Craig S. Keener
The Witness of the First Disciples. 1:19–51
ALTHOUGH THE GOSPEL'S NARRATIVE opens with 1:19, the implied reader knows Jesus' origin from 1:1–18 (and most of John's earliest audience probably were already Christians; see introduction). That the narrative can open abruptly after the prologue (especially the preparation of 1:6–8,15) is to be expected, and a Diaspora audience conditioned by Mediterranean dramatic culture would feel at home here. Greek dramas often started by informing the viewer of what had happened prior to the opening of the play. The Odyssey opens abruptly and afterwards explains more of Odysseus's travels through flashbacks, but its hearers could also presuppose what they knew of Odysseus from stories about him in the Iliad (if they knew that work first; probably they heard both repeatedly).
The prologue introduces John the Baptist as a model witness for Jesus, leading immediately into a section (1:19–51) about the nature of witness and disciple-making for Jesus, which John the Baptist (1:19–28) opens.3790 Apart from the prologue, the evangelist starts his Gospel essentially where Mark did and early Christian evangelists often did (Acts 1:22; 10:37; 13:24).3791 This witness also fits the Gospel's specifically Jewish framework by opening with a witness to Israel (1:31,49) embraced by true Israelites (1:47).3792 The writer of the Fourth Gospel wishes his audience not only to continue in the faith themselves (20:31), but to join him in openly confessing Christ (12:42–43), proclaiming him in a hostile world (15:26–27).
The Witness of the Forerunner to Israel (1:19–28)
In 1:19–34, as in 3:27–36, John the Baptist models the activity of a «witness» (1:8) by deferring all honor to Jesus. This model мая counter the tendency of some to exalt John unduly at Jesus' expense (see comment on 1:6–8); it мая also respond to some leaders in the Johannine circle who have proved too ambitious for personal honor (3 John 9). This context explains who John is not (1:20–21), his function as a witness to another (1:22–27), and his testimony for the other (1:29–34).
Many ancient biographies pass quickly over the subject's youth or background, focusing on his public career and sometimes at length on his death.3793 Thus Josephus covers the first thirty years of his life in an opening section that constitutes less than 5 percent of his autobiography; even some of this introductory material specifically prepares the reader for Josephus's role in the war (see Life 13–16). The Fourth Gospel, in contrast to Matthew and Luke but like Mark, turns very quickly to the Baptists proclamation and Jesus' ministry.
The prologués comments about John bearing witness to the light give way naturally to the narrative of 1:19–37, where John points priests and Lévites (1:19–28) and his own disciples (1:35–37; possibly also 1:29–34) to Jesus. This section about John's witness fits neatly into the whole narrative concerning Jesus' first disciples (1:19–51),3794 and introduces various christological titles, some of which the Gospel will develop in more detai1.3795
Different days become the occasion for different confessions: John confesses the coming king on one day (1:19–28), acknowledges that Jesus is that king on the next day (1:29–34), and sends his own disciples after Jesus on the next day (1:35–39).3796 In the same way, new disciples witness to Jesus, making other disciples, in both 1:40–42 and (on the next day) 1:43–47, in both cases a self-revelatory encounter with Jesus himself being the converting factor (as in 4:42). The climactic confession of this section on discipleship comes in 1:43–47: Jesus is both Son of God and king of Israel (Messiah), and will further reveal more of heaven to the world. In Johannine ecclesiology, discipleship involves witness, and witness introduces open hearts to the Person whose power to address the truest issues of their hearts convinces them.
Because much of this material about John's witness is also attested in the Synoptic tradition, it is clear that the author of the Fourth Gospel does not fabricate John's witness from whole cloth, but adapts existing traditions.3797 As promised in the introduction, we will explore questions of tradition in this Gospel where it is most easily discerned, namely, in passages that overlap with the Synoptics. That much of this material is paralleled in substance elsewhere in extant sources suggests that other material in the narrative мая derive from historical tradition as well, whether or not the other traditions remain extant. (The differences from the Synoptic tradition need not require an independent tradition–paraphrase was a common enough exercise and verbatim recitation was not essential3798–but other sources besides the Synoptics and Q existed then [cf. Luke 1:1], and the writer would not have selected only those texts now extant as if he knew which texts would remain extant and wished to impress only later generations.)
At the same time, the author's mark is clearly on the materia1. The Gospel's «Jews» who sent the priests and Lévites (1:19) were Pharisees (1:24), but early first-century Pharisees as a group did not exercise authority over priests and Lévites (see also comment on 7:32). This is not to suggest that John reports no historical tradition here–he clearly does depend on some prior tradition (Luke 3:15); but the role of the Pharisees suggests that he couches his tradition in language relevant for his audience. Some Pharisees were involved in some such missions. Before 70, priestly leaders, perhaps with some Pharisees (Josephus Life 21) sent three priests to try to bring Galilee to peace (Life 28–29), and the Galileans had to heed them (Life 72–73). To restrain Josephus, Jerusalem's chief priests sent some learned aristocrats, including three Pharisees (one of whom was a priest; Life 196).
Yet the Pharisees hardly controlled the priests of Jesus' day, whereas some successors of the Pharisees appear to have been gaining an increasingly dominant role in the Palestinian Judaism of the Fourth Gospel's day. Further, the Baptist's self-abasement regarding his role vis-à-vis that of Christ, while not a Johannine invention (e.g., Luke 3:15–17),3799 reflects Johannine emphasis and possibly polemic.3800 Like other early Christian writers who adapted the original form of Jesus' divorce logion to different contexts (e.g., Roman law in Mark),3801 or like Qumran's interpreters applying the sense of biblical texts directly to their own generation, the writer of the Fourth Gospel updates his language to speak directly to the hearers of his day.3802 (It goes without saying that this section, like all John's Gospel, would abound with typical features of Johannine style.)3803 Those interested in historical tradition will find plenty of it here; those interested in examining Johannine theology through the Gospel's themes will also be amply rewarded by an analysis of this section.
1. Those Who Were Sent (1:19, 24)
Sending an inquiry to a prophet could fit biblical tradition (2 Kgs 19:2; 22:15; Isa 37:2), but the messengers here seem to inquire more from suspicion of John than from desire to hear his message. What appears most striking, however, is the identity of the senders and their agents.
Josephus (Life 1; cf. Ant 4.218), Philo (Spec. Laws 1.131–155, esp. 1.131; 4.190–192),3804 and the Dead Sea Scrolls (the «wicked priest» in lQpHab 8.8–12; 9.4–7; 12.5; greedy priests in 4QpNah 1.11) indicate the prominence that priests retained in all parts of Judaism before the destruction of the temple. Josephus, who also praises their general piety (Ant. 14.65–68), attests that priests remained the main local rulers of Palestine in this period.3805 Even the later Pharisees, who joined the Essenes and the Gospels in criticizing the high priesthood3806 as corrupt (e.g., lQpHab 9.4–5),3807 respected the high priests office (later, e.g., p. Sanh. 2:1, §2). While some priests seem to have followed Pharisaic practices, even the later rabbis admitted that many (we would say most) did not;3808 most scholars concur that most of the priestly aristocracy were in fact Sadducees (see, e.g., Josephus Ant. 13.298; 18.17).3809
Other aspects of this narrative also fail to fit the historical picture gleaned from a variety of other ancient sources. Rabbis who were mainly successors of the Pharisees later sent formal messengers to other dignitaries,3810 but the practice is well attested in this period and earlier only of the high-priestly temple hierarchy–of those with official authority.3811 The Levites appear rarely elsewhere in the NT but often appear together with priests in OT narratives and in passages such as Luke 10:31–32; they fill the same literary function as the priests here.3812
John, who prefers to emphasize the authority of the «Pharisees» (more than Matthew, and far more than Mark or Luke, probably because he writes at a period when their authority was far more advanced and hostile to Palestinian Jewish Christians), nowhere else mentions «priests and Levites.»3813 One might suggest that the Fourth Gospel generally transforms the priestly leaders in traditional sources into Pharisees (leaders whose role in repressing minority factions in John s day corresponded to aristocratic priests in Jesus' day), and here perhaps even transforms crowds into priests.
This is not to deny the historical plausibility of various elements of the scenario. It remains possible that John the Baptist had rebelled against his priestly roots (Luke 1:5)3814 and it is still more likely that he reacted against an aristocratic Jerusalem priesthood that represented the very sort of ostensibly pro-Roman establishment against which a traditional Israelite eschatological prophet would thunder.3815 Priests and Lévites gradually lost most of their power base after the temple s destruction, so their role of ensuring stability here is less easily explained as Johannine adaptation than that of his «Pharisees.»3816 Nor is the Fourth Gospel our only authority that emphasizes that Jewish leaders came to John; Matthew, undoubtedly writing to a Syro-Palestinian community also struggling with ascendant Pharisaism after 70, turns Q's probable «crowds» (Luke 3:7) into «Pharisees and Sadducees» (Matt. 3:7),3817 although it remains for the Fourth Gospel to eliminate the mention of the masses following John in this account almost altogether (John 3:26).
Ideological conflict between a wilderness prophet on one hand and Jerusalem temple functionaries and teachers on the other is probable should the latter have grown concerned enough about the former's reputation to investigate him with questions; and if John drew the crowds that both Josephus and the Synoptics should indicate that he did,3818 the Sadducean aristocracy would want to investigate him before the Romans did. Josephus provides many examples of messianic «false prophets» who brought about Roman intervention.3819 That John's interlocutors must provide an answer to those whose agents they are (1:22) underlines their official character in this text (cf. 2Sam 24:13).3820 Following later rabbinic texts here, some writers suggest that the Sanhédrin would have investigated John to see whether he was a «seducer,»3821 a plausible portrayal of the events in the story world if the tradition is sufficiently early. But John's audience might have also known that Jerusalem authorities in the Baptist's day would have been especially concerned with potential political disruptions (cf. 11:47–50), and other historical sources indicate that John's preaching had already been interpreted politically.3822
But the fact remains that another extant tradition places the priests' question here on the hearts of «the people» (Luke 3:15), and despite the Fourth Gospel's fuller report of other details in the narrative, it is easier to understand why the Fourth Gospel would have narrowed this question to messengers of the Pharisees than to hypothesize why the Third Gospel or its traditions would have softened the question's source to the crowds (cf. similarly Luke 3:7; Matt 3:7).3823
2. John's Denials (1:20–23)
John's questioners ask him about Elijah and the Prophet (a new Moses figure), both of whom were end-time prophetic figures expected in this period.3824 Earlier tradition concurs with the Fourth Gospel's claim that some thought John the Christ (Luke 3:15), and that he responded that one mightier than he would come after him to bestow the Spirit (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16), but the Fourth Gospel elaborates the discussion more fully than our other extant traditions do. The language of the denial мая reflect a deliberate contrast with the confession the tradition reports for Jesus before the Jerusalem elite (Mark 14:61–62; cf. 8:28). John's emphatic «I» in his denial of his messiahship in the Greek text of 1(also 3:28) мая suggest that John is about to confess another as the Christ (cf. 1:23, 27).3825 Certainly John's confession contrasts with Jesus' positive «I am» statements in this Gospel (e.g., 4:26; 11:25), fitting the running contrast created by John's abasement and Jesus' exaltation (1:15; 3:28–30).3826 That John both «confessed» and «denied not» is more than mere Semitic parallelism at work;3827 it is varied repetition for the sake of emphasis, sounding almost like a response to the charge that John claimed to be more than a prophet.3828 The reader will later learn that the leaders who sent messengers to John prove unwilling to confess Christ or permit others to do so (9:22; 12:42); John himself, however, «confesses» him openly (cf. Matt 10:32; Luke 12:8, a tradition likely known to the Johannine community–Rev 2:13; 3:5).
