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[John_Lit] Re: Baptist & Evangelist

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  • Jim West
    At 12:26 PM 6/19/99 +0000, you wrote:Does someone know of a good recent book or article that discusses in detail the possible connections and influences of
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 19, 1999
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      At 12:26 PM 6/19/99 +0000, you wrote:

      >Does someone know of a good recent book or article that discusses in detail
      the possible connections and influences of the Baptist on the Johannine
      community and/or evangelist?
      >
      >Felix Just, S.J.
      >Loyola Marymount University


      See "The Immerser: John the Baptist Within Second Temple Judaism", by Joan
      Taylor.

      Jim

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Jim West, ThD
      email- jwest@...
      web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest


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    • N & RJ Hanscamp
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      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 20, 1999
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        >>Does someone know of a good recent book or article that discusses in
        detail
        >the possible connections and influences of the Baptist on the Johannine
        >community and/or evangelist?
        >>
        >>Felix Just, S.J.
        >>Loyola Marymount University
        >
        >
        >See "The Immerser: John the Baptist Within Second Temple Judaism", by Joan
        >Taylor.
        >
        >Jim


        Is there not some discussion of *the Johannine Community* supressing
        teaching on John the Baptist? I could never quite see the evidence given in
        this way, but would be open to changing my mind.

        Any takers?

        Nigel

        Nigel and Rebecca Hanscamp
        Trinity Methodist Theological College
        Auckland Consortium of Theological Education, New Zealand
        Email: nar.hanscamp@...


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      • Paul Anderson
        Excellent points, David.I do believe Johannine Christianity did indeed have a history of engaging Baptist adherents, but that it reflected earlier stages of
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 23, 1999
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          Excellent points, David.

          I do believe Johannine Christianity did indeed have a history of engaging
          Baptist adherents, but that it reflected earlier stages of the Johannine
          movement -- probably from the 30's to the 50's. By the time Johannine
          leadership was facing its most acute tensions with the local Synagogue
          (post 70) these baptistic engagements would have cooled.

          Paul Anderson

          At 11:09 AM -0400 6/23/99, David Rensberger wrote:
          >Nigel (and Felix),
          >
          >> Is there not some discussion of *the Johannine Community* supressing
          >> teaching on John the Baptist?
          >
          >Not so much suppressing as presenting John the Baptist in an insistent
          >way as *only* the forerunner to the Messiah. The gospel of John pushes
          >this point so hard (esp. John 1:6-8, 19-27; 3:27-30), much harder than
          >any other gospel, that it has often been suggested that this reflects a
          >rivalry between the Johannine Christian community and a community of
          >followers of the Baptist, who perhaps were making messianic claims about
          >their master, or at any rate were resisting getting on the Christian
          >bandwagon. One might compare Acts 19:1-7, and extrabiblical evidence
          >that groups of followers of John the Baptist continued to exist long
          >after his death. The fourth gospel seems to want to insist that such
          >people ought to heed what (in the Johannine Christian view!) had been
          >the real testimony of their founder, and become disciples of Jesus.
          >
          >This is made more complex by the way in which this gospel, unlike any
          >other, presents Jesus' earliest disciples as followers of the Baptist in
          >ch. 1. Whether or not this is true historically (there's certainly no
          >reason it couldn't be, in my opinion), it does suggest the possibility
          >of, as Felix put it, influence from the Baptist's followers on the
          >Johannine community. One of the many aspects of this complex gospel,
          >then, would be a group that included former disciples of the Baptist
          >seeking to draw other such followers into the Christian way.
          >
          >Unfortunately, since so little is known of what John the Baptist
          >actually taught, and since the gospel fixates on his announcement of the
          >Coming One, it's nearly impossible to say what substantive influence the
          >Baptist's movement might have had on the Johannine community.
          >
          >David
          >--
          >David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
          >Interdenominational Theological Center
          >700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
          >Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
          >Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...
          >
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        • David Rensberger
          Nigel (and Felix),Is there not some discussion of *the Johannine Community* supressing teaching on John the Baptist?Not so much suppressing as
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 23, 1999
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            Nigel (and Felix),

            > Is there not some discussion of *the Johannine Community* supressing
            > teaching on John the Baptist?

