"Camelot": The Paradox of Zion in Isaiah


(...) There is emancipation, if we read true to Isaiah’s intent. The power of Isaiah’s greatest of true myths is that if interpreted well it draws its audienceof the faithful into true action with the urgency that it must be made so. Thus, instead of the passive wait for an apocalyptic showing of that GloriousArm, the faithful reader is liberated to effect the work of that Arm as a truemember of the redeemed. With active, corporate struggle the messianic erais triggered by tikkun ha-olam: the laborious work of rebuilding waste places and redeeming lost generations. The victory and salvation of humanity arrives out of the YHWH who lives not beyond the clouds but amongst andwithin the community of true faith. They embrace an ancient narrative thatleads them on a journey of messianic redemption. “If it works, that is, if itforces us to change our minds and hearts, gives us new hope, and compelsus to live more fully, it is a valid myth … an art form that points beyond history … helping us get beyond the chaotic flux of random events, andglimpse the core of reality.”

My reading of Isaiah’s mythical visions of Jerusalem, of Zion as it could be,liberates me to action. It has liberated others in the recent past, inspired toaction and overturning institutions of injustice. (...)