The return from exile in the biblical theology of Isaiah = Die terugkeer uit ballingskap in die bybelse teologie van Jesaja
Phillips, Gregory Yorath
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Biblical scholars frequently recognize the association of the return from exile with the themes of creation and redemption in Isaiah, and in the Prophets generally. However, since the publication of von Rad's article, "The theological problem of the Old Testament doctrine of creation" (1936), the focus of modern biblical scholarship has been, almost exclusively, on the relationship between creation and exodus typology (the new exodus) and not on the return from exile itself as a biblical theological theme. Therefore, the aim of this study is to carry out a thorough investigation of the biblical theological significance of the return from exile in Isaiah. Our main objective is to demonstrate that there is a significant, unifying explanation of the association of the return from exile with the themes of creation and redemption. From our survey of the return from exile in modern biblical scholarship, we find that, generally, scholars explain the linking of the return from exile with the themes of creation and redemption, just as a means of assuring the exiles that the LORD will redeem them again, and will do so in a more glorious way than in the exodus. The bulk of this paper is taken up with a grammatical-historical and biblical theological analysis of the book of Isaiah in order to identify the biblical theological themes associated with the return from exile. Subsequently, we show that in Isaiah the return from exile plays an increasingly significant role as a type of the greater, spiritual and eschatological redemption. From this footing, our thesis is substantiated and defended by comparing the biblical data and our findings with the explanations given by other scholars. Thus, we conclude that the return from exile is itself a type of redemption by new creation pointing to a greater, spiritual and eschatological "return from exile," accomplished in Christ.
- Theology