Baptism before John

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
gmx
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:35 am

Baptism before John

Post by gmx » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:40 am

So John "appeared" in the wilderness and began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

If that statement appeared in a non-Christian jewish text of the same era (instead of Mark's gospel), would it have made sense? What would it have meant in a strictly jewish (messianic) context? Did the Jews have a concept of baptism that predated Christianity? Did they call it baptism? Where did the word come from?

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2051
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Baptism before John

Post by DCHindley » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:36 am

gmx wrote:So John "appeared" in the wilderness and began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

If that statement appeared in a non-Christian jewish text of the same era (instead of Mark's gospel), would it have made sense? What would it have meant in a strictly jewish (messianic) context? Did the Jews have a concept of baptism that predated Christianity? Did they call it baptism? Where did the word come from?
There was the common use of the ritual bath in a "mikva", but this was from oral tradition, not laid down in the Law of Moses. Even the priestly aristocracy seemed to get into it, even though normally they do not approve of anything that is not specified in the Law. IMO, this may derive from a practice of allowing gritty grimy pilgrims bathe before presenting their sacrifices in the temple, which became over time a sort of purification ritual that transferred over to the general Judean population. It required "living water" (water that flowed, no matter how feebly), and John simply took it to the extreme, using river water that flowed freely, as a token of repentance that washed away ones previous sins.

DCH

outhouse
Posts: 3508
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by outhouse » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:07 am

DCHindley wrote:
John simply took it to the extreme, using river water that flowed freely, as a token of repentance that washed away ones previous sins.

DCH

Not only that, poor peasants in rural villages had no mikvas nor had means to pay for such service. This was a means for poor peasants to share traditions of the rich Hellenist.

John2
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by John2 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:06 pm

The Jewish Encyclopedia has an entry on baptism (with this relevant excerpt):
With reference to Ezek. xxxvi. 25, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean," R. Akiba, in the second century, made the utterance: "Blessed art thou, O Israel! Before whom dost thou cleanse thyself? and who cleanses thee? Thy Father in heaven!" (Yoma viii. 9). Accordingly, Baptism is not merely for the purpose of expiating a special transgression, as is the case chiefly in the violation of the so-called Levitical laws of purity; but it is to form a part of holy living and to prepare for the attainment of a closer communion with God. This thought is expressed in the well-known passage in Josephus in which he speaks of John the Baptist ("Ant." xviii. 5, § 2): "The washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness." John symbolized the call to repentance by Baptism in the Jordan (Matt. iii. 6 and parallel passages); and the same measure for attaining to holiness was employed by the Essenes, whose ways of life John also observed in all other respects. Josephus says of his instructor Banus, an Essene, that he "bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day" ("Vita," § 2), and that the same practise was observed by all the Essenes ("B. J." ii. 8, § 5).

The only conception of Baptism at variance with Jewish ideas is displayed in the declaration of John, that the one who would come after him would not baptize with water, but with the Holy Ghost (Mark i. 8; John i. 27). Yet a faint resemblance to the notion is displayed in the belief expressed in the Talmud that the Holy Spirit could be drawn upon as water is drawn from a well (based upon Isa. xii. 3; Yer. Suk. v. 1, 55a of Joshua b. Levi). And there is a somewhat Jewish tinge even to the prophecy of the evangelists Matthew (iii. 11) and Luke (iii. 16), who declare that Jesus will baptize with fire as well as with the Holy Ghost; for, according to Abbahu, true Baptism is performed with fire (Sanh. 39a). Both the statement of Abbahu and of the Evangelists must of course be taken metaphorically. The expression that the person baptized is illuminated (φωτισθείς, Justin, "Apologiæ," i. 65) has the same significance as is implied in telling a proselyte to Judaism, after his bath, that he now belongs to Israel, the people beloved of God (Yeb. 47a; Gerim i.).
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2456-baptism
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find.

John2
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by John2 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:11 pm

This Jews for Jesus site also discusses baptism (with these excerpts):
John's title, "Baptist" (literally baptizer), comes from the Greek verb baptidzo, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew root taval: to wash by dipping or plunging in water.
The Hebrew word tevilah (translated "immersion") is used in the benediction recited during the mikveh ritual. Certainly no one would dispute that mikveh is a Jewish ceremony. The ritual washings and cleansings commanded in Torah and the other writings formed the basis for the rabbinical mikveh laws. Our ancient sages who formulated these rules agreed and emphasized that the purpose of mikveh was spiritual rather than physical cleansing. They taught that as the mikveh cleanses the unclean, so does the Holy One cleanse Israel (My 8:9). The roots of baptism rest deeply and permanently in the soil of these Jewish scriptures and traditions. That is, both baptism and mikveh depict by an outward act the inward transaction of faith; and both declare that only the Holy One has the power to cleanse men's hearts and lives.
http://jewsforjesus.org/publications/is ... 10/baptism
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find.

