The Theology of The Book of Isaiah: Diversity and Unity

October 14, 2014 — Leave a comment


John Goldingay is David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has written a three volume Old Testament theology, a three volume commentary on the Psalms, and many, many other books related to the study of theology and the Old Testament. Most recently, he has written The Theology of The Book of Isaiah, which offers readers a short (but not light) treatment of the theological message of Isaiah.

He opens the book clarifying, “my aim for this book is first, to articulate the theology in the book called Isaiah.” Additionally, he aims to “articulate the theology of the book called Isaiah as a whole” (11). To carryout this plan, Goldingay first surveys Isaiah section by section. He begins with chapters 1-12, then 13-27, 28-39, 40-55, and finally 56-66. Those familiar with critical studies of the book of Isaiah will recognize the divisions of 40-55 and 56-66. Thankfully, Goldingay chose to deal with 1-39 in three sections instead of one fell swoop.

Having done his section by section survey (aimed at articulating the theology in Isaiah), Goldingay moves to a more thematic overview of the book as a whole. These chapters are relatively short (compared to the survey chapters) and cover topics like “The God of Israel the Holy One, Yahweh Armies” (chapter 7) and “Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility” (chapter 15). The focus is on the theological themes that properly fall under the category of the title of the this book.

This volume was a quick read for me, but a book I’ll come back to as I do more teaching prep on Isaiah. I liked that Goldingay combines a theological survey with a thematic survey. The thematic chapters don’t need to be read in order and can be returned to as interest dictates. As for the survey chapters, I don’t know of a better theological overview in under 75 pages (this one is right about 67 or so). If you’re particularly interested Isaiah, I would recommend checking out Goldingay’s take on it. For more aggressive reader, it’s a great weekend read. For those intimidated by studying Isaiah, this is a great way to get started without feeling overwhelmed.

John Goldingay, The Theology of The Book of Isaiah. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, May 2014. 160 pp. Paperback, $18.00.

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Thanks to IVP Academic for the review copy!


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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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