Last Updated on Sunday, 27 October 2013 20:37
Written by Ivan Dugic
In this work I attempt to explain one aspect of the paradox present in the figure of the Suffering Servant in Four Songs which are to be found in Second Isaiah. If not stated otherwise, I am using the NAB translation, that is: New American Standard Bible from 1995.
In this work I attempt to explain one aspect of the paradox present in the figure of the Suffering Servant in Four Songs which are to be found in Second Isaiah. If not stated otherwise, I am using the NAB translation, that is: New American Standard Bible from 1995.
2. Second Isaiah
Today many scholars agree that chapters 40-55 in the Book of Isaiah are the work of the prophet who is named Second Isaiah (or Deutero-Isaiah), who lived in the middle of 6 century B.C. in Babylonian exile. R.N. Whybray says about his book:
Although Deutero-Isaiah's teaching is expressed in the form of a series of short oracles rather than of a single, systematic treatise, it possesses remarkable consistency of thought; and it is not difficult to derive from it fully articulated theology. However, this should not be regarded in too abstract a way. His message to the exiles cannot and must not be separated from the forms of speech in which it is expressed, which themselves reflect the particular circumstances which prompted him to address them as he did. (1)
But so-called canonical criticism accentuates another process which went in an opposite direction. Brevard Childs speaking about the removal or loss of the historical data in Second Isaiah says that the result was that "the theological context completely overshadows the historical":
First, by placing the message of Second Isaiah within the context of the eight-century prophet his message of promise became a prophetic word not tied to specific historical referent, but directed to the future. A message which originally functioned in a specific exilic context in the middle of the sixth century has been detached from this historical situation to become fully eschatological. In this new context its message no longer can be understood as a specific commentary on the needs of exiled Israel, but its message relates to the redemptive plan of God from all of history. (2)
3. The Suffering Servant Songs in Canonical Context
This seems to be especially the case with the Suffering Servant Songs, the four poems, scattered throughout Second Isaiah, which are not, in the technical sense, songs or psalms. These poems occur in Isaiah 42: 1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9 and 52:13-53:12. There are quite different from the rest of Second Isaiah and seems as having been inserted later. About them Childs says:
Certainly the most difficult and controversial problem within chs. 40ff. turns on the problem of understanding the "servant of Yahweh's" passages. (3)
In that context he speaks that "the canonical process has preserved the tradition of the servant in form which reflects a great variety of tensions," and continues:
The polarity remains between the servant as a corporate reality and as an individual, between the typical features and the historical, between a promised new Israel of the future and a suffering and atoning figure of the past.(4)
But that is not all:
Nowhere is there any effort made to resolve the tension by means of a historical sequence, or a theological pattern, or by an explanatory commentary....(5)
From this he concludes:
This observation implies that in regard to this portion of message of Second Isaiah the canonical process preserved the material in a form, the significance of which was not fully understood. The diversity within the witness could not be resolved in terms of Israel's past experience, rather the past would have to receive its meaning from the future.(6)
4. Archetypal Aspects of the Suffering Servant Songs
I agree with this conclusion and it seems to me, psychologically speaking, a result of the activated archetype which was constellated in an analogous historical situation in Babylonian exile, but which source can be seen in Isaiah vision in 739/40 B.C., where God's approaching to the earth produced "new creation."
Jung speaking of typical motives, images and imaginations which he calls archetypal ideas says:
The more vivid they are, the more they will be coloured by particularly strong feeling-tones ... They impress, influence, and fascinate us. They have their origin in the archetype, which in itself is an irrepresentable, unconscious, pre-existent form that seems to be the part of the inherited structure of the psyche and can therefore manifest itself spontaneously anywhere, at any time. (7)
But in reality the archetypal constellation appears, as Jung says, "only... when specifically called for." In our case its manifestation was connected with constellated archetypal situation in the time of Babylonian exile as its outer frame and analogue. But we can see it other way and say that the archetype constellated the outer situation of Israel corresponding to the collective aspect of the Suffering Servant.
As to the contradictions present in the Suffering Servant Songs it may be worth quoting Jung when he speaks about a difference between an archetype in itself and its representation:
It is necessary to point out once more that archetypes are not determined as regards their content, but only as regards their form and then only to a very limited degree. A primordial image ... is determined as to its content only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled out with the material of conscious experience. Its form, however ... might perhaps be compared to the axial system of a crystal, which, as it were, performs the crystalline structure in the mother liquid, although it has no material existence of its own.(8)
As the real crystallized structure always has some flaws or deviations of the potential axial system so the case may be also with our poems. But it seems to me that the "contradictions" in them cannot be explained in that way.
