The triadic pattern : a study in the structure of Isaiah 40-48
Form criticism has been the major methodogical trend of the 20th century literary analysis of Deutero-Isaiah (DI). It has been amplified by rhetorical criticism. But, despite new efforts and contributions, the understanding of the literary and structural nature of DI has remained incomplete. It is our principal thesis that the triadic pattern of composition is one of the most fundamental operative forces in the process of the literary construction of the corpus Is.40-48. In our present research, we have attempted to bring into relief this fundamental, but much neglected, nature of the literary corpus. Our analysis demonstrates that Is.40-48 is a literary corpus which consists of 11 units, each being structured on the basis of the triadic principle of composition (1. 40,1-31; 2. 41,1-20; 3. 41,21-42,17; 4. 42,18-43,13; 5. 43,14-44,5; 6. 44,6-23; 7. 44,24-45,13; 8. 45,14-25; 9. 46,1-13; 10. 47,1-15; 11. 48,1-22). These 11 literary units in turn form 5 Sections, which themselves are built up in accordance with the triadic structural pattern to form the concentric structure of the corpus (Section I = Unit 1: Introductory; Section II = Units 2.3.4; Section III = Units 5.6.7: Pivotal; Section IV = Units 8.9.10; Section V = Unit 11: Concluding). By means of this special reference to the triadic pattern of composition, we have re-examined the text in connection with other elements, such as the stylistic, functional, contextual, thematic, and structural. In this way, we have attempted to improve the methodology for the study of the Deutero-Isaianic text, and the understanding of its literary characteristics, its structural nature and plan of composition, and its content.