[John_Lit] Jesus and the Baptist
- Dear all,
Sorry I have not been in earlier, but I am in Australia with friends and
family. I have been following the discussion, headed by David Rensberger, on
the long-debated isssue of Jesus and the Baptist in the Fourth Gospel, and
the possible "world behind the text" scenario that created the Johannine
presentation of the Baptist.
Maybe I am too late (and David indicated that he had to get on with other
matters recently), but two issues appear important to me. In the first
place, the discussion has long been largely determined by Baldensperger and
then Bultmann's acceptance of his position (with the added issue of
Proto-Mandeans and a Baptist sect). This accepts that the Johannine
presentation of the Baptist must be negative. But is it? Hardly. He is
second only to Jesus himself as "sent by God" ... "a lamp burning" etc. etc.,
who always gets it right when he witnesses to Jesus.
Yet, there is a difficulty! Might I suggest that the early Church did not
have a difficulty with John the Baptist, but rather with the baptism of John
the Baptist! This is certainly the way things look in Acts 18-19. I do not
have my books with me, and I am unable to give you detailed references.
However, there is a fine presentation of this issue in Christoph Niemand,
"Die Fusswaschung im Johannesevangelium. Untersuchungen zur ihrer Entstehung
und Ueberlieferung im Urchristentum" (Studia Anselmiana 114; Rome: Pontificio
Ateneo S. Anselmo, 1993). I am afraid I am not in a situation to provide
page numbers - nor the details of my review of the book in CBQ a year or so
However, I think we might need to look at the problem of the two baptisms
more closely, rather than focussing only on the two baptizers. I make this
point briefly in an article to appear next year in NTS: "The Fourth Gospel
and the Jesus of History."
Sorry to be so slow in joining this
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