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The Fifth Gospel: Isaiah in the History of Christianity
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"...Sawyer's new book is unusually important for at least two reasons. In the first place Sawyer presents a fascinating survey of the book of Isaiah's contribution to Christian history....At the same time, Sawyer pushes the boundaries of traditional biblical studies by pursuing Isaiah in terms not of its original meanings, but of its influence as Christian literature....one can easily lose oneself in the sheer volume of evidence Sawyer introduces. In this case, losing oneself can be a joy due to the richness of Sawyer's sources and the artful way he weaves them together." Catholic Issues
"[Sawyer's] coverage is extensive, his mastery of varied material is impressive, and he is laudably sensitive to the issue of anti-Jewish polemic....should be added to all collections that support serious study of the bible as a document of multiple meanings and continuing relevance." Choice
"The Fifth Gospel is a success. It is clearly written, informative, and a pleasure to browse. The reader will certainly share Sawyer's hope that the book will prod future writers to expand the conception of the critical biblical commentary to include, in some fashion, the histroy of interpretation....the book offers a pleasurable window onto the riches of biblical in the Christian tradition, one that will prove attractive to clergy, laity, student, and teacher alike. The handsomely produced book includes 38 black-and-white plates, and a useful index of biblical passages that allows the reader to investigate the interpretation of nearly every verse in the book of Isaiah." R. Kendall Soulen, Anglican Theological Review
"Enthusiatically recommended to theologians and church historians, as well as the biblical scholars for whom it was intended." Barbara Pitkin, Religious Studies Review
"...Sawyer has produced an extremely useful book for both pastors and teachers. The book contains a vast amount of information about the interpretation of both individual texts and larger sections of the prophecy which will be of use to pastors as they prepare sermons and especially Bible classes." Tim Saleska, Concordia
From the Back Cover
In this work, Professor Sawyer opens a 'third track' of reading, which concerns the actual practice of the church in using the book of Isaiah, and appeals to but runs well beyond both 'historical-critical' and 'canonical' perspectives.
Top customer reviews
His research from such produces some amazing statements, e.g. "to underline the fact that many of the most familiar themes and quotations from the 'Fifth Gospel' owe that familiarity to their appearance already in early Christian scripture as much as to the Church's use of the original Book of Isaiah. They had already received their Christian meaning, in other words, almost before the Church came into existence."
It is hard to imagine another biblical book which had so much impact on the church and history as Isaiah, however, the author encourages works on these other books to be produced to test the hypothesis. The chapters in the book contribute the overview of Isaiah's impact not only in periods of church history, but also thematically and then categorically in impacting such as feminine theology, art, music, literature, historical quest, etc. This is well supplemented by 38 plates of art which is referred to as the examination progresses.
Well written, researched and a delightful venture into this most fascinating Prophet whose prophecy certainly has enlivened usage diverse and abundant. Highly recommended!