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The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources



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.

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. 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.

Resource Experts
  • Features a broad range of perspectives
  • Explores the theological meanings of this rich passage of Scripture and its uses in various religious contexts
  • Traces the influence of the Servant Song text through the centuries
  • The Conception and Prehistory of the Idea of Vicarious Suffering in the Old Testament
  • The Fourth Servant Song in the Context of Second Isaiah
  • He Bore Our Sins: Isaiah 53 and the Drama of Taking Another’s Place
  • The Effective History of Isaiah 53 in the Pre-Christian Period
  • Isaiah 53 in the Gospels and Acts
  • The Fourth Servant Song in the New Testament Letters
  • The Servant of Isaiah 53 as Triumphant and Interceding Messiah: The Reception of Isaiah 52:13–53:12 in the Targum of Isaiah with Special Attention to the Concept of the Messiah
  • Jesus Christ as a Man before God: Two Interpretive Models for Isaiah 53 in the Patristic Literature and Their Development
  • “Our Suffering and Crucified Messiah” (Dial. 111.2): Justin Martyr’s Allusions to Isaiah 53 in His Dialogue with Trypho with Special Reference to the New Edition of M. Marcovich
  • Isaiah 53 in the Sefer Hizzuk Emunah (“Faith Strengthened”) of Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki
  • A Classified Bibliography on Isaiah 53
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

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

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

  • Title: The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources
  • Authors: Bernd Janowski, Peter Stuhlmacher
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2004
  • Logos Release Date: 2021
  • Pages: 520
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. O.T. Isaiah 53 › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Servant of Jehovah › Biblical teaching
  • ISBN: 9780802808455
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2021-10-04T15:53:16Z

Bernd Janowskiis is professor emeritus of Old Testament at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of numerous books, including the thirteen-volume Religion Past and Present: Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion.

Peter Stuhlmacher is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the University of Tübingen and the author of many books, including Historical Criticism and Theological Interpretation of Scripture and Revisiting Paul’s Doctrine of Justification.


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