19 February 2022

Isaiah: Part 1

In the previous blog entries we studied the structure diagrams of the Psalms. In the Psalms 32 different psalms can be found that appear in 42 passages in 52 quotations in the New Testament. In this entry we are going to study similar questions for the Book of Isaiah – we will see that a large amount of passages of Isaiah appear in the New Testament. In fact, the Psalms and Isaiah fill about the half of the New Testament quotations – in other words, if a random quotation is chosen, it is about 25% that it quotes the Psalms and 25% that it is taken from Isaiah.


Several quotations use literal copies from Isaiah, but others are fuzzy and a couple of the quotations are very challenging to analyze. We try to use the formerly defined 6 classes of structure diagrams. It is possible to click on the diagrams to launch a getrefs command on the LXX part (some of these experiments were already shown in the previous blog entries for the Romans, they are here for completeness of Isaiah):
  1. Literal matches (7 occurrences):







  2. Almost literal matches (15 occurrences):



    For the last match we note that a difference of 50% is very unusual and this quotation is therefore quite questionable. Jesus certainly points to Isaiah 6:9, but there is only one word here that introduces a reference: “ινα” (“so that”). We know from Matthew 13:13-15 (this is a parallel passage in another Gospel) that Jesus explicitly mentions Isaiah, but in Luke this explicit mention is shortened. Also, the wording lacks of precise quoting. So one may consider this match as an allusion – here I decided to put the match on the list because of the supporting argument from Matthew. (In fact, this match cannot be found with the getrefs algorithm.)

    Further almost literal matches:













  3. Recall, a variant of the first two types is when the introduction is preceded by a quoted text. This appears in 4 cases: in Isaiah 40:3, 40:13 (twice) and 52:11:





  4. Recall, sometimes a longer passage is skipped from the quoted text, but otherwise the quotation is (quasi-)literal. We can identify 5 quotations for this class:



    Note the unusual difference for the first part: in Isaiah we find “εν σκοτει” (“in darkness”) and II_Corinthians “Εκ σκοτους” (“out of darkness”), they are computed as 62% via the Jaccard distance.

    Further matches:



    We already mentioned this combination of two matches in the Romans.

    The last match in this class:


  5. We recall that the fifth class can be derived from the (quasi-)literal matches, but there is at least one unidentified part in the quotation. In our case we have 4 such matches:





    The last two quotations contain another quoted text from Jeremiah 7:11.
The sixth class contains the remaining diagrams. Since there are several ones (16 matches) in this category, we are going to study each remaining diagram thoroughly in the next blog entry.


Continue reading…

See also a filtered list of the entries on topics GeoGebra, technical developments or internal references in the Bible.


Zoltán Kovács
Linzer Zentrum für Mathematik Didaktik
Johannes Kepler Universität
Altenberger Strasse 54
A-4040 Linz