The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources
Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds.
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Amazon Book Description

  1. The Servant Song of Isaiah 53 has been highly significant in both Jewish and Christian thought. Rarely, however, has it been explored from the broad range of perspectives represented in this long-awaited volume.
  2. In The Suffering Servant ten talented biblical interpreters trace the influence of the Servant Song text through the centuries, unpacking the theological meanings of this rich passage of scripture and its uses in various religious contexts.
  3. Chapters examine in depth Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in the Hebrew original and in later writings, including pre-Christian Jewish literature, the New Testament, the Isaiah Targum, the early church fathers, and a sixteenth-century rabbinic document informed by Jewish-Christian dialogue.
  4. Translated by Daniel P. Bailey.
  5. "Few texts of the Bible have played such a significant role in Christian and Jewish thought, as well as in the encounter between these two traditions, as the Suffering Servant song in Isaiah 53. In this volume much of what matters about this great text and much of what is conflicted and debated comes to light in a group of scholarly interpretations that pay close attention to the real difficulties of the text on the one hand and the large questions of how to read and understand the identity and work of the Servant on the other. Since one cannot deal with the Suffering Servant text without paying attention to how others have interpreted it in church and synagogue, the editors have included essays that probe in depth the appropriation of this text by both communities of faith. An indispensable book for thinking about the place of the Suffering Servant text in biblical theology and Christology."
    — Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Theological Seminary
  6. 'The unique and pivotal role that Isaiah 53 has played in Christian theology fully justifies the focus and scope of the essays that make up this volume. Their detailed and thorough analysis of the text, its pre-Christian and Jewish interpretation, and the significance and impact of its reference to Christ make for a book both magisterial and seminal. It will serve as an indispensable starting point and reference work for the next generation of students of 'the Suffering Servant.'"
    — James D. G. Dunn, University of Durham
  7. 'It is a happy event to have this volume appear in a superb English translation. The essays are learned, probing, and, above all, theologically alert. Scholars and pastors will be greatly illuminated by the depth and breadth of these interpretations of the Suffering Servant."
    — Brevard S. Childs, Yale Divinity School
  8. Bernd Janowski is professor of Old Testament at the University of Tubingen, Germany.
  9. Peter Stuhlmacher is professor emeritus of New Testament at the University of Tubingen.


Eerdmans, Grand Rapids (15 Nov 2004)

"Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources: Preface"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Full Text1
  1. With its idea of the vicarious suffering of the Servant of God, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the focus of this volume, is one of those leading Old Testament theological texts that have had, and will continue to have, an extraordinary influence or "effective history" in Judaism and Christianity. In order to sketch the basic features of this effective history, especially for the postbiblical and early Christian periods, we must have access to the foundational Old Testament text with its tradition and transmission history. Yet the problems begin precisely here. Is the chapter's characteristic category of vicariousness still accessible to modern understanding, or should it not rather be replaced by other categories? Gerhard Friedrich has recommended the latter approach to the interpretation of the death of Jesus. On the other hand W. Pannenberg, after admitting that concepts like sacrifice, vicariousness, and atonement are no longer self-evident to today's people, nevertheless insists that this is insufficient reason to replace the traditional ideas by others. The task of today's interpreter is rather to open up the traditional language and motifs to the understanding of modern readers and so to keep their (original) sense alive (cf. Systematic Theology, trans. G. W. Bromiley [Grand Rapids 1994], 2:421-422). Pannenberg concludes: "The problems that people have with ideas like expiation and representation (or substitution) [= a single German term: Stellvertretung] in our secularized age rest less on any lack of forcefulness in the traditional terms than on the fact that those who are competent to interpret them do not explain their content with sufficient force or clarity" (422).
  2. The present volume addresses itself to this interpretive task.
  3. The essays take up the motif of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 and use interdisciplinary cooperation to expose the complex process of interpretation this text has undergone.
    • First, a new text had to be formulated — based on antecedents but also moving beyond them — to explain how the Servant through his sufferings could take the place of "the many" (H. Spieckermann).
    • This text then found its place in the Deutero-Isaianic tradition and received its definitive meaning in this context (H.-J. Hermisson; B. Janowski).
    • Ancient Judaism took up particular statements from Isaiah 53 and applied the whole chapter to Israel, righteous individuals, the prophet Isaiah, and the Messiah (M. Hengel; J. Adna).
    • The ministry of Jesus of Nazareth caused the Servant Song to be interpreted primarily Christologically in the New Testament (P. Stuhlmacher; O. Hofius).
    • Some church fathers saw the vicariously suffering Jesus as the basis and cause of the salvation preached by the church, while others saw him as an example of the true Christian (C. Markschies).
    • Justin Martyr stands out as the Christian apologist who made the greatest use of Isaiah 53 in the second century C.E. (D. P. Bailey).
    • However, from the second century C.E. until the late middle ages, individual Jewish scholars have reacted critically to the Christian reception and interpretation of Isaiah 53 (S. Schreiner).
    By tracing this effective history we hope that we have presented a differentiated and accurate picture of the theology, historical location, and ongoing influence of this central biblical text that will stimulate further research. An extensive and up-to-date bibliography (W. Hullstrung, G. Feine, D. P. Bailey) and indexes conclude the volume.
  4. Without energetic and knowledgeable help the appearance of this volume would have been impossible. For work on the German we must thank especially Gerlinde Feine, who converted complicated and heavily reworked manuscripts into texts and achieved editorial uniformity. The English translation was prepared by Daniel Bailey, who was a member of the original seminar in Tubingen. In addition to translating the essays he has shaped and expanded the English volume, providing the introductory summaries as well as extra bibliographical and philological notes.
    … Bernd Janowski & Peter Stuhlmacher Tubingen, July 1996; March 2004

