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The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
PAPERBACK; Published: 8/4/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7380-4
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DESCRIPTION
A key emphasis of Brevard Childs's distinguished career has been to show not only that the canon of Scripture comprises both Old and New Testaments but also that the concept of "canon" includes the way the Christian church continues to wrestle in every age with the meaning of its sacred texts. In this new volume Childs uses the book of Isaiah as a case study of the church's endeavor throughout history to understand its Scriptures.

In each chapter Childs focuses on a different Christian age, using the work of key figures to illustrate the church's changing views of Isaiah. After looking at the Septuagint translation, Childs examines commentaries and tractates from the patristic, Reformation, and modern periods. His review shows that despite an enormous diversity in time, culture, nationality, and audience, these works nevertheless display a "family resemblance" in their theological understandings of this central Old Testament text. Childs also reveals how the church struggled to adapt to changing social and historical conditions, often by correcting or refining traditional methodologies, while at the same time maintaining a theological stance measured by faithfulness to Jesus Christ. In an important final chapter Childs draws out some implications of his work for modern debates over the role of Scripture in the life of the church.

Of great value to scholars, ministers, and students, this book will also draw general readers into the exciting theological debate currently raging in the Christian church about the faithful interpretation of Scripture.

This book is also available in hardcover.
REVIEWS
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Childs has presented a work of great erudition, careful analysis, and remarkable clarity of expression. We owe him a debt of sincere gratitude."
Ellen F. Davis
"Probably no one but Brevard Childs could have written this lucid, fascinating, and vastly learned account of Christian hermeneutics and exegesis of Isaiah — an account best understood as a nonreductionistic 'family history.' Without glossing over tensions and failures, Childs shows how complex is the process of reading the Bible in faith from generation to generation in the church."
Christopher Seitz
"This is a magisterial volume — learned, exhaustive, accessible. Brevard Childs gets to the hermeneutical problem that is ours, in our 'postmodern' instincts, yet whose resolution will come only from attending carefully to the history of interpretation. It risks understatement to say that this book is a towering, timely, unparalleled contribution from a man who has single-handedly held the lantern showing us the way ahead in our difficult days, now by turning his attention to the crucial history of reception of the book of Isaiah. Brilliant and full of insight."
George J. Brooke
"Once again Brevard Childs has put us in his debt with a splendid and thought-provoking book that is much more than just a history of interpretation. Childs's analytical description of how Isaiah has been handled over two millennia is both a major contribution to our understanding of the many faces of Christian hermeneutics and a timely reminder that all those who use scripture should be keenly aware of their own methods and presuppositions."
Roy A. Harrisville
"This is one more work by Brevard Childs that reflects a grasp not equaled in the guild. Its goal is to demonstrate a 'family resemblance' in the church's exegesis of the Old Testament through its interpretation of Isaiah. In examining the treatment of Isaiah in the Septuagint and New Testament, by the church fathers, the Reformers, Enlightenment scholars, Heilsgeschichtlers, and members of the history of religions school, Childs uncovers a commonality of approach despite enormous diversity. What yields this commonality, or 'family resemblance,' is the hermeneutical understanding of Scripture as the Word of God further to be proclaimed and received in the obedience of faith. This understanding in turn has led to recognition of the Bible's literal and spiritual dimensions. . . . Displaying a broader scope than reflected in Childs's previous work, this book is a vigorous challenge to exegetical approaches that display a distaste for history

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