Fredrik Hägglund

Isaiah 53 in the Light of Homecoming after Exile

[Jesaja 53 im Licht der Rückkehr nach dem Exil.]

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Published in English.
Isa 53 is one of the Old Testament texts which is most important for the understanding of New Testament. Fredrik Hägglund presents a new interpretation of the servant's suffering, which is based on the relationship between the people in the land and those who returned after exile.
In this study, Fredrik Hägglund presents an interpretation based on a hypothesis that conflicts emerged between the people in the land of Israel and those who returned from exile. He analyzes these conflicts with the help of contemporary refugee studies, other texts of the Old Testament, and also relevant passages in Isa 40–55. At the end of the exile, there was hope that the deported people would return to Israel, that it would be rebuilt, and that Jerusalem would again flourish. This hope is most clearly expressed in Isa 40:1–52:10. However, as time went by, there was a realization that the envisaged glorious return was in reality a rather limited return, and the joy of receiving those who returned had turned into conflicts, not least regarding the possession of land and the availability of places to live. In this situation, someone probably reflected on the message of Isa 40:1–52:10 and sought to understand what had gone wrong. Isa 53 was then inserted as an explanation of how the people in the land of Israel, i.e. the »we,« should have received those who returned, i.e. the servant. If this embrace had taken place, Mother Zion would have rejoiced, as described in Isa 54. Instead of these pictures painted for us in Isa 53 and 54, we encounter the reality of the conflicts described in Isa 56–66.

Fredrik Hägglund Born 1967; 1995 ordained in the church of Sweden; 2003–2007 doctoral student at the University of Lund; currently priest in the church of Sweden in Borås Caroli.


The following reviews are known:

In: Old Testament Abstracts — 32 (2009), S. 432–433 (C.T. Begg)
In: Svensk Exegetisk Arsbok — 75 (2010), S. 200–203 (Stefan Green)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 33.5 (2009), S. 102 (L.-S. Tiemeyer)
In: Biblische Notizen — 145 (2010), S. 136–137 (Karin Schöpflin)
In: Salesianum — 73 (2011), S. 173–175 (Rafael Vicent)
In: Studia Biblica Athanasiana — 11 (2010), S. 128–129 (X.G.)
In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 20 (2010), S. 259–260 (Charles Halton)
In: Religious Studies Review — 35 (2009), S. 260 (Brad E. Kelle)
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism — 1 (2010), S. 259
In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 122 (2010), S. 142 (U.B.)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (06/2010) (Ulrich Berges)