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Steck's Five Stories of the Servant in Isaiah lii 13-liii 12, and Beyond

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Bernhard Duhm's Servant Song thesis from 1892 has had a paradigmatic status for more than a century. Gottesknecht has become a technical term, Ebed-Jahwe-Lied a genre, Stellvertretung an established theological concept, and "Servant Song Research" a particular discipline within Old Testament scholarship. is article investigates of Odil Hannes Steck's reading. Steck outlines an intra-Isaianic reception of the songs on five levels dating from 539 to 270 BCE. In the original version, the servant of Isa. liii is identified individually as the prophet. On the remaining four redactional levels, the servant is identified collectively as Zion, as those who have returned from exile, as those who remained at home in Judah, and as the true Israel (which includes other peoples). After a presentation of Steck's reading, features of reading related to historicising, theologising, and textualising are discussed. Finally, a narrative reading of Isa. liii is offered, with a focus on the literary trope of personification.


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Affiliations: 1: Tromso, Norway


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