            Not so much suppressing as presenting John the Baptist in an insistent
            way as *only* the forerunner to the Messiah. The gospel of John pushes
            this point so hard (esp. John 1:6-8, 19-27; 3:27-30), much harder than
            any other gospel, that it has often been suggested that this reflects a
            rivalry between the Johannine Christian community and a community of
            followers of the Baptist, who perhaps were making messianic claims about
            their master, or at any rate were resisting getting on the Christian
            bandwagon. One might compare Acts 19:1-7, and extrabiblical evidence
            that groups of followers of John the Baptist continued to exist long
            after his death. The fourth gospel seems to want to insist that such
            people ought to heed what (in the Johannine Christian view!) had been
            the real testimony of their founder, and become disciples of Jesus.

            This is made more complex by the way in which this gospel, unlike any
            other, presents Jesus' earliest disciples as followers of the Baptist in
            ch. 1. Whether or not this is true historically (there's certainly no
            reason it couldn't be, in my opinion), it does suggest the possibility
            of, as Felix put it, influence from the Baptist's followers on the
            Johannine community. One of the many aspects of this complex gospel,
            then, would be a group that included former disciples of the Baptist
            seeking to draw other such followers into the Christian way.

            Unfortunately, since so little is known of what John the Baptist
            actually taught, and since the gospel fixates on his announcement of the
            Coming One, it's nearly impossible to say what substantive influence the
            Baptist's movement might have had on the Johannine community.

            David
            --
            David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
            Interdenominational Theological Center
            700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
            Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
            Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...

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          • N & RJ Hanscamp
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            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 23, 1999
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              >Nigel (and Felix),
              >
              >> Is there not some discussion of *the Johannine Community* supressing
              >> teaching on John the Baptist?
              >
              >Not so much suppressing as presenting John the Baptist in an insistent
              >way as *only* the forerunner to the Messiah. The gospel of John pushes
              >this point so hard (esp. John 1:6-8, 19-27; 3:27-30), much harder than
              >any other gospel, that it has often been suggested that this reflects a
              >rivalry between the Johannine Christian community and a community of
              >followers of the Baptist, who perhaps were making messianic claims about
              >their master, or at any rate were resisting getting on the Christian
              >bandwagon

              David

              Thankyou for your comments. However, it seems odd that this rivalry would
              be reflected in this way. I would appreciate some response to the
              following, some of which comes from other thoughts I am developing.


              First, he is never portrayed as the Messiah and his identity is clear to the
              reader, but often not to the narrative figure of JB himself. This
              narrative-identity, and the effort of the Fourth evangelist in describing
              that, seems to show up an important point in the narrative. The evangelist
              spends quite some time emphasizing John’s importance as a witness. However
              at the same time John is talking himself down. There is a constant refrain
              in John’s words. “I am not … but he is…” ‘He ranks ahead of me’ (1:15) ‘I
              am not worthy’ (1:27) ‘I myself did not know him.’ (1:33) ‘He must increase
              and I must decrease.’ (3:30). While this attitude is expressed in the
              synoptics, no where is it as strong as it is here.

              “These verses…stress John’s inferiority,” says , C.H.H. Scobie "John the
              Baptist" (1964). He feels that there is evidence to suggest that a polemic
              exists here against a ‘John the Baptist sect’. Quoting E.F. Scott he says
              ‘Indeed it is not too much to say that John is introduced into the
              narrative for no other purpose than to bring out this fact of his
              inferiority.’”

              However it would seem to me that to attempt to dig that out of this gospel
              is to undermine the fundamental role of the Baptist as witness. The
              inferiority is more likely to be linked to John’s NARRATIVE role as witness,
              than to any polemic against a *baptist* group.