2A. Not Elijah (1:21a)
That the Fourth Gospel plays John's role down in light of some contemporary exorbitant claims for him is likely (see comment on 1:6–8), especially since the Fourth Gospel refuses to grant him even the role of Elijah which he seems to have played to some extent in pre-Markan tradition (Mark 1:6; Matt 3:4;3829 cf. 1 Kgs 17:6; 2 Kgs 1LXX; Mark 9:13; Matt 17:12–13; Luke 1:17),3830 even though he does not explicitly transfer those claims to Jesus.3831
It мая also merit mention that the Synoptic miracle traditions which applied Elijah's miracle-working role to Jesus and passages such as Luke 9:61–62 (cf. 1 Kgs 19:20) and 10(cf. 2 Kgs 4:29) already transferred some Elijah images to Jesus, but for Jesus these were clearly inadequate (cf. Luke 9:8, 19–20, 33–35, although Luke omits Mark's parallel acclamation of the deceased Baptist as Elijah here). Of course, even the Synoptic writers did not suppose that John was literally Elijah (Mark 9:4; Matt 17:3; Luke 1:17; 9:30).3832 If the historical John saw himself as a forerunner, he мая have seen himself as an Elijah at least in a figurative sense (cf. 1:23; Mal 4:5); if he saw himself as a forerunner for Elijah, he would have seen the one coming after him as literally «before» him (1:30).3833
Jewish tradition naturally developed the promise of Elijah's return in Mai 4:5–6 (MT 3:23–24), which appears as early as Ben Sira (Sir 48:10). Later rabbis particularly seized on this feature of eschatological expectation, although they developed it in very different ways from nonrabbinic streams of thought.3834 That Elijah remained alive was safely assumed from the biblical text (2 Kgs 2:9–12; Mal 4:5–6; cf. 1Macc 2:58; Sir 48:9), and later rabbis continued to work from this assumption.3835 In these later rabbis, however, his role in the present period before the final time became more prominent than his eschatological function, perhaps due in part to the de-emphasis of messianic eschatology after the sufferings under Hadrian. (The rabbis also tended to view the prophets as proto-scribes.)3836 Like other biblical prophets, Elijah became a master halachist, often sent to settle rabbinic disputes;3837 also sometimes described with a role comparable to that of angels,3838 the rabbinic Elijah often was sent on divine errands to miraculously aid rabbis.3839 Other rabbinic evidence, however, does point to Elijah's eschatological role. The rabbis were clearly aware of Malachís prophecy and they anticipated Elijah's return at the end of the age3840 alongside rabbinism's other eschatological figures.3841 Elijah would also exercise an eschatological halakic role,3842 especially (in line with the rabbinic interpretation of Malachi) in determining proper lines of descent (Israelites vs. proselytes, etc.).3843 Although the bulk of this evidence derives from the more numerous Amoraic texts, some of it is also Tannaitic.3844
The evidence for Elijah's eschatological role in post-OT sources is hardly limited to later rabbinic texts, however.3845 Aune finds reference to him as forerunner in 1 En. 90:31;3846 4 Ezra 6assumes him among historic figures with special roles at the end of the age (among those who never died);3847 and Matthew (17:10) unhesitatingly follows Mark (9) in presupposing that this role was widely known in Jewish circles. Sirachs portrayal of Elijah as a restorer and forerunner of the end time (if not explicitly of the messiah) is very close to this.3848
2B. Not the Prophet (1:21b)
Some of these texts мая coalesce the image of Elijah with that of the Mosaic eschatological prophet many Jewish people saw in Deut 18:18.3849 A Tannaitic midrash on Deut 18 declares that this prophet could even temporarily suspend a commandment of Moses, as Elijah did.3850 Expectations of this prophet were not solely linked with Elijah, however; that represented only one conceptual option among severa1.3851 The expectation мая appear in 1Maccabees (4:46; 14),3852 although these texts more likely focus on the restoration of prophecy in general and not a Mosaic prophet in particular.3853 Some other texts are clearer, although not attesting that all segments of Judaism expected a Mosaic prophet distinct from Elijah.3854 A Qumran text links an eschatological prophet with the messiahs of Aaron and Israel while distinguishing all three figures;3855 the historic Teacher of Righteousness apparently reflected some functions of the «prophet like Moses,» but after his passing the complete fulfillment seems to have awaited the eschatological generation.3856 Samaritan expectation, with its emphasis on the Pentateuch, naturally emphasizes this prophet more than most Jewish texts do, although Qumran expectation is similar.3857
In our text, Johns interlocutors are careful to question whether he is Elijah or the Prophet if he is not the Christ. «The Prophet» here refers to Deut 18:15–18,3858 and early Christian tradition found this text's fulfillment in Jesus3859 (e.g., Acts 3:22; 7:37;3860 cf. Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). «Hear him» in the transfiguration story probably alludes in this context to Deut 18:15;3861 likewise the mountain; cloud; allusion to tabernacles; transfiguration (cf. Exod 34:29); presence of Moses and Elijah on the mount (Exod 34:2; 1 Kgs 19:8); and the timing («six days,» cf. Exod 24:16) all suggest allusions to Moses.3862 The present text, however, distinguishes various roles, suggesting that more than mainstream Christian theology stands behind it. It is possible that the segment of Judaism from which much of John's community and/or its opponents sprang laid heavy emphasis on the eschatological prophet (1:25; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17); while a prophet Christology would be inadequate (4:19, 25–29; 6:14–15; 7:40–41), Jesus is clearly a prophet (4:44; 9:17),3863 hence foreshadows the prophetic ministry of the Johannine community (16:7–15).3864
2C. A Voice Crying (1:23)
John the Baptist thus denies any prophesied function except that of forerunner, and even a qualified form of that (since he is not Elijah). Naturally the Fourth Gospel does not apply to John some of the traditional texts, such as Mark's midrashic blending of Mai 3with Isa 40(Mark 1:2–3)3865 or Matthew's citation of Malachi in a different context (Matt 11:10); this passage in Malachi would too easily evoke an allusion to Mai 4:5–6 and require a more detailed explanation of the sense in which John is or is not an Elijah redivivus. But Isaiah's promise of a new exodus3866 and a messenger preparing the way (apparently giving orders to construction engineers and provincials) before the king at the head of the people was fitting.3867 All four gospels apply the Isaiah text to John, but only the Fourth places the citation on John s own lips. Some scholars suggest that the Fourth Gospel here reflects an independent tradition about the Baptist since this Gospel, unlike the Synoptics,3868 does not follow the LXX reading.3869 While Johns normally eclectic appropriation of text types requires us to leave the question open in this case,3870 other evidence favoring his independence might support this conclusion.3871
Some commentators have suggested that the Gospel tradition originally derived the citation from the Baptist's own usage, derived in turn from his sense of mission.3872 That John actually applied the text to himself is reasonable in view of his Synoptic pronouncements concerning the one whose way he prepared (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–6); it seems unlikely that he would not have contemplated his own mission in scriptural terms. Although extant evidence is insufficient to prove or disprove that John uttered the words attributed to him in 1:23, the text was in use in his environment; its application by another wilderness community to its own mission3873 could have commended it to the Baptist as more appropriate to his own. If John knew Qumran, he мая have felt the text applied better to his ministry because he was less fully separatistic than they;3874 they used the text to justify total seclusion from the rest of Israe1.3875
The wilderness was central in Israel's history (e.g., Hos 2:14; ] En. 89:28; Song Rab. 3:6, §1); other Jewish people also applied Isa 40 to salvation.3876 Many Jewish people awaiting the new exodus in the wilderness3877 were open not only to renewal movements3878 but to prophets (e.g., Acts 21:38)3879 and messiahs (e.g., Matt 24:26)3880 appearing in the wilderness, and it was appropriate for the Baptist to read theological significance into his requisite exile from population centers.3881 (Although Mark мая emphasize the Baptist's wilderness existence to prefigure Jesus3882 and to emphasize the fulfillment of Isa 40:3,3883 this element of John s ministry was undoubtedly historical–he could have safely drawn crowds there as long as he did nowhere else,3884 and it afforded him the only place for public baptisms not sanctioned by establishment leaders.3885 Further, Marks «wilderness of the Jordan» presupposes a tradition familiar with Palestinian topography.)3886 For the author, a new exodus background мая be significant, for it is in an exodus context that his Gospel most frequently mentions the «wilderness» (3:14; 6:31, 49; not clear in 11:54); such an allusion probably would have been intelligible to his audience (Rev 12:6). The «Jordan» (cf. John 1:28) might therefore evoke a corporate initiation of God's people crossing the Jordan into the promised land (Josh 3:6–17).
In this Johannine context, however, what is most significant is that the Baptist himself emphasizes his supporting role to Christ rather than requiring the narrator to do so. Such statements throughout the Fourth Gospel would challenge those who appealed to the Baptist as a figure whose stature could rival that of Jesus. The Fourth Gospel also weaves this quotation into its own minor wilderness motif concerning the place of redemption (3:14; 6:31; cf. 11:54).3887 (Some Jewish texts мая have personified God's «voice»;3888 Jewish texts used it as a surrogate for God's speech;3889 and «voice» becomes a recurrent theological term in John [3:8, 29; 10:3; 18:37]. Nevertheless, the term in this passage probably simply carries over from the tradition [Mark 1:3; Matt 3:3; Luke 3:4]. Whether John reuses «way» theologically as in 14is open to discussion. Even in other passages the Gospel writers мая draw on Isaiahs highway, and probably not on Hellenistic moral instruction.)3890 John's witness prefigures that of the Paraclete, who (literally) leads believers «in the way of truth» (16:12–13).
3. The Purpose of John's Baptism (1:25–26, 31)
The Baptist is significant not only in directly introducing Jesus, but also in functioning as the first foil against Jesus in a water symbolism employed throughout the Gospel narrative; he introduces a baptismal (3:22, 23, 26; 4:1, 2; 10:40) and more general water motif (2:7,9; 3:5,23; 4:7,10,11,13,14,46; 5:2; 7:38; 13:5; 19:34).3891 John's questioners ask why he would baptize if he is not the Messiah, Elijah, or the prophet (1:25), which might presuppose broader knowledge of a messianic baptism. It is possible that they had already heard of John's message of a coming Spirit-baptizer. Though the Gospel's audience has not yet heard this promise in the course of the Gospel's narration, 1may suggest that John already had this revelation, and it is likely that the Gospel's audience had heard of it (cf. Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:2; 1Cor 12:13).
3A. The Function of Baptism in This Gospel
Given Josephus's testimony, scholars scarcely ever doubt that John baptized in water;3892 the significance of this record for the Fourth Gospel, however, is more open to question. As an indispensable substance, appreciation for which was heightened in ancient agrarian societies by the effects of drought,3893 water had lent itself to frequent figurative usages, for example, as a symbol for life,3894 or perhaps as an image for oracular speech.3895 Philo read the four rivers in Genesis as the four virtues flowing from του θβΐου λόγου,3896 and both he3897 and Ben Sira3898 depict divine Wisdom as water. Later rabbis likewise spoke of Wisdom,3899 Torah, and teaching as water3900 or a well,3901 and heresy as bad water3902 (although they also compared Torah with honey and other sustaining materials).3903 Rabbinic texts occasionally also compare the Spirit with water,3904 as does John (7:37–39; see comments on 3:5).
Some have taken water to represent baptism in John and have read it as indicating a sacramental element in Johannine theology;3905 others read the Gospel in an antisacramental light.3906 Kysar thinks that sacramental interpreters presuppose a more widespread emphasis on sacraments in the late-first-century church than has been substantiated.3907 Commentators who support an antisacramental view vary in their proposed object of antisacramental polemic: MacGregor feels that John is polemicizing against the sacramentalism of the Mysteries, which he feels retained a strong hold on early Christian converts.3908 It should be noted, however, that the allegedly «'sacramental' cults» could involve ecstasy,3909 and thus that an opposition of sacrament and πνεύμα (if the Johannine Christians could associate the latter with ecstatic inspiration) might not be as useful in opposing such sacramentalism as MacGregor hopes. Bultmann suggests a polemic against John's baptism, due to continuing rivalry with the Baptist sect.3910
Others have opted for a position between sacramentalism and anti-sacramentalism. Käsemann thinks that sacramentalism was not prominent in John (against Cullmann, Wilckens, and Barrett), but also not all redactional (against Bultmann).3911 Matsunaga thinks that the author was merely warning, in view of a substantial number of apostates (John 6), that baptism and the eucharist alone could not suffice to bring life apart from true discipleship.3912 This commentary contends that the Fourth Gospel does indeed include polemic against the efficacy of water rituals, but that this polemic functions as part of his argument with the synagogue about the nature of true purification (although Jewish immersions, too, normally required sincerity for repentance3913 or baptism3914 to be efficacious).
3B. Proposed Parallels with Other Ancient Baptisms
Not only the pervasiveness of the water motif in the Fourth Gospel but also the internal logic of the present narrative compel us to ask how the first Jewish witnesses would have understood both the Baptists baptism and the subsequent Johannine interpretation of it. No extant Jewish traditions indicate that the Messiah, Elijah, or the prophet would baptize (1:25),3915 except in Johns own teaching (1:33), but Johns baptism was significantly different enough from contemporary lustrations to warrant the texts interlocutors questioning this baptism's eschatological meaning.
First of all, some have compared it to regular Jewish lustrations. The Hebrew Bible, rooted in the religious consciousness of ancient Near Eastern society (one мая compare ancient Egyptian,3916 Mesopotamian,3917 and Hittite rituals),3918 commanded ritual washings.3919 Later Mediterranean models probably also contributed to the development of Jewish purification ideas. Although some philosophers, such as the Cynics, detested the thought behind bodily purifications,3920 other schools, such as the Pythagoreans3921 and Stoics,3922 valued them as important. Various temples had their own rules mandating ritual purity,3923 and the Eleusinian3924 and Isis3925 cults used lustrations as preliminary purifications in their initiatory rites; some initiatory baths were also used to secure pardon from the gods (Apuleius Metam. 11.23). But in contrast to some earlier scholarship,3926 most contemporary scholars have rightly observed that such acts were simply preliminary washings, and not initiatory of themselves.3927 It is moreover noteworthy that most terms for purification in the Greco-Roman world (καθαρμός, καθάρσια, κάθαρσις) are missing in the NT.3928
The early Jewish practice of ritual washings was widespread in Jewish Palestine long before the time of the Jesus movement, as evidence from Josephus,3929 coins,3930 and especially archaeology attests.3931 Mikvaotб or standard ritual immersion pools, often included steps for descending into the pool and ascending from it, as well as a conduit for water to flow into it from an adjoining poo1.3932 They are in evidence in the Hasmonean3933 and Herodian3934 periods, and are found at places like Masada3935 and Jerusalem.3936 They were especially common among the well-to-do who lived in upper-city Jerusalem,3937 and on the Temple Mount.3938 (Jerusalemites мая have been more concerned with ritual purity than were the provincials «who purified themselves mainly for the festal pilgrimages.»)3939 Wandering wilderness pietists like Bannus, without access to mikvaot, frequently washed in the Jordan or other available sources of water (Josephus Life 11). Rabbinic texts include many discussions of ritual purification.3940 The mikveh's waters were thought to cleanse ritual impurity,3941 and so were important for priests,3942 menstruants,3943 and even vessels.3944 Ritual purity was required preceding a festival and was achieved mainly through immersion (John 11:55).3945
But while such Jewish lustrations and their broader cultural background provide a context for John's baptism, they cannot define it. John's baptism in the Synoptic tradition was initiatory and eschatological, a baptism of repentance in light of the coming kingdom of God.3946 Other writers have suggested Qumran initiatory baptism as the background for John's and early Christian baptism,3947 but though the sect did practice baptism as part of initiation,3948 the initial baptism at Qumran was apparently viewed only as the first immersion among many.3949 Because of the cost and separation involved, one could describe Qumran baptism as repentance baptism;3950 but again, onés first baptism at Qumran was one among many rather than the primary line of demarcation. Qumran washings probably reflect a particularly meticulous form of early Jewish purification ritual, and the Covenanters performed their washings frequently.3951
3C. Baptism as a Sign of Conversion
Although the Qumran parallel for Jews joining a particular sect in view of the coming judgment supplies a partial context for John's wilderness baptism, it, like Jewish lustrations in general, does little to explain the fully initiatory status of a single baptism as an act of conversion to a new way of life. For this we must turn to the closest Jewish parallel to Johns and early Christian baptism, namely proselyte baptism, a spécifie and extremely potent form of ritual purification.3952 Some argue against proselyte baptism as a source for Christian baptism,3953 but it has long had its advocates,3954 and the opinion is increasingly shifting in the direction of recognizing it as a source, with whatever modifications.3955 Major differences naturally distinguish John's baptism from proselyte baptism, including its public and eschatological orientation and particularly its summons of Jews as well as Gentiles to turn to Israel's God;3956 but it did not arise ex nihilo, and Judaism's most widespread once-for-all immersion ritual forms the most significant backdrop from which to understand it.