Speaking about a periodical repeating of the same archetypal motive in the Bible, Jung says that the archetype never mechanically repeats itself. In that context he speaks of "prefigurations" where the next appearance brings something new. Here every activation of the archetype is like a new creation which is also the case in the Second Isaiah where Yahweh says:
"Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you." (Isaiah 42:9)
"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
"You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)
5. The Suffering Servant Songs in the Typological Method in Theology with the Prefigurations as the Progressive Revelation
It seems to me that Jung's psychological model corresponds with the typological method in theology where a prefiguration is seen as new extended appearance of the same type what can be seen as a progressive revelation.
So in the Second Isaiah we can speak of three cycles of crystallization. First, in the time of Babylonian exile; second, in Jesus' time; and third, in the eschatological last time which, it seems to me, knocks on our door. In this context we can also speak of progressive revelation.
Time's aspects, that is, separation and formation in time of the pleromatic timeless structure, are almost completely absent in our text, giving it eschatological and apocalyptical overtones. To place this timeless pleromatic fullness in time, we can use a different models.
The model for the Second Isaiah which seems to me most to the point, and which is simple enough and deals with the essential elements, assumes that the collective aspect of the Servant is in the first plane outside the Songs. The Songs then present the individual Servant who is to some extent incarnated in Christ, but who will be completely fulfilled only in the future.
This individual aspect is what I examine in this work.
6. First and Second Song: Isaiah 42:1-4 and 49:1-6
The First Song is the shortest of all the Suffering Servant Songs. Christopher North thinks that "the crucial question in this Song is, 'Is the Servant depicted as a prophetic or as a kingly figure?' This is intimately bound up with the meaning of the expression yosi' mispat (... 'he shall bring forth judgment')."
This ambivalence is also present in the title 'ebed, "servant," which is used for kings (2 Sam. 3:18, David; Ezek. 34:23f., the Messianic David; Hag. 2,23, Zerubbabel; Jer. 27:6, Nebuchadrezzar), and for prophets (Amos 3:7).
That is the case also with the expression "I have put My Spirit upon Him" (North's rendering "I have endowed him with my spirit"), which can be applied to a prophet (Hos. 9:7) or to a king (Isa. 11:2).
Therefore North concludes:
But since both words are used by Deutero-Isaiah in parallelism with Jacob-Israel, it is probable that the choice of them in the Song is determined by that fact, and that we ought not to argue from them that either prophetic or kingly attributes are expressly implied of the Servant. (10)
I agree with this statement, but it also seems to me that this attributes are so transformed in complex and paradoxical personality of Servant that they lose their typical features.
In verse 2 in the same First Song about Servant is said, "He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street" (Isaiah 42:2), which is also open to different interpretations. So North summarizes:
Those who see in the Servant a prophet stress the contrasts between him and the vulgar ecstatics, or it may be a fiery spirit like Amos. But the contrast may equally well be with the conqueror Cyrus. Again, as an illustration of drawing sharp distinctions, Volz thinks that the servant was none other than the prophet Deutero-Isaiah, who set out on his mission with the conviction that he himself, and not Cyrus, was to be the world-conqueror.(11)
The fact that "not only [does he] cry out or raise his voice," and particularly that "his voice is not heard in the street," in my opinion, puts aside all this interpretations. It seems to me that this "silence" can be connected with the same verse in the Second Song where Yahweh "hides him in the shadow of his hand," and "conceals him in his quiver" (Isaiah 49:2). North interprets this that he is "for a period not specified, kept in quiet and instant readiness for his task." I am not so sure that "quiet and instant readiness for his task" is present in this first private period of Servant. It is more probably that in this preparatory phase God forms him for his mission. He is hidden in God's hand, so the world does not see him, and the expression "the shadow of Yahweh's hand" may also point to the before mentioned process of Servant's formation. That is in accordance with the accentuated parallelism with Jacob-Israel which, in my opinion, is not only connected to Israel as people, but, as the prefiguration of Servant, points to the Jacob as individual pattern, who, after holding out a wrestling with God, obtains a new name, Israel. For the formation through wresting, or, we can say, suffering, also speaks verse 4 in the same Second Song, where Servant says:
But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; ..." (Isaiah 49:4)
It is said that he was formed already in the womb to be God's servant:
And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), (Isaiah 49:5)
But this formation (taken in concrete sense) can only be potential. To be formed as real personality it needs toil and pain.
