Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quote of the Day: Daniel Boyarin on the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53

"This commonplace view [that Isaiah 53 was distorted by the Christians from its allegedly original meaning, in which it referred to the suffering of the People of Israel] has to be rejected completely. The notion of the humiliated and suffering Messiah was not at all alien within Judaism before Jesus' advent, and it remained current among Jews well into the future following that--indeed, well into the early modern period. The fascinating (and to some, no doubt, uncomfortable) fact is that this tradition was well documented by modern Messianic Jews, who are concerned to demonstrate that their belief in Jesus does not make them un-Jewish. Whether or not one accepts their theology, it remains the case that they have a very strong textual base for the view that the suffering Messiah is based in deeply rooted Jewish texts early and late. Jews, it seems, had no difficulty whatever with understanding a Messiah who would vicariously suffer to redeem the world."

from The Jewish Gospels, pp. 132-3

11 comments:

cliffster82 said...

From "The Jewish Gospels?"

Netzer Chosid said...

" Jews, it seems, had no difficulty whatever with understanding a Messiah who would vicariously suffer to redeem the world."

Is it possible to read "the world" as exclusively Israel? Most uses of the word "olam" in Jewish texts refer exclusively to Jews and the Jewish world. There are portions of the besorot that I feel would ring much differently if we read them as a Jewish text, with no outside (the olam) interpretations, e.g. Jn.3:16 -- and redemption coming to the outside world through Israel's redemption is also a common idea in these readings. Would this be a stretch?

Carl Kinbar said...

@Netzer Chosid: Good point. The idea of "redemption coming to the world through Israel's redemption" is rock-solid. This is why it is so essential that Jews (including Messianic Jews) have the right focus (on the processes of Israel's redemption) for the right motivations (L'shem Shamayim and for the sake of the world).

Netzer Chosid said...

"it is so essential that Jews (including Messianic Jews) have the right focus"

I gather that reading the besorot with an insider's interpretation may produce difficult readings for some. But there are roles to play here. The eye must be an eye, the hand a hand.

Yahnatan said...

cliffster82--that's right!

Carl Kinbar said...

@ Netzer Chosid - Could you email me a ckinbar@nsfjs.org?

yourphariseefriend said...

Here is a review of Boyarin's book which you may find helpful

http://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/covenant-nation/

faithbasedworks said...

I'm curious how Boyarin explain texts in the NT like that the Messiah must suffer "as scripture states". (Luke24:26 e.g.) The glorious state is obvious, the suffering state not. Does he do that, other than pointing to Is.53?

Yahnatan said...

faithbasedworks,

If I understand your question, then you may want to read the Boyarin quote again, as it directly answers your question. Boyarin sees texts such as Luke 24:26 is part of a large body of evidence for Jewish belief in a suffering Messiah both early and late.

faithbasedworks said...

I see, I failed the read the quote. But beside that, there's not that much evidence compared to the many places what speaks about his glorious state.

Btw, I like the view of Franz Delitzch who sees both the people of Israel and the One Man in the suffering Servant of Isaiah.

Jos

Peter said...

Interesting post. Thank you.