Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is the Prophetic Author of 2 Isaiah the Suffering Servant?

The Suffering Servant
Last evening, I taught my night-school class on a biblical theology of servanthoood. The students raised again the question as to whether Isaiah's servant figure might be the so-called anonymous prophetic author of Isaiah 40-55.

I answered that I doubt it. Israelite prophets channeled word of God's judgment or salvation to Israel, they did not embody and enact God's salvation as the Servant does. In Isaiah 49:6, God tells the servant that he, the Servant himself, will both restore the remnant of Israel and become a light to the nations.
Israelite prophets did not claim the right to demand a hearing based on their own special personhood as the Servant does in Isaiah 49:1.

Unlike any prophet, the Servant claims to be Israel (49:3), and to be God's covenant in himself (49:8).

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had never heard that theory before. Is the idea behind that that 2nd Isaiah as the servant embodies salvation in the same way that other prophetic embody punishment through sign acts? Like you, I'm not sure I buy that, but I am intrigued. Speaking of unconvincing theories, there was an article in VT a few years ago that tried to support the old hypothesis that the servant was Jehoiachin.

Jeremy

Fri Mar 23, 08:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Hi Jeremy! Thanks for the ref to the article about Jehoiachin. Also, the idea of a sign-act is interesting. However, 2-Isaiah never describes or pictures the hypothetical figure "Deutero-Isaiah," and so there's no way of knowing whether the genre would fit. Also, it seems to me that the Servant's work is actually effective in itself, not just a sign of some "external" salvific reality... Just my opinions... ---SLC

Sun Mar 25, 06:26:00 PM GMT-5  

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