Torah in Servant-form: Torah, Servant, and Disciples in the Book of Isaiah

Fantuzzo, Christopher J (2012) Torah in Servant-form: Torah, Servant, and Disciples in the Book of Isaiah. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This dissertation examines the concept of torah in final-Isaiah (FI) towards a construal of the intentio operis, understood as the model author’s aim to produce model readers who are servant-disciples (Isa 54:13, 17). It develops with attention to the contribution of Marvin A. Sweeney, and asks whether the prophetic book subserves Ezra’s reforms or has a separate program for the restoration and reform of Judah and Jerusalem. To surmise the intentio operis, linguistic, literary, and rhetorical approaches are used as appropriate to a holistic theological reading of the received text. Research focuses on passages where the term hrwt appears; its range of meaning is assessed within the broader lexical and conceptual framework of FI, and associated terms, concepts, and images are handled within properly defined units as parts within the larger whole. The investigation observes profound intra-textual connections signaling a bond between prophet and disciples, and a solidarity connecting the servant, herald, and servants, concluding that the conception and use of hrwt in FI is inextricably bound to servant-discipleship and the correlative theme of righteous-suffering. Though hrwt never has a technically precise sense in FI, it has legal, didactic, and sapiential connotations (analogous to the deuteronomic model of catechesis) and refers primarily to the words and acts of Isaiah and YHWH’s servant. Since hrwt does not refer to the giving or interpretation of a fixed (external) corpus, but corresponds to the Mosaic model, it is illegitimate to reduce/restrict FI to propaganda literature for Ezra’s Mosaic Torah-oriented reform measures. Instead, FI urges the community taught by God to accept God’s purpose and adopt God’s ways according to a distinct Isaianic ‘logic’. Independent of Ezra’s reforms and without subordination to Mosaic Torah (or wisdom torah), FI is a prophetic guide for life suitable for interpreting Israel’s traditions, fashioning its communal identity, and defining its vocation in the world. As torah in servant-form, FI summons and shapes disciples who humbly seek YHWH, abandon evil ways, and serve God in the hope of hastening the fulfillment of its programmatic vision for a day marked by international peace and cosmic order.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bible studies, Book of Isaiah
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2015 13:51
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:56

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