Does the role of John the Baptist require post-War to make sense?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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Does the role of John the Baptist require post-War to make sense?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 16, 2019 7:40 am

The case for Jesus Passion story make sense only in a post-War situation is already advanced (in my view: positively) by RG Price in the his book.

Does the same thesis hold for John the Baptist?

I note that the article of Doudna is published in a peer-reviewed book:

Is Josephus's John the Baptist Passage a Chronologically Dislocated Story of the Death of Hyrcanus II?, Greg Doudna


If we assume that John Hyrcanus II was remembered as the Teacher of Righteousness, then we have two Messiahs in Mark.

Are the two Messiahs associated or antagonists?

Antagonists, obviously:

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

(Mark 2:18)

But the antithesis is especially here:
I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

(Mark 1:8)

Mark is saying that the reader can't expect Elijah and the Holy Spirit at the same time. Hence the reduction of John the Baptist to Elijah.

Even after the War, the Essenians were still expecting that the armies of heaven were going to come down and join forces with the Jews to lead them to victory. That was their sin in the eyes of "Mark": they had not lost the original (military) apocalypticism. Hence they would have given up even to mean the Gospel lesson (= the Jews kill the Messiah, God kills the Jews).

Evidence of the fact that the followers of John in the time of "Mark" were still expecting the Messiah predicted by John is found precisely here:

27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”
31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

(Mark 11:27-33)

The Gospel story could sound as persuasive only for Jews who realized the total defeat of their apocalyptic hopes in 70 CE and were in need of a theodicy. The post-War Essenians could only reject the Gospel story a priori. They didn't need a theodicy, they expected still the Warrior Messiah.

Hence "Mark" wanted to emphasize that the failure of the prophecies of the Teacher of Righteousness didn't happen in 70 CE: the facts of 70 CE had to serve only as evidence of the divine wrath against the Jews for the death of Jesus.

Hence the failure of the Teacher of Righteousness had to be evident already in the time of the Messiah Jesus on the earth.

"Mark" represented that John's failure as a total failure, but with only a thin possibility of redemption: John's hope of a coming Messiah was not vain only insofar he worked as Elijah redivivus, a mere precursor of the Jesus.

As collateral effect, "Mark" trasposed chronologically the historical John (Hyrcanus II) in the time of Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 5428
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Does the role of John the Baptist require post-War to make sense?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 am

Now, if the motive for "Mark" inventing John the Baptist was precisely to prove that the military apocalypticism was confuted already in the time of Jesus (while the facts of the 70 CE "proved" only the truth of the "prophecies" of destruction by Jesus), then "Mark" could do so:
  • by trasposing John Hyrcanus II in the time of Jesus, as actor for the role of the failed apocalyptic prophet par excellence: John the Baptist
  • by trasposing Theudas in the time of Jesus, as actor for the role of the failed apocalyptic prophet par excellence: John the Baptist.

Hence, which was the best candidate for the role of "John the Baptist"? John Hyrcanus II or Theudas?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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