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Archive for the ‘Isaiah’ Category

Ambrose Burnside, Union General

While reading background material for these Old Testament books, I’ve noticed that the Prophets all have what the fashion mavens currently thronging New York would probably call “a look”. There’s a standard-issue beard for these guys.

Naturally, we don’t have photographs of the Prophets. So it’s possible that the samey-ness of the beards is a failure of imagination on the part of the artists. It’s possible that the Prophets had beards as dazzling and varied as those of American Civil War generals.

But while Ambrose Burnside here seems to be modeling gravitational fields with his facial furniture, the representations we have of the Prophets are less exciting.

Let’s start with Moses.

(more…)

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Russian Icon of Isaiah, 17th C.

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been (all ten of you who read this), two weeks ago I broke my leg and had surgery, and was in the hospital for 6 days.

Since coming home I’ve had a lot of opportunity to read our next work, the Book of Isaiah. I’ve read it three times, and read lots of commentary online. It’s hard going, because I’m trying not to have a flip response to it,  e.g., “Well, that was weird,”.

I’m also trying not to be content to just summarize it. There are real summaries available by actual scholars who can read the ancient Hebrew and who have deeper contextual understanding of where and how this book was written.

They can describe differences in rhetoric between proto-Isaiah and deutero-Isaiah (and trito-Isaiah, of course: most reputable scholars agree that three authors wrote the thing). I can’t do that. I’m trying to learn a little bit about that, of course, but I’m also trying to relate to it as a general reader. And it’s tough. (more…)

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For the next few weeks, I’ll be reading some of the most widely-quoted and alluded-to books of (what we Christians call) the Old Testament.

After that, I’m off to the races on a number of other sacred writings in cultures that I, frankly, have little to no experience with. So if I say something profoundly ignorant, I hope someone will understand that this is because I am profoundly ignorant, and come along and explain, as gently as possible, why that’s the case.

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