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Re: [XTalk] Suffering Servant

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  • Zeba Crook
    ... I m interested in whether Jesus is only *depicted* as a servant of God who suffers, or if (and, if so, when) the title itself comes to be used of him. Is
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 8, 2005
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      Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

      >Zeba Crook wrote:
      >
      >>Can someone out there help me? When is this title first used of Jesus?
      >> And on what basis is it used? For instance, is it simply that Jesus
      >>suffered and was a servant of God, and therefore this was combined as
      >>suffering servant with allusions to Isaiah? I can't find the title
      >>anywhere in the New Testament, so when did it come into use?
      >>
      >>
      >
      >Should you be looking for "suffering servant" or "servant of Yahweh"?
      >
      I'm interested in whether Jesus is only *depicted* as a servant of God
      who suffers, or if (and, if so, when) the title itself comes to be used
      of him. Is the closest we get to this in Matt 8:17, a citation of Isa
      53 that isn't even being used as a "suffering servant" proof-text?

      Zeb
      --

      Z.A. Crook

      Assistant Professor

      Classics and Religion

      Carleton University

      1125 Colonel By Drive

      Ottawa, ON

      K1S 5B6

      (613) 520-2600, ext. 2276

      http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook <http://www.carleton.ca/%7Ezcrook>




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Rikk Watts
      HI Zeba, I did quite a bit on this in my thesis on Mark and Isaiah. I have no idea when the title per se appears but at least in Mark I think there is a very
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 8, 2005
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        HI Zeba,

        I did quite a bit on this in my thesis on Mark and Isaiah. I have no idea
        when the title per se appears but at least in Mark I think there is a very
        strong case to be made that behind the prediction in Mark 9.12 is Isa 53
        (based on the pair and their Heb parallels), as also the remaining
        predictions. It is laid out in Watts, R., "Jesus' Death, Isaiah 53, and Mark
        10:45: A Crux Revisited," in Jesus and the Suffering Servant, eds. William
        H. Bellinger, Jr., and William R. Farmer, (Harrisburg, PN: Trinity
        International, 1998), 125-51.

        Regards
        Rikk

        On 8/10/05 4:03 PM, "Zeba Crook" <zcrook@...> wrote:

        > Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
        >
        >> Zeba Crook wrote:
        >>
        >>> Can someone out there help me? When is this title first used of Jesus?
        >>> And on what basis is it used? For instance, is it simply that Jesus
        >>> suffered and was a servant of God, and therefore this was combined as
        >>> suffering servant with allusions to Isaiah? I can't find the title
        >>> anywhere in the New Testament, so when did it come into use?
        >>>
        >>>
        >>
        >> Should you be looking for "suffering servant" or "servant of Yahweh"?
        >>
        > I'm interested in whether Jesus is only *depicted* as a servant of God
        > who suffers, or if (and, if so, when) the title itself comes to be used
        > of him. Is the closest we get to this in Matt 8:17, a citation of Isa
        > 53 that isn't even being used as a "suffering servant" proof-text?
        >
        > Zeb
      • Zeba Crook
        ... Dear Rikk, I m aware of the claim that Mark 10:45 carries an illusion to Isa 53. The claim for a literary illusion based on a single word (I presume that
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 8, 2005
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          Rikk Watts wrote:

          >HI Zeba,
          >
          >I did quite a bit on this in my thesis on Mark and Isaiah. I have no idea
          >when the title per se appears but at least in Mark I think there is a very
          >strong case to be made that behind the prediction in Mark 9.12 is Isa 53
          >(based on the pair and their Heb parallels), as also the remaining
          >predictions. It is laid out in Watts, R., "Jesus' Death, Isaiah 53, and Mark
          >10:45: A Crux Revisited," in Jesus and the Suffering Servant, eds. William
          >H. Bellinger, Jr., and William R. Farmer, (Harrisburg, PN: Trinity
          >International, 1998), 125-51.
          >
          Dear Rikk,

          I'm aware of the claim that Mark 10:45 carries an illusion to Isa 53.
          The claim for a literary illusion based on a single word (I presume
          that word for you is ransom) is pretty weak, but that afterall is the
          nature of allusions (i.e., they're not citations), so I can grant that.
          Is it not odd though that Mark would allude to a servant song yet
          *never* refers to Jesus as a servant (either suffering or of God),
          especially at 10:45? In other words, if Mark means to portray Jesus as
          THE Suffering Servant, why has he not been a tad more explicit? Is this
          the Suffering Servant Secret? ;-)

          But more importantly, how can Mark 9:12 be an allusion to Isa 53, and
          what are the Hebrew paralells: suffering and contemptuous treatment?
          What I don't get about some claims of literary allusions (and this is
          more a general compaint than one directed at you) is this: Job also
          suffers, is said in Job to have suffered, and is recognised to have been
          treated with contempt. How do we know Mark was not alluding to Job
          here? Everytime we see a reference to someone suffering in the NT (or
          HB for that matter), are we dealing with an allusion to Isa 53?

