Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

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rikuoamero
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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by rikuoamero »

[Replying to post 18 by 1213]
Because it speaks of a man and not of a nation. There is nothing that indicates it is about the nation.
Double check the 48:20 quote I gave. If it's a singular man, who is it talking about?
I think it is common in literature to talk about multiple matters in same paragraphs and I am surprised if it is difficult for you to understand the matter.
If the writer is talking about multiple matters and does not make it clear, when a plain reading of his text makes one think he is talking about one matter, then he has failed to write well. This is a knock against the claim that Bible texts were divinely inspired. Is your god a poor author?
How it is true about nation of Israel that she has been buried, not done violence, or not lied?
How is it true about Jesus, when he was put in a tomb and not a grave, a newly hewn tomb for a supposed secret disciple of his? Also Jesus did do violence, according to your own Bible. He chased the merchants out of the temple. That requires violence of some sort.
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Jagella
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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by Jagella »

1213 wrote:But if we would assume it is about the nation, how would you explain this:

They made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isaiah 53:9

How it is true about nation of Israel that she has been buried, not done violence, or not lied?
The passage you quoted is probably poetic license. It was common for the Jewish prophets to write that way. The historical context in which Isaiah was written was that of conquests first by Assyria, 722–721 BCE, and then Babylon in 586 BCE. So under such dire circumstances, it should come as no surprise that Isaiah would write of Israel as having "a grave with the wicked" and "having done no violence" (the conquest of Israel was probably never provoked by Israel.)

So again, if we look at the relevant facts, it is not only plausible that Isaiah's suffering servant is Israel but probable.
1213 wrote:
Jagella wrote:Sorry, but you are wrong. There are many New-Testament passages that have inflamed hatred for Jews. For example, Matthew 27:25:
Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!�
Reporting what people did, is not hatred against the people.
First, it's very unlikely that the Jews at Jesus' trial ever said, "His blood be on us and on our children!� Second, Matthew 27:25 has been used by Christians as a rationale for hating Jews and "spilling Jesus' blood upon them and their children." My father, for example, was a Christian, and he quoted that passage as a reason to do violence against Jews.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by Mithrae »

rikuoamero wrote: An example of a writing that describes a people who do not consider themselves alive because they have been taken from their homeland? That's strange, I can't think of an example right now. I'll have to put a pin in this and get back to you on it.
Ezekiel 37.


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Jagella wrote: The passage you quoted is probably poetic license. It was common for the Jewish prophets to write that way. The historical context in which Isaiah was written was that of conquests first by Assyria, 722–721 BCE, and then Babylon in 586 BCE. So under such dire circumstances, it should come as no surprise that Isaiah would write of Israel as having "a grave with the wicked" and "having done no violence" (the conquest of Israel was probably never provoked by Israel.)
It could be poetic license, though that's a big stretch because (as I've pointed out) virtually all other Jewish writing about the Babylonian exile, including those chapters of Isaiah itself, say that it occurred as a just punishment for their sins (including deceitfulness, injustice and violence against the prophets). Poetic license would be something like saying that Jesus 'opened not his mouth' at his trial or that he was 'crushed'; basic similes, metaphor or mild hyperbole. You now agree, presumably, that it's a poor argument to suggest that it's not a prophecy of Jesus on that basis. Likewise, even the greater inconsistencies between the passage and historical Israel are not proof that the passage is not about Israel, though they do weigh pretty heavily against that view.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by Jagella »

Mithrae wrote:Christian scholars? Secular scholars? The assumption that folk belonging to one particular ideological camp must be better-informed than folk belonging to other camps is notoriously illogical, but it seems that critics of Christianity are frequently happy to indulge such a notion whenever it suits their agenda. When it comes to the murky waters of translation it's certainly important to compare both Christian and Jewish translations to mitigate potential biases on that score, and likewise to objectively consider all perspectives on interpretation: But the view which says or implies that these modern folk are Jews and therefore they must have a better understanding of iron-age writings than modern folk who are Christians is laughably irrational.
Actually, much of the New Testament is a distortion of the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish scholars have been trying in vain to point that out for centuries. Although I have no formal training in Biblical studies, I've been well aware of that distortion for over thirty years. So I can see for myself that Jewish scholars are either more knowledgeable about their Bible than Christian scholars, more honest about their Bible than Christian scholars, or both.

