Following Jewish exegetes of his time, Andrew of St. Victor interpreted Isaiah 53 as a prophecy of Israel. Isaiah used the phrase "man of sorrows" to speak "of the people as though of one man." "Bearing infirmities" refers to "the people who were to suffer in the Babylonian captivity" and thus "were to expiate not only their own sins, but also the sins of the unrighteous." The hopeful note struck at the end of the chapter teaches that "the stricken people shall not perish" but "the men of Babylon, unbelieving, absorbed by riches, shall be given to burial and death in its stead." And so on in this vein.
What's wrong with this? Nothing at all. It's contexually sensitive (Isaiah is talking about exile), and Yahweh's Servant is undoubtedly Israel (at least in places). Andrew only needed to recognize the Israel-Christology of the New Testament to fold this Jewish interpretation into a Christian one. He needed only to read a bit of NT Wright.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 at 06:43 PM
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