          Cheers,

          Zeb
          --

          Z.A. Crook

          Assistant Professor

          Classics and Religion

          Carleton University

          1125 Colonel By Drive

          Ottawa, ON

          K1S 5B6

          (613) 520-2600, ext. 2276

          http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook <http://www.carleton.ca/%7Ezcrook>




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Rikk Watts
          Dear Zeba, With respect to the allusions etc. it s probably best if you read the article first. (Sorry, but I don t really want or have time to summarize the
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 8, 2005
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            Dear Zeba,

            With respect to the allusions etc. it's probably best if you read the
            article first. (Sorry, but I don't really want or have time to summarize the
            whole thing but there's far more going on).

            Re "a tad more explicit": to whom? The age-old problem with judgments like
            these is that they are so subjective. Many many Christians have felt it
            very clear that Jesus was the servant of whom Isaiah spoke. Indeed it was
            precisely to dispel this common assumption that Morna Hooker wrote her book
            and C.K. Barrett his article last century.

            regards

            Rikk Watts (Cantab)
            Regent College


            On 8/10/05 7:15 PM, "Zeba Crook" <zcrook@...> wrote:

            > Rikk Watts wrote:
            >
            >> HI Zeba,
            >>
            >> I did quite a bit on this in my thesis on Mark and Isaiah. I have no idea
            >> when the title per se appears but at least in Mark I think there is a very
            >> strong case to be made that behind the prediction in Mark 9.12 is Isa 53
            >> (based on the pair and their Heb parallels), as also the remaining
            >> predictions. It is laid out in Watts, R., "Jesus' Death, Isaiah 53, and Mark
            >> 10:45: A Crux Revisited," in Jesus and the Suffering Servant, eds. William
            >> H. Bellinger, Jr., and William R. Farmer, (Harrisburg, PN: Trinity
            >> International, 1998), 125-51.
            >>
            > Dear Rikk,
            >
            > I'm aware of the claim that Mark 10:45 carries an illusion to Isa 53.
            > The claim for a literary illusion based on a single word (I presume
            > that word for you is ransom) is pretty weak, but that afterall is the
            > nature of allusions (i.e., they're not citations), so I can grant that.
            > Is it not odd though that Mark would allude to a servant song yet
            > *never* refers to Jesus as a servant (either suffering or of God),
            > especially at 10:45? In other words, if Mark means to portray Jesus as
            > THE Suffering Servant, why has he not been a tad more explicit? Is this
            > the Suffering Servant Secret? ;-)
            >
            > But more importantly, how can Mark 9:12 be an allusion to Isa 53, and
            > what are the Hebrew paralells: suffering and contemptuous treatment?
            > What I don't get about some claims of literary allusions (and this is
            > more a general compaint than one directed at you) is this: Job also
            > suffers, is said in Job to have suffered, and is recognised to have been
            > treated with contempt. How do we know Mark was not alluding to Job
            > here? Everytime we see a reference to someone suffering in the NT (or
            > HB for that matter), are we dealing with an allusion to Isa 53?
            >
            > Cheers,
            >
            > Zeb
          • John Sabatino
            Zeba wrote: Is it not odd though that Mark would allude to a servant song yet *never* refers to Jesus as a servant (either suffering or of God), especially at
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 8, 2005
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              Zeba wrote:
              Is it not odd though that Mark would allude to a servant song yet
              *never* refers to Jesus as a servant (either suffering or of God),
              especially at 10:45? In other words, if Mark means to portray Jesus as THE
              Suffering Servant, why has he not been a tad more explicit?

              John:
              Hi Zeba. Would the Context Groups' work on high vs. low context societies
              have any application here? If this was already a common Christian
              designation for Jesus, would Mark need to be more explicit?

              John Sabatino
              Austin, TX
            • Zeba Crook
              ... Not a bad suggestion, but why are they so explicit about Messiah, and the Davidic line, etc. etc. I don t like suggestions that allow high context for one
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 9, 2005
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                John Sabatino wrote:

                >Zeba wrote:
                >Is it not odd though that Mark would allude to a servant song yet
                >*never* refers to Jesus as a servant (either suffering or of God),
                >especially at 10:45? In other words, if Mark means to portray Jesus as THE
                >Suffering Servant, why has he not been a tad more explicit?
                >
                >John:
                >Hi Zeba. Would the Context Groups' work on high vs. low context societies
                >have any application here? If this was already a common Christian
                >designation for Jesus, would Mark need to be more explicit?
                >
                Not a bad suggestion, but why are they so explicit about Messiah, and
                the Davidic line, etc. etc. I don't like suggestions that allow high
                context for one term but low context / apologetics for another similar
                term. Plus, your suggestion amounts to an argument from silence: Mark
                was not more explicit because it was so widely known; his silence is
                proof of how wide spread the association was. As Rikk said, it is very
                subjective for us to say what Mark should have done, but given how
                illusory Mark is on the topic, it is less subjective to think he
                obviously referencing Isa 53.

