The book of the prophet Isaiah opens with a superscription in the manner of other prophetic collections. The modern reader may be pardoned if he makes a mental note of the information and passes on quickly to the oracles that follow. The superscription associates the book with the name of the prophet Isaiah whose father Amoz, though the subject of later and probably unreliable Talmudic tradition, is otherwise unknown. The oracles are firmly dated in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Chapter 6 shows that the opening date must be the year of Uzziah's death, variously determined by scholars between 748 and 734 B.C. The last date may be that of the death of Hezekiah, say 697 B.C. On any reckoning, the prophetic ministry of Isaiah was a long one, and it covered a series of vivid and pivotal events—the crisis created by the aggression of Syria and Ephraim in 734–732 B.C. (see chapters 7–9.6), the fall of Samaria and of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C., Hezekiah's attempt at reform, the dangerous crises of 705–701 B.C. when the southern kingdom all but shared the fate of the north at the hands of Assyria, and a number of other events and situations, either allusive and hidden from us, or patiently to be inferred from such oracles as have been transmitted. The eighth century was also a period of economic transition with all the consequences of change in conflict, insecurity and moral and spiritual turmoil.