Prophetic counter-terrorism: a new perspective on anti-Assyrian theology in Isaiah 10:5–34
Pierce, Zachary Philip
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Isa 10:5–34 has long been understood as an oracle, like many others in the Book of First Isaiah, that expresses anti-Assyrian theology. The text inverts several policies and ideologies of Neo-Assyrian imperialism and projects them back on Assyria, portraying the Assyrian king, in particular, as the primary object of Yahweh’s derision. However, Isa 10:5–34 appears to be doing more than simply offering a polemic of Neo-Assyrian ideology; the text provides a detailed, systematic attack of key policies and ideology that define the Neo-Assyrian colonial mission, all of which is done to comfort a Judean population suffering and afraid under Assyrian rule. Thus, anti-Assyrian theology, on its own, might not be a useful term for defining the function of the text. When read in light of modern scholarship discussing the phenomenon of terrorism, however, Isa 10:5–34 takes on a different character. This Isaianic oracle might not be merely an expression of anti-Assyrian theology but, instead, an ancient rhetoric of counter-terrorism.