So in general the people who originated a religion, I think it's fair to say, are more knowledgeable about that religion than people from other cultures. For example, Christian scholars probably know more about Christianity than Jewish scholars, Muslim scholars, or scholars who are atheists do. This is a simple fact that should be obvious, but since you wish to challenge it, allow me to point out that if a scholar is a Christian, then she or he may have been raised in the Christian faith and has known it intimately while scholars who are not Christian are less likely to have such first-hand experience with the Christian faith.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

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Jagella wrote: Actually, much of the New Testament is a distortion of the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish scholars have been trying in vain to point that out for centuries. Although I have no formal training in Biblical studies, I've been well aware of that distortion for over thirty years. So I can see for myself that Jewish scholars are either more knowledgeable about their Bible than Christian scholars, more honest about their Bible than Christian scholars, or both.

So in general the people who originated a religion, I think it's fair to say, are more knowledgeable about that religion than people from other cultures. For example, Christian scholars probably know more about Christianity than Jewish scholars, Muslim scholars, or scholars who are atheists do. This is a simple fact that should be obvious, but since you wish to challenge it, allow me to point out that if a scholar is a Christian, then she or he may have been raised in the Christian faith and has known it intimately while scholars who are not Christian are less likely to have such first-hand experience with the Christian faith.
Speakers of modern English can scarcely understand Chaucer's late middle English of six centuries ago. Modern Catholics most likely would barely even recognize a medieval mass. That's the most important and central rite of an institution with unbroken continuity over a mere thousand years. Judaism by contrast has for nearly two thousand years existed as scattered communities often disrupted by persecution - it borders on the miraculous that it has survived at all. The religion of modern Jews is not even the same as the religion of Jews from the second or third century... let alone the religion of Jews from a couple of centuries earlier, when the all-important temple served as the focal point and site of sacrifice, forgiveness and faith... and let alone the religion of Isaiah from a further seven centuries before that, prior to Greek and Persian (particularly Zoroastrian) influence and without even a bible to read!

In cases where the time gap and evolution of language, culture and customs has not been so great, such as medieval Catholicism then, yes, there may occasionally be times when a childhood background in a more modern version of the 'same' religion affords a scrap of knowledge or insight that might, perhaps, be missed by someone with only formal study: A decade of formal study and professional work on Christian history will provide far, far more knowledge than twenty years of casual childhood church attendance, but there is of course the possibility of the latter catching something that the former misses. But on the flip side of the coin such a childhood background carries with it all sorts of biases, from more overt issues like the temptation to gloss over the negative and highlight the positive aspects of that earlier and less sophisticated version of the Catholic faith, to more subtle tendencies such as viewing the medieval version as trending towards the familiar. The former benefits - those rare glimpses of insight which might be missed by formal education - are increasingly not likely to be missed by lifelong scholars since (particularly in the field of biblical studies) those insights will almost certainly be published by someone and picked up by others. On the other hand the biases are both much more likely to be an issue for scholars from a background of faith and, being subtler, also have a greater chance of influencing their work.

That's not say that religious scholars can't do excellent work studying the history of their own faith - and undoubtedly have some advantages over fresh-faced students just out of a few years in college - but if anything, compared to longtime scholars from a different culture whose interests are merely academic and objective, religious scholars' work is done in spite of their background and bias, not because of it.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by Jagella »

[Replying to post 25 by Mithrae]

Even if we grant that Christian scholars know as much about Judaism as Jewish scholars do, then we still encounter the big problem of Christians distorting the Jewish scriptures to fit Christian theology. Christianity as it relates to Judaism is an interloper and a parasite feeding off the establishment of an older religion. Just as Mormonism "glued on" several lengthy volumes to the Christian scriptures claiming that Mormonism was a fulfillment or completion of the Christian Bible, Christianity did the same to Judaism and the Tanach.

But don't get me wrong; I'm no fan of Judaism either. After all, Judaism has "fed off of" earlier religions too including the pagan beliefs of the Babylonians. I think it's safe to say that few religions originate in a cultural vacuum. If established beliefs and practices are available, then those beliefs and practices may be very handy to help get a "new" religion off the ground.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by 1213 »

rikuoamero wrote:
That is not speaking of nation of Israel. It is about Jacob, who is also called Israel.
You quoted just the one example. What about 48:20, where it says to go out from Babylon, and that God has redeemed his servant?
That is not necessary about the nation. I understand if you interpret it so, but it doesn’t directly say so. That is why I don’t think it means the nation in that.
rikuoamero wrote:Are you really arguing that in Hebrew writings, the nation of Israel is never referred to as a singular person, Jacob/Israel?
Bible often speaks of nation of Israel as daughter, or woman. That is why I don’t say the nation is not referred as singular person.
rikuoamero wrote:Except if we're talking about the individual Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, and father of twelve brothers who became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel, this then doesn't fit with 48:20, where God exhorts the nation to leave Bablyon.
That scripture says:
Go out from Babylon, flee from the Chaldeans, With a voice of singing declare, Cause ye this to be heard, Bring it forth unto the end of the earth, Say, Redeemed hath Jehovah His servant Jacob.
Isaiah 48:20

