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Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah

A Metaphor for Zion Theology

Series:

Maggie Low

Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah: A Metaphor for Zion Theology offers the unique perspective that personified mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is not just a metaphor used for a rhetorical purpose but a cognitive metaphor representing Zion theology, a central theme in the Book of Isaiah. The author deftly combines the methods of metaphor theory and intertextuality to explain the vital but often overlooked conundrum that Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is an innocent mother, unlike the adulterous wife in other prophetic books. This interpretation offers a vital corrective to the view of women in the biblical context. As a result of this usage, Deutero-Isaiah paradoxically presents Yahweh the Creator as the one who gives birth to the people, not mother Zion. This understanding explains the concentration of gynomorphic imagery used for God in this prophetic book, providing a counterbalance to patriarchal perspectives of God. Finally, a fresh insight is offered into the ongoing debate between universalism and nationalism in Deutero-Isaiah, based on the premise that as a symbol of Zion theology, mother Zion represents Yahweh’s universal sovereignty rather than a nationalistic ethnicity. Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is an invaluable resource in courses that deal with issues in Isaiah, biblical interpretation, and feminist hermeneutics, especially regarding the feminine personification of Zion and the maternal imagery of God.

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INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................. 1 CHAPTER ONE. METHODS .............................................................................. 5 I. Metaphor Theory ........................................................................................... 5 II. Intertextuality ............................................................................................. 20 CHAPTER TWO. ZION THEOLOGY IN DEUTERO-ISAIAH ...................... 37 I. Zion in DI and PI ......................................................................................... 37 II. Zion Theology and Personified Zion in DI ................................................. 46 CHAPTER THREE. A SURVEY OF PERSONIFIED ZION: PEOPLE OR PLACE ................................................................................................................ 53 I. Ancient Near Eastern Context ..................................................................... 53 II. Personified Zion in the Prophetic Tradition ................................................ 56 CHAPTER FOUR. MOTHER ZION’S INNOCENCE ...................................... 71 I. Isaiah 50:1-3 Mother Zion’s Separation ..................................................... 73 II. Isaiah 49:14-26 Mother Zion’s Complaint.................................................. 77 III. Isaiah 51:17-52:2 Mother Zion’s Cup of Wrath ......................................... 86 IV. Isaiah 54:1-10 Zion – Sinful or Suffering Wife? ........................................ 96 CHAPTER FIVE. THE BIRTH OF ZION’S CHILDREN .............................. 111 I. Isaiah 49:14-26 Who Has Borne For Me These ....................................... 111 II. Isaiah 42:10-17 Like a Woman in Labor .................................................. 119 III. Isaiah 46:1-7 Carried From the Womb ..................................................... 133 IV. Isaiah 54:1 Sing, O Barren One Who Did Not Bear ................................. 138 Excursus on Isaiah 45:9-13 “With What Are You in Labor?” ................. 145 xiv CHAPTER SIX. ZION’S NATIONALISM ..................................................... 149 Assessment of Scholarship ........................................................................ 150 I. Isaiah 45:14-17 Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sabeans in Chains ......................... 157 II. Isaiah 49:22-26 I Will Lift My Hand to the Nations ................................ 164 III. Isaiah 51:21-52:2 The Uncircumcised and Unclean ................................. 173 IV. Isaiah 54:3 You Will Dispossess Nations ................................................. 176 CHAPTER SEVEN.CONCLUSION ................................................................ 181 Summary ........................................................................................... 181 Implications ........................................................................................... 183 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................. 193 SCRIPTURE INDEX ........................................................................................ 215

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