The conversion ritual provided a clear, symbolic line of demarcation between a proselytés Gentile past and Jewish present. Although it was understood that some other societies had practiced circumcision,3957 Judaism continued to employ it as the essential sign of entering the covenant,3958 despite Roman antipathy, which viewed the rite as an act of castration.3959 Some of those who were spreading Judaism apparently thought exceptions could be made where Judaism would be brought into more reproach if it were carried out (e.g., Josephus Ant. 20.40–42), but this laxity is undoubtedly exceptional (cf. Eleazar of Galilee in Josephus Ant. 20.43–44). Both circumcision and baptism would have normally been required for new converts to Judaism. Because the Babylonian Gemara reports a debate between R. Joshua and R. Eliezer concerning whether baptism or circumcision by themselves would suffice for a valid conversion,3960 some scholars have held that some authorities accepted baptism without circumcision;3961 but it is hard to think that R. Joshua could have openly diminished an explicit commandment of the Torah. Other scholars have thus preferred to follow the Palestinian recension of this tradition, where R. Eliezer allows circumcision without immersion (probably under exceptional circumstances), and R. Joshua insists that both are necessary.3962 On either reading, the sages concurred on that occasion that both circumcision and proselyte baptism were necessary, and other texts reinforce the conclusion that proselyte baptism was a necessary part of conversion.3963
It is also quite likely that proselyte baptism is pre-Christian. Some scholars have denied this claim, often wishing to argue for the temporal priority of Christian baptism;3964 but their denial is difficult to maintain. The relative paucity of references to conversion in general in pre-70 rabbinic traditions, as well as baptism's secondary place to circumcision for males, мая explain the relative paucity of pre-70 references to proselyte baptism. Ceremonial washings were so common and so unobjectionable in the ancient Mediterranean that one would not expect any particular washing to appear as frequently in conversion literature as circumcision, which provided a comparatively major hurdle for Gentile men to cross.3965 Lacking explicit support from the OT (though naturally inferred from purity considerations there), immersion мая also have been less universal than circumcision;3966 but references show that it was well enough known to merit allusions even in the Diaspora, and such wide geographical distribution makes it improbable that it rose suddenly with our first references to it in the sources. The antiquity of Jewish proselyte baptism мая be argued on several grounds:
(1) The Hasmonaean mikvaot and references to immersions in the Dead Sea Scrolls make the antiquity and widespread character of Jewish ritual cleansing obvious; and it is almost inconceivable that the transition from the most unclean state to a state of cleanness should not have been marked by such a washing.3967
(2) At the end of the first century, Epictetus speaks of full converts to Judaism in the Diaspora being βεβαμμένου (pf. of βάπτω), as if this is well known;3968 and Epictetus was undoubtedly not alone in this knowledge.3969
(3) M. Pesah. 8makes tebillah a matter of dispute between the first-century adherents of Beth Hillel and Beth Shammai;3970 this point is considerably weakened, of course, if proselyte baptism was not originally in view here,3971 but Tannaitic tradition in the Tosefta supports the antiquity of the proselyte baptism interpretation.3972
(4) A possibly first-century Diaspora Jewish text assumes that even Gentiles know the Jewish practice of baptisms in running water when turning from sins.3973
(5) Most other initiation rituals in the ancient Mediterranean (whether to mystery cults or Qumran) at least included ceremonial washing, even if they viewed it as merely one washing among many (see comments above).
(6) Given the facts that rabbinic Jews were in a position of far greater power than the early Jewish Christians in their area of geographical influence, and usually ignored or condemned the Christians teachings, it is quite unlikely that they would have borrowed initiatory baptism from Christians, and hardly more likely that they would have developed and approved it on their own once it had become associated with the Jewish Christians.3974
Other arguments, for instance that some definite symbol of transition was necessary for women converts, are less substantial but can supplement the case.
3D. John and Proselyte Baptism
In short, then, John s baptism historically summoned Israelites to turn to God the same way Jewish people expected Gentile proselytes to do so; like the Qumran sect, but with a more radical and public symbolism, he regarded only the true remnant of Israel as prepared for the Lord (see the Q material in Matt 3/ Luke 3:8), and sought to turn the larger community of Israel to repentance.3975 His greater subordination to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel does not diminish this function there, but his mission to bring Israel to repentance becomes still more christologically focused (1:31).
The view that Johns mission in some sense redefined the remnant of Israel seems a legitimate interpretation of the function of John s baptism; the connection of repentance baptism with John's christological message in the Synoptics suggests that the Johannine interpretation of 1is likewise consistent with prior tradition. To the Johannine community, expelled from the synagogues (perhaps by persons who found their christological claims more objectionable than the views that the Baptist was a prophet), the critical fact of John's baptismal mission was that he came to reveal Israel's king to Israel (1:31; 12:13). While some of Israel's self-appointed guardians might remain clueless (3:10), the genuine Israelites would recognize Israel's rightful king (1:47, 49). While his interlocutors, like the world (1:10, ούκ εγνω), might fail to recognize their king (1:26, ούκ οϊδατε), the Spirit would enable others to recognize him (1:33, ούκ ήδειν).3976
4. John's Confession of the Greater One (1:27)
Jesus is John's successor (or, on some readings, disciple; see comment on 1:30); but he is incomparably greater than John. After John has denied that he is the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet (1:19–21), affirming that his mission is only to prepare the way for one greater (1:22–23), he declares how much greater than himself the Christ is. While this self-effacement fits the Fourth Gospel's emphasis, it is clearly not Johannine invention (indicating that this Gospel, like the Synoptists, could paint theology from history). The Baptist's self-abasement represents pre-Johannine tradition, attested in the Synoptic Gospels (both in Mark's abridgement of Q for his introduction, and in Matthew and Luke). If the Baptist's eschatology resembled the typical eschatological options of his day, he undoubtedly believed in some eschatological figure or figures greater than himself. If the crowds responded to him as they did to some other prophetic figures in his day (who appear to have been much less self-effacing), it would also have been natural for him to have clarified the superior character of the coming one, as in all four extant gospels; a «good» man in a status-conscious society would not purposely intrude on another's proper honor.3977
That John's interlocutors did not «know» the Christ (1:26) links them with the unbelieving world (1:10);3978 John's own subordination to Christ is less demeaning. John is not morally reprobate; yet by comparison with the Messiah he offers nothing. The most demeaning tasks performed by a household servant involved the master's feet (washing the feet,3979 carrying sandals, or unfastening thongs of sandals);3980 to do such work was to be a slave. Thus although ancient teachers usually expected disciples to function as servants,3981 later rabbis entered one caveat: unlike slaves, they did not tend to the teacher's sandals.3982 But could John really claim himself unworthy to be the coming onés slave? If so, he exalts the coming one in virtually divine terms. The Hebrew Bible and later tradition regularly calls the Israelite prophets «slaves of God,»3983 also applying the title to David,3984 Moses,3985 the patriarchs,3986 and Israel as a whole;3987 other ancient hearers also would have received the image of God's slave as one of great honor.3988 By contrast, the prophet John here claims his unworthiness even to be Christ's slave.3989 The words demean John only by contrast with Christ, and fit the Fourth Gospel's high Christology, suggesting Jesus' deity.
With minor variations the Baptist's claim appears in all four extant gospels (Mark 1:7; Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16). Even in early generations, ancient transmission permitted considerable variation in relatively minor details (see our introduction); «loosening» and «carrying» the sandals convey the same image of servility, hence function identically on the semantic leve1.3990 (Indeed, Daube relates that «carrying the master's things before him to the bath-house and taking off his shoes [when he comes home] » were the primary illustrations of slaves' services in rabbinic texts.)3991 Although John and Luke мая stand alone among the four authors in challenging partisans of the Baptist, none of the four elected to pass up the Baptist's christological testimony before Jesus' arriva1.3992 In view of biblical promises, the Baptist's respect for a coming king (e.g., Isa 9:6–7; Jer 23:5–6; Dan 7:14) who would, like most kings, judge makes sense on the historical level; so do his later doubts that Jesus was fulfilling that role (Matt ll:3/Luke 7:19).3993
5. A Historical Note (1:28)
The Fourth Gospel's proposed location for the Baptist's ministry in 1may have some theological significance (it is not in Judea), but a theological intent cannot exhaust its function (a Galilean site would have served the narrators theological purpose much better). The specific place-name thus has little purpose except as a historical observation,3994 one which challenges the assumptions of many modern scholars that this Gospel lacks any historical interest.
That much of the Baptists ministry occurred in Perea «beyond the Jordan» (1:28; 3:23; 10:40) might not convey much theological insight to many of the Gospels readers (aside from its location outside the power centers of Judean Judaism),3995 but it fits the evidence other sources provide about the Baptist. Although the reports place the influence of Johns itinerant ministry in both Judea and Galilee, Josephus's reports suggest that Herod Antipas must have captured John while he was in Perea.3996 Evidence for the specific reading for the city (more textual evidence favors «Bethany,» but it is easier to see how a scribe misread «Bethabara» as the familiar «Bethany» than the reverse) is debatable,3997 but «Bethabara» seems to have come into vogue late because of the obscure location of the proposed Bethany of earlier manuscripts.3998 In the final analysis the question probably ultimately makes no theological difference for the Gospel (being «beyond the Jordan,» it could not literally be the Bethany of John 11:1; 12:1), which underlines our point: the specific place-name is likely a matter of historical rather than theological interest. The location of a Bethany beyond the Jordan is unknown; «Not even Origen could find it.»3999 But it мая refer to the area of Batanea in Philip's tetrarchy rather than to a town.4000
If there are theological associations one would read them along the following lines: Jesus was later welcomed at a Bethany (11:1) known from the tradition (Mark 11:1, 11–12; 14:3), though it was quite near Jerusalem (John 11:18; 12:1; cf. Mark 11:1; Luke 24:50). Yet because the Gospel portrays Perea «beyond the Jordan» as Jesus' place of refuge, where he had shared ministry with John the Baptist (1:28; 3:26; 10:40), one might argue that he symbolically moves Bethany across the Jordan despite his literal acknowledgment that it was «near Jerusalem» (11:18).4001 This argument, however, appears strained. Although it would be compatible with John s use of symbolism, it is probable that the references to «beyond the Jordan,» which would make little sense to John's audience (except for the transplanted Palestinian minority), reflect the Baptist's actual historical ministry there, as noted above. It was also customary when mentioning' more than one site of the same name to distinguish them, so John's Bethany «across the Jordan» would be naturally read as a Bethany distinct from the Bethany near Jerusalem of the gospel passion tradition.
The Spirits Witness about Jesus (1:29–34)
In the preceding section, John the Baptist defers all honor to Jesus. This section explains more of Jesus' identity.4002 A prophet, like a teacher, could have «disciples» (1Sam 19:20; 2 Kgs 2:3; Isa 8:16).4003 In 1:19–28, John negatively testifies that he himself is not the eschatological king, Elijah, or the Mosaic prophet, but that one whose slave he was not worthy to be was already among them. In 1:29–34, he positively testifies that Jesus is the lamb (as in 1:36), and he recognized his identity as Son of God (1:34, probable reading) and Spirit-bringer (1:33) because the Spirit was on Jesus (1:32–33).
The «next day» provides a transition to a new christological confession to John's disciples. Although some ancient writers preferred disjunctive episodes, many connected events of various occasions into a chronological sequence that made them easier to follow (cf. Mark 1:21,29).4004 Some have found symbolic significance in the number of days in the introductory narratives (see comment on 2:1), but John could intend them literally (cf. 12:12), providing a sample of meaningful days at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. While it would be an exaggeration to say with Origen that John «leaves no room for the temptation story» and that one cannot harmonize John with the Synoptics here,4005 John is not interested in the temptation story here; nor was chronological sequence a necessary feature of ancient biography.4006 In view of the Gospel's penchant for double entendres, that the Baptist saw Jesus «coming» (ερχόμενον) to him (1:29) мая suggest a narrative confirmation of the one «coming» (ερχόμενος) after John (1:27).
1. The Sin-Bearing Lamb (1:29, 36)
In the Fourth Gospels distinctive chronology, Jesus dies on Passover; the temple cleansing, which in the Synoptic tradition occurs in his final Passover, opens his public ministry, framing his whole ministry with the shadow of the passion week and its Johannine association with Passover. «Lamb of God» is thus a very appropriate title.
1A. Proposed Backgrounds
Scholars have proposed four main backgrounds for the lamb of 1:29: apocalyptic lambs; the lamb of Isa 53:7; and Passover and sacrificial lambs (we have treated these last two together). On the first reading, the Baptist announced an apocalyptic lamb, like the eschatological horned lambs of the messianic era in 1 Enoch.4007 In this case, the Baptist's public confession in 1(as opposed to the relative clause in the possibly unattested confession of 1:29, which defines the lamb's mission in terms of sin-bearing) could make historical sense in the context of the Baptist being an eschatological prophet. The evidence for this position is weak, however.4008 Apocalyptic lambs before John the Baptist appear only in materials from portions of 1 Enoch (chs. 89–90), and probably bear no specific function worthy of special attention by the Baptist or the Fourth Gospe1.4009 Other works that use lambs to convey other images were more widely read in this period.4010 Another apocalyptic work from the Johannine community includes one central lamb (Rev 5:6,13; 6:16; 7:10; we read the Greek terms for «lamb» interchangeably), but no allusion to the lambs of 1 Enoch; even in Revelation, the lamb is a Passover lamb that delivers God's people from the plagues (cf. 5:6,9; 7:1–8,17).4011
Others have found here the language of Isaiah's Suffering Servant.4012 Although the servant is clearly Israel in most of the Servant Songs (41:8–9; 43:10; 44:1–2, 21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3), in 49and 53:4–8 the innocent servant suffers on behalf of Israel, which failed to carry out its mission fully (42:19). Although extant sources suggest (against some scholars)4013 that Judaism lacked a messianic reading of the servant passages in this period4014 (and later continued to lack it with regard to the suffering aspects of these passages),4015 this became the prevailing interpretation in early Christian sources (e.g., Acts 8:32; 1Pet 2:22–24),4016 and мая hark back to Jesus' self-definition as presented in Mark 10:45; 14:24. Despite arguments to the contrary,4017 it is likely that Mark 10reflects an authentic logion of Jesus.4018 Although its language could allude to martyrdom in gen-eral4019 and the allusion to Isa 53 is disputed,4020 we favor the view, held by many scholars, that an allusion to Isa 53 is present, albeit not in its LXX form.4021 Likewise, despite objec-tions,4022 we favor the view that Mark 14:24, the language of which is multiply attested, is authentic.4023 In any case, these Jesus traditions would have been widely accepted as au-thentic by the time of the Fourth Gospe1. (The allusion here would be to Isaiah's specific mention of a lamb in Isa 53:7, however, not to an original Aramaic term which could mean either «lamb» or «servant»;4024 as Haenchen points out, first, there is no evidence that this passage or its tradition represents an Aramaic original, and second, «the Targum on the Prophets shows that Aramaic עם־א was readily available for the Hebrew term4025 עבד. But while this allusion would explain the sin-bearing role of the lamb (Isa 53:4),4026 the first hearers of the announcement would probably think more quickly of a more dominant lamb image in the OT.4027
The primary background must be that of the (sacrificial) Passover lamb, as many scholars have contended,4028 although combinations with other sources like the Suffering Servant remain feasible.4029 The paschal lamb appears here also as a sacrificial lamb,4030 «taking away the worlds sins»; the writer undoubtedly viewed the Passover as a form of sacrifice. (The LXX uses Johns term here for sacrificial lambs approximately one hundred times.)4031 Although one мая distinguish sacrificial and Passover lambs in the Hebrew Bible–an objection some raise to seeing the Passover lamb here4032–early Judaism attached the nuances of sacrifice to Passover,4033 and the relation мая have existed in the Hebrew Bible as wel1.4034 John's emphasis мая be on Jesus dying «on behalf of» others (10:11, 15; 11:50; 18:14) rather than «propitiatory» sacrifice,4035 but the ideas fit together comfortably and are in no way mutually exclusive (1 John 2:2; 3:16; 4:10).4036
This portrayal fits other early Christian images (e.g., 1Pet 1:19;4037 Rev 5:6; 7:14).4038 In Rev 5:6, 9, the «lamb having been slaughtered» is the Passover lamb whose blood delivers God's people from the coming plagues (7:3), but also (in 6:9) the lamb in union with whom the martyrs are portrayed as sacrifices beneath the altar (where the blood of sacrifices was poured in the Hebrew Bible).4039 That the Fourth Gospel later portrays Jesus' death in terms of the Passover lamb (18:28; 19:36) and writes in the context of a new exodus and a new redemption (1:23) expected by Judaism indicates that this is the sense of «lamb» in view in the Fourth Gospe1.4040
1B. Historical Tradition or Johannine Theology?