Another aspect of Servant personality is present in the expression yosi' mispat in the First Servant Song ("He shall announce judgment to the nations." Isaiah 42:1 , North's rendering). North concludes:
The fact that it is twice used in the Song, together with yasim mispat (v. 4), shows that it is the central idea in the passage. mispat is properly a legal decision, or judgment pronounced by a sopet, or judge. . . .Instances of "judgment" pronounced by kings, priests, and local justices are so numerous as not to need citation. Whether a like authority was vested in the prophets is not clear. The noun mispat is only twice used in connection with prophets.(12)
From this he states that "the balance of probability thus far is that the exercise of mispat is a regal, or governmental, rather than a prophetic function." It can be formally correct, but the complex personality of Servant and especially his relationship and knowledge of God as well as poetical style in Song point to another possibility which North also gives:
... the word mispat in the Song seems to be used absolutely, in a widely inclusive sense ... as the sum-total of the judgments of the Yahweh religion, and, therefore, as announced to the heathen nations, practically equivalent to "religion." Thus Herzberg concludes that 'mispat is here more than law, it is the right, the true law, in which Yahweh's spirit has found complete expression. It is the expression of Yahweh's will ... as the true religion" (13)
Since "religion" as a term does not fit the Old Testament Volz translated it as "truth" which is a more general term. In any case we may agree with North's conclusion that "the exercise of such mispat seems to exceed the functions of any king or prophet known to us." (14)
The literal meaning of the verb yosi is "cause to go out," "bring out." North thinks that "with the object mispat this should almost certainly be understood as 'bring forth' (from the mouth), that is, 'speak,'"(15) and he concludes:
Whether the Servant is to exercise the ministry of a traveling preacher, or to publish mispat after the fashion of a ruler issuing edicts, is not said. The concluding verse of the Song suggests the former, a task that will require unwearied patience; but taken by itself the phrase suggest decisions uttered by someone vested with executive authority. (16)
In my opinion the meaning of yosi is much deeper. It is the formation or creation of the truth from the potential into the real state in the first preparatory formative phase. It goes through holding up the tensions through suffering to the very end, the process which Jung calls the individuation process, and which is a creation of conscious personality as real structure. Paradoxically, or maybe not, the second public phase of the Servant, which North analyzed in former quotation, is not so critical as the first introverted preparatory one explicitly described in the Second Song.
There is also one important characteristic of the Servant given in the First Song. It is his mildness, or as it seems to me, his self-control resulting from conscious integration, which is in agreement with North's conclusion:
His authority may be exercised mildly - "A bruised reed he shall not break" - but the implication is that he could be severe if he wished. (17)
After this description of some features of the Servant I give North's opinion of a setting of the First Song which also seems most probable to me:
The Servant is introduced as already present, and endowed with Yahweh's spirit. The audience to which he is presented is presumably wide, though unspecified. It can hardly be the Gentiles, since they are throughout referred to in the third person. It may consist of supra-mundane beings (cf. 40:3f.)
Johansson has a similar opinion when says that "the poem begins with a monologue of Yahweh in heaven." (19)
While in the First Song it seems that Yahweh speaks to himself or to heavenly audience, in the Second Song Servant speaks about himself, therefore we can conclude that it is earthly perspective.
This double perspective can be caused by the archetypal or we can say metaphysical structure which also forms two aspects of the Suffering Servant. This psychologically corresponds with two phases: the heavenly scene with the unconscious phase in the beginning of the opus, and the earthly one with the real process of individuation.
7. The Lamb, the Man-child, and the Suffering Servant
It seems that the heavenly aspect of the Servant can be connected with the strange vision of the Lamb in Revelation 5:6:
And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
The setting of the both is in heaven. It is worth noting that the Lamb is completely silent in the whole vision just like the Servant in the First Song in verse 2. On this points also David Aune:
One rather remarkable feature of the Lamb in Revelation is that he never speaks (note that the Beast who rises from the earth in 13:11 is said to... speak like a dragon, though what he says is not included in the narrative). (20)
He thinks that "there are two primary ways of interpreting the lamb metaphor in Revelation: as a metaphor for a leader or ruler or as a sacrificial metaphor." (21)
But it seems that the lamb is here much more than a metaphor, it is a symbol which represents paradoxical and mysteries character of the Lamb. With this extension I agree that lamb points to this two main aspects which in my opinion do not exclude each other.
