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Remember the Former Things: The Recollection of Previous Texts in Isaiah 40-55
Patricia K. Tull Willey
Not yet published
Publication Date
January 1998


This study of Isaiah 40–55 makes use of poetic studies, especially theories of intertextuality and Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism, to examine Second Isaiah’s intertextual roots and to explore the poetry’s strategic recollection and refashioning of previous Judahite language and traditions. Concentrating on the text’s exegetical reworking of Lamentations, Jeremiah, Jerusalem psalms, and pentateuchal stories, the author highlights the creative interplay between memory and innovation that heralded Jerusalem’s rebirth in the Second Temple period. Special attention is given to the newly configured roles of “YHWH’s Servant” and “Daughter Zion.” Thus the study contributes depth to the study of Second Isaiah by highlighting the resources from which Second Isaiah drew and the ways in which these resources were modified for a new time, while also contributing new insights to the study of the “Servant” and “Daughter Zion” by introducing not only intertextual concerns but also feminist hermeneutical perspectives.

“Willey’s study is a pleasure to read and a stimulating step forward in linking the methods of redaction criticism, close reading, and theological interpretation. Methodologically, it demonstrates how sensitivity to the rhetorical and literary dimensions of a text can contribute to historical reconstruction of authorial intention. Substantively, it brings together a wealth of observations and understandings of Second Isaiah, some new, some generally recognized, into a systematic coherence that others will surely want to develop further.”
Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Patricia Tull Willey is Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. She is also the co-editor of As Those Who Are Taught: The Interpretation of Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature).