A Covenant with Death

Death in the Iron Age II and Its Rhetorical Uses in Proto-Isaiah

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Christopher B. Hays
  • Grand Rapids, MI: 
    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
    , November
     465 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Raleigh C. Heth forthcoming.


Death is one of the major themes of First Isaiah, although it has not generally been recognized as such. In this work Christopher Hays offers fresh interpretations of more than a dozen passages in Isaiah 5-38 in light of ancient beliefs about death. What especially distinguishes Hays's study is its holistic approach, as he brilliantly synthesizes both literary and archaeological evidence, resulting in new insights.

Hays first summarizes what is known about death in the ancient Near East during the Second Iron Age, covering beliefs and practices in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria-Palestine, and Judah/Israel. He then shows how select passages in the first part of Isaiah employ the rhetorical imagery of death that was part of their cultural context; further, he identifies ways in which these texts break new creative ground.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Christopher B. Hays is D. Wilson Moore Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East.


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