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I can't continue this conversation on ioudaios since I am not a
correspondent there, but let me make some brief commendts.
1) Thank you for your clarifications.
2) It is obvious and universally accepted that the canonical book of
Isaiah reached its extant form after the time of third Isaiah, whenever
that may have been. This does not mean, by any stretch of the
imagination that the prophecies in the first 39 chapters are all from
third isaiah. It does not even mean that any substantial art of them
derive from the anonymous post-exilic voice. I doubt taht a majority of
scholars would go so far as Otto Kaiser to giving Isaiah ben Amotz only a
verse or two here or there.
3) Good thing you mention Nehemiah's Denkschrift, agreeably a document of
post-exilic date. BUt consider Isaiah's so called Denkschrift. Does it
not mention she'ar yashuv? If you grant that this passage is "authentic"
ie 8th century (and you probably don't), and not a post-exilic fabrication
then the idea of the remnant is indeed an eighth century concept so there
is no reason to point to chapter 4 as reflecting some late idea, and more
difficult to associate it with any post-exilic sectarian thinking.
4) The earliest hint of something which might refer to an evolving sect
within the Israelite/ Judaen/ Jewish community seems to me to be in
Malachi where he speaks about God making a segulah (bayom asher ani oseh
segullah), obviously applying to a part of extant Israel a term known
from the Sinai revelation as descriptive of God's selection of the entire
Victor Avigdor Hurowitz
Dept of Bible and ANE
Ben Gurion University
Beer Sheva, ISRAEL