                Anyway, we're getting off-track, and X-talk discussions so often seem
                to. I still haven't, in case any of your are curious, received an
                answer to when the title Suffering Servant first came explicitly to be
                used of Jesus, not even off-list. With our collective knowledge,
                someone must know this!

                Cheers,

                Zeb

                >
                >John Sabatino
                >Austin, TX
                >
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                --

                Z.A. Crook

                Assistant Professor

                Classics and Religion

                Carleton University

                1125 Colonel By Drive

                Ottawa, ON

                K1S 5B6

                (613) 520-2600, ext. 2276

                http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook <http://www.carleton.ca/%7Ezcrook>




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jeff Peterson
                ... But there are differences evident in the way early Christian writers appropriated different materials from the Jewish Scriptures. E.g., Deut 18:15ff is a
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 9, 2005
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                  On Oct 9, 2005, at 8:56 PM, Zeba Crook wrote:
                  > Not a bad suggestion, but why are they so explicit about Messiah, and
                  > the Davidic line, etc. etc. I don't like suggestions that allow high
                  > context for one term but low context / apologetics for another similar
                  > term.

                  > Plus, your suggestion amounts to an argument from silence: Mark
                  > was not more explicit because it was so widely known; his silence is
                  > proof of how wide spread the association was. As Rikk said, it is
                  > very
                  > subjective for us to say what Mark should have done, but given how
                  > illusory Mark is on the topic, it is less subjective to think he
                  > obviously referencing Isa 53.

                  But there are differences evident in the way early Christian writers
                  appropriated different materials from the Jewish Scriptures. E.g.,
                  Deut 18:15ff is a text that Luke clearly draws on for his Christology
                  (Acts 3:22; 7:37); he describes Jesus as "a prophet" (Luke 4:24;
                  7:16, 39; 9:8; 13:33; 24:29) and uses prophetic predicates to
                  explicate Jesus' ministry throughout (as David Moessner and Luke
                  Johnson have argued), but nowhere describes Jesus as "the prophet,"
                  much less "the prophet like Moses." The use of Isa 53 in Luke-Acts
                  (cf. Acts 3:13-15; 8:32-33) and other early Christian literature is
                  comparable. So it seems to me the question worth pursuing is why
                  these differences exist, why certain terms became as it were primary
                  signifiers for Jesus (Christ, Lord, Son of God, etc.) and other
                  complexes like the Isaianic servant material were used to elaborate
                  the principal categories.

                  > Anyway, we're getting off-track, and X-talk discussions so often seem
                  > to. I still haven't, in case any of your are curious, received an
                  > answer to when the title Suffering Servant first came explicitly to be
                  > used of Jesus, not even off-list. With our collective knowledge,
                  > someone must know this!

                  Isn't "Suffering Servant" a category of modern scholarship rather
                  than an ancient label, coming into prominence in the wake of Duhm's
                  theory that the "servant songs" were detachable from their present
                  contexts in Second Isaiah? FWIW, Duhm's thesis has been effectively
                  challenged for Deutero-Isaiah itself in Tryggve Mettinger's too
                  little known Farewell to the Servant Songs, and in any case we
                  shouldn't confuse the emic and the etic and allow such a theory to
                  shape our perception of first-century Judaism; the better question to
                  pursue is not, "What did ancient Jews think about 'the suffering
                  Servant,' and how did early Christians apply this concept to Jesus?"
                  but "How did ancient Jews read Isa 53 et al., and how did early
                  Christians appropriate these readings for Christological
                  purposes?" (I'd say something similar about "the Son of Man" vis-à-
                  vis Daniel 7 et al., but that's another thread.)

                  Jeff Peterson
                  Austin Graduate School of Theology
                  Austin, Texas

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • edhj@webtv.net
                  Zeba wrote: One answer: Heinz Edward Todt: There are
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 10, 2005
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                    Zeba wrote:
                    <- - if Mark means to portray Jesus as The Suffering Servant, why has he
                    not been a tad more explicit?> One answer:

                    Heinz Edward Todt: "There are two spheres of tradition, distinguished
                    both by their concepts and by their history. The centre of the one
                    sphere is the passion kerygma; the centre of the other sphere is the
                    intention to take up the proclamation of Jesus' message. The Q material
                    belongs to the second sphere . . .The concepts of the passion kerygma
                    remained outside this sphere. Thus the Q material proved to be an
                    independent source of Christological cognition."

                    Mark's motif was not to present the Jesus of the other sphere with its
                    intention to take up again the proclamation of Jesus' message. Mark's
                    motif was to create some historical validation for the sphere of the
                    passion kerygma - the Pauline kerygma myth. He thus was forced to use
                    portions, no more than he felt necessary, of the Jesus Sayings
                    Tradition which had the only claim to apostolic witness to the HJ.

                    Ed Jones
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