Narrating a New Identity: The Role of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant in 1 Peter 2:18–25
ABSTRACT: In the not-too-distant past, 1 Peter held the dubious honour of being considered an ‘exegetical step-child’ of NT research. While this is no longer the case, it is still true that Petrine studies too often remains in the shadow of work(s) relating to the Gospels and Paul’s letters. Consequently, scholars in the field have taken advantage of this inattention by approaching the text from various angles. One line of discussion has concerned 1 Peter’s use of the OT for the composition of the letter which, in the words of D. A. Carson, appear ‘in rich profusion’. The present inquiry considers Peter’s use of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant motif in 1 Pet. 2:18–25 to shape an identity and missional posture that might best be described as resident-alien-ness. While the core of my argument is substantially exegetical, I approach the text through the dual-lenses of Narrative Transportation and Social Identity theories. Doing so pro- vides a methodological basis by which to discuss the narratological and identity elements within the text that aim to shape the corporate identity of Peter’s readers in ways that both surprise and undermine typical social identity processes. What follows is a brief description of each theory before contemplating Peter’s use of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant and its importance for Christian identity and missional posture.
KEY WORDS: Suffering Servant, Isaiah 53, 1 Peter 2, suffering, example, narrative, resident alien, social identity, New Testament
BIB: Shaw, David M. ‘Narrating a New Identity: The Role of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant in 1 Peter 2:18–25’. In The Impact of Jesus of Nazareth: Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives, edited by Peter G. Bolt and James R. Harrison, 2 Social and Pastoral Studies:125–53. CGAR Series 2. Sydney: SCD Press, 2021.