              Second, the gospel portrays JB as a credible witness - so credible that he
              is the first and the *forerunner*

              Third, there is no suggestion (as far as I can see) in any material that JB
              was considered a messianic figure.

              Fourth, I am not sure that the Evangelist would waste too much breath on
              discrediting the baptist, when his aim seemed to be to point to Jesus.

              Fifth, the hightened material on the baptist in the FG only serves to *lift
              the baptist's position* rather than to push him into the background. It
              would seem to me that it would have been more sensible to leave the baptist
              out, or to just mention him in passing rather than put such an emphasis on
              him. (However, my C20 western *sensible* is of course not that of a C1
              Jewish writer). I guess that the word *only* seems out of place with
              regards to this.

              >Unfortunately, since so little is known of what John the Baptist
              >actually taught, and since the gospel fixates on his announcement of the
              >Coming One, it's nearly impossible to say what substantive influence the
              >Baptist's movement might have had on the Johannine community.


              Agreed

              I trust this is not too verbose. I'd like to test this one out with the
              group

              Nigel

              Nigel and Rebecca Hanscamp
              Trinity Methodist Theological College
              Auckland Consortium of Theological Education, New Zealand
              Email: nar.hanscamp@...



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            • David Rensberger
              Nigel,The evangelist spends quite some time emphasizing John’s importance as a witness. However at the same time John is talking himself down. This
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 24, 1999
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                Nigel,


                > The evangelist spends quite some time emphasizing John’s importance as a witness. However
                > at the same time John is talking himself down.
                >
                This states the case pretty succinctly. The question is, why would such
                an important witness be shown talking himself down? How do you see this
                inferiority as "linked to John’s NARRATIVE role as witness"? How does
                it help sustain that role as (in your quite accurate words) "a credible
                witness"?

                Some further hint at messianic speculation about John is found in Luke
                3:15-16 (note also Acts 13:25). One must ask why, there and again more
                strongly in John, the Baptist is portrayed not only as testifying that
                Jesus *is* the Messiah, but as denying that role to himself. A witness
                need not say, "I am not X" in order to be believed when he says, "Yonder
                is the one who is X." The only point of such an insistence that John
                denied being the Messiah would seem to be that some--presumably his
                followers--said that he was. Messiah, of course, may be too precise a
                term (though Luke and John both use it); after all, in John he denies
                being Elijah (a role ascribed to him by Matthew) and "the prophet" as
                well. The Baptist deflects eschatological speculation away from himself
                consistently in John, and in Luke-Acts, and to me that seems to suggest
                that there was such speculation in existence.


                > Fifth, the hightened material on the baptist in the FG only serves to *lift
                > the baptist's position* rather than to push him into the background. It
                > would seem to me that it would have been more sensible to leave the baptist
                > out, or to just mention him in passing rather than put such an emphasis on
                > him.
                >
                For me, the question is the *kind* of emphasis involved. It certainly
                places him in the foreground; but he stands there with a big sign
                saying, "Not the Messiah" around his neck. One obvious reason for such
                a particular emphasis might be that the Baptist was being portrayed by
                others in a way that demanded (in the evangelist's view) a
                counter-argument. To ignore him would be to let this opposing position
                stand unchallenged.

                Well, let's see what others think!

                David
                --
                David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
                Interdenominational Theological Center
                700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
                Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
                Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...



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              • David Rensberger
                Paul,I do believe Johannine Christianity did indeed have a history of engaging Baptist adherents, but that it reflected earlier stages of the Johannine
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 24, 1999
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                  Paul,


                  > I do believe Johannine Christianity did indeed have a history of engaging
                  > Baptist adherents, but that it reflected earlier stages of the Johannine
                  > movement -- probably from the 30's to the 50's. By the time Johannine
                  > leadership was facing its most acute tensions with the local Synagogue
                  > (post 70) these baptistic engagements would have cooled.
                  >
                  I also would expect--more on intuition than anything else--that the
                  Johannine Auseinandersetzung with followers of the Baptist would have
                  been before the height of the synagogue conflict, which would have taken
                  center stage when it heated up. Nonetheless, the heavy references to
                  John the Baptist in chapters one and three don't seem to me to be mere
                  reminiscences of an earlier debate. The parallels in ch. 3 between
                  Jesus' dialogue/monologue with Nicodemus (who is related to the
                  synagogue conflict) and the Baptist's dialogue/monologue with his
                  disciples suggest to me that the gospel writer saw a still-current (if
                  less agonized) need to address the Baptist group.