In-Page Footnotes ("Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources: Preface")

Footnote 1: I have cut the references to most German texts and terms, and have applied some reformatting.

"Bailey (Daniel P.) - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources: Translator's Preface"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Full Text1
  1. With its thoroughly researched and informative essays, this book will doubtless be of interest to professional academics. But I hope that it will also find its way into the hands of pastors, seminary students, and theologians without a formal degree wanting to study this perennially interesting topic: the relationship of the book of Isaiah's traditions about a Suffering Servant to the rest of the Hebrew Bible, its early versions, pre-Christian Jewish texts, the teachings of Jesus and the early church, and postbiblical sources of Judaism and Christianity. I have translated the book especially with this audience in mind. Yet as a former member of the advanced seminar in Tubingen where most of these essays were first presented, I know that they were originally prepared for a different audience: specialists who were either doctoral candidates or professors in one of Germany's most famous universities. I have therefore attempted a translation and adaptation of the original.
  2. Major adaptation has not taken place with every essay: those by Professors are presented essentially unchanged, even though S. R. Driver's 1877 translation of the Sefer Hizzuk Emunah had to be substantially adapted for Schreiner's essay.
  3. H. Spieckermann's contribution ("Spieckermann (Hermann) - The Conception and Prehistory of the Idea of Vicarious Suffering in the Old Testament"), which first appeared a year after the German volume, is new to this English collection but fits seamlessly with the other essays. Professor Spieckermann co-edits with Professor Janowski the German series in which this volume originally appeared; his thesis on the prehistory of "vicariousness" caught my attention when I heard it as a conference paper in Cambridge in 1995.
  4. I have been alert to the possibility of stylistic or editorial changes that might make the volume more accessible to English-speaking readers, and have proposed such changes to the authors. The first paragraph of H. Spieckermann's essay now includes a block quotation from W. Zimmerli's 1968 essay to give added concreteness to Spieckermann's summary of Zimmerli's argument. Such minor editorial enhancements, approved by the authors, are typical and have been included throughout the volume without special comment.
  5. The summaries introducing each essay are adapted from those I published in an American counterpart to this volume: Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian Origins.
  6. I have been more substantially involved in the final form of three of the essays, My material additions to the essays by Hermisson and Markschies have been enclosed within double brackets as the added comments of the Translator: [[(Tr.) ...]]. This is unnecessary, however, for my enhancements of Hengel's essay, which are covered by my role as collaborator.
  7. In "Hermisson (Hans-Jurgen) - The Fourth Servant Song in the Context of Second Isaiah", I have translated the originally untranslated Hebrew and Greek expressions in the text-critical portions of nn. 12-41, sometimes adding bracketed explanations of the origin and meaning of these variant readings. (Professor Hermisson has reviewed these explanations, but they remain my responsibility.) English-speaking students may be unfamiliar with the practice of revising the textual tradition based on scholarly judgment without manuscript evidence — so-called conjectural emendation. I have therefore been careful to indicate for students which of Hermisson's emendations are conjectural and which manuscript-based. Occasionally it has been possible to trace out the history of research behind certain readings more fully (e.g. nn. 13, 33 of Hermisson's essay).
  8. "Markschies (Christoph) - Jesus Christ as a Man before God", was the longest in the German and is even longer in English because of the need to provide translations of the copiously quoted Greek and Latin sources (from published translations where possible). I have updated the bibliography and provided philological and text-critical help for students, as detailed in n. i. My own study following C. Markschies's essay analyzes M. Marcovich's 1997 edition of Justin Martyr's Dialogue as a complement to Markschies's treatment of Justin.
  9. Martin Hengel is well known for his productive practice of involving his research assistants and junior colleagues in the preparation of his prodigious scholarly output. In "Hengel (Martin), Bailey (Daniel P.) - The Effective History of Isaiah 53 in the Pre-Christian Period" I have fulfilled this role by updating and rewriting the two sections that deal with texts from 4Q that had just been made public when Professor Hengel delivered his paper in 1991 and that were the subject of only a few studies when he published it in 1996 — namely The Aramaic Apocryphon of Levi 4Q540-541 (below, pp. 106-18) and the Self-Glorification Hymn 4Q491c (below, pp. 140-45). Other places in the text and footnotes where I have added philological explanations are listed before the first note.
