
        1.5 Introductory Remarks on a Comparison of the Masoretic Text
                Delimitation with External Data
        1.6 Introductory Remarks on the Concluding Considerations

2. Masoretic Text Division: Text and Translation

3. The Internal and Thematic Delimitation Data of the Masoretic Text
        3.1 Canto 1: Isaiah 1:1–2:4
        3.2 Canto 2: Isaiah 2:5–4:6
        3.2 Canto 3: Isaiah 5:1-30
        3.2 Canto 4: Isaiah 6:1-13
        3.2 Canto 5: Isaiah 7:1–9:6
        3.2 Canto 6: Isaiah 9:7–10:4
        3.2 Canto 7: Isaiah 10:5–12:6

4. A Comparison of the Masoretic Text Delimitation with External Data

5. Concluding Considerations
        5.1 Masoretic External Text Delimitation and the Internal Text Structure
        5.2 Masoretic External Text Delimitation and External Text Division in
                 Other Ancient Manuscripts
        5.3 Delimitation Criticism and Modern Exegesis

Wim de Bruin’s book is the result of tireless analysis of text dividers such as accents and spaces and a treasure house for modern exegetes that provides a valuable insight into the ancient reception history of Isa 1–12, into the traditions of interpreting this text. While structuring the text into macro units based on internal characteristics can be subjective, it draws attention to thematic connections, emphases with implications also for the theology of Isaiah that may not have been pointed out before. Ibolya Balla, Review of Biblical Literature.