Where John covers the same ground as the Synoptics (e.g., 1:30–33; 12:25), it is clear that even when he employs Johannine idiom, he normally develops earlier tradition. John himself testifies that he employs his traditions very selectively, and had a sufficient number from which to choose those he found most appropriate to his purpose (20:30–31; cf. 21:25). A choice between Johns theology and his tradition is therefore forced. Whether one regards the information in any particular pericope as historical, however, will depend largely on the presuppositions with which one approaches the rest of the materia1.
Is the Baptist s confession of Jesus as the lamb ahistorical? Many scholars think so; how could John regard Jesus so highly, yet later doubt that he was the one (Matt 11/ Luke 7:20)?4041 Yet if we accept the Baptists confession that Jesus was mightier than he4042 and would baptize in the Spirit, that the Baptist was unworthy to be his slave and saw the Spirit descend on Jesus (details recorded in all four extant gospels),4043 another high christological confession is not impossible. Indeed, we would expect later Christology to emphasize dominant themes like «Christ,» «Lord,» or perhaps «God» or «Son of God» (cf. 1:34) more readily than the less common «lamb.» While the Fourth Gospel's Tendenz explains why the author omits the Baptists later doubt when Jesus does not inaugurate eschatological judgment, it need not make other pronouncements ahistorica1.
At the same time, whatever view one takes regarding the historicity of the claim, it is surely also Johannine theology. The Fourth Gospel returns to the paschal lamb motif (18:28; 19:36), and «Behold» (Christ) is an especially Johannine construction (19:5,14).4044 If the tradition of the exclusion of Jewish apostates from the Passover lamb is this early (though such exclusion could not be easily enforced in any case),4045 recognizing Jesus as the lamb мая have served an apologetic function encouraging to Jewish Christian expelled from their synagogues. Neither other reports about the Baptist nor contemporary Jewish Christologies (see introduction, chapter 7) support the likelihood that the Baptist would have foreknown that the messianic mission included an atoning death. While the Baptist could have drawn such concepts from the Hebrew Bible (a new exodus and eschatological redemption could imply the need for a new Passover), the Fourth Gospel's testimony on this specific point can neither be confirmed nor disproved with certainty. On grounds of historical probability, one can say only that the Baptist's witness here is consistent with the general historical truth that the Baptist testified to Jesus,4046 and is specifically consistent with motifs in the Fourth Gospel that the author мая have regarded as natural insights for a true prophet and Jesus' forerunner. Given the Gospel's genre and use of materials where we can test him, I suspect that the author believed that the Baptist made an affirmation which could ultimately have been understood in this manner; but his wording appears to be a thoroughly Johannine formulation.
The result is at any rate a masterful expression of Johannine soteriology. «Taking away sin» (also 1 John 3:5) мая evoke the scapegoat, but probably alludes to a sacrificial reading of the Passover lamb, very possibly interpreted in light of the servant lamb of Isa 53.4047 John's particular expression for «taking up» sin probably means that it is lifted up with him on the cross (3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34). Although the Greek term for sin had undergone changes to include more moral connotations (while sometimes retaining some of the term's original amoral sense),4048 John assumes the concept's historical Jewish sense of transgression against God's law (cf. 5:14; 8:34; 9:2–3,31), which in the Fourth Gospel especially involves unbelief against Jesus (8:21, 24, 46; 9:41; 15:24; 16:9). «Walking» is a theological term at times in John (e.g., 8:12; cf. 1 John 2:6), but that John sees Jesus «walking» (1:36) мая well be no more significant than that he earlier saw him approaching (1:29).4049
2. Ranked Before the Baptist (1:30)
The Baptist again takes second place to Jesus. This passage, one of the few in which John and the Synoptics overlap, illustrates the point evident from other cases of overlap: the author of the Fourth Gospel clearly grounds his story in prior sources and, just as clearly, generally adapts them in his own christological language. Historical tradition stands behind the saying about the superior one coming after the Baptist (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16), but again this tradition plays into the Fourth Gospel's heightened emphasis of Jesus' superiority to the Baptist. The much more compressed Markan narrative connects in one logion the mightier coming one with the Baptist's unworthiness to untie his sandals, as well as the Baptist's water baptism versus Spirit baptism (Mark 1:7–8; Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16); the Fourth Gospel or its tradition separates these components (John 1:26, 27, 30, 33).
«One who comes after me» could refer to a temporal succession of prophets, but many scholars think it reflects traditional early Christian language for «following after» in discipleship, suggesting that Jesus was among the Baptist's disciples.4050 (On this reading, Jesus is John's disciple in 1:27, but John is not worthy to be even Jesus' slave, much less his disciple.) Although some propose that this interpretation suggests that the Baptist's saying is a later Christian invention,4051 the reverse is more likely; if anything, the Gospels suppress a tradition of Jesus being John s disciple, and only the Fourth Gospel even informs us that their ministries were partly concurrent (3:22–24, 26; contrast Mark 1:14).4052 The saying мая, however, reflect eschatological nuances concerning the expected «coming one» (cf. the participle in 3:31).4053 The Baptist s original saying concerning one mightier than himself мая have alluded to Daniel 7s Son of Man, as Kraeling assumes,4054 in which case the Fourth Gospel мая merely clarify the idea of préexistence already implicit in the tradition of the Baptist's words here.4055
In the Fourth Gospel, the Baptist declares paradoxically, «One comes after me who came before me, for he was first before me.» The first «came before me» мая be read as a reference to preeminence; status-conscious ancients allowed those of higher rank to enter or be seated before them as a mark of respect.4056 Such respect was typically accorded the aged,4057 but for the Gospel's informed audience, the respectable antiquity to which the Johannine Baptist refers is no mere matter of primogeniture or age, but préexistence itself (1:1–3).
3. Jesus and the Abiding Spirit (1:32–33)
Although the Baptist's «witness» resounds throughout the surrounding narrative, the author underlines John's testimony at this point in the narrative («And John witnessed, saying»),4058 which recounts John's eyewitness experience. Michaels feels that none of the extant gospels contradicts the Markan portraits of Jesus alone seeing the dove and hearing the voice;4059 but given the usual nature of «heavenly voices» in Jewish texts, it мая be more likely that all four intended the event publicly. Thus one need not regard this encounter as merely an ecstatic experience of Jesus.4060
This passage fits John's theology: the Spirit is prominent in this Gospel (1:32–33; 3:5,6, 8, 34; 4:23–24; 6:63; 7:39; 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13; 20:22), and draws attention to and attests Jesus (14:26; 15:26; 16:13);4061 the Spirit's descent accords with the Gospel's vertical dualism; that John «sees» (1:32,34) the Spirit's descent fits another motif in this Gospel (e.g., 1:14; see introduction). The title «holy spirit,» frequent in Judaism by this period, is reserved for the first, last, and one other pneumatological passage in the Gospel; this title thus frames the books pneumatology as a large inclusio (1:33; 14:26; 20:22).4062 Yet despite the author's employment of this title in his literary design, the first reference derives from his tradition (all four extant gospels concur at this point in the tradition: Mark 1:8; Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16). The Baptist's words here are again rooted in tradition (cf. Mark 1:8–10; Matt 3:11,16; Luke 3:16, 22); where he can be checked against other extant sources, our author again makes his point by adapting available tradition rather than by fabricating what suits him.
The Fourth Gospel naturally omits the Synoptics' rending of the heavens here (probably eschatological, as in Isa 64[63LXX], though at least partly realized in the Gospels; but certainly revelatory, as in Ezek 1:1; Jos. Asen. 14:2/3),4063 but characteristically employs some analogous language for the whole of Jesus' ministry in 1:51.4064 He likewise omits the Markan tradition's heavenly voice here, which probably corresponds roughly with the idea of the bat qol in later rabbinic texts.4065 (Some scholars have denied that a bat qol could be in view in the Synoptic accounts, since it was a second-class substitute for the Spirit of prophecy,4066 but this objection is untenable for the following reasons: First, although it is sometimes viewed as a substitute for the Spirit of prophecy, it is always a heavenly voice, as in the Synoptics; second, some late texts report that the bat qol was active before the Spirit of prophecy departed from Israel, in a source that might have roots in pre-70 C.E. tradition;4067 and most significantly, the bat qol normally was the means of divine communication before the eschatological time, and functioned, along with John and OT prophecy, as part of the threefold witness to the events of the new era in Mark.).4068
Whereas the bat qol is missing here, the Fourth Gospel attests Jesus' passion through a bat qol, a heavenly voice (12:28–29). Mark мая use the message of the heavenly voice to frame Jesus' entire ministry with the shadow of the passion (Mark 1:11; cf. 9:7);4069 the Fourth Gospel places the voice more directly before Jesus' passion. Meanwhile, he substitutes here for the heavenly voice the testimony of John's own hearing from God as a prophet; the author мая make this substitution because prophecy was viewed as superior to the heavenly voice, although the other evangelists include both as complementary witnesses. All the Gospels tend to pass over the baptism proper fairly rapidly, especially after Mark; it was an established rhetorical principle that the narrator «should narrate most concisely whatever is likely to distress the audience.»4070 Further, rhetorical practice dictated focusing only on matters essential to the narrators purpose.4071 The Fourth Gospels wholesale omission of it is thus undoubtedly intentiona1.4072
The Spirit «descends,» as in LXX imagery (Num 11:17, 25; Judg 14:19). The descent of the dove is retained from the Jesus tradition as we have it also in the Synoptics–though the Fourth Gospel characteristically specifies that the dove, like Christ in the Fourth Gospel's pervasive vertical dualism (e.g., 3:13; 6:31; cf. 3:31; 8:23), comes «from heaven» (1:32).4073 While modern readers мая think of the dove as a symbol of peace4074 and doves were known for timorousness (Sophocles Ajax 139–140; Athenaeus Deipn. 11.490d; cf. Homer I1. 21.493), weakness (Homer Od. 20.243), innocence or gullibility (Phaedrus 1.31), or inconspicuousness (Homer I1. 5.778), doves could also be said to stir some nations to war.4075 John elsewhere associates doves with sacrifice (John 2:14), but nothing supports the use of that image here.4076 Pagan religious associations4077 are likewise very unlikely in the Gospels' social context.
In early Jewish texts, a dove was most often used as a symbol of Israel,4078 and only rarely for the heavenly voice4079 or the Holy Spirit;4080 but though some view Israel as the background for the Synoptic dove,4081 all sorts of images were understood as symbols for Israel, there is no reason to think of Israel symbolically descending on Jesus at his baptism, and in this context Jesus is not a representative of Israel (Nathanael is), but rather of Jacob's ladder that is Israels way to God above.4082 A link with Noah's dove, a harbinger of new life, is more likely,4083 and Sib. Or. 1.242–252 uses the term πέλεια (in its Ionic form πεληιάς) for this dove, perhaps tying it to the prophetic doves of Dodona. Granted, the dove could have been used simply because some flying creature was necessary, and this was thought more appropriate than any of the possible alternatives; but on the whole, a biblical allusion would make good sense, and in such a case an allusion to Noah's dove as a harbinger of the new creation is most likely. Whatever its function in earlier tradition, the dove is probably retained as a mark of the Spirit here because it had already been established as such in the tradition.
What is most significant is that the Spirit remains on Jesus, a term used elsewhere in the Gospel for mutual indwelling and continuous habitation (e.g., 14:23).4084 Some have contrasted this experience with the mere temporary inspiration of the Spirit Jewish writers thought accompanied typical Israelite prophets,4085 though Tannaitic texts speak of the Spirit «resting» on individual persons4086 or on Israel4087 and some biblical texts suggest that the Spirit did abide with particular persons.4088 At the least, as Hill points out with regard to the less explicit Synoptic baptismal pericope, Jesus' reception of the Spirit confirms «the ending of the era of the quenched Spirit … the prophetic Spirit has again been given.»4089 The LXX translators usually depicted the Spirit's charismatic activity with the aorist tense,4090 a tense which contrasts strikingly with John's usage here. (I mention more specific interpretations only in passing. The adoptionist interpretation of 1:324091 has little to commend it contextually or culturally, failing completely to reckon with Johannine Christology in genera1. Bürge and others who accept a messianic interpretation4092 would be closer to the mark, as would perhaps someone stressing a parallel with the Philonic Moses.4093 The Spirit remaining on Jesus might also contrast with the glory of Moses which faded; cf. 1:17–18; 2Cor 3:11.)
Thus Jesus and His followers are sealed with a divine mark that their opponents did not even claim, and this can encourage John's audience in their conflict with their accusers: as John could recognize Jesus by his possession of the Spirit, so could the Christians be recognized as God's anointed by their possession of the Spirit4094 (even if their spiritually insensitive opponents could not recognize this, 3:8).
4. The Spirit-Baptizer (1:33)
The central point here is that not merely human agents like John but God's own Spirit testifies to Jesus' identity. The Fourth Gospel often speaks of God's Spirit, but two of the three uses of the particular title «Holy Spirit» frame the Gospel's pneumatology (1:33; 20:22)–this passage introducing the Spirit as one who descends to the world on account of Jesus, the middle one emphasizing the continuity between Jesus' revelation and that of the Spirit (14:26), and the final one emphasizing Jesus' sending of the Spirit (20:22).