                  David
                  --
                  David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
                  Interdenominational Theological Center
                  700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
                  Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
                  Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...



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                • Paul Anderson
                  Good points, David. I m not saying tensions with the Baptist adherents were not acute, but rather that their heated relevance was probably earlier in the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 25, 1999
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                    Good points, David. I'm not saying tensions with the Baptist adherents
                    were not acute, but rather that their heated relevance was probably earlier
                    in the Johannine history than post-70 debates. What we have, therefore, in
                    chapters 1 and 3 is the preservation of earlier Johannine tradition. It
                    also becomes relevant in the crafting of the first-edition material (hence,
                    chs. 5 and 10) as the Baptist's "positive coin" within the Jewish community
                    becomes employed in the service of pointing to the veracity of Jesus'
                    mission, hence my omission of the word, "merely".

                    Thanks.

                    Paul


                    At 7:54 PM -0400 6/24/99, David Rensberger wrote:
                    >Paul,
                    >
                    >
                    >> I do believe Johannine Christianity did indeed have a history of engaging
                    >> Baptist adherents, but that it reflected earlier stages of the Johannine
                    >> movement -- probably from the 30's to the 50's. By the time Johannine
                    >> leadership was facing its most acute tensions with the local Synagogue
                    >> (post 70) these baptistic engagements would have cooled.
                    >>
                    >I also would expect--more on intuition than anything else--that the
                    >Johannine Auseinandersetzung with followers of the Baptist would have
                    >been before the height of the synagogue conflict, which would have taken
                    >center stage when it heated up. Nonetheless, the heavy references to
                    >John the Baptist in chapters one and three don't seem to me to be mere
                    >reminiscences of an earlier debate. The parallels in ch. 3 between
                    >Jesus' dialogue/monologue with Nicodemus (who is related to the
                    >synagogue conflict) and the Baptist's dialogue/monologue with his
                    >disciples suggest to me that the gospel writer saw a still-current (if
                    >less agonized) need to address the Baptist group.
                    >
                    >David
                    >--
                    >David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
                    >Interdenominational Theological Center
                    >700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
                    >Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
                    >Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • David Rensberger
                    Tom,John denies being these things in the context of an interrogation by the Pharisees which is not about his identity but rather about his right to
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 28, 1999
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                      Tom,

                      > John denies being these things in the context of an interrogation by the
                      > Pharisees which is not about his identity but rather about his right to
                      > baptize. My question, then, is why FE thought it necessary to establish
                      > John's identity in the context of a discussion about his right to baptize.
                      > Do you see any associations there with the experiences of the Johannine
                      > Community? Perhaps John is again a prototype, like the Blind Man (chap. 9),
                      > of how Christians should respond in the context of challenges from the
                      > Jewish community? Could it be that John's circle baptized and the Jews had
                      > challenged this practice?

                      Actually, the identity question is raised first (John 1:19), before the
                      issue of baptism. The latter question only serves to bring in the
                      traditional JB assertion about baptism with water and the Coming One.
                      Thus it doesn't look to me like there is a real concern about a dispute
                      over John's right to baptize. Of course, in chap. 3, John as baptizer
                      is contrasted with Jesus, who gives a new birth of both water and
                      spirit; that seems to me to be part of the dispute (or whatever it was)
                      between Johannine Christians and followers of the Baptist).

                      David
                      --
                      David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
                      Interdenominational Theological Center
                      700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
                      Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
                      Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...

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