  10. The essays together constitute an unusually close reading of a well-defined text, and therefore I have wanted to bring out nuances in meaning as clearly as possible. Rather than merely translating the different German words as glosses upon the individual Hebrew or Greek terms, I have usually been able to find existing English translations that mirror rather closely the different nuances being discussed in the German. All references to English Bible versions are therefore my own. I have made frequent use of the RSV, NRSV, NJPS, NAB, NJB, REB, NIV, NASB, and even the KJV, which often is the best starting point for the history of interpretation, as when it renders the disputed Isa 52:15 by "So shall he sprinkle many nations."
  11. Sub-verses of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 53 are numbered not just as a and b, but as aa, ab, ba, bb, etc., in keeping with German practice. The authors are not all consistent in their verse subdivision, but the scheme followed by most of them is set out by H.-J. Hermisson (pp. 22-29). Hermisson provides a translation of the Hebrew text of Isa 52:13-53:12 that can serve as a guide for readers of this volume.
  12. It may be useful to put some of the other works of our authors into their wider context. The works of Martin Hengel are already well known in English translation — so much so that even Tubingen bookstores must stock his works in English, since books such as The Pre-Christian Paul, Paul between Damascus and Antioch, and The Johannine Question (to name only a few) appeared in English before their definitive and more expensive hardback German editions. The work most relevant to the topic of the Suffering Servant, Hengel's The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament, has appeared in book form only in English.
  13. Peter Stuhlmacher is also frequently translated, and his major Biblical Theology of the New Testament is due to appear shortly after the present volume. In addition to the Scripture index of the Biblical Theology under Isaiah 53, readers with German may wish to consult Stuhlmacher's essay [ … snip …], in which he offers a more comprehensive treatment of the Servant — especially in relationship to the Messiah — than could be offered here.
  14. The chief editor of this volume, Bernd Janowski, is known for the world's most detailed study of cultic and non-cultic atonement in the Old Testament associated especially with the Hebrew root KPR. Of his work on the atonement only a brief encyclopedia article has appeared in English, and there is a small but significant problem with the translation of the section on Isaiah 53. Janowski's wider views of biblical theology are beginning to become available in English, and they are discussed in a review article by R. E. Murphy, together with the views of Hermann Spieckermann who originally presented his lecture on this topic in English.
  15. Similarly known for his work on the atonement, especially in Paul, is Otfried Hofius. A reviewer of Hofius's collected essays on this and related topics concludes by describing him as "a scholar who is not afraid to swim against the current, and who swims strongly." Certainly Professor Hofius has lost none of this energy in the present essay. While Hofius's earlier work on the atonement that informs his approach to Isaiah 53 remains untranslated, the seminal work "Die Suhne" (1977) by the Tubingen Old Testament specialist H. Gese (on whom both Hofius and Janowski depend) is translated as "The Atonement". Hofius's views on New Testament atonement are summarized in his article in the Theologische Realenzyklopaedie.
  16. While Hans-Jurgen Hermisson's studies of Deutero-Isaiah have not previously been translated, fortunately we have a sympathetic English-language review by W. P. Brown of Hermisson's collected essays on prophecy and wisdom — including the essay translated here, plus several others on the Servant and Deutero-Isaiah. Brown considers this to be Hermisson's most original work. He concludes that Hermisson "consistently combines close readings of texts with theological sensitivity" and presents "theological reflections that make his essays enduring for future readers."
  17. Of our three remaining authors, the two youngest, Jostein Adna and Christoph Markschies, have an increasing number of their studies appearing in English, either in translation or original composition. Stefan Schreiner shows his familiarity with (among other things) Polish primary and secondary literature relating to late medieval Judaism, and a few of his many contributions to Jewish studies and Jewish-Christian dialogue have appeared in English.
  18. The Protestant Theological Faculty in Tubingen here shows its strength in collaborative and interdisciplinary work. I believe that this is made possible in part by the fact that all the authors understand themselves to be about the same business — the critical historical study of biblical and extrabiblical Jewish and Christian texts with a view to the identification and evaluation of their theological truth claims. This is not to say that all our authors agree. But it does explain why one finds here a different type of coherence than might be found in the conference proceedings of SBL Seminars or similar North American gatherings, where the institutional settings of the participants and therefore their perceived responsibilities to the profession (and possibly to the church or synagogue) may vary much more widely.
  19. [… snip …]

