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John the Baptist in memory, Judaism and historical materialism

Myles, R.J. (2021) John the Baptist in memory, Judaism and historical materialism. Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 19 (1). pp. 62-73.

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Joel Marcus’s JBHT argues that John would have seen himself not as forerunner to Jesus but rather that he, and not Jesus, was the proclaimer and inaugurator of God’s apocalyptic kingdom. The historical Baptist, originally part of the Qumran community, broke away from this group due to his belief that he himself was the prophet Elijah and that his own ministry was central to God’s purposes. This article raises three methodological and historiographical questions concerning where Marcus might reconsider and/or expand the results of his study. First, can we really get at John’s self-understanding beyond the subjective memory impressions left in our extant sources? Second, does Marcus’s connection of John to the Qumran community rely on (mis)characterizations of the community as a marginal sect? Third, what social and economic forces prompted John’s ‘individual decision’ to relocate to the wilderness?

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
Publisher: Brill
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