So the first suffering phase may correspond to the Sacrificial Lamb which can be compared to the Suffering Servant in the Fourth Song, but only to some measure, what can be seen from these verses:
3. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 . But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-6)
He is "a man of sorrows," "despised and forsaken of men," which the Lamb in the heavenly scene cannot be. So it seems to me that only the pair of the apocalyptic Lamb and the child borne from a heavenly woman (Revelation, chapter 12) can fulfill all aspects of the Suffering Servant given in the Fourth Song. The man-child is born from "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation 12:1). This vision is also seen in heaven.
About her C.G. Jung says:
Note the simple statement "a woman" - an ordinary woman, not a goddess and not an eternal virgin immaculately conceived. No special precautions exempting her from complete womanhood are noticeable, except the cosmic and naturalistic attributes which mark her as an anima mundi as peer of the primordial cosmic man, or Anthropos.... She adds the dark to the light, symbolizes the hierogamy of opposites, and reconciles nature with spirit. (22)
Also "the son who is born of these heavenly nuptials is perforce a complexio oppositorum, a uniting symbol, a totality of life." (23) Jung says that he must not "be confused with the birth of the Christ-child which had occurred long before under quite different circumstances." (24) That repetition is also present in the Lamb which looks like slain which cannot be put in the past and explained as Jesus crucifixion.
Beside that, in Lamb and man-child is present still another repetition, or, as Jung says, duplication:
Though obviously the allusion is to the "wrathful Lamb," i.e., the apocalyptic Christ, the new born man-child is represented as his duplicate, as one who will "rule the nations with a rod of iron." He is thus assimilated to the predominant feelings of hatred and vengeance, so that it looks as if he will needlessly continue to wreak his judgment even in the distant future. (25)
Jung sees this as the comment of the vision with which he does not agree:
This interpretation does not seem consistent, because the Lamb is already charged with this task and, in the course of the revelation, carries to an end without the newborn man-child ever having an opportunity to act on his own. He never reappears afterwards. I am therefore inclined to believe that the depiction of him as a son of vengeance, if it is not an interpretative interpolation, must have been a familiar phrase to John and that it slipped out as the obvious interpretation. (26)
But if we presuppose a close connection between Lamb and child, as a duplicity which also found expression in Jung's models of the psyche as a personal and suprapersonal or transpersonal aspect of the Self, than this repetition is not out of place. So Jung speaking about Mercurius and his compensatory relation to Christ says:
If one makes a synopsis of Mercurius, they form a striking parallel to the symbols of the self derived from other sources. One can hardly escape the conclusion that Mercurius as the lapis is a symbolic expression for the psychological complex which I have defined as the self. Similarly, the Christ figure must be viewed as a self symbol, and for the same reason. (27)
This "apparently insoluble contradiction" is not invention of intellect, but is, as in the case of another couple: Christ and the devil (which are also representatives of the Self), "based on archetypal patterns, and were never invented but rather experienced." (28) Therefore Jung concludes:
We are actually confronted with two different images of the self, which in all likelihood presented a duality even in their original form. This duality was not invented, but is an autonomous phenomenon. (29)
We see in Revelation a strange transformation of this structure. Spirit of Mercurius seems to be present not only in man-child but also in apocalyptic Lamb.