In-Page Footnotes ("Bailey (Daniel P.) - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources: Translator's Preface")

Footnote 1: I have cut the references to most German texts and terms, together with the extensive footnotes and some credits at the end.

"Adna (Jostein) - The Servant of Isaiah 53 as Triumphant and Interceding Messiah"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    The departures of the Targumic Aramaic translation of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 from the wording of the Hebrew text — beginning with "Behold, my servant, the Messiah, shall prosper" in 52:13 — are well known. What they reveal of the translator's procedure and theology is, however, a debated matter. This study claims that the translator's changes in favor of a triumphant rather than a suffering Messiah cannot be traced to any conscious anti-Christian motive. Neither can the translator's procedure fairly be labeled as arbitrary reinterpretation or atomistic exegesis. Rather, the Targumist provides a unified and consistent interpretation of Isaiah 53 that does not differ substantially from his treatment of other parts of the book. Working between 70 and 135 C.E. and starting from the possible identification of the Lord's Servant with the Messiah (cf., e.g., Zech. 3:8 and Tg. Zech. 3:8), the Targumist becomes convinced that the prosperous and exalted figure in Isaiah 52:13 can be none other than the Messiah. The change in the Hebrew text from the third person singular in 52:13 to the second person singular in verse 14 ("many were astonished at you") further persuades him that all statements of suffering and death in 52:14 and 53:3-9 must apply to others than the Servant-Messiah (the Gentiles, the wicked in Israel, etc.). Hence, he is able to render Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in keeping with the typical Jewish view of a triumphant Messiah, who judges the peoples and the wicked and rules over God-fearing and law-keeping Israel. The Targumist emphasizes the Messiah's roles as temple builder (cf. v. 5: "he will build the sanctuary"), teacher of the law (cf. v. 5: "by his teaching the peace will increase upon us"), and intercessor for Israel (cf. vv. 4, 11, 12). As an intercessor the Messiah follows the example of Moses to the point of being willing to surrender his life vicariously (cf. v. 12: "he handed over his soul to the death ... , yet he will beseech concerning the sins of many," with Exod. 32:30-34). In thus uniting a multiplicity of eschatological roles in a single mediator figure, the Targumist proceeds by a way that has analogies in the New Testament, even though there the authors conceive the messianic office very differently.

