ISAIAH, MARTYRDOM OF


ISAIAH, MARTYRDOM OF
ISAIAH, MARTYRDOM OF, one of the source documents discerned by scholars in the Ascension of Isaiah (see Isaiah, Ascension of ), relating Isaiah's persecution and eventual martyr's death at the hands of manasseh , king of Judah. From the first publication in 1819 of the Ethiopic version with Latin translation (the most important text) by R. Laurence, the martyrdom legend was recognized as of Jewish origin. Gesenius in 1821 first distinguished two parts (1–5, 6–11) and the two most important divisions of the material were those of A. Dillmann (Ascensio Isaiae, aethiopice et latine, 1877) and R.H. Charles (Ascension of Isaiah, 1900). Dillmann considers that the material falls into (1) a Jewish martyrdom of Isaiah (2:1–3:12 + 5:2–14); (2) a Christian ascension of Isaiah (6:1–11:1 + 23–40); (3) Christian editorial reworkings of these two (ch. 1, except 1, 3, 4 and 11:42–43); (4) a final Christian editing which added the apocalypse (3:13–5:1) and certain other passages. Charles concluded that the work is composed of three documents: (1) martyrdom of Isaiah (1:1, 2, 6–13; 2:1–8, 10–3:12; 5:1–14 – substantially identical with Dillmann's first document); (2) testament of Hezekiah (3:13–4:18); and (3) vision of Isaiah (6:1–11:14). Both the latter are Christian. Charles' hypothesis has been widely accepted, although C.C. Torrey, for example (The Apocryphal Literature (1945), 133–5) queries the existence of the martyrdom as a separate work. In view of the obviously composite nature of the Ascension and the wide circulation of the story of the martyrdom in Jewish sources (e.g., Yev. 49b; Sanh. 103b; TJ, Sanh. 10:2, 28c; PR 84:14, cf. Ginzberg, Legends (1928), 373ff.), it seems likely that the work is of Jewish origin. It is probably to be connected with the traditions about the deaths of prophets (Mart. Isa. 5:12 and parallels; Jub. 1:12; cf. II Chron. 24:19, I En. 89:51–53, 4Qp–Hosb 2:4–6; et al.) and with a type of hagiographic literature of which the Vitae Prophetarum is an example. Eissfeldt relates it to the martyrdom legends of the period of Antiochus Epiphanes, such as those of Eleazar and of the mother and her seven sons (II Macc. 6:18–7:42). Flusser (IEJ, 3 (1953), 30–47) interprets the work as a typological representation of the story of the Qumran Teacher of Righteousness. This interpretation is carried to great extremes by M. Philonenko (Pseudépigraphes de l'Ancien Testament et manuscrits de la Mer Morte (1967), 1–10). Certainly notable is the use of the name Beliar (2:4 et al.) along with Satan (e.g., 2:2) and Sammael (1:8). The name Belchira (with variants) for the false prophet, Isaiah's opponent, remains without conclusive explanation. The book may supply important information about the life and mores of apocalyptic seers, and is an example of little-known Jewish hagiographic writing. The transmission of the work is complex and is dealt with by Charles, E. Tisserant (Ascension d'Isais, 1909), and others. As well as the Ethiopic text, there are fragments or versions in Greek, Slavonic (Vaillant, in Revue des Etudes Slaves, 42 (1963), 109–21), Latin, and Coptic (Lacau, in Le Muséon, 59 (1946), 453–67). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Beer, in: Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen…, ed. by E. Kautzsch, 2 (1900), 119–27; Charles, Apocrypha, 2 (1913), 155–62; Rist, in: IDB, 2 (1962), 744ff., S.V. Isaiah, Ascension of (contains bibliography); E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher, Neutestamentliche Apocryphen, 2 (19643), 454–65; O. Eissfeldt, The Old Testament, an Introduction (1965), 609f. (contains bibliography). (Michael E. Stone)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ISAIAH, ASCENSION OF — ISAIAH, ASCENSION OF, early Christian apocalypse, containing the Jewish apocryphon the martyrdom of isaiah . The aggadah about Isaiah s violent death was already known at the beginnings of Christianity (see Acts 8: 34). Thus the Jewish apocryphon …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Isaiah in rabbinic literature — Isaiah in rabbinic literature.AncestryAccording to the ancient rabbis, Isaiah was a descendant of Judah and Tamar (Sotah 10b). His father was a prophet and the brother of King Amaziah (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a). [… …   Wikipedia

  • Isaiah, Ascension of — ▪ pseudepigraphal work       pseudepigraphal work surviving intact only in a 5th–7th century AD Ethiopic edition. Fragments exist in Greek, Coptic, Latin, and Old Slavonic. Three separate works comprise the total book, the final version by a… …   Universalium

  • Isaiah —    (Heb. Yesh yahu, i.e., the salvation of Jehovah ).    1) The son of Amoz (Isa. 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble rank. His wife was called the prophetess (8:3), either because she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • ISAIAH, THE ASCENSION OF —    an apocryphal book giving an incoherent account of the martyrdom of Isaiah, and a vision he had under the reign of Hezekiah, apparently the origin of the tradition in Heb. xi. 37, about the prophet having been sawn asunder …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Ascension of Isaiah — The book Ascension of Isaiah is one of the Pseudepigrapha.[1] Theories as to the date of its composition place it in a range from the late 1st century AD to the second half of the 2nd century AD. As for its authorship, it is believed almost… …   Wikipedia

  • HOROWITZ, ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI — (called Ha Shelah ha Kadosh, the holy Shelah, from the initials of the title of his major work; 1565?–1630), rabbi, kabbalist, and communal leader. Horowitz was born in Prague, but as a youth he moved to Poland with his father, who was his first… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ascension of Isaiah — An apocryphal work extant only in Ethiopic, probably Jewish in origin but containing extensive Christian additions. It describes the prophet s martyrdom and his subsequent elevation to heaven, and is useful for the information it gives on… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • biblical literature — Introduction       four bodies of written works: the Old Testament writings according to the Hebrew canon; intertestamental works, including the Old Testament Apocrypha; the New Testament writings; and the New Testament Apocrypha.       The Old… …   Universalium

  • Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… …   Universalium