A Covenant with Death


Format: Paperback

Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Publication Date: November 15, 2015

ISBN: 0802873111

ISBN-13: 9780802873118

Number of Pages: 465

Dimensions: 9 × 6 (inches)

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Shows how ancient Near Eastern attitudes toward death illumine the Hebrew Bible

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.

Author Info

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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