Matthew and Luke both follow a longer form of the Baptist's saying in a fuller context which apparently speaks of a judgment baptism in fire as well as in the Spirit (cf. also Luke 12:49–50 in light of Mark 10:38–39).4095 The contextual image of a harvest and threshing floor in that Q tradition often functioned in the Hebrew Bible as judgment and/or end-time imagery.4096 Fire also symbolized eschatological judgment in this context (Matt 3:10, 12; Luke 3:9, 17) as in the Hebrew Bible;4097 Jewish tradition also developed a doctrine of an eternal4098 or temporary4099 hel1. Like Mark, the Fourth Gospel omits the mention of fire baptism along with the context in Q that makes it clear that it represents eschatological wrath.4100
Given the Baptists emphasis on repentance and the Essene association of the Spirit with eschatological purification,4101 we need not doubt that he proclaimed such an eschatological baptism.4102 Given the comparison between outpoured water and the Spirit in the biblical prophets (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 36:25–27; 39:29; Joel 2:28–29; Zech 12:10), the image of a Spirit baptism which supercedes a mere water baptism is natural (see esp. comment on the background of John 3in Ezekiel).
Scholars have more often disputed whether the Gospels accurately reflect the original meaning of John's prophecy. Following the Q form, some scholars have suggested that the Baptist's «holy spirit» мая extend the image of wind separating the wheat from the chaff, hence applying to a fiery wind that would purge Israel of its sinners;4103 but beyond the possibility that a wordplay мая lie behind the phrase, three reasons make it improbable that «spirit» does not refer to God's Spirit: the phrase «holy spirit» is much more widely established in early Judaism with reference to the Spirit of God; both fire and wind can represent the purifying spirit of Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible; and all streams of tradition in which the saying is extant include the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33), although three of the four gospels can speak of «God's Spirit» in the context (Mark 1:10; Matt 3:16; John 1:32).4104 Contrasted with fiery judgment in Q (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16), «holy spirit» мая there refer to the purificatory aspect of the Spirit in early Judaism stressed in Essene circles.4105
In Mark, Jesus is anointed with the Spirit at baptism, and thereby qualified to bestow the Spirit on others who partake of his messianic baptism into the new era.4106 While water and Spirit baptism are not synonymous, they are closely connected;4107 yet Mark emphasizes not water baptism but Spirit baptism,4108 and the Spirit (quite rare in Mark) provides unity to three tight pericopes in his introduction (1:8,10,12).4109 In contrast to John's completed baptism,4110 Jesus' baptism inaugurates a new age;4111 as in many sectors of ancient Judaism, the return of the ruah haqodes, the Spirit of holiness, was an eschatological phenomenon.4112 Although the Synoptics otherwise emphasize the prophetic element of the Spirit in Judaism,4113 the Baptist probably emphasized the Spirit of purification.4114
But no mere mortal could pour out the Spirit; this was the gift of God alone (e.g., Isa 44:3; Ezek 39:29; Joel 2:28–29) (just as no mere mortal would baptize in fire, i.e., judge the wicked). Again the Baptist's «Christology» provides a suitable source for the Gospels, especially the Fourth Gospel, to develop.4115 The Fourth Gospel alone sustains the Baptist's contrast between water and Spirit baptism in succeeding chapters (cf. comment on 2:6; 3:5; etc.). The writer also indicates here that the Spirit, who will testify to Jesus in the days of his own audience (14:26; 16:13–15), testified to Jesus for John the Baptist, a prototypical witness, in 1:33.4116
5. God's Son or Chosen One (1:34)
The Baptist's acclamation of Jesus based on the Spirit's descent probably represents the testimony of the heavenly voice at Jesus' baptism in the Synoptics. No one had seen God (1:18), but beholding the Spirit's testimony to God in flesh, John could testify to what he had seen. Whichever reading one takes concerning his testimony–"chosen one»4117 on the grounds that later scribes copied «son» from the Synoptics,4118 or «son» on somewhat better textual attestation and usual Johannine usage4119–"son» probably is the primary language in the tradition on which the Fourth Gospel draws.4120 Although some have argued that an original ambiguous παις underlies Marks υιός, and referred to the servant rather than to the «Son,»4121 a mistranslation from Greek to Greek is much less likely than a mistranslation from Aramaic to Greek, and it is unlikely that Mark would deliberately tone down ambiguous Servant language fitting his theme of suffering.4122
The source of the language in the Jesus tradition is probably the OT itself. Some have doubted that Ps 2is used in Mark 1because of a different word order in the LXX,4123 perhaps not an insignificant argument given the few words in the citation. Given the possibility that υιός was placed later to keep ό αγαπητός with εν σοί ευδόκησα (also not from Ps 2:7), however, and the abundant use of the psalm in other strands of early Christian tradition known to us (e.g., Acts 13:32–3 34124 and Heb 1:5),4125 Ps 2is probably in the background here.4126 Because this psalm was originally an enthronement psalm,4127 typically employed in the NT for Jesus' messianic exaltation after the resurrection (Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5; cf. Mark 9:7),4128 at least a proleptic enthronement appears here, validated by no less an authority than God himself.4129
Many have also found echoes of Isa 42in Mark,4130 but the wording is completely different;4131 «son,» «beloved,» and «pleasing» were all used of Israel in other contexts besides Isa 42:1.4132 The solution that LXX Isaiahs παις can mean «son» as well as «servant»4133 is again weakened by Mark's use of «son,» followed by the other Synoptics (who had some Q material surrounding Jesus' baptism); the Spirit's conferral in Isa 424134 also fails to make the case: other passages in Isaiah (44:3,48:16; 59:21; 61:1) also mention the Spirit's conferral, and the Spirit's conferral was to be expected in enthronements. Probably the strongest argument that can be offered is the similiarity of the citation of Isa 42 in Matt 12:18, which could suggest that the passage circulated in this form in early Christian circles;4135 but that text мая just suggest that Matthew (rather than Mark and prior tradition) interpreted the heavenly voice in these terms. Matthew shapes his texts to fit his narrative, as well as the reverse;4136 while he has changed Q's «finger» to «Spirit» in 12:28,4137 he has probably purposely conformed the Isaiah quotation to the baptism, suggesting a link between the two in Matthew that need not be found in Mark.
Another text, however, has received some (though less) attention in this connection, namely Gen 22:2.4138 The differences between this text and the Markan acclamation are considerably less pronounced. Although άγαπητός could conceivably reflect a variant of έκλεκτός (cf. Luke 9:35; other manuscripts of John 1:34),4139 in the LXX it sometimes is used to translate yahid (an only son), including in Gen 22,4140 where it adds to the pathos of God's call to a father to sacrifice His son; for Mark, in which Jesus' Sonship is defined in terms of the cross (14:36; 15:39), this makes good sense. That the Fourth Gospel would draw on such a tradition also makes sense, given the prevalence of the «only, that is, beloved» son motif of 1:14,18.
New Disciples (1:35–42)
The Baptist's general testimony to the reader (1:29–34) gives way to a specific testimony to his disciples (1:35–36), who trust his witness (contrast 1:19–28) and experience Jesus for themselves (1:37–39; cf. 3:25–30). These disciples in turn become witnesses themselves (1:40–42). John weaves his sources into a theology of witness here, and emphasizes that even those who tentatively accept another's witness must also experience Jesus for themselves to be fully convinced (1:39,46). On 1:36, see comment on 1:29.
1. Historical Plausibility
In contrast to the previous paragraphs of the Fourth Gospel, we lack corroboration from the Synoptic accounts here (a matter which seems not to trouble the writer, in whose day perhaps numerous other sources besides the Synoptics and his own eyewitness traditions were extant; cf. already Luke 1:1).4141 Although the Fourth Gospel is well aware of the historical tradition of the Twelve (6),4142 he shows no interest in recounting the occasion of their call (Mark 3:13–19; Matt 10:1–4; Luke 6:12–16) or the Synoptic call stories of the fishermen (Mark 1:16–20; Matt 4:18–22; Luke 5:1–11; although the writer is well aware that some are fishermen and мая know the Lukan tradition–John 21:3–6). The readiness of those disciples to abandon their livelihoods on the occasion depicted in Markan tradition (or to lend Jesus use of their boat in Luke) мая actually make more sense historically if they had encountered Jesus on a prior occasion, as this narrative in John would suggest.4143
Dodd suggests that the number of disciples here (five in 1:35–51) reflects a tradition of five initial disciples mentioned together in the Synoptics, but contends that the Fourth Gospels tradition is independent (hence only Simon and Andrew overlap).4144 But this proposal concerning historical tradition is much less likely than the more readily documented proposals for which we have argued. First, neither John nor the Synoptics makes any special point of the number, and the baraita Dodd cites from b. Sanh. 44 is too fanciful–constructed on the basis of typical rabbinic wordplays–to claim any historical merit. John probably simply produces sufficient examples to illustrate his point about witness, and gives us no indication that he is counting. The most likely reason that John shares five disciples with the rabbinic passage is coincidence, since other ways of counting disciples in the Fourth Gospel could provide different numbers. Some other rabbis had five disciples,4145 and for John a smaller sample could represent the whole (as when Joseph presents five of his brothers, though Jacob had twelve sons).4146 The coincidence is probably, as Dodd concedes possible at the outset, «fortuitous.»4147
In contrast to the Synoptic accounts of the call of the fishermen, Jesus is not drawing crowds and teaching publicly when he meets Andrew or Simon.4148 The Baptist points the first disciples to Jesus, although, as in the Synoptics, Jesus also calls his own (1:43).4149 Andrew recognizes the significance of the Baptist's witness (1:26–27,29–36) immediately, confessing Jesus as the Christ (1:41); perhaps in deference to the tradition emphasized in Mark and those who followed him, Peter's own conviction and confession appear only later (6:69), and all announcements of Jesus' identity are private among friends (1:41–42,45–46).
At the most, then, one мая investigate the plausibility of the narrative. Would the Baptist have actually referred disciples to Jesus (1:36)? Generally disciples were to follow their own rabbis only.4150 Yet biographers report exceptional occasions in which teachers who became impressed with other teachers would refer their students to them, as when Antisthenes reportedly recommended that his own disciples become with him fellow disciples of Socrates.4151 Other stories of referrals are also told; when Zeno sought a teacher like Xenophon's Socrates, a bookseller pointed out Crates and said, «Follow that man,» and Zeno became his disciple.4152 If the Baptist recognized Jesus as the object of his witness about the mightier one, as the Synoptics also attest, it is inherently likely that he would defer to Jesus.
For Andrew being one of the Baptist's disciples, we have no other evidence, and Andrew's commitment to his family's fishing cooperative with Zebedeés family (Mark 1:20; Luke 5:10)4153 would not favor the idea that he was a full-time follower of the Baptist. Since one could follow a teacher seasonally (see comment on 1:40–42), perhaps the Baptist could also accept «disciples» who only came and listened to him during the daytime when he was in the area. Whereas the Perean Bethany (1:28) placed the Baptist within range of Judean questioners a few days earlier (1:19), the story world (which probably presupposes some readers familiar with Palestinian topography) мая presuppose that he is now nearer the lake of Galilee, for whether the narrative supposes that Jesus still resided in Nazareth (1:45–46; cf. Matt 4:13) or had already settled in Capernaum (2:12; cf. the language of Luke 4:16), his disciples could hardly have followed Jesus home from a Perean Bethany in a single day (1:39).
Various details of the narrative cohere with historical data from Jewish Palestine, but these data were also available to the implied audience. The narrative thus makes sense either as history or as the writer's creation from whole cloth; like most of the Fourth Gospel, it cannot be verified or falsified to a high degree of probability. Like the rest of the Fourth Gospel's narratives, however, we suspect that it rests on some historical tradition, because the degree of convergence where our other Gospel accounts independently corroborate John indicate that he writes within the general biographical genre and shift the burden of proof to those inclined to read the narrative novelistically.
2. Following Jesus Home (1:37–39)
Although the Baptist's disciples who «followed» Jesus initially did so literally (1:37; cf. 11:31; 20:6), the writer's usage elsewhere infuses the narrative with the term's deeper nuances (1:43; cf. 8:12; 10:4; 21:22);4154 their initial following represents «the precursor of real discipleship.»4155 The language of following (άκολουθέω, δεύτε οπίσω, οπίσω έλθω) represents standard Jewish language for discipleship.4156 By this period, «disciple» meant not only «learner» but more specifically «adherent,» requiring one to adhere to a great teacher and his schoo1.4157
The call material in 21:19–23 мая link with the call story of 1:37–39, bracketing the Gospe1.4158 The presence of an anonymous disciple here who might match the beloved disciple in the later passage is not, however, a necessary part of the link. One disciple is later named as Andrew (1:40), whereas the other remains anonymous. Some think that the other disciple here is the «beloved disciple» (13:23; 19:26–27; 20:2–8: 21:7, 20, 24).4159 Granted, this would fit the Gospel's contrasts between Peter and the beloved disciple, since the anonymous disciple here functions with Andrew as a witness to Peter («we» in 1:41).4160 But the text never emphasizes the other disciple, and there is no reason to identify the latter with the «beloved disciple» who first appears explicitly in 13:23.4161
2A. Low-Key Hospitality
Because travel was less safe after dark (robbers normally acted at night; Job 24:14; Jer 49:9; Obad 5) and because people did not normally follow others around without reason, the reader would know that Jesus understands the two disciples' motives even if the reader were as yet unfamiliar with Jesus' supernatural knowledge (1:42, 48).4162 Like God's questions to Adam in the garden or to Cain in the field (Gen. 3:9,11; 4:9; see 4:10), Jesus' in 1is thus rhetorical (as with the more hostile crowd in 18:4, 7). One could «seek» Jesus for more than one reason (e.g., 7:19; 18:4).