A close connection between Christ, Lamb and man-child and a repetition of the motives point also to Jung's quotation:
The similarity between this story and the birth of Christ obviously means no more than that the birth of man-child is an analogous event, like the previously mentioned enthronment of the Lamb in all hismetaphysical glory, which must have taken place long before at the time of the ascension. In the same way the dragon, i.e., the devil, is described as being thrown down to earth (Rev. 12:9), although Christ had already observed the fall of Satan very much earlier.(31)
From this Jung concludes:
This strange repetition or duplication of the characteristic events in Christ's life gave rise to the conjecture that a second Messiah is to be expected at the end of the world. What is meant here cannot be the return of Christ himself, for we are told that he would come "in clouds of heaven," but not be born a second time, and certainly not from a sun-moon conjunction. The epiphany at the end of the world corresponds more to the content or Revelation 1 and 19:11ff. (32)
I will quote these parts:
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.( Revelation 1:7)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. (Revelation 19:11)
This represents the problem just like the polarity in the Suffering Servant which, it seems to me, can be solved only through a close connectedness of Lamb and man-child about which Jung says:
That higher and "complete" ... man is begotten by the "unknown" father and born from Wisdom, and he is who, in the figure of the puer aeternus... represents our totality, which transcends consciousness.... Christ's "Except ye become as little children" prefigures this change, for in them the opposites lie close together, but what is meant is the boy who is born from maturity of the adult man, and not the unconscious child we would like to remain. (33)
The heavenly child represents our totality, the Self, which transcends consciousness. This totality is also represented with the Lamb in another, more universal and transcendent aspect corresponding to the universal or transpersonal Self. His breaking of the seals activates parts of the heaven and hell which, being activated, have impact on the earth - the conscious part of the psyche. This corresponds to the individuation process coming from the unconscious after activation of opposites (circles of heaven and hell) which collide in the consciousness and there must be integrated if opus is conscious. But this process is grounded in the unconscious, and with religious Christian terminology we can say that this transcendental metaphysical process is grounded in the Lamb whose suffering transforms activated chaotic state preparing the ground for the new heaven and new earth as completely new constellation of the psyche which can be compared to the rock, the only solid ground for the erection of the house - the conscious personality in the parable of Jesus (Matthew 7:24).
I will return to this metaphysical ground. Jung speaking about the Lamb says:
The latter has put off the human features of the "Ancient of Days" and now appears in purely theriomorphic but monstrous form, like one of the many other horned animals in the Book of Revelation. It has seven eyes and seven horns, and is therefore more like a ram than a lamb. Altogether it must have looked pretty awful. Although it is described as "standing, as though it had been slain" (Rev. 4:3), it does not behave at all like an innocent victim, but in very lively manner indeed." (34)
Here Jung points to the transformation of Christ seen in Revelation (which is also in accordance with Revelation 3:12 where Christ speaks about his new name. In 19 chapter, after fulfillment of the scenario of the Book with seven seals, the Lamb takes "the human features of the 'Ancient of Days,'" but now he rides on the white horse, in difference with chapter 1, where he stays on the ground).
The Lamb does not speak, and he also does not give orders; in fact he only breaks the seals which automatically cause the doings. The fact that Lamb is passive and "standing, as though it had been slain" in my opinion points to his suffering through which he "overcomes the enemies." His "standing" also points to his ministry as in the case of Suffering Servant. So David Aune underlines:
That the Lamb is "standing" is a significant detail in the narrative (the Lamb is also described as "standing" on Mount Zion; ... 14:1), which contrasts with the description of the twenty-four elders seated on thrones... (35)
He than tries to explain this:
The statement that the Lamb is "standing" may be an oblique reference to the resurrection of Jesus, perhaps already alluded to in v. 5, where it is said that "he has conquered." (36)
I agree with that, but in another context. It seems to me that his first death and its conquering through resurrection qualified Christ for this new office. So the phrase "standing, as though it had been slain" may describe mysteries "second death," which appears in Revelation several times (2:11b, 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8).
About it Aune gives interesting comment:
Here is worth noting that the promise of a new name mentioned in 2:17 is found in combination with the threat of the 'second death' in Tg. Isa. 65:15 (tr. Chilton, Isaiah Targum): 'You shall leave your name to my chosen for an oath, and the Lord God will slay you with the second death; but his servants, the righteous, he will call by a different name. (37)
It seems that this second death is a process of transformation which therefore brings a "new name," i.e., a new personality; and because of the deepness of transformation its appears as a state of prolonged death. It can be equated with a state of the Suffering Servant described in the Fourth Song ("a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," Isaiah 53:3), and particularly in verse 8 ("He was cut off out of the land of the living"), verse 9 ("His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death"), and verse 12 ("Because He poured out Himself to death").
Many scholars agree that it is not a physical death, which, in my opinion, points to the last and deepest layer of mythologem. In Jesus' case it seems that in the first plane a literal concretization developed culminating in his sacrificial death. The question asked many time is, has not Jesus fulfilled all these aspects? Those scholars who stick to Messianic interpretation literary fulfilled in Christ must accept that there are differences. So Christopher North says:
... for example, there is no reason to suppose that Christ was so disfigured that He scarcely seemed human - this appears to be permanent feature of the Servant in the last Song, not in consequence of maltreatment - nor was He buried in a dishonoured grave. (38)
That is particularly visible in Isaiah 52:14:
Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men.
