Lisa Steinmetz and Dr. Donald W. Parry, Asian and Near Eastern Languages
My research on Isaiah is still an ongoing project that I have been working on since January 1999. As of August 1999, I have identified all Hebrew passages in the Masoretic text of Isaiah in which the second person pronoun or verb form varies in gender from the simple English “you” that one reads in the Holy Bible. I accomplished this by systematically reviewing the Hebrew text of Isaiah and documenting any gender changes in the second person pronoun or verb form. I plan to compile my work into a simple, organized format that is easy to read so that others will be able to access my findings and conduct their own research from it.
As part of my studies, I have also taken notes on the details surrounding the gender changes, but I have not arrived at any solid conclusions yet. I am still looking for patterns or similarities that might offer valuable insights to help us better understand the words of Isaiah. An example of a gender change occurs when Isaiah alternates from addressing the children of Israel, which he writes in the second person masculine plural, to speaking to or about Zion, which he refers to in the second person feminine singular.
As with any research project, it has been difficult for me to gather my thoughts and find evidence to support my ideas. However, I have explored several key words and ideas that reappear in the isolated passages, and I have decided to focus my studies on Jerusalem, Zion and Babylon and the feminine imagery that Isaiah creates to describe the different relationships that each has with the Lord.
By the end of the year, I expect to be able to write a conclusive paper explaining how Isaiah uses the feminine pronoun and verb form by providing several descriptive examples where the gender difference fulfills a specific purpose. I will then expound on the significance of that purpose and its implications.