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I asked this on History StackExchange but I think it may get better answers here. My question:

I read the Old Testament but I don't understand how a prophet such as Isaiah would have first put forth his prophesies. Did he speak to a crowd, while someone took down his words? Or did he write little pamphlets which were copied and disseminated in print form? Did he nail his writings to the door of a church, or mail them to a person of authority? [...] Perhaps Isaiah knew that his words would be read after his death, but how many people were exposed to them during his life, and through what media?

One commenter on History StackExchange pointed out that Wikipedia's "Book of Isaiah" article contains the speculation that parts of Isaiah were actually "sermons" delivered at the court of Josiah a century later. However, the article admits to the existence of a historical "Isaiah ben Amoz", who is supposed to have written at least the first 39 chapters of Book of Isaiah, and the article doesn't address the question of how he published his verses.

I did some more research and found that Isaiah was "court prophet to King Hezekiah". That sheds a little light, but I'm still curious.


Update: I changed the title to refer to only Isaiah. However, I don't think this covers all the objections I've received for this question.

Update 2: @Nathaniel suggests that I should specify whose opinion I am asking for. Let's say liberals. But in fact, I don't even know how Isaiah is depicted in historical fiction. Is he portrayed as a radical professor? A street preacher? A strung-out courtier? A family man? Perhaps I could have asked "What are some popular fictionalized depictions of Isaiah, and how do they deviate from known history?". I don't know if that would be a better framing of my question. Maybe I should just go back to reading the Bible.

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, Nathaniel, Lee Woofenden, Mr. Bultitude, Dick Harfield Jun 14 '16 at 21:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome. This is a great question, but unfortunately, it's probably not a good fit here. Different Christians will have different views about the origin of this book. Here, "Christian beliefs" is too broad – we describe what specific groups of Christians believe. When you get a chance, I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. – Nathaniel Jun 14 '16 at 7:44
  • Unfortunately no one knows, except for Jeremiah, which tells us that he used the scribe Baruch. – curiousdannii Jun 14 '16 at 7:53
  • @Nathaniel: ... (wondering what I was supposed to learn from the links you provided) I would be happy to know what any specific groups of Christians believe about the origins of Isaiah. Let me know if you want to be more specific about what is wrong with my question. – Metamorphic Jun 14 '16 at 8:38
  • Thanks for reviewing it. The main thing is that when it comes to doctrinal matters, like the inspiration of Scripture, we can't handle questions that are open to all views associated with Christianity. Answers to such questions are prone to getting votes based on who agrees with that view, not its quality. Here, proponents of traditional authorship are going to answer differently than proponents of higher criticism who accept the "scholarly consensus." In cases like this, if the question is narrowed to specify whose view is desired, it can often be answered here. – Nathaniel Jun 14 '16 at 11:01
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    There is a Judaism site, for what that's worth. You are right about denominations generally not having an opinion on this, but I strongly suspect there will be differences between the views of evangelicals who consider the Bible inerrant, and liberals who apply higher criticism to the Bible. Asking for the views of one of those two groups would help get this reopened. – Nathaniel Jun 16 '16 at 11:06