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ISAIAH VOL 24 HB: Isaiah 1-33 (Word Biblical Commentary) Hardcover – 1 Jan 2010

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A commendable effort 2 Oct. 2014
By Doug Erlandson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The commentary on the first 33 chapters of Isaiah by John D.W. Watts presents a fresh perspective on the book. Scholars are all over the map when it comes to their understanding, not just of the date or dates of writing and the unity or multiplicity of authorship, but also on whether or not there is a common literary theme in the book. At one extreme are those who see the book of Isaiah as little more than a compilation of disjointed prophecies. At the other extreme are those who find a thematic unity in the book whether as a result of single authorship or through the work of an editor weaving together texts from an Isaianic school). Watts falls into the latter category, seeing the work (or at least the final product) as the result of a single author (or redactor) who lived somewhere in the late sixth century before Christ. As a result, according to Watt there is a unified theme and vision that underlies the entire book of Isaiah. Watts seemingly has the best of both possible worlds––unity of authorship (though not that of a pre-exilic prophet) and taking account of material (such as found in chapters 44-45) that seems to have been written after the exile.

Here are the strong points of the commentary. First, although there is a significant amount of textual criticism, which will primarily be of interest to the serious scholar who has a working knowledge of Hebrew, it is also a very readable commentary and therefore accessible to the layperson. Second, Watts shows familiarity with the geographical, societal, and cultural background of not just Israel but of the other nations of the ancient Mideast. As a result, a significant amount of material in the text becomes illuminated in a way that would otherwise remain mysterious. Third, by stressing a unified theme, Watts is able to explain what might otherwise be seen as disparate and unconnected prophecies (using that word to mean "forth-telling" rather than "foretelling") in a way that deftly ties them together.

The weak points are these: First, although Watts does provide some introductory material, given the wide range of interpretations of Isaiah, it would have been helpful had he interacted with other interpretations in far more detail in order to show why he believes his own interpretation is preferable. Second, his interpretation is rather speculative, and while it presents a plausible interpretation, it is far from clear that it is the correct interpretation of Isaiah. Finally, to the extent that this colors his understanding of specific passages, it is important to understand that in some cases at least his interpretation of these passages may be more a result of his overall approach to the book as a whole than anything that is clearly necessitated by the text.
Worth every penny! 15 Aug. 2014
By homeschoolmom2009 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have several of these commentaries and they are wonderful! Great resource to prepare for sermons and just study the Word and gain a deeper knowledge of the Bible.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Trustworthy works concerning God's WORD 17 Nov. 2013
By Thomas L. Dockweiler - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I appreciate the extensive study that has gone into writing any of the Word Biblical Commentaries. They are used by staff and
students at our Christian School.
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