The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources.

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Isaiah 53 represents one of the peaks of the Hebrew Bible. It is a text that has played a significant role in Jewish thought throughout history and has also been vital for the development of the early Christian theology.
The present work, a collection of essays, focuses on the “effective history” of Isaiah 53 from the post-biblical and early Christian periods to the medieval times, where the understanding and the significance of Isaiah 53 for the Jewish-Christian dialogue of the time is presented.
In the three introductory essays, Isaiah 53 is analysed with classical historical-critical methods each arriving at slightly different understandings of the identity of the Servant as well as of the nature of his mission. Unfortunately, studies of Isaiah 53 from other, more recent methodological perspectives are not included in this anthology, a fact that narrows the understanding of the function of this central text in its historical as well as in the modern contexts.
The two essays dealing with the pre-Christian period demonstrate the multiplicity of equally “legitimate” understandings of the Servant and his work represented by the different Jewish movements of this time. This diversity of interpretation helps understand early Christian appropriation of Isaiah 53 as a text that, according to Christian tradition, points to the goal and end of salvation history - Jesus Christ. The schism between Jewish and Christian understandings of Isaiah 53 has thereby been initiated. Down the history, Isaiah 53 has been central for the Christian discussions about Christology, the impassibility of God and martyrdom, while discussions in Jewish tradition concerned the question of the meaning and the role of the growing number of Jews in the Diaspora. Even though the interpretation of Isaiah 53 in subsequent Jewish and Christian traditions could converge on a number of points, the larger issue on both sides was to prevent readings of the text in such a manner that would give the other side preferential right of interpretation. Thus, this volume draws attention to the fact how, on the one hand, a biblical text forms a community’s self-understanding, and on the other hand, how the flow of the influence goes just as much in the opposite direction: the personal interests of a community form the understanding of the texts of the Holy Scripture.
The theological depth and the broad scope of the essays make this anthology an indispensable starting point as well as a significant reference work for anyone who wishes to learn more about or engage in a deeper study of Isaiah 53.
TidskriftSvensk Exegetisk Årsbok (SEÅ)
StatusPublished - 2008

Bibliografisk information

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Filosofi, etik och religion

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