'Our Suffering and Crucified Messiah' (Dial. 111.2)
Bailey (Daniel P.)
Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources
Paper - Abstract

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Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)

    Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho makes the greatest use of Isaiah 53 of any Christian work of the first two centuries. Twelve passages quote material from Isaiah 53, but the number of additional passages that allude to Isaiah 53 is disputed. While the index of the older edition by E. J. Goodspeed (1914) lists a total of 25 passages, the citation apparatus — not the (faulty) index — of the new edition by M. Marcovich refers to Isaiah 53 in 36 passages. While Marcovich's figure of 36 is accurate, its accuracy is not immediately apparent, since Marcovich's apparatus includes allusions made by a term with no lexical contact to Isaiah 53. The term is pathetos, which describes the Messiah as "passible" or "susceptible to suffering." This occurs 19 times in 17 paragraphs. Marcovich italicizes 18 of the 19 occurrences and refers 11 of the 17 paragraphs to Isa 53:8d ("he was led to death"). By contrast, Goodspeed italicized only two of these occurrences, in Dial. 110.2 and 126.1, the latter being the only place where Justin explicitly attributes the idea of a "passible" Messiah to Isaiah. Is Marcovich then guilty of over-interpretation in the other instances? Or is there implicit in Justin's writing a literary structure and network of vocabulary that marks the term pathetos as Isaianic almost every time it is used? This study supports Marcovich's interpretation and explores the means that Justin uses to mark pathetos as Isaianic, such as the contrast of Isaiah 53 and Daniel 7 within the two Parousias scheme. Theologically, Trypho and Justin agree that the Messiah is to bepathetos according to Isaiah 53, but disagree whether a pathetos Christos, has yet arrived, and over the force of the Torah's curse upon crucifixion in Deut 21:23. Against Trypho's notion of a Messiah who may suffer but not be cursed, ie.
    crucified, Justin asserts, "Our suffering and crucified Messiah was not cursed by the law" (Dial. 111.2), and suggests that it is largely "Gentiles who believe in the suffering Messiah" (Dial. 52.1). This may reflect the historical reality both of an actual dialogue with an individual Trypho (T. J. Horner) and of the formative role that Isaiah 53 played in Justin's Christian community (D. J. Bingham).


Sub-title: Justin Martyr's Allusions to Isaiah 53 in His Dialogue with Trypho with Special Reference to the New Edition of M. Marcovich

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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