Archive for September 25th, 2011

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This work is by Allan A. MacRae. Though this is an older work (1977), I believe it is still a worthwhile read. The fact that this author has studied under some renown scholars (Princeton’s Robert Dick Wilson, R.A. Torrey of BIOLA and William Albright) and has spent years studying Isaiah would certainly lead the readers to discover something new about Isaiah from MacRae’s “The Gospel of Isaiah.” The book does not cover all of Isaiah, but on the section of Isaiah 40-56:8. The writer had no desire to write a detail commentary here, due to the author’s wish to engage the lay reading audience. For some this might leave things technical questions one might have unanswered. This impacts even the format of the book, as readers will notice that even the identification of Hebrew word or whatever grammatical-syntactical insight of the Hebrew are put in the endnotes. The value of this book is his discussion about the “Servant of God,” where the author takes into account contextually of how that at times refer to Israel, but other times it refers to individuals–specifically that of King Cyrus and the Messiah. MacRae successfully argues for the Messiah being predicated as the Suffering Servant. There are several Christian works on the Messianic prophecy found in Isaiah 53 which MacRae also discusses here too (with a thirty page chapter if I recall correctly), but what I appreciate of this book is the discussion of the “Servant” by looking at it’s use fully in the surrounding context. This way, readers will have a easier time seeing Isaiah 53 referring to the Messianic Suffering Servant, having seen that He is referred to earlier in the context. In the end of the book, MacRae also have some appendix notes that I found helpful for a general reading audience–issues on translations, Ancient translations and comment on the unity of Isaiah. Furthermore, he ends the work with a section “Resources for study,” that I found insightful in more ways than one: 1.) It gave readers a window into how MacRae approaches his study, without reliance on the commentary as much as grammatical historical work himself; 2.) It also made me appreciate the amount of development of scholarship, resources and tools since MacRae written this book, such as his discussion about the difficulty of accessing Brown, Driver and Briggs lexicon which since the date of the publication has been less difficult with Bruce Einspahr’s Index to BDB. This work is best read alongside of the passage that the author’s exposition–whether in the Hebrew and/or English translation. There were many times in reading Isaiah I was stunned how it provided later future antecedent theology for New Testament words, themes and imagery. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it reading it for devotional, even though for such a small book I thought I was going to finish it much more sooner!


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