In a status-conscious culture, it was appropriate for the disciples (whether wishing to become his disciples or merely to express respect) to defer to Jesus with the title «Rabbi»4163 (although this did not identify Jesus with the post-70 C.E. rabbinic movement, it did imply their recognition that he was a teacher).4164 This was a title that both his disciples (1:49; 4:31; 9:2; 11:8; 20:16) and other inquirers (3:2; 6:25) would apply to him; it also applied to John the Baptist (3:26). For John it seems an honorable title, but ultimately means only «Teacher» (1:38; 20:16),4165 hence proves christologically incomplete. Those who would doubt John's Jewishness because he translates «Rabbi» read the later dominance of the title into an earlier period or assume too much knowledge of Semitic languages on the part of Diaspora Jews. Interestingly, while John often interprets Semitic terms for his audience (also 1:41; 9:7), Matthew, whose Jewishness is also almost certain,4166 rarely translates. But Matthew usually omits Marks Aramaic (except for Jesus' cry of dereliction in Mark 15:34, which he changes to Hebrew) and does not use «Messiah» (as John twice [1:41; 4:25], and alone, among the earliest extant Christian writers, does; Matthew uses «Christ»).4167
It was also appropriate for them to request the favor of following him, the opportunity for which he provides by asking them the question to which the answer would be obvious: «Why are you following me?» (1:38). The sort of question is a natural one to address on encountering strangers,4168 and not intended to put them off.4169 Jesus' specific wording («seek») is significant in a Johannine context (6:26; 7:34, 36; 20:15; cf. 6:24; 7:18; 18:4, 7) and, like the language of «following,»4170 was often used in Judaism with deity as its object (4:23),4171 although even in view of John's Christology a specific connection to deity мая be overreaching here. Jesus elsewhere uses a similar question to force those who sought him for wrong reasons to articulate the object of their quest (18:4); here, however, the motives are presented positively, as in 20:15.4172 In each case Jesus knew the answer but asked those who sought him to acknowledge this; perhaps this is a matter of Johannine style, but perhaps it points to an emphasis on verbal confession of onés quest (12:42–43).
It was likewise appropriate to wait for those with higher status in society or in the situation to express an invitation, or to maintain onés own status by not accepting hospitality too forwardly (e.g., Luke 24:28–29; cf. Judg 19:4–9); thus their indirect question, «Where do you live?» in 1invites Jesus in return to invite them home.4173 In both Greek4174 and Jewish4175 culture disciples sometimes stayed with their teachers. Although Jewish teachers sometimes traveled with their disciples (e.g., 2:12) or taught in open areas,4176 they undoubtedly usually taught from a schoolhouse4177 or, more affordably, from their homes.4178 Probably like most first-century Jewish teachers, Jesus had no formal schoolhouse for his academy except his own home or that of a disciple (see Mark 1:29).4179 Such homes were generally not large; most Galilean dwellings consisted of one or two small rooms.4180 Hospitality toward a traveling teacher was important,4181 but here Jesus must extend the hospitality to would-be disciples. Jesus would also continue conversing with them along the way to his home; not only the Peripatetics but also rabbis discussed Scripture on journeys.4182
The «tenth hour» here probably means around 4P.M.,4183 which during most seasons would be too late in the afternoon to walk back from Capernaum (2:12; a few hours' walk)–and certainly from Nazareth (1:45–46; a good day's walk)–to a town like Bethsaida (1:44) before nightfal1. In this case ancient hospitality would have required him to have offered for them to spend the night4184 (although «spent the day» does not demand this interpretation).4185 Although this time reckoning best fits the reference in 4:6, some scholars prefer the time reckoning system in which the «tenth hour» would mean 10A.M.4186 (this allows one to harmonize 19better with the Synoptics, assuming John's usage is consistent);4187 in this case the day was only perhaps four hours spent (people normally arose at sunrise), and Jesus must have spent the night in their area, perhaps among the Baptist's followers (cf. 1:26, «among you,» even in Perea near Judea). Although travelers occastionally carried pocket sundials,4188 the writer indicates that the time is an approximation («about the tenth hour»).4189
Jesus' invitation, «Come and see» (1:39), was a sufficiently low-key invitation; the phrase appears in some analogous contexts4190 and was probably already idiomatic in the LXX.4191 John's language мая reflect his characteristic usage (11:34; cf. 21:12) but nevertheless is likely pregnant with theological nuances as wel1.4192 Rabbinic literature, which because of its vast size provides the most instances of the idiom (forms of בא ורא, or occasionally צא ורא), applies the phrase to examples («Come and see the humility of soand־so,» «Come see how God loves Israel»),4193 and especially to examples in Scripture. Rabbis employ the idiom often from Scripture (and other sources).4194 The phrase means, «Come reflect on»;4195 it is equivalent to another frequent rabbinic phrase in the Babylonian Talmud, «come and hear,» nearly always used for halakah.4196
Just as Jesus invites prospective disciples to «come and see» in the narrative, the narrator invites other prospective disciples, seekers of truth, to «come and see» as wel1. The Gospel reiterates this invitation to «come» elsewhere (6:35, 37, 44–45, 65; 7:36–37) and the invitation to «see» invokes the pervasive motif of spiritual vision in the Fourth Gospel (see introduction, ch. 6). One thinks of a popular earlier sagés invitation to come and learn from him in his house (Sir 51:23). In view of Johns Christology (see 1:1–18), some commentators find here an echo of Wisdoms invitation (Prov 8:5; 9:5; Wisd 6:12–14).4197
The two disciples are thus paradigmatic for disciples in John's day. When the disciples ask where Jesus «dwells,» they are allowed to stay with him and learn as disciples;4198 Johannine believers can dwell in Jesus' presence and learn from him continually (14:23,26).4199 Just as the model disciples in the narrative «come and see» where Jesus «abides,» and then began to «abide» with him, so other disciples who follow Jesus will «abide» or «dwell» with him where he is (cf. 14:2,6,23; 15:4–10); only those who continue as Jesus' disciples will truly be his disciples (8:31).4200 Those who «come and see» are those who experience Jesus for themselves (1:46, 50), and disciples can repeat the invitation first offered by Jesus (1:46; 4:29).
2B. Testing Would-Be Disciples
Not only did Jesus sometimes make it difficult for would-be disciples to follow him; sometimes he thrust them aside (Q material in Matt 8:19–22; Luke 9:57–62), especially if they held high worldly status (Mark 10:21–22; Matt 19:21–22; Luke 18:22–23).4201 In the same way, the Johannine Jesus is particularly hard on Nicodemus and the wealthy official of Antipas (3:3, 10; 4:48) and to a lesser extent on members of his family (2:4; 7:6–8)–on those who would be most likely to assume their right of access to him (contrast his inviting treatment toward the Samaritan woman). But Jesus probably thrust aside or made matters difficult for prospective disciples for the reason other ancient popular teachers did: to test the would-be student's real willingness to become a learner, challenging a disciple to recognize the need to sacrifice.
The sacrifice of following a traveling teacher like Jesus could be demanding. Although disciples usually studied with local teachers, remaining with their wives during study, this мая not have always been the case, even in formal rabbinic schooling reported in second-century sources.4202 An epideictic story of Rabbi Akiba, whether wholly or only partly apocryphal, reflects the views of this period: having returned home after years of study, he heard that his wife was willing to be apart from him for as many more years, for the sake of learning–whereupon he returned to his studies and came back to her at their completion with an abundance of disciples.4203 Similarly (perhaps due to the transfer of the story from Akiba), R. Simeon ben Yohai and another rabbi were said to have left their families for thirteen years to study under Akiba.4204 While these examples мая represent patent exaggerations–Tannaitic law forbids leaving ones wife for more than thirty days to engage in Torah study4205–they мая indicate that despite rulings of first-century schools prohibiting long-term abstinence, some Jewish men would go to study with famous teachers of the Law.4206 It is at least clear that those who circulated these traditions about Akiba and his disciples viewed such sacrifice as laudatory.
But teachers did not always make it easy for disciples to follow them; some, especially in the Cynic and Stoic traditions, rejected prospective disciples.4207 In a story that reminds us of Jesus' confrontation with the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17–22; Matt 19:16–22; Luke 18:18–23), it is said of one Stoic lecturer that
A Rhodian, who was handsome and rich, but nothing more, insisted on joining his class; but so unwelcome was this pupil, that first of all Zeno made him sit on the benches that were dusty, that he might soil his cloak, and then he consigned him to the place where the beggars sat, that he might rub shoulders with their rags; so at last the young man went away. Nothing, he declared, was more unbecoming than arrogance, especially in the young.4208
On other occasions Diogenes the Cynic is said to have imposed demands that drove away would-be disciples.4209 Nor was Diogenes alone, according to Diogenes Laertius, our main source for this tradition. The same story is told of the early Stoic Zeno.4210
But what is probably more significant is the suggestion that Diogenes allowed those who persisted actually to become his disciples, as in the case of a wealthy young man he despised; as the story goes, the young man, impressed, distributed all his property and adopted the Cynic lifestyle.4211 Diogenes actively «persuaded Crates to give up his fields,… and throw into the sea any money he had.»4212 According to Diogenes Laertius, this is the same treatment Diogenes the Cynic received from his teacher Antisthenes, according to Antisthenes' custom;4213 this мая suggest that Diogenes thought it a useful pedagogical technique for those who survived it.
Diogenes was actually willing to attract disciples–provided they were willing to pay a price for following him. Onesicritus of Aegina
is said to have sent to Athens the one of his two sons named Androsthenes, and he having become a pupil of Diogenes stayed there; the father then sent the other also, the aforesaid Philiscus, who was the elder, in search of him; but Philiscus was also detained in the same way. When, thirdly, the father himself arrived, he was just as much attracted to the pursuit of philosophy as his sons and joined the circle–so magical was the spell which the discourses of Diogenes exerted.4214
We мая compare this to Jesus' demand that disciples be willing to forsake even familial obligations to follow his teaching.4215 All of this fits Hengel's proposal that Jesus' calling of disciples follows the model of a charismatic leader (though we мая use «charismatic» more broadly here) rather than that of institutional teachers like the later rabbis.4216 But likewise Jesus' anticipated response (both on the historical level and in the literary world of all four gospels) is the same sort of response given by persistent miracle-seekers throughout the tradition: the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:27–29), blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:48–52), the Gentile centurion (Matt 8:7–13),4217 and the mother of Jesus (John 2:3–9). Many studies4218 have documented the chutzpah, the holy boldness, of charismatic teachers; but teachers like Jesus apparently demanded the same sort of boldness from those who would learn their way of life. Jesus' sorrow over the unwilling disciple (Mark 10:23–25) indicates that his goal was not to turn disciples away, but rather to make them become true disciples, which they could only do by counting the cost and choosing the narrow way of following him.
The present passage portrays Jesus as both hospitable and reserved, inviting the prospective disciples to prove their interest by pressing their way through to him. Two paragraphs later, however, Jesus will directly invite a disciple to follow him. Both portrayals of discipleship evoke the image of Jesus' authority.
3. Andrew and Simon (1:40–42)
As in ancient drama (which could address either historical or fictitious characters) characters could be viewed as real people but used as «types.» The dramatist would then «convey general truths by showing how a certain type of person would speak or act in a given situation.»4219 The Fourth Gospel's examples of various kinds of people coming to Jesus (e.g., 1:42,43,45–51; 3:1–10; 4:1–29) thus illustrates that all kinds of people are appropriate objects of Jesus' gospe1.4220
Through the Baptist's witness, Andrew became a follower of Jesus (1:36–37, 40); through Andrew's witness, Simon became a follower of Jesus ( l:40–42a); but in both cases, the inquirers became true disciples only through a personal encounter with Jesus for themselves (1:29, 38–39,42; cf. 8:31). In both cases, Jesus knows the character of the person who approaches him; he knows his sheep (10:14, 27) whom the Father gave him (10:29; 17:9), and indeed knows the hearts of all (2:23–25). Andrew here becomes the second witness, demonstrating that the Baptist's literary role as witness is paradigmatic and not merely limited to the Baptist himself (note «first» in 1:41, implying both the priority of witness to onés family–cf. 7:5–and that he continued to testify to others after Peter). Andrew «finds» Simon in 1much as Jesus later finds Philip (1:43); this is characteristic Johannine vocabulary (e.g., 5:14) but also functions paradigmatically for witness; Andrew continues to appear in this Gospel as one who introduces the resources or interest of others to Jesus (6:8–9; 12:22.)
That Andrew announces Jesus' messiahship (1:41) мая reflect his interpretation of John's testimony about the lamb (1:29) interpreted through the grid of his own experience of Jesus. In the same way, Philip's testimony about Jesus' messiahship provides the categories for Nathanael to interpret Jesus' supernatural knowledge (1:45,49). In John's theology, both the christological witness of disciples and the personal experience of Christ become necessary for adequate faith. In the language of the First Epistle, one needs the right Christology ( 1 John 2:22–24) through the apostolic witness ( 1 John 4:6) as well as the testimony of the Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27; 3:24; 4:13; 5:7–8); the latter is supposed to be inseparable from the former (1 John 4:1–6; cf. John 15:26–27). When some other prospective disciples encounter Jesus for themselves, they discover that he already knows them, which convinces them of his identity as well (1:48–49; 4:17–19, 29). We мая envision such a response to 1here; but why is it not narrated in this case?4221 Perhaps John wishes to save Peter's confession for 6:69.
At the same time, if the Fourth Gospel reacts against an exaltation of Peter in some strands of early Jewish-Christian tradition (such as is later manifested in the Pseudo-Clementines), it мая be noteworthy that despite Peter's continuing visibility in the Fourth Gospel (Andrew here is defined in terms of Peter's identity, 1:40),4222 Andrew is the one who comes to Jesus first and leads Peter to him (1:41–42; contrast the impression of simultaneity in Mark 1:16–18; Matt 4:18–20; and the complete omission of the less central Andrew in Luke 5:1–11). Others have often proposed that the Fourth Gospel plays down Peter,4223 or perhaps more accurately treats him and the other disciples ambiguously,4224 whether to play up sectarian Johannine Christianity against apostolic Christianity, or, more likely, to demonstrate that Peter does not truly outrank an ordinary faithful disciple.4225 (Those who think that Peter's negative or ambiguous role signals a Gospel in competition with the apostolic tradition preserved in the Synoptics should reconsider: Mark's picture of the disciples is far more negative.) For Simon's brother Andrew to confess Jesus as «Messiah»4226 (also 4:25) before Peter does so (cf. Mark 8:29) мая indicate some desire to set the record straight by putting Peter in his place.
Such theological motives need not deny prior historical tradition.4227 Peter is, at the least, in character with the Synoptic Peter most of the way through this Gospel, often speaking and acting boldly and on impulse, for good (6:68; 13:9; 18:15; 20:3–6; 21:7) or ill (13:6–8, 36–37; 18:10).4228 For instance, it is interesting that the Gospel does not report Peter's response to Jesus' words at this point, nor a call to «follow» Jesus, despite the exalted response of Nathanael in the parallel narrative which follows (1:49). The faith implied here is not yet that of a disciple who leaves his occupation behind to study with a traveling teacher (although even the latter was sometimes seasonal; if rabbis followed a school year similar to the Greek practice of октября to июня,4229 even agrarian workers would have difficulty maintaining a livelihood while following a traveling teacher).