This symbolism, representing the deepest meaning of mythologem (which does not exclude a physical transformation corresponding with it, on the contrary), points to the deepness and completeness of individuation process. This is especially present in the appearance of apocalyptic Lamb. His, as Jung says, "purely theriomorphic form" can symbolize that he takes away (transforms through suffering) sins of the whole creation, not only human part. His "alter-ego," the child representing the wholeness of man includes in himself not only Israel (My people), but (potentially) the whole earth
Also the two sufferings of Christ may correspond to two phases of salvation presented in Second Song where Servant gives Yahweh' words: He says,
"It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)
This salvation to the end of the earth as the evangelization in our days becomes a reality, but its individual aspect - evangelization to the ground of the psyche - is only started, and hopefully would extend into distant future. It seems to me that these two aspects, since poetically undivided in the Songs, make a literal explanation impossible.
Another aspect of this process in the psyche, more connected with its completeness, is the woman placed in the desert. The desert on the earth psychologically represents frame of this transformation in human nature. It points to isolation which runs parallel with integration of nonhuman characteristic of deeper collective layers of the psyche. But this isolation is more psychical than physical which is in accordance with description of Servant in the fourth Song:
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:3)
And also in Isaiah 53:2a (in rendering of David Clines):
He grew up among us, like a sapling -
like a plant rooted in dry ground.
Servant is in society almost all the time, certainly as his suffering and "distortion" grows towards the end of this first phase.
Walter Brueggemann places in the first plane a physical distortion saying that "the assumption is that this was a physical distortion."(40)
It may be, but, as I said before, it is more important that his "semblance beyond human" points to the new living truth expressed in his new paradoxical personality which makes that all those who see him "shall see that which had not been told them and contemplate which they had not heard" (Isaiah 52:15, shortened). That is possible only if his appearance gives voice to the deep universal layers of human psyche which have became activated. The Servant can, even with his appearance (because of his formed Self), to make them visible to his contemporaries, and, in the same time, they can be explained through meaningful coincidences, or synchronistic phenomena, which are part of the activated Self.
The contradiction present in "the odd relation between the marred figure of verse 14 and the awesome figure of verse 15 " puzzled Brueggeman:
We do not know how to move from marred to awesome, except by the powerful resolve of Yahweh, who transposes this figure with an inexplicable firmness. Thus the theme is not simply humiliation and exaltation, but rather that it is the humiliated one who becomes the exalted one by the intention of Yahweh. It is the will of Yahweh, moreover, nothing else, that transforms and transposes.(41)
I agree with it, but in the context of Jung's model of the psyche it is present as a key-point in individuation process. Even the suffering and infirmity (Isaiah 52:3) connected with marred appearance which before produced astonishment, rejection and disregard, through the synthesis (psychologically felt as exaltation) are real ground to dignity and firmness. The amount of energy present in oppositions creates psychic state or structure which can be termed as distorted, deformed, disfigured or even marred (if temporary before their integration), and their paradoxical synthesis can explain verse 15 a ("he shall startle many nation; the kings shall shut their mouths because of him," Isaiah 52:15, New Revised Standard Version 1989).
As said before the individuation process before its integration brings to the clash of opposites, because of the activation of deeper layers of the psyche. Only after its holding out, experienced as suffering, can come to their integration. Jung speaks about "short-circuit," which looks like miracle, which is like act of God and which cannot be predicted in advance:
The conflict between the opposites can strain our psyche to the breaking point, if we take them seriously, or if they take us seriously. The tertium non datur of logic proves its worth: no solution can be seen. If all goes well, the solution, seemingly of its own accord, appears out of nature. Then and then only it is convincing. It is felt as "grace." Since the solution proceeds out of the confrontation and clash of opposites, it is usually an unfathomable mixture of conscious and unconscious factors, and therefore a symbol, a coin split into two halves which fit together precisely. (42)
Theoretically the individuation can extend to whole psyche in which is than present the whole world. We can also say that than individual in that process suffers for whole world, but in the strict sense that can be true only for the Lamb.