It speaks that the nation should go out, but it doesn’t say the nation is Jacob.
rikuoamero wrote: If the writer is talking about multiple matters and does not make it clear, when a plain reading of his text makes one think he is talking about one matter, then he has failed to write well. This is a knock against the claim that Bible texts were divinely inspired. Is your god a poor author?
I don’t think God is poor author, the message just is not something that all get.
rikuoamero wrote:Also Jesus did do violence, according to your own Bible. He chased the merchants out of the temple. That requires violence of some sort.
I don’t think it required violence, but even if it did, I think the scripture was about when Jesus is captured and judged.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

Post by 1213 »

Jagella wrote: First, it's very unlikely that the Jews at Jesus' trial ever said, "His blood be on us and on our children!� Second, Matthew 27:25 has been used by Christians as a rationale for hating Jews and "spilling Jesus' blood upon them and their children." My father, for example, was a Christian, and he quoted that passage as a reason to do violence against Jews.
Ok, I understand it can be used as reason. It is poor reason and wrong. Firstly, modern Jews were not there and should not be judged of wrong things their ancestors did. Also, Christians, if it means disciples of Jesus, should not be violent, even if somebody would deserve it. Judgements should not be given arbitrarily without trial. And trials should be lawful.

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Re: Critiquing the "Suffering Servant Prophecy"

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Jagella wrote: [Replying to post 25 by Mithrae]

Even if we grant that Christian scholars know as much about Judaism as Jewish scholars do, then we still encounter the big problem of Christians distorting the Jewish scriptures to fit Christian theology. Christianity as it relates to Judaism is an interloper and a parasite feeding off the establishment of an older religion.
It's worth noting that your choice of language doesn't just demonstrate your biases, it likely reinforces and deepens them too. There were at least four noteworthy, distinct branches of Jewish thought before Jesus started preaching: Compare for instance the Sadducees - associated with social elites, oriented towards the temple and priesthood, accepting only the written Torah as divine scripture, rejecting life or punishment after death - with the Pharisees - a lay movement, using the Prophets, Writings and 'oral Torah' in addition to the written Torah, many believing in judgement or reincarnation after death, emphasizing personal observance of the Law as much if not more than temple sacrifice...

Jesus may well have been taught or influenced by Pharisees (particularly of the Hillel school) and/or the Essenes. Peter, John, Paul, James and so on were all Jews too. Rightly or wrongly, their understanding that Jesus was the messiah to be 'cut off' was firmly grounded in Jewish scripture (Dan.9:26, and, as if in confirmation, the city and the sanctuary were indeed destroyed shortly thereafter); so too were their respective (and not necessarily identical) interpretations of the 'new covenant' (Jer. 31:31-34) and being a 'light to the gentiles'/salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). For forty years or so theirs was one of now at least five major streams of Jewish thought. The gradual demographic shift from a predominantly Jewish Christianity to a more gentile Christianity was undoubtedly marked by superficially obvious changes like maybe eating pork sometimes and no longer cutting a bit of skin off their sons' willies, but arguably such trivialities of practice were a mere consequence of the much more profound shifts in theology - believing Jesus was the Messiah, fulfillment of the law and bringer of a new covenant - which many if not most Jewish believers had already accepted even in the earliest decades of that Jewish sect's existence.

Meanwhile the temple's destruction began a shift in what eventually became 'mainstream' Judaism which was just as radical as the shift in what eventually became Christianity, begun forty years earlier. What became known as Rabbinic Judaism was heavily influenced by the Pharasaic tradition largely because they, like the Christians, had been ahead of the game in shifting emphasis away from the temple and towards a more adaptable, versatile attitude towards 'the Law.' Rabbinic Judaism, like Christianity, added more Scripture to their canon in the form of the Talmud. In fact, if you believe that it is important then surely you should be aware that Rabbinic Judaism added more content later on than the Christian branch of the religion did!

There's literally no reason to suppose that modern or for that matter 1st century Jews are any more the 'true' heirs to the religion Isaiah helped shape than that modern or 1st century Christians were.

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