Who Wrote The Book Of Isaiah?

Preliminary Comments

The current scholarly consensus on the dates of writing of the books of the Old Testament is that these books were written / completed between 745BC and 4BC1 – i.e., from the reign of Jotham to just before the birth of Jesus.  One of the issues which drives scholars to these conclusions is that they cannot accept the concept of predictive prophecy – that Isaiah could name Cyrus king of Persia (Is.44v28 & 45v1) 150 years before his birth & foretell the manner of his conquest of Babylon.  If one does not believe that the Bible is a revelation from God who knows the future (Is.45v11) then the record concerning Cyrus has to be history written after the event – hence the late date for “Dutero-Isaiah”.


Modern writers (19th century to the present day) on Old Testament subjects generally do not believe that all of the book of Isaiah was written by “Isaiah the son of Amoz” who lived during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz & Hezekiah (Is.1v1).  Scholars allege that Isaiah wrote chapters 1-39, another author wrote chapters 40-55 during the exile in Babylon, and a third author wrote chapters 56-66 sometime after the return from Babylon.

Who Wrote Isaiah?

What does the New Testament say about the authorship of Isaiah?  There are 21 quotations in the New Testament which attribute the quoted words to “Esaias”.2  9 of these are from the supposed 1st Isaiah, 8 from “2nd Isaiah” and 3 from the supposed “3rd Isaiah” – but every one of them is referred to in the New Testament as a quotation from “Esaias”.  Time and again Jesus, Paul and the gospel writers refer to “the book of the prophet Esaias” or say: “Esaias saith…”. We have to decide if these statements about “Esaias” are true or false.  If they are false – i.e. Isaiah did not write the words quoted, then Jesus & Paul are lying and we have no basis for trusting the New Testament Scriptures.

In addition to the above Biblical evidence, the discovery in 1949 of a manuscript of Isaiah (IQIsaa) amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls “has definitely eliminated a ‘Trito-Isaiah’ (3rd Isaiah) because the autograph is now known to come from a time several centuries earlier than the Maccabean copy found at Qumran”3

1 See the article “Dating the Bible” – Wikipedia.

2 Mt.3v3, 4v14, 8v17, 12v17, 13v14, 15v7, Mk.7v6, Lk.3v4, 4v17, Jn.1v23, 12v38, 12v39-41, Acts 8v28, 28v25, Rom.9v27, 9v29, 10v16, 10v21-22 & 15v12.

3 Quoted from “Biblical Criticism: Historical, Literary and Textual; by Harrison, Waltke, Guthrie & Fee” p.31-32.  Published by Zondervan 1978.

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