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Book Review – The Vine and the Son of Man: Eschatological Interpretation of Psalm 80 in Early Judaism (Andrew Streett)

Andrew Streett. The Vine and the Son of Man: Eschatological Interpretation of Psalm 80 in Early Judaism. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2014. 232 pp. $59.00.

VinePart of the Emerging Scholars Series from Fortress Press, this title is the revised doctoral dissertation of Andrew Streett, which investigates the eschatological and messianic interpretations of Psalm 80 from the time of its writing, through Second Temple Judaism, and in the New Testament. “The thesis of the study is (a) that Jewish and Christian interpreters found material in Psalm 80 pertaining to events at the end of the age, a time that some interpreters believed had already come upon them and their communities; and (b) that the meaning derived from Psalm 80 most often comes from the images of the vine (vv. 9-17) and the potentially messianic man (vv. 16b, 18), which because of the ambiguity of the text are open to a variety of interpretations” (1).

Chapter 1 sets the stage for investigating the eschatological interpretation of Psalm 80 in the Second Temple Period by exploring the content of the psalm itself, showing “how concepts that would later become the basis of eschatological interpretation are rooted in the psalm as it might have been understood in the original context” (15). Streett analyzes the broader issues and themes of the psalm that are the seedbed for later eschatological developments, such as the exodus/new exodus and creation/recreation motifs of the vine image in verses 9-16, the man/son of man in verse 18, the features of the vine descriptions that appear to be royal motifs, and probable allusions to a Davidic king. The chapter ends with a look at the addition of verse 16b as the first stage of messianic interpretation of Psalm 80.