John the Baptist Mythicism

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Chris Hansen
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by Chris Hansen »

schillingklaus wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 8:34 am There is no such thing as a historical core whatsoever of John B, it is all Judaization and Euhemerization of a philosophical myth. Giscal, Hurcanus, and their ilk have at most served for the purpose of appropriation.
Got any sources? Would like to see some citations for this and for those arguing this position.
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by schillingklaus »

Only in French and out of print: Jean Magne, LOGIQUE DES SACREMENTS
Chris Hansen
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by Chris Hansen »

Ah. I've read it. Decent book. Not convinced personally, but still can't go wrong with some Jean Magne.
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by MrMacSon »

Giuseppe wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 4:48 am Doudna's case is based on a presumed historical connection John/Herod, given its presence in both Josephus and Gospel of Mark
Doudna makes no reference to the Gospel attributed to Mark in his article, 'Is Josephus's John the Baptist Passage a Chronologically Dislocated Story of the Death of Hyrcanus II?'

He simply says

On the one hand John the Baptist plays a central role in the Gospels. On the other hand, neither rabbinic tradition nor, with one exception, ancient historians seem to know anything of a first-century CE John the Baptist. The exception is Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews, produced in Rome in the early 90s CE ...

As a matter of method the Gospels are set completely to one side and the focus is solely on analysis of the Josephus passage.

The only other uses of Gospel or references to Gospels that I can find in his article are

Josephus uses a word widely in use meaning immersion,βαπτισμός, not the word used in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament as a terminus technicus for Christian baptism, βάπτισμα.

and, rightly or wrongly per se, in this last paragraph:

If this analysis is correct—that Josephus misplaced this story to the wrong Herod in Antiquities—then there is no attestation external to the New Testament of the Gospels’ figure of John the Baptist of the 30s CE. The implication would seem to be this: either the Gospels’ John the Baptist has been generated in the story world of the Gospels, or he derives from a different figure than Josephus’s John the Baptist, secondarily conflated with Josephus’s John the Baptist. These issues are beyond the scope of this paper.

Separately, I reiterate that your attempt to relate the Markan account of John to Marcionite or Markan priority -
Giuseppe wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 4:48 am But the Mcn's priority removes the connection John/Herod, hence raising the reasonable suspicion that it was entirely a post-Marcionite invention of Mark.
is unnecessary and irrelevant because there is no Marcionite "connection John/Herod": it happens in Mark regardless.
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by StephenGoranson »

Brief comment on 'Is Josephus's John the Baptist Passage a Chronologically Dislocated Story of the Death of Hyrcanus II?'

Josephus is an unreliable narrator when describing his actions during the war, and he exaggerated his knowledge of some groups, among other mistakes. E.g., some here agree that he did not complete the long Essene initiation (about which Josephus and Qumran mss agree), so, for example, he may not have read the pesharim or known who the "Teacher of Righteousness" was.

On the other hand--if, for conversation's sake, one accepts that Josephus mentioned John the Baptist--I would suggest for consideration:
a) the more persuasive cases of dislocation made by Noam & Ilan are mostly older events, easier for Josephus to mix up, and
b) Josephus was rather well informed about more recent High Priests and Herod family members, so unlikely to mix them up.
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Re: John the Baptist Mythicism

Post by neilgodfrey »

One more: Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900)
Wise was prepared at that time to extend his skepticism to the point of denying that John the Baptist had ever lived. Wise, discussing the baptism of Jesus, comments on the mention of John in Josephus:
It (the baptism) might be a historical fact, if the following doubts did not exist. 1st. Did Jesus exist, or is he a dramatical fiction, invented for religious mysteries of days long before Paul? 2nd. Did John exist? The passages regarding him in Josephus are spurious. If John and Jesus were real personages ... then there is no evidence of their having had any acquaintance with each other, outside of the New Testament, and this can not be used as a historical source at all (ibid., August 11, 1865, p. 45).
As to the words which the Gospels attribute to Jesus, Wise says:
There is not the slightest evidence in record that he existed, much less that he made a speech. Nothing is more common to ancient chronographers than to invent speeches for their favorite heroes and put them conveniently in their mouths (ibid., October 27, 1865. See items in a similar vein in the issues of November 3rd, 17th, and 24th of the same year).
Sandmel, Samuel. “Isaac Mayer Wise’s ‘Jesus Himself.’” In Essays In American Jewish History To Commemorate The Tenth Anniversary Of The Founding Of The American Jewish Archives, edited by Jacob Rader Marcus. The American Jewish Archives, 1958. (p. 330)
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