COMMENT: Sub-title: "The Reception of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in the Targum of Isaiah with Special Attention to the Concept of the Messiah"

In-Page Footnotes ("Adna (Jostein) - The Servant of Isaiah 53 as Triumphant and Interceding Messiah")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Bailey (Daniel P.) - 'Our Suffering and Crucified Messiah' (Dial. 111.2)"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

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).

COMMENT: 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 ("Bailey (Daniel P.) - 'Our Suffering and Crucified Messiah' (Dial. 111.2)")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Hengel (Martin), Bailey (Daniel P.) - The Effective History of Isaiah 53 in the Pre-Christian Period"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    Did Isaiah 53 have any significant pre-Christian influence? Or is this mainly the invention of a few conservative exegetes? This essay takes a middle position. The reception and further development of Isaiah 53 can indeed be detected in a wide variety of pre-Christian Jewish writings — including Hebrew and Aramaic texts as well as original Greek texts and translations: even the LXX of Isaiah 53 shows important interpretive tendencies. The widespread assumption that Isaiah 53 was without much influence therefore needs modification. The passage was not only read and interpreted; it was apparently also interpreted messianically (so, e.g., in 1QIsa). Nevertheless, the passage's influence in early Judaism is not all of the same type, nor all of the type that would necessarily support the preaching of early Christianity regarding a suffering, atoning figure who bears the sins of others vicariously. With the exception of the Hebrew (both MT and 1QIsa) and Greek texts of Isaiah 53 — and perhaps Daniel 11-12, the Aramaic Apocryphon of Levi 4Q540-541, and the Testament of Benjamin 3:8 — the motif of vicarious suffering tends to recede into the background in the Jewish tradition, especially where the savior's exaltation or his role as judge is prominent (e.g., 1 Enoch; Self-Glorification Hymn 4Q491). Nevertheless, the demonstrated uses and echoes of this text are enough to suggest that traditions of suffering and atoning eschatological messianic figures were current in Palestinian Judaism, and that Jesus and the earliest Church could have known and appealed to them. This would explain how first Jesus and then his disciples could assume that their message of the Messiah's vicarious atoning death would be comprehensible to their Jewish contemporaries.

In-Page Footnotes ("Hengel (Martin), Bailey (Daniel P.) - The Effective History of Isaiah 53 in the Pre-Christian Period")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Hermisson (Hans-Jurgen) - The Fourth Servant Song in the Context of Second Isaiah"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    While the Servant in all four Servant Songs (Isa. 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12) is presented as a prophetic figure whose experience sums up both past and present experiences of the prophetic office, the universal message of salvation given to the Servant in the fourth song transcends previous conceptions of prophecy. The primary reference in all four songs is to the prophet Second Isaiah himself. Nevertheless, the individual prophetic Servant Second Isaiah cannot fulfil his worldwide mission of being a light to the nations without God's Servant Israel, whom he calls back to God and prepares to be the prime exhibit before the world of God's saving power (cf. 49:5-6). Only through the cooperation of God's two Servants — the prophet who preaches God's word and Israel who receives it - is the Servant role fulfilled. One-sided designations of the Servant as "individual" or "corporate" are therefore too simple, and the text's supra-individual dimensions betray a future to the Servant role not exhausted by the individual prophet. (The songs are not prophecies of Christ, yet no violence is done to them when read in this light.) Although suffering forms no part of the Servant's role in the first two songs and is only a natural consequence of his prophetic ministry in the third, the fourth song makes suffering the means to the accomplishment of his task. The Servant bore vicariously the sins of the "many" in Israel, particularly the sin of unbelief. Therefore, while the Servant's faith may be seen as representative of the faith that Israel may one day develop in the future, in the past and in the present time perspective of the text, the individual Servant functions as a stand-in or substitute — not as a representative — for the Servant Israel in matters of both faith and suffering. The reward and success of the Servant in his mission becomes the theme linking all four Servant Songs.

In-Page Footnotes ("Hermisson (Hans-Jurgen) - The Fourth Servant Song in the Context of Second Isaiah")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey. I have cut the references to most German texts and terms.