User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 4688
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:58 pm

.
Immersion in water was a big part of some of the Gentile/pagan Egyptian mystery religions - many of their temples included baths or bath-houses.

In researching Leonardo da Vinci, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince were drawn into a number issues raised by his potential role in the Shroud of Turin and aspects of his Last Supper painting. In trying to understand the significance of these unusual images they conducted research into what they term a “thread of heresy” that reaches back over 2000 years. The result was their book The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ published in 1997 by Transworld Publishers Ltd. Some of their conclusions were -
  • John’s religious teachings were essentially that of the Egyptian mystery religion of Isis-Osiris-Horus.
  • To those in John the Baptist’s circle the term 'Christ' (or 'Chrestos') would probably have referred to all who were baptized and initiated into the 'arcana' (ie. 'mysteries'; secrets) of their belief system.
  • Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist
  • Jesus was initiated into the inner circle of John the Baptist, but was not selected to succeed him (Rather it was Simon Magus who was selected as John the Baptist’s successor).
  • Jesus’ disciples were not initiated into the inner mysteries of his teachings.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

outhouse
Posts: 3508
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by outhouse » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:10 pm

MrMacSon wrote: Some of their conclusions were
useless.


Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist
Probably, but we can count this as luck on their part.

gmx
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:35 am

Re: Baptism before John

Post by gmx » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:42 am

John2 wrote:This Jews for Jesus site also discusses baptism (with these excerpts):
John's title, "Baptist" (literally baptizer), comes from the Greek verb baptidzo, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew root taval: to wash by dipping or plunging in water.
Does the Greek verb baptidzo occur in the LXX?

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 3903
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Baptism before John

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:57 am

gmx wrote:Does the Greek verb baptidzo occur in the LXX?
Four times:

2 Kings 5.14: So [Naaman] went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Judith 12.7: So Holofernes commanded his guards not to hinder her. And she remained in the camp for three days, and went out each night to the valley of Bethulia, and bathed at the spring in the camp.

Sirach 34.25: If a man bathes after touching a dead body, and touches it again, what has he gained by his washing?

Isaiah 21.4: My mind reels, horror overwhelms me; The twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling.

A related adjective ("dipped", "baptized", "dyed") appears once:

Ezekiel 23.15: ...girded with belts on their loins, with richly dyed attire on their heads, all of them looking like officers, like the Babylonians in Chaldea, the land of their birth.

ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 4688
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Baptism before John

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:30 pm

The Hemerobaptists (Heb. Tovelei Shaḥarit; "Morning Bathers") were part of the baptist group for which the baptismal rite of initiation is the single most important feature. Significant of the Hemerobaptists is that this baptismal rite was repeated each day, rather than once and for all. The Hemerobaptists were probably a division of the Essenes who placed particular emphasis on bathing as a ritualistic cleansing before the hour of prayer each morning in order to be able to pronounce the Name of God with a clean body (Tosef., Yad., end). Samson of Sens translates a section of this Tosefta which refers to this cleansing: "The morning bathers said to the Pharisees: 'We charge you with doing wrong in pronouncing the Name without having taken a ritual bath.' Whereupon the Pharisees said: 'We charge you with wrongdoing in pronouncing the Name with a body impure within.'" The sect is also mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 22a). Hemerobaptist baptism differed from proselyte or synagogal ablutions in that this baptism was both symbol and sacrament.

John the *Baptist was probably a Hemerobaptist, as is suggested in Clementine Homilies (2:23). His followers were eventually absorbed into the Christian Church, although a part may have gone to the sect of Mandeans in lower Mesopotamia. A remnant of this group was still active in the third century C.E. Several early Christian authors make mention of the Hemerobaptists. Hegesippus (See Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iv, 22) refers to them as one of the Jewish sects or divisions opposed to Christians; Justin calls them "Baptizers." According to the Christian editor of the Didascalia ("Apostolic Constitutions," vi, 6), the Hemerobaptists do not make use of their beds, tables, and dishes until they have cleansed them. This is a misunderstanding of the true purpose of this sect, i.e., bodily cleansing. Another author, Epiphanius, asserts that the Hemerobaptists deny future salvation to persons who do not undergo daily baptism.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... 17909.html

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Charles Wilson, Jax, JoeWallack, lsayre, Michael BG, Yahoo [Bot] and 61 guests