The Intertextual and Theological Interpretive Potential of LXX Isaiah: A Study in Isa 65:17–25

In the modern period, the ancient versions of the Old Testament have been appreciated primarily as witnesses for the text-critical enterprise. However, recent scholarship has emphasized other avenues of study through which valuable insights can be gleaned from these ancient translations. It has become important to value these renditions of the biblical text qua texts, engaging both the exegetical perspectives embedded in the translations and the reception of the texts among communities who received them as sacred Scripture. Given the treasured role held by Isaiah among Jewish and Christian communities across the centuries, the book enjoys a rich and extensive history of textual traditions, which consequently affords tremendous potential for such work in Isaiah.

In view of this, the present paper explores the literary and interpretative dimensions of the Greek version of the book of Isaiah as it relates to its presentation of the biblical text as a text in its own right and its reception among ancient communities of faith. The significance of this tradition is evaluated in a case study of LXX Isa 65:17–25. Two facets of this passage’s textual function are assessed—namely, the interpretive potential it creates (1) for intertextual associations with other biblical texts and (2) for theological appropriation by the readers and recipients of the text tradition.

The paper first provides an orientation to the Greek tradition of Isaiah, then offers a sketch of how one might go about reading the version as a sacred text in its own right. In the case study of Isa 65:17–25, the passage is analyzed against the Hebrew text of Isaiah with a view toward the interpretive potential produced in relation to both intertextual connections and eschatological and/or christological applications. It is argued that the Greek version of the text generates the possibility for deeper intertextual connections with Gen 1–3 and more readily lends itself to eschatological and christological interpretation than does the Hebrew version of the same passage. This thesis is further substantiated by examining the passage’s reception in both the New Testament and patristic writings.

7 thoughts on “The Intertextual and Theological Interpretive Potential of LXX Isaiah: A Study in Isa 65:17–25”

  1. One of the top two
    This is intriguing and would present a positive model for how study of the Septuagint can inform NT studies as well as theology. And Will is right about the strong recommendation from Boda–that commends this paper.

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  2. A wider audience?
    I think a paper that considers both translation and reception (or the potential reception) could be interesting. By expanding beyond Isaiah to engage with intertextuality with Gen 1-3 and christological readings, the paper might appeal to a (slightly?) wider audience, as well. Also, Boda encourages his students to present, but he won’t recommend a paper that he doesn’t think is worth being heard. He’s also sensitive to some of the LXX issues and can alert his students.

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  3. Looks good
    The proposal itself lacks concision and focus, but it nonetheless presents the problem, thesis, and roadmap for the argument.
    Matthew has clearly prepared well.
    As Jen noted, the paper may attempt too much in terms of TT, intertextuality, NT use, patristic reception, etc., but the range of verses is manageable.
    I look forward to hearing it.

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