We can also say that as God suffers for the man or woman so the man or woman suffers for God to be transformed in his or her likeness and to give God more place in him- or herself. In other words, God and man or woman came closer to one another. That can be compared with the Kingdom of God which is present but still comes approaching to its fullness. But that fullness can only be paradoxical and "profoundly countercultural," like the figure of Servant, which, as Brueggeman says, gives model for life:
This model of life stands in deep contrast to superman of Nietzsche that now dominates a world of macho military consumerism.... It is now clear, at the turn of the century, that the Promethean superman of Nietzsche has run his course and leaves only a legacy of death. (43)
This is interesting comparison. But more interesting is that this Nietzschean model is based on his rejection of the "ugliest man," who represents all those features in human being which have been always problem for human species. Only through their acceptance, not in identification with them but through suffering, with God's help through relying on him, and today for many people also through holding out and understanding what happens,(44) can they be transformed and integrated in the process which is so masterfully pictured in the Suffering Servant Songs.
(1) R.N. Whybray, "The Second Isaiah," Old Testament Guides (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983), p. 43.
(2) Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989), p. 326.
(3) Ibid., p. 334.
(4) Ibid., p. 335.
(5) Ibid., p. 335f.
(7) Carl Gustav Jung, The essential Jung. Selected and introduced by Anthony Storr (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 415, CW 10, par. 847.
(8) Ibid., p. 415f., CW 9 I, pars. 155ff.
(9) Christopher R. North, The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah (London: Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 139.
(11) Ibid., p. 139f.
(12) Ibid., p. 140.
(13) Ibid., p. 140f.
(14) Ibid., p. 141.
(17) Ibid., p. 141f.
(18) Ibid., p. 142.
(19)Ibid., fn. 5.
(20) David E. Aune, "Revelation 1-5," World Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word Books, 1997), p. 373.
(21) Ibid., p. 368.
(22) Carl Gustav Jung, Answer to Job (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 77, CW 11, par. 711.
(23) Ibid., par. 712.
(27) Carl Gustav Jung, "The Spirit Mercurius," CW 13, par. 296.
(28) Ibid., par. 297.
(30) In Rev. 5:6, in my view, in not presented the enthronment of the Lamb but his new service as the Suffering Servant. Here Jung speaks about earlier event which can be seen to some degree as comparable with this. But we can speak in both case about the "enthronment" through suffering which comes after its fulfillment.
(31) Jung, Answer to Job, par. 713.
(33) Ibid., par. 742.
(34) Ibid., par. 708.
(35) David Aune, Revelation 1-5, p. 352.
(36) Ibid., p. 352f.
(37) Ibid., p. 168.
(38) North, The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah, p. 208.
(39) David J.A. Clines, I, He, We & They, A Literary Approach to Isaiah 53 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983), p. 12.
(40) Walter Brueggemann, "Isaiah 40-66," Westminster Bible Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), p. 142.
(42) Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Glasgow: Fontana Press, 1995), p. 367.
(43) Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66, p. 150.
(44) Which is necessary for the Revelation too, which also represents individuation process on individual and collective level. In it are symbolically present many aspects of this process which are not explicitly described in the Servant Songs. Some of these aspects I have analyzed in unpublished work "Individuation process in Isaiah's Fourth Servant Song, John's Revelation, and Bob Dylan's songs Shelter from the Storm and Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," in which I analyze the same process in the texts coming from the different times, where are also included feminine and destructive elements (anima and shadow) which are not explicitly present in the Servant Songs.
Aune, D.E., "Revelation 1-5," World Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word Books, 1997.
Brueggemann, W., "Isaiah 1-39," Westminster Bible Companion. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.
Brueggemann, W., "Isaiah 40-66," Westminster Bible Companion. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.
Clines, D.J.A., I, He, We & They, A Literary Approach to Isaiah 53. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983.
Childs, B., Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989.
Jung, C.G., Answer to Job. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.
---------- The Essential Jung. Selected and introduced by Anthony Storr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.
---------- Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Glasgow: Fontana Press, 1995.
---------- "The Spirit Mercurius," CW 13. London: Routledge, 1991.
North, C.R., The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah. London: Oxford University Press, 1956.
Whybray, R.N., "The Second Isaiah," Old Testament Guides. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983.
Ivan Dugic is an electrical engineer who has been interested in analytical psychology for almost twenty years. Currently he is completing his studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia.
© Ivan Dugic 1999. All rights reserved.