"Hofius (Otfried) - The Fourth Servant Song in the New Testament Letters"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    A nuanced view of the various ways in which one person may be said to take another's place is essential to understanding the reception and development of Isaiah 53 in the New Testament. In the original passage the Servant has taken the place of the speakers or onlookers in the "we" sections. They are in effect outside or excluded from the Servant's fate: "he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases" (v. 4); "he shall bear their iniquities" (v. 11); "he bore the sin of many" (v. 12). Substitution and transference of guilt have therefore occurred — a taking of another's place that exempts or excludes the other party (hence "exclusive place-taking" in the recent German parlance). However, while such notions from Isaiah 53 may have been applied to Jesus without much reflection by those responsible for some of Christianity's earliest formulaic sayings, the writers of the New Testament letters, who preserve these sayings are more conscious of the need to interpret them. Christ always takes the place of others in a way that still includes them as persons, thus affecting their very being. Sins are not here viewed as detached or detachable from persons. This "inclusive" understanding of place-taking in the New Testament provides the pattern into which the authors integrate Isaiah 53, thereby placing it in a new light.

In-Page Footnotes ("Hofius (Otfried) - The Fourth Servant Song in the New Testament Letters")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Janowski (Bernd) - He Bore Our Sins: Isaiah 53 and the Drama of Taking Another's Place"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    A drama of delayed recognition in Isaiah 53 provides an alternative to Immanuel Kant's narrow understanding of representation or "taking another's place", which insists that no person can represent or take the place of another in matters of personal guilt. In this passage, the "we" figures (who stand for all Israel) do eventually come to see themselves and their guilt represented in the fate of another — the Servant whom they formerly despised and who had already borne their sins by making his life an asham, the means of wiping out guilt. Yet this recognition of the Servant's representative, vicarious suffering is delayed until after the innocent death of the Servant, here identical with the prophet Second Isaiah himself. Prior to the Servant's death, Israel wrongly assumed that his sufferings were the result of his own guilt, according to traditional understandings of actions and their consequences (the so-called "action-consequences connection"). Hence they kept their distance from this "man of sorrows" (v. 3), accounting him "stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted" (v. 4). Yahweh's oracle about the Servant's success (52:13-15) was therefore needed to help the "we" recognize that it was their sin that he was bearing (53:4-6; cf. vv. 11b-12). Only when the "we" see this can they acknowledge their guilt as well as its cancellation, becoming changed in the process.

In-Page Footnotes ("Janowski (Bernd) - He Bore Our Sins: Isaiah 53 and the Drama of Taking Another's Place")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey. I have cut the references to most German texts and terms, together with any footnotes.

"Markschies (Christoph) - Jesus Christ as a Man before God"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is not a central text in the Church Fathers, but it is an import text. This essay traces two ways in which the Fathers understood it — as an "exemplary" model and as a "Christological" model. In the former the Servant is viewed as an example of the true Christian, and the text is taken as ethical instruction. In the latter model Isaiah 53 speaks of a unique event of salvation in Christ that cannot be imitated, only believed. Although the boundaries between these two interpretive models are fluid, generally the Christological model comes to predominate. The exemplary model thrives only in the early period, for example, in 1 Clement (ca. 96 C.E.) and in the second-century acts of the martyrs. Here Isaiah 53 has already become Hellenized along the lines of a hero cult. Hellenization of a different kind takes place with the Christological model. Initially a genuinely Jewish framework is maintained, especially in literature of Jewish-Christian debate, for example, Justin Martyr, Aphrahat the Persian Sage, and later Adversus Judaeos literature. In the later phases, however, characteristically Greek resistance to the idea that the divine nature in Christ could have suffered affects the great Isaiah commentaries and doctrinal works of Origen, Eusebius, and Hilary. Patristic exegesis of Isaiah 53 thus diverges gradually not only from the original Old Testament sense of the passage, but also from its original Christian sense. Today we can interpret the text properly only by having both Jewish and patristic exegesis as conversation partners, without repeating their errors.