Moreover (wholly aside from the question of John's relation to Mark), Jesus changing Peter's name is attested independently in a special Matthean source (Matt 16:17–18) and, in less detail, Mark (Mark 3:16).4230 That such significant words do not appear in the parallel Markan narrative мая be explained either by their absence from Mark's source at that point or by Mark's portrayal of the original disciples in an ambiguous light;4231 at any rate, this мая represent a floating tradition not directly connected with Peter's confession.4232 (John is not particularly concerned with maintaining the original context of the saying, however; he reports even the confession in a context very different from that of Mark; cf. John 6:67–70, where also Judas, rather than Peter, is called a devi1.4233 Peter's «you are» the holy one in 6may respond to Jesus' «you are Simon» in 1:42, though an earlier «you are» confession appears in 1:49; cf. 4:19; 11:27.)
Despite the undoubtedly independent confirmation of the saying in two divergent sources, many scholars regard the name change story as inauthentic. Some view it as a prophecy, probably from the Petrine party,4234 or offer still more speculative proposals;4235 others more objectively argue for an originally purely Matthean construction based on the parallelism,4236 but parallelism need not indicate even a later structure (cf. the Q form of the beatitudes and Jeremias on Jesus' Aramaic rhythm). Against their position one мая point to the particularly heavily Semitic construction in Matthew's language in that passage.4237
Evidence also allows that Jesus would have spoken, in some saying (if not this one), of a future community, since most teachers trained disciples for this purpose;4238 dependence on the Hebrew Bible and contemporary Qumran usage indicates the plausibility of Jesus' use of a term that could translate as «church.»4239 Although many view the pronouncement as a postresurrection saying,4240 this premise is unnecessary given Jesus' preparation for a future community (providing ethics for a community; provoking his own death in Jerusalem but– on our reading–viewing himself as the eschatological Son of Man and Lord at God's right hand who would reign in the kingdom after his enemies were subjected).4241 Further, we мая cite the prominence of Peter from the earliest point in the tradition (Acts 1:15; 2:14; 12:3; 15:7; 1Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:7–8; 1Pet 1:1; 2Pet 1:1),4242 although James the Lord's brother seems to have taken an administrative leadership in the church (Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; 1Cor. 15:7; Gal 1:19; 2:9, 12). While Cullmann's suggestion that «BarJona» (Matt 16:17) мая not mean «son of John» as the Fourth Gospel seems to construe it (1:42; 21:15) is worthy of consideration,4243 this hardly justifies appealing to a distant Akkadian cognate to the Aramaic to propose that the phrase originally meant «terrorist,» hence identifying the fisherman as a Zealot.4244 Tomb inscriptions frequently identify a given person as «the [offspring] of such-and-such a person.»4245 Whatever the earliest reading, because the name of Peter s father elsewhere occurs only in John 21:17, we мая safely assume that both Matthew and John at this point reflect the same naming tradition.
While the name change is theologically significant, perhaps recalling earlier biblical examples like Abram and Jacob,4246 people in the imperial period did at times change their names (e.g., from local names to higher-status ones).4247 Simon itself was a common name among Jews;4248 nicknames were common;4249 converts to Judaism also sometimes reportedly took Jewish names,4250 although this practice was unusual (e.g., CIJ 1:384, §523); and, perhaps most important, rabbis sometimes in praising their disciples gave them epithets.4251 In a Johannine christological context, it мая be significant that God exercised the authority to rename special servants like Abram, Sarai, and Jacob, although the pre-Johannine tradition and probably John himself make nothing of that allusion here (though cf. 10:3).4252 At any rate, since birthparents normally assigned names,4253 only a person acknowledged to be of much higher status could exercise the authority to rename another person,4254 at least if that name were to be retained among a community where the nicknamed person was held in high esteem. Clearly someone gave Simon this name, so the burden of proof should lie with those who deny the only evidence we do have, which points to Jesus as its originator.4255
Such epithets were usually positive,4256 and «rock» makes sense in connection with a saying about «building» onés church, language which would have been familiar in Jewish thought4257 and coheres well with other known teachings of Jesus, especially his almost certainly authentic use of the cornerstone image from the Hallel (Ps 118:22).4258 The preservation of Peter's Aramaic name Kephas in early tradition (e.g., 1Cor 9:5; Gal 2:11,14) also supports the saying's authenticity. Perhaps because the most natural Greek translation of Aramaic Kepha, Petra, is feminine, the Gospel writers prefer the less common masculine Petros, a term which by this period had come to be used interchangeably with the former.4259
Some have also found specific historical tradition in the number of initial disciples mentioned before the wedding at Cana. As mentioned above, this proposal lacks merit. But many other details in the narrative reflect both historical tradition and John's literary-theological purpose.
Philip and Nathanael (1:43–51)
This narrative directly parallels the Andrew and Simon account (one disciple bringing a prospective disciple to Jesus, and Jesus revealing the newcomer's heart), with significant contrasts (Jesus initiates Philip's discipleship) and narrative developments (Nathanael's christological confession; like the climactic third parable in Luke 15, the climactic account here is the fullest).4260
1. Jesus Seeks Philip (1:43–44)
The setting of this paragraph is significant; although technically in Galilee already, Jesus «went out» into Galilee (1:43) to find an emphatically Galilean disciple (cf. 1:44; 12:21) who would soon after bring to him a «true Israelite» (1:47). Although the phrase мая mean nothing more than that Jesus left a particular location to venture into a broader one, it reinforces John's geographical emphasis that Galilee, the more peripheral «frontier» of Judea, was the place that welcomed Jesus when his «own» Judea would prove hostile (1:11; 4:43–44; 7:1,9). On the social level this мая suggest some historical implications for responses to the earliest Christian mission (see introduction concerning Galilee, ch. 5), but on the internal literary level also supports John's emphasis on God's activity among those marginalized by the attitudes of the elite (7:52; cf. 2:9).
Philip's name is Greek, perhaps inviting the Greeks to approach him first in 12:20–21, but scholars who would therefore dispute Philip's Jewishness4261 reckon neither with the hellenization of Palestine4262 nor with the Palestinian Jewish use of Greek names.4263 That a few of Jesus' disciples bore Greek names is not unusual;4264 further, had Jesus had any immediate Gentile followers, his Jewish disciples and especially his opponents would have pointed this out, and the later church, advocating the Gentile mission through less relevant narratives like the centurion and Syrophoenician woman (Matt 8:5–13/Luke 7:1–10; Mark 7:24–30/Matt 15:21–28), would have surely exploited it.
Unless Philip4265 is the other anonymous disciple of 1:37,4266 which is unlikely,4267 Jesus directly initiates the call of Philip without a mediating witness, in contrast to the above narratives. But Philip quickly becomes a witness to Nathanael, inviting him to a personal encounter with Christ which convinces him as readily as it convinced Philip. John seems to indicate that an honest and open heart confronted with the true Jesus himself–and not merely another's testimony about him without that encounter–will immediately become his follower (3:20–21).
Normally disciples were to seek out their own teachers. Joshua ben Perachiah, a pre-Christian sage, reportedly advised this, as well as acquiring a «ΌΠ, a companion (presumably for Torah study).4268 Rabban Gamaliel repeated the same advice in another context.4269 Likewise, a writer for Socrates in the Cynic Epistles advises choosing a good education and a wise teacher.4270 In the call of Philip, however, as in some dramatic examples in the Synoptics (Mark 1:17; 2:14; Matt 4:19; 9:9; Luke 5:10, 27), Jesus directly summons one to follow him, like some radical Greek teachers seeking to convert the open-minded to philosophy.4271 It has often been argued that disciples normally chose their teachers rather than the reverse, making Jesus' action unusual and authoritative.4272 This contention, while partly true, is not nuanced enough, since prospective disciples did indeed come to Jesus, and, as argued above, he allowed them to follow him if they were willing to pay the price. In both cases, however, Jesus demonstrates his authority by the demands he makes.
The geographical note of 1(repeated in 12:21) is significant.4273 Although the Synoptics place Peter's home in Capernaum, John places it without apology or explanation in Bethsaida. Like other cities around the lake of Galilee, Bethsaida was not well known to most authors outside Palestine4274 and does not pose a likely candidate for invention outside the Jesus tradition. Bethsaidás very name indicates its connection with the fishing industry, and it is possible that many of Bethsaidás inhabitants were involved with that industry.4275 Thus it is possible that Andrew and Peter had business in Bethsaida (perhaps supplying a regional market there),4276 making it their city in some sense. More likely, they were originally from Bethsaida but the family had moved to Capernaum before Simon and Andrew married;4277 people from out of town were often identified by their place of origin (e.g., Jesus of Nazareth).4278 Despite the possible compatibility of Johannine and Synoptic tradition here, John's lack of concern for harmonization (or explicit refutation) indicates the independence of his tradition (either through not knowing the Synoptics or, more likely, through lack of concern to follow particular prior accounts). Although Synoptic tradition mentions Bethsaida only in passing, it makes clear that Jesus was active there (Matt ll:21/Luke 10:13; Mark 6:45; 8:22/Luke 9:10). John's more extensive treatment of particular Galilean sites omitted in the Synoptics, the location of which John assumes his readers' knowledge (e.g., 2:1; 4:46), мая indicate that his audience is Galilean or (as we think more likely) familiar with the Galilean tradition he follows here (e.g., as Galileans transplanted to Asia Minor). Presumably Philip knows Nathanael from his home town (1:45).
2. Philip Seeks Nathanael (1:45–46)
Philip «finds» Nathanael (1:45) as Jesus had «found» him (1:43).4279 «Nathanael» (1:45) was «a real if uncommon Semitic name.»4280 Some have identified this character with Bartholomew of the Synoptic tradition,4281 but because Jewish people did not usually have two Semitic names, other scholars prefer to follow «early patristic suggestions that he was not one of the Twelve.»4282 Arguments for both sides of the debate are inconclusive: «Bartholomew» мая represent the Greek form of Aramaic «Bar Tholmai,» son of Tholmai, a patronymic rather than a proper name;4283 but the apparent association of Philip with Nathanael in Synoptic lists (Mark 3:18; Matt 10:3; Luke 6:14) мая be the only genuine evidence for the identification, and it is inadequate. Nathanael мая figure prominently in the Fourth Gospel not because he is one of the Twelve but because he is a primary source of the Gospel's Galilean tradition, being from Cana (21:2; cf. 2:1; 4:46), or perhaps a close friend of the author or his source (cf. 21:2). His role in the Gospel makes it likely that he was one of the Twelve (a group John knows, 6:70), and if he was one of the Twelve, he was likelier Bartholomew than anyone else;4284 but the identification remains uncertain.
By announcing to Nathanael that Jesus is the one of whom Moses and the prophets wrote (1:45; cf. 5:46),4285 Philip utters a confession identical in sense to that of Andrew: «We have found the Messiah» (1:41). For John, all the Scriptures point to Jesus (e.g., 2:17, 22; 7:37–39; 12:15–16; 20:9). Philip's confession, however, is more explicit in its appeal to the authority of Scripture–witness to Christ is the most common function of Moses in the Fourth Gospel4286–and climaxes in Nathanael's own confession of Jesus' messiahship(l:49).
Jesus' status as Joseph's son (1:45; 6:42) is also attested in Synoptic tradition (Matt 1:16; Luke 3:23; 4:22; cf. Mark 6:3), where it can be linked with his Davidic heritage (Matt 1:6; Luke 3:31), so this confession need not imply the Johannine community's ignorance of or opposition to the virgin birth tradition (which would probably be known throughout early Christianity by the Johannine period since it is clearly pre-Lukan and pre-Matthean). Similarly, it мая but need not imply the imperfection of Philip's christological understanding, though readers would not have reason to suppose that he understands the virgin birth nor does John anywhere make use of the virgin birth tradition (cf. 7:42). It is possible, though not likely, that John intends an additional theological allusion here; Jesus is the spiritual descendant of Joseph (cf. 4:5), the noblest son of Jacob. But the allusions to Jacob in 1:47–51 suggest Jesus' infinite superiority to Jacob, as his God or mediator, not a mere identification with him or his descendants.
To question whether «good» might come from something or someone мая have been a way of demeaning them, though the remark here sounds more flippant than hostile.4287 Nathanael takes apparent offense at Jesus' origin in Nazareth, although he as a Galilean does not seem to rule out the whole of Galilee as Judean Pharisees were prepared to do (7:52).4288 Nazareth was a relatively small town,4289 but few towns and villages of Galilee were large;4290 many villages would have included fewer than 300 inhabitants,4291 and only Tiberias and Sepphoris were technically cities in the Hellenistic sense.4292 Thus size мая not be the problem. Further, although Nazareth existed in the shadow of the hellenized Jewish city of Sepphoris,4293 reputed impiety is probably not the problem, either.4294 Sepphoris remained faithful to Judaism4295 despite its unwillingness to revolt,4296 the surrounding region was acknowledged to be Jewish,4297 and Nazareth's inhabitants seem to have been entirely orthodox.4298 Moreover, Galilean villages and towns required no economic or cultural dependence on the two Galilean cities,4299 though, like most villages and towns, they would have been influenced by larger currents in the Roman empire.4300 Large cities usually tended to be economically parasitic on the countryside,4301 and most Galileans hated the two cities.4302 (This situation is hardly surprising; a cultural rift divided cities from countryside throughout the empire.)4303 Sepphoris's prominence and later Christian tradition about it make its absence in the Gospels all the more striking; Jesus probably had little contact with it.4304 Perhaps Nathanael's hostility is conditioned by the «prophet from onés own country» mentality (4:44; Matt 13:54–57; Luke 4:24), but more likely from civic rivalry in the region,4305 which was common more generally in antiquity.4306
On a theological-literary level, however, Nathanael's question is parallel to that of Jesus' opponents: they object to his putative origin (7:41–42, 52), though Nathanael, unlike Jesus' opponents, is quickly convinced that his home town does not disqualify him from the identity Philip attributed to him.4307 Most important, Philip's invitation to «come and see» parallels that of Jesus in 1:39; an encounter with Jesus accomplishes more than an extended debate would (the Johannine debates produce no explicit conversions). (As noted on 1:39, «come and see» was a standard phrase in ancient literature, including for halakic investigation.)4308 This invitation reflects the characteristic Johannine epistemology: the synagogue leadership мая know the written Torah, but disciples of Jesus, Torah made flesh (1:1–18), have a personal experience with God (cf. 9:25; 10:4) and lay claim to the Spirit, which the opponents admit they do not have.4309
3. Nathanael Meets Jesus (1:47–51)
Jesus' revelation of Nathanaels true identity (1:47) parallels his analogous revelation of Peter in 1:42; Jesus contextualizes his revelation to address the seeker's personal state. People sometimes expected miracle workers in Greco-Roman and Jewish tradition to be able to lay bare human hearts or predict the future,4310 but in the context of the Fourth Gospel Jesus' insight is divine and not merely human in nature (2:24–25).
