The concluding section of the Book of Isaiah, sometimes referred to as Third or Trito Isaiah, had a profound impact on the Christian movement in its formative phase, including such central issues as the identity of the founder, the profile of the disciple, and the Gentile mission. In this thorough and informative commentary, Joseph Blenkinsopp shows that while these chapters maintain continuity with Second Isaiah, they must be considered in the light of a new set of circumstances.
The texts present a community beset by severe problems, attempting to cope with disappointed expectations, and trying to maintain its faith in the reality, power, and benevolence of the God of traditional religion. Blenkinsopp discusses in detail the issues that divide the community, from concerns about the efficacy of religious practices (prayer, fasting, Sabbath observance, and sacrifice) to questions about who may claim the name of Israelite and under what conditions, to what kind of relations should be maintained with outsiders. In examining each of these topics, Blenkinsopp shows that the final chapters provide evidence of an emerging Judaism seeking its own identity and self-definition, and testify to the existence of a prophetic discipleship inspired by the person and teaching of the charismatic servant whose fate is described in the previous section of Isaiah.
Reflecting the same standard of excellence as Blenkinsopp's first two volumes on Isaiah, this is an important contribution to the prestigious Anchor Bible Commentary series.