COMMENT: Sub-title: Two Interpretive Models for Isaiah 53 in the Patristic Literature and Their Development

In-Page Footnotes ("Markschies (Christoph) - Jesus Christ as a Man before God")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Schreiner (Stefan) - Isaiah 53 in the Sefer Hizzuk Emunah ('Faith Strengthened') of Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    The city of Troki, in present-day Lithuania, represents in microcosm the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth of the sixteenth century. Here representatives of various religious communities — Protestants, Polish Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, Unitarians, and Jews of the Rabbanite and Karaite traditions - had the opportunity for serious religious dialogue. Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham (ca. 1525 – ca. 1586), leader of the Karaite community in Troki, participated in these discussions and wrote his influential anti-Christian polemical work, the Sefer Hizzuk Emunah, as a result. While previous studies have praised this work's masterful summary of 1,500 years of Jewish-Christian debate, little attention has been devoted to its refutation of Christian proofs from Isaiah 53, which forms one of its longest chapters. Isaac's treatment is valuable because it goes beyond brief polemical theses to serious exegetical engagement with the text. He combines Karaite and Rabbanite exegetical traditions with his own insights, for example, concerning a theology of Israel's (continuing) exile, in order to counter Christian claims that he likewise knew very well. Isaac's "collective" understanding of the Suffering Servant as applying only to the people of Israel precludes individual messianic interpretations. The interpretations of Isaiah 53 that Jews and Christians discussed four hundred years ago are therefore much the same as those that occupy the Jewish-Christian dialogue today.

In-Page Footnotes ("Schreiner (Stefan) - Isaiah 53 in the Sefer Hizzuk Emunah ('Faith Strengthened') of Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

"Spieckermann (Hermann) - The Conception and Prehistory of the Idea of Vicarious Suffering in the Old Testament"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    The concept of "vicariousness" or "vicarious suffering" in the Old Testament is inextricably linked with Isaiah 53. However, since the vicarious role of the Suffering Servant here is unique, it is necessary first to clarify the main characteristics of the idea of vicarious suffering in Isaiah 53 before searching for traditio-historical antecedents. Although the intercession of the one for the sins of the many and the thought of divine initiative are clearly characteristic of the chapter, subordinate themes like the sinlessness of the Servant and his acceptance of his fate remain more difficult to explain. Nevertheless, all these characteristics must guide research into the Old Testament roots of the notion of vicarious suffering. While past studies have sought these roots in the priestly atonement traditions and the prophets' intercession for the people, this study focuses on the latter tradition. Further investigation of exemplary texts from Amos, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel shows that the decisive preliminary theological work for the concept of vicarious suffering was accomplished in the seventh and early sixth centuries. Despite the precision of these findings, it is still not possible to reconstruct a self-contained prehistory of the idea of vicarious suffering in Isaiah 53. The prehistory sheds some light on the idea, but not enough to remove the mystery or uniqueness from chapter 53. This lack of predictability provides the best evidence that Isaiah 53 is trying to say something new.

In-Page Footnotes ("Spieckermann (Hermann) - The Conception and Prehistory of the Idea of Vicarious Suffering in the Old Testament")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey. I have cut the references to most German texts and terms.

"Stuhlmacher (Peter) - Isaiah 53 in the Gospels and Acts"

Source: Stuhlmacher (Peter) & Janowski (Bernd), Eds. - The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources

Translator’s Summary1 (Full Text)
    The New Testament's Christological interpretation of Isaiah 53 goes back to Jesus' own understanding of his mission and death, here explored by a tradition-historical argument. Jesus' understanding, in turn, depends upon a demonstrable early Jewish messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53, into which Jesus also incorporated passages such as Isaiah 43:3-4; 52:7 and 61:1-2. By making one of the first applications of the whole Servant text, including its suffering motif, to an individual historical figure (cf. also the Aramaic Aprocryphon of Levi, 4Q541), Jesus and his disciples after Easter extended the early Jewish interpretation independently. Messianic interpretations of the chapter, both ancient Jewish and early Christian, are commonly attributed to an "individualistic" understanding of the servant, as opposed to the "corporate" understanding favored in much recent scholarship. The dichotomy is, however, a false one. In Judaism the individual figure of the Servant-Messiah is the prince appointed by God, a prince who rules over the people of God and simultaneously represents them before God. So also with Jesus. He is the Son of God who leads the people of God; yet that people also constitutes his body. One can call this understanding "individual" only so long as one also remembers the collective aspect and refuses to oppose the two conceptions.

In-Page Footnotes ("Stuhlmacher (Peter) - Isaiah 53 in the Gospels and Acts")

Footnote 1: By Daniel P. Bailey.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  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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