Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer

Here I consider evidence from Josephus and the Gospels regarding John the Baptist and his importance for studying the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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4 thoughts on “Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer

  1. Mark Alford

    In this podcast you spoke several times of the criterion of embarrassment, and that it shows that Jesus’s baptism by John is likely historically true.

    I agree that the gospel writers show embarrassment over it, but that doesn’t mean it really happened. It just means that, by the time they were writing, the baptism story had become firmly embedded in the tradition. It could have been invented/adopted by earlier Christians who had different ideas of what is embarrassing. The fact that we see a significant shift in the gospels from Mark to John, insisting on higher and higher Christologies, supports this idea. In a pre-Mark stratum Jesus could have been even less divine, and the idea of his being a pupil of the better-known teacher John might have been perfectly OK, and even a useful recruiting tool for getting followers of John to join the new cult of his supposed successor Jesus. Once the baptism story became a part of the received wisdom it would stay there, causing embarrassment to later Christians who had evolved to a more elevated image of Jesus.

  2. janiesse

    Great stuff. I am a phd in chemistry. Never knew how to deal w/ history.
    I have learned a lot. Best, jay

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