The Poetics of Preaching Isaiah: Using Biblical Poetics to Assist in Preaching Isaiah

The development of the field of biblical poetics in the mid to late twentieth century led to the identification of a myriad of features within the literary design of the biblical text. Similarly, starting nearly two centuries ago and predating the field of biblical poetics, researchers began noting peculiar compositional features within Isaian studies. Yet for the tomes of literature penned, few connected biblical poetics and Isaian studies and even fewer applied those findings to the preaching of Isaiah.

The resulting gap in research of raises the question—how can the field of biblical poetics provide a pragmatic guide for preaching Isaiah? By exploring insights and intersections from the fields of biblical poetics, Isaian studies, and homiletics, this paper provides a guide that begins answering that question.

Beginning by succinctly overviewing major contributors, movements, strengths and limitations within the field of biblical poetics, the paper lays the initial hermeneutical ground work. The second section builds upon the first by applying principles from biblical poetics to the interpretive task of Isaiah. Third, the study synthesizes the insights gleaned from the previous sections into homiletical tools that practitioners can readily apply from the pulpit or lectern in the preaching of Isaiah. Finally, the paper identifies areas for further development primarily for the field of preaching.