Review of Judith Gärtner, Jesaja 66 und Sacharja 14 als Summe der Prophetie: Eine traditions- und redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum Abschluss des Jesaja- und des Zwölfprophetenbuches

Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 9 (2009) - Review

Judith Gärtner, Jesaja 66 und Sacharja 14 als Summe der Prophetie: Eine traditions- und redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum Abschluss des Jesaja- und des Zwölfprophetenbuches (WMANT 114; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 2006). Pp. XIII + 364. Hardback. €49.90. ISBN 978-3-7887-2191-6.

Previous research has often claimed that the final stages of the formation of the book of Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve underwent a similar redaction, by which these two books were aligned with each other. Odil Hannes Steck and Erich Bosshard-Nepustil in particular have argued that Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14 were added in order to sum up the message of the preceding books in similar fashion and thus to intertwine the book of Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve together. Judith Gärtner's doctoral dissertation, submitted to the University of Marburg and written under the direction of Jörg Jeremias, reevaluates the function of Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14. She comes to new and more differentiated insights.

In her first chapter Gärtner advances her conceptualizations of Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14. According to Gärtner, Isaiah 66 was added as part of a redaction that is also responsible for Isa 56:1-8 and Isaiah 65. These texts, beginning with Isaiah 56, present a new understanding of the borders of God's people based on the principles of justice and righteousness. Isaiah 65 then portrays the division of God's people into the just and the unjust. Finally, Isaiah 66 describes the formation of an eschatological people under the reign of God and the integration of the people into the cultic procedures on Mount Zion.

Zechariah 14 begins with reference to the onslaught of the nations as an instrument of God's judgment to Jerusalem and follows with God's judgment against these nations. Finally, the expectation that the surviving remnant of these nations will come for pilgrimage to Jerusalem and participate in the temple cult is brought forwards.

Thus, according to Gärtner, Isa 56:1-8; 65; 66 and Zechariah 14 are indeed influenced by comparable traditions. Jerusalem and the temple cult play an important role in both texts, as does the issue of the universal reign of Yhwh affecting both the deity's own people and the foreign nations. Both texts also combine the concept of judgment against the nations and the concept of a pilgrimage of the nations. However, as Gärtner points out, significant differences can also be detected between Isa 56:1-8; 65; 66 and Zechariah 14. For example, the Isaiah texts are marked by the expectation of a universal division between the just and the unjust that leads to the eschatological people of God. However, in Zechariah 14 the boundaries separating the people and the foreign nations are not fully removed. Merely an annual pilgrimage of the nations is expected in this text.

In her second chapter, Gärtner investigates the tradition historical origins of the previously described themes of Isa 56:1-8; 65; 66 and Zechariah 14. This analysis shows, for example, that the glory of the nations flowing to Zion like an overflowing stream in Isa 66:12 takes up and combines several statements found in previous Isaianic texts. Thus in Isa 30:28 the breath of Yhwh will reach the nations like an overflowing stream; in Isa 8:7 the glory of the king will overflow God's people; and Isa 49:22-23 and 60:4 expect the nations to come to Jerusalem. Thus, in Isaiah 66 several traditions of the earlier strata of Isaiah - the onslaught of the nations, the judgment against the nations, and the pilgrimage of the nations to Jerusalem - are combined to form the expectation that an eschatological people will arise out of all the nations.

In regards to Zechariah 14, Gärtner shows that this chapter is influenced by traditions received from the earlier texts of Zechariah and from the Book of the Twelve as a whole. This final chapter of the book of Zechariah constructs a systematized sequence of onslaught, judgment and pilgrimage of the nations out of the announcement of an onslaught of the nations in Zech 12:1-9, the judgment against the nations, the subsequent joining of the nations with the people of God mentioned in Zech 2:10-17, as well as the pilgrimage of the nations to Jerusalem announced in Zech 8:20-23. Additionally, according to Gärtner, the traditions of onslaught, judgment, and salvation of the nations mentioned in the separate tradition of Micah 4-5 are also appropriated in Zechariah 14.

Gärtner develops in the third chapter her redaction critical argument that Isa 63:7-64:11 and Zech 12:1-13:9 were earlier redactional additions to the respective books that provided these books with distinct endings. Thus, Isa 65-66 as well as Zech 14 can indeed be understood as late additions at the end of the book of Isaiah and at the end of the Book of the Twelve by which a systematized summary of these books is given.

All in all, as Steck and Bosshard-Nepustil, Gärtner presumes that Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14 should be seen as redactional conclusions to the book of Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve. However, according to Gärtner there is no reason to conclude that the book of Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve were aligned with each other by these two chapters. Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14 were simply added for reasons relevant to the particular context of each book in order to sum up the message of that book.

From previous publications it is no secret that the author of this review is convinced that the function of Zechariah 14 at the end of the Book of the Twelve should be explained differently than the view offered by Gärtner. According to his view the different traditions of judgment and salvation documented within this chapter belong to different redactional levels that are best understood in the context of the growing corpus of the Book of the Twelve as a whole. Unfortunately, Gärtner simply presupposes that Zechariah 14 - as well as Isaiah 66 - is a literary unity and that the different traditions within this chapter have thus to be explained as a conscious summary of the traditions received from the earlier strata of the book. Additionally, she does not adequately account for the possibility that one and the same redaction is responsible for these traditions at several places within the Book of the Twelve. However, as the new insights into the formation of the Book of the Twelve from the last fifteen years, have shown, this option should also be taken into consideration when investigating the intertextual relationships within the Book of the Twelve.

The previous comment should not, however, be understood as diminishing the value of Gärtner's monograph. Her book provides a significant number of interesting insights into the interrelationships between Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14 and the earlier layers of these books. It describes the similarities as well as the differences between these two chapters in a thoughtful manner. Therefore all subsequent investigations of these chapters as well as on the formation of the book of Isaiah and of the Book of the Twelve in general will benefit from this important contribution.

Jakob Wöhrle, University of Münster