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Theological Interpretation and Isaiah 53: A Study of Bernhard Duhm, Brevard Childs, and Alec Motyer

SHEPHERD, CHARLES,EARL (2012) Theological Interpretation and Isaiah 53: A Study of Bernhard Duhm, Brevard Childs, and Alec Motyer. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This dissertation brings together the hermeneutical approaches of three Old Testament scholars, specifically as they pertain to the interpretation of Isaiah 52.13-53.12 in the framework of Christian theology. Contemporary discourse and hermeneutical discussions have led to the development of a point of confusion in theological hermeneutics, focusing on what relationship older frames of reference may have with those more recent.

Bernhard Duhm is presented as a history-of-religions scholar who does not easily abide by popular understandings of that school. This results in a theologically attuned reading of Isa 53. Brevard Childs moves outward from particular historical judgments regarding the nature of redaction and form criticism, attempting to arrive at a proximately theological reading of the poem. Alec Motyer’s evangelical commitments represent a large constituency of contemporary theological readership, and a popular understanding of Isa 53.

Following a summary and critical engagement of each interpreter on his own terms, the study proceeds to analyze the use of rhetoric behind the readings of Isa 53 outlined here. As each interpreter positions his hermeneutical location in opposition to perceived opponents, it bears revisiting to see in what ways these moves of rhetorical distanciation are, and are not, appropriate. Whilst commonality is found between the three in substantial ways, certain irresolvable problems arise. An outcome of this commonality-problematic relationship is that contemporary rhetorical categorizations of ‘pre-critical’, ‘critical’, and ‘post-critical’ do not accurately represent the highly involved nature of the task of interpreting the Old Testament – and Isaiah 53 – as Christian Scripture.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Old Testament, Theology, Hermeneutics, Theological Hermeneutics, Biblical Theology, Historical Criticism, Bernhard Duhm, Canonical Approach, Brevard Childs, Evangelical Hermeneutics, Alec Motyer
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Dec 2012 16:54

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