Bart Ehrman: The Isaian Suffering Servant

Bart D. Ehrman, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), 113.

Another reason for thinking Isaiah 53 does not refer to just one person, the future messiah who would die for sins, is that the passage describes the suffering of the servant as a past event, not future: he was despised and rejected; he has borne our infirmities; he was wounded for our transgressions. On the other hand – and this is a key point – his vindication is described as a future event: he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction; he shall divide the spoil. The author thus is referring to someone (as a metaphor for a group of people) who has already suffered but will eventually be vindicated.

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