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The goal of the Judaizer who interpolated the Baptist passage in Josephus

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:14 am
by Giuseppe

...had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practise justice towards their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing to join in baptism. In his view this was a necessary preliminary if baptism was to be acceptable to God. They must not employ it to gain pardon for whatever sins they committed, but as a consecration of the body implying that the soul was already thoroughly cleansed by right behaviour.

(Antiquities 18.116-119)

Precisely the reason the consensus considers genuine the Baptist passage:

One of the points on which there is disagreement between this passage and the Gospels is the nature of John’s baptism. In Mark and Luke, at least, this is a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

(Mark 1:4)

And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;

(Luke 3:3)

...well, precisely just that reason (!), was the real goal of the Judaizing interpolator of the Baptist passage:

1) The Gnostics (=haters of YHWH) identified the baptism of water with the baptism of nous (spirit), basing on the literal interpretation of the Dialogue on the krater in Corpus Hermeticum 4:4-6. Water coincides stricto sensu with Spirit.

2) against the Gnostics, the baptism of water has to be disconnected from the baptism of Spirit:
  • John will baptize only by water
  • Jesus will baptize with water and Spirit.
That opposition is only veiled in the Gospel incipit (John proclaims loudly that difference - "I baptise with water, but after me..." - , but de facto, in the case of Jesus, the Water of the his baptism makes the Spirit descend on Jesus) but in the Baptist passage of Josephus it is made decisively explicit and even more radical: the baptism of water of John doesn't even purify the sins as effect, it is really a mere formalistic practice, emptied of any Spirit's effect.

It was emptied of any Spirit's effect, because it had - in the mind of the interpolator - be emptied of any Spirit's effect.