Jesus ben Sira, author of the biblical book know as Book of Ecclesiasticus, when referring to Isaiah says he was "famous for his oracles. In his days, the sun went back and lengthened the life of the king. With a powerful spirit he foresaw the future and comforted the afflicted of Zion, he announced the future until the end, and the secrets before they were revealed" (Eclo 48,22-24). The author of the fourth gospel confirms when speaking about Jesus that "Isaiah saw his glory and spoke about him". And Saint Jerome considered him not only a prophet, but also an evangelist.
These praises from antiquity could be further broaden with numerous citations. There is no doubt about the importance of Isaiah. Nevertheless, biblical science has reconstructed along the last two centuries a very different image of the character. It no longer believes that he foresaw future and announced it, that he witnessed the glory of Jesus and spoke about him, that he was some kind of evangelist.
The biblical science has been introducing Isaiah more and more into his historical framework, the convulse 8th century BC, where the concern of the prophet for the luxuries and injustices of the higher Jewish class left space for his political interest, as a result of the Syro-Ephraimite War (734 BC), the menace of the posterior Assyrian Empire, and the several attempts of rebellion that took Judea towards a terrible catastrophe (701 BC).
Nevertheless, this prophet who now appears fully immersed in the problems of his time, had through his disciples and theology an influence even he could not foresee. For centuries his separated oracles, maybe reunited by him in smaller collections, were joined by other new oracles, even full collections of them, produced by other late authors. And all of them produced five hundred years later the most extensive and passionate book of all the prophetic writings from ancient Israel.
This conference pretends informing about the following issues: the time of the prophet, his person and activity, his theology, and his influence.
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