3A. Nathanael as a True Jacob or Israelite (1:47–48)
Nathanael is a «genuine Israelite» (1:47)–one who is true, as Jesus is (1:9; 6:32, 55; 7:18; 15).4311 This distinguishes him from Jesus' opponents, «the Jews,» who undermine their claims to a covenant relationship with God by how they respond to Jesus, the enfleshed Torah (e.g., 8:54–55).4312 Nathanael thus functions proleptically as the representative fulfillment of the Baptist's mission in 1:31.4313 By calling Nathanael an Israelite «in whom there is no deceit,» Jesus deliberately contrasts this representative Israelite with his ancestor Jacob.4314 One of the few qualifications for Israels leaders was «men of truth» (Exod 18:21). Deceit was essentially a negative term,4315 but appears in Gen 27LXX when Jacob stole Esau s birthright.
Scholars have discussed the meaning of Jesus' statement to Nathanael that he saw him beneath a fig tree (1:48). Some have found allegorical significance in the «fig tree,» though most of these proposals have elicited little support.4316 Perhaps because Nathanael is concerned with the law (1:45), some have pointed out that Jewish people sometimes studied Torah under fig (and other) trees.4317 But people studied Torah in many places besides under trees,4318 and, more significantly, when they studied under fig and other trees they did so for the same reason that they would sit and talk under such trees: the shade provided respite from the heat.4319 Sitting under onés fig tree could thus indicate rest as opposed to labor, or tranquility as opposed to trouble.4320
Rather than a specific allusion to Torah study, John's contemporaries would more likely have thought of the apocryphal story of Daniel and Susanna in the LXX: when Daniel asked each of the false witnesses separately under which tree they had seen her commit adultery, they gave different responses and proved themselves false witnesses.4321 Jesus, by contrast, had actually seen Nathanael under the fig tree (whatever he was doing there) although not present. (The tree мая be mentioned because some specific landmark is necessary, rather than for any symbolic import attaching to fig trees in particular.)4322
Jesus' knowledge of Nathanael's positive character (1:47–48) fits the Gospel's claim concerning his knowledge of others' untrustworthiness (2:23–25). Later in the Gospel John reinforces the point that Jesus foreknew his betrayer (6:70–71; 13:26), perhaps because this had become a point of apologetic contention. In any case, Jesus demonstrates divine knowledge of human character. Such insight was normally attributed only to prophets, magicians, and God, the last source being the likeliest one in view of this Gospel's Christology).4323 Such encounters in which Jesus demonstrates to people that he already knows them often move the inquirer toward faith (cf., e.g., 1:42; 4:17–18; 16:30; perhaps 3:10);4324 an encounter with Jesus becomes the Fourth Gospel's ideal apologetic for those with open hearts.
Jesus, who knows his own sheep and «calls» them (10:3; cf. through Philip in 1:48), here demonstrates his intimate knowledge of Nathanael,4325 just as Nathanael quickly recognizes his shepherd (1:49; 10:4) and demonstrates «that he is a member of the people of God.»4326
3B. Jesus as Israel's King (1:49)
Jesus' revelation of Nathanael's true identity parallels not only his revelation of Simon's identity, but also Nathanael's revelation of Jesus' own identity (1:49) and Jesus' revelation of Jesus' own identity (1:50–51). Exaggerated compliments (especially to those of disadvantaged status) мая characterize Mediterranean culture,4327 but Nathanael's response bursts the bounds of propriety if it is not intended sincerely. Nathanael's response to this divinely revealed knowledge is a christological confession; titular acclamations occurred after other miracles in other early Christian texts and elsewhere in the Greco-Roman world.4328 Nathanael's ready faith contrasts starkly with the difficulty of full resurrection faith leading to the Gospel's climactic confession in 20:24–29. It illustrates, however, the Johannine principle that those who are genuinely «from God» heed others who are from God (3:20–21; 1 John 4:6).
Because one would expect either that the titles be parallel or that the second title would be higher than the first one, the use of «Son of God» first мая lead one to suppose that it retains its traditional messianic sense from the OT and some of the Synoptic tradition (see introduction) rather than its more divine Johannine sense. On this reading, «Son of God» and «King of Israel» would both function as messianic titles, and this мая be what John expects his readers to suppose Nathanael meant. Nevertheless, not only «Son of God» but also «king» has developing nuances as the Fourth Gospel progresses,4329 and the latter мая come to be associated with deity.4330 Presumably in part because Jesus' kingship (12:15) failed to fulfill traditional Jewish expectations for the messianic king (6:15; 12:13), both his people and others rejected him (18:33, 37, 39–40; 19:3, 12, 14–15, 19, 21). Given John's divine Christology elsewhere, however, and the possible contrast between Caesar's and God's kingship implied in 19:15, he мая allude to Jesus as the divine King, God.4331 The Johannine Christians might recognize this; thus in Revelation Jesus bears the divine title «King of kings» (19:16; cf. 17:14).4332
Within the logic of the narrative, Nathanael's confession offers another lesson for the Johannine community. Nathanael recognizes Jesus' identity as Messiah with proof only of Jesus' prophethood–because if he is a true prophet he cannot be a false messiah. Philip had already told Nathanael about Jesus' identity from Scripture ( 1:45), so it was witness as well as a sign that enabled Nathanael to correctly interpret Jesus' identity. Both Jesus' epideictic response and inadequate christological models offered by others in response to signs (e.g., 6:15) suggest that a sign alone is inadequate to articulate the true character of Jesus' person and mission.
3C. Jesus as Jacob's Ladder (1:50–51)
WTiereas others might be reproved for needing much evidence for faith (20:29), Jesus commends Nathanael for believing on the basis of such comparatively meager evidence; Jesus promises to provide still more (1:50). John makes extensive use of this term «greater,» (e.g., 13:16; 15:13; 19:11), often applying it to the Father's greatness (10:29, over all; 14:28, over Jesus; cf. the Father' witness, 5:36; 1 John 5:9), to Jesus' greatness over the patriarchs (4:12; 8:53), but sometimes to Jesus' promise of greater impending works from himself (5:20) or his disciples (14:12), as here.4333 He underlines the authoritativeness of his words by appealing to an authenticating phrase which will often recur in this Gospel: «Άμήν, άμήν, λέγω …» (3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24–25; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20–21, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23; 21:18).4334 Although the conjunction of «believe» with άμήν could represent a wordplay in Hebrew, the Gospel's Greek language and the frequency of the double άμήν in the Gospel suggest that the wordplay is probably coincidenta1. The double άμήν undoubtedly means the same thing as the almost certainly authentic Synoptic single άμήν,4335 albeit possibly a reinforcement thereof (cf. exceptional agreement or confirmation for a blessing in Neh 8:6;4336 doubling to signify double prophetic anointing in Pesiq. Rab Kah. 16:4).4337
After promising Nathanael that he would «see» greater things (cf. on vision in the introduction),4338 Jesus addresses all disciples present (at least Nathanael and Philip) and through them disciples in general, shifting to a plural deponent verb (cf. the similar move in 14:1; for communities in 3:11–12).4339 He promises his followers that they will see the heavens opened–the language of revelation (Ezek 1:1; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Rev 4:1; 11:19; 15:5; 19);4340 whereas he omits the specific opening of the heavens in the revelation at Jesus' baptism (Mark 1:10; John 1:32), he promises it here. Jesus is the link between heaven and earth, the realms above and below, between God and humanity, throughout his entire ministry, as he later explains to Nathanael's friend Philip (14:9). (This мая be analogous to the Synoptics' transfiguration theologically extended to the entire public ministry, 1:14; or passion week covering the entire ministry based on the placement of Jesus' act of judgment in the temple, 2:14–16.) He likewise promises that Nathanael and his colleagues will see angels ascending (cf. John's vertical dualism with Jesus in 3:13; 6:62; 20:17) and descending (cf. the Spirit «descending» from «heaven» «upon» Jesus in 1:32; Jesus in 3:13; 6:33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 58).4341 Thus, he is not only the «Son of Man» who will come from heaven (Dan 7:13–14), but is the mediator between heaven and earth, on whom the angels must trave1. The «angels of God ascending and descending» is a direct quote from Gen 28:12. Thus, in short, Jesus is Jacob's ladder, the one who mediates between God in heaven and his servant Jacob on earth (cf. 14:6); thus the «true Israelite» (1:47) мая receive the revelation of God as his ancestor did (Gen 28:12; cf. 32:1, an inclusio).4342 As Jacob's ladder, he is also Bethel, God's house (Gen 28:19),4343 an image that naturally connects with Jesus as the new temple (1:14; 2:19–21; 4:20–24; 7:37–39; 14:2,23).
Many commentators have investigated subsequent Jewish, particularly rabbinic, traditions about Jacob as background for the present passage. Because the Hebrew reference to angels descending «on it» (bn) could be translated «on him,» that is, «on Jacob,» some Jewish traditions portrayed angels traversing Jacob.4344 In some rabbinic traditions angels beheld Israel's heavenly image engraved in heaven, then descended to find the earthly Jacob on earth.4345 The Palestinian Targum also indicates that angels ascended and descended to see Jacob; thus some commentators suggest that 1portrays Jesus as the true Jacob.4346 Others, also pointing to Philós earlier picture of a heavenly Israel, find an analogous portrait in John, in which Jesus represents the heavenly and Nathanael the earthly Israe1.4347
While contemporary Jewish backgrounds are welcomed and later evidence is sometimes all that we have, this passage makes more sense against the widely available background in Genesis itself than against the uncertainly dated and possibly not widely available background many scholars have suggested. Although John s «upon» could be read in support of the rabbinic interpretation that angels descended on Jacob, the LXX attests the more widepread interpretation in his day that angels ascended and descended the ladder (which, like the pronoun, is feminine in Gen 28LXX), the more natural contextual sense in Genesis.4348 It is Nathanael, not Jesus, who is the new Jacob here (1:47; Jesus is greater than Jacob, 4:12);4349 Jesus is Jacob's ladder (what Jubilees calls the «gate of heaven»),4350 the way between God and the world (14:6).4351 If later rabbis could claim that Moses was greater than Jacob because he not merely saw angels but ascended into their domain, no one could dispute that Jesus was greater than Jacob,4352 for angels depended on him as the true connection between the worlds (cf. also 3:13–15, where Jesus is the true ascender superior to Moses). This confession climaxes the human christological titles of 1:19–50; Jesus is Christ, the lamb, the Son and the King, but only when the disciples recognize him as the exalted Son of Man and way to the Father do they recognize the full heavenly reality behind the other titles.4353
* * *
As one would expect from 1:6–8, 15 (Barth, Witness, 133–54).
One should begin a narrative at its most natural starting point (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Thucyd. 10–12); political biographies often opened in adulthood (Plutarch Caesar 1.1–4; also the Life of Aesop, Drury, Design, 29). Smith, lohn (1999), 78–80, compares 1:19–51 with the introductory infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke, but it might fulfill better the role of the remaining introductions of Matt 3–4 and Luke 3–4. It might function as a (lengthy) transition between the proem and main narrative (cf. Seneca Dia1. 1.1.25).
Cf. Schenke, «Entstehungsgeschichte»; «Israel» appears again in this Gospel only in 3:10; 12:13.
Burridge, Gospels, 197–98.
Niccacci, «Fede,» observes correspondences between 1:19–51 and 20:1–29, suggesting that both model coming to faith (one in Jesus' messiahship, the other in his resurrection). That the Baptist's witness is paradigmatic for others' witness in this section is clear; earlier Christian writers employed it similarly (cf. Luke 3:4; 9:52; 10:1; in Tannehill, Luke, 1:49).
Cf. Dschulnigg, «Berufung,» on 1:35–51.
Scholars have proposed various theories concerning the opening days of this Gospel, some connecting them with the idea of a new creation (cf. John 1:3), e.g., Hambly, «Creation»; Barosse, «Days.» Most of these theories (addressed in our comments on «the third day» in 2) have little support in the text, where chronology probably functions as a structuring device, as it probably does in Mark 1:21–35 (so Smith, Parallels, 131, citing m. Šabb. 1:4–5; Sotah 5:2–5; Yad. 4:1–4; t. Šabb. l:16ff.; Yad. 16–18) and in the symposium section of Let. Aris. 203,221, 236,248,262, though Let. Aris. 275 suggests a more careful count than John 2:1! Perhaps the days are intended as literal (cf. 12:12), to show a sample of meaningful days in Jesus' early ministry.
See also Michaels, Servant, 15; cf. Smalley, John, 26–27.
E.g.,Theon Progymn. 1.93–171.
See also Dodd, Tradition, 258, citing also Acts 13:25; cf. Freed, "Egō Eimi."
For comments on this passage, cf., e.g., Longenecker, Ministry, 70; see especially our discussion on John 1:6–8 above.
Cf., e.g., Keener, Marries; for a more thorough redaction-critical analysis and some different conclusions, see Collins, Divorce, and the suggestions of Keener, «Review of Collins.»
This is not to say with Fenton, John, 40, that our writer «was not acquainted with the situation in Palestine» before 70, a position contradicted by evidence cited above and throughout the commentary.
E.g., the ούν of 1:21, which Brown, John, 1counts 195 times in the Gospel, though not once in the First Epistle. (Cf. only 3 John 8; it appears only 6 times in Revelation and 6 times in Mark.)
Sanders, Judaism, 52–53, cites Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.32; Philo Hypothetica 7.12–13, and archaeological evidence as wel1.
Sanders, Judaism, 171, cites Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.165, 184–187, 194; Ant. 14.4. See more fully Smallwood, «Priests.» For evidence from Jewish texts and Greek administrative analogies identifying the high priesthood with «the rulers,» see Reicke, Era, 147.
In contrast to OT usage, the NT (e.g., Mark 2:26; 14:55; 15:11; Acts 5:24; 23:14; 25:15; cf. Acts 4:6), other early Christian texts (e.g., the agraphon in Jeremias, Sayings, 51), Josephus (e.g., War 2.243,316,318,320,322,336,342,410–411; 4.314), and probably the Scrolls (1QM 2.1) apply «high priests» in the plural to the members or leaders of the priestly aristocracy, not to the chief priest alone (see Stern, «Aspects,» 601,603; Reicke, Era, 147–48; Feldman in the Josephus LCL 10:157). The rapid transition of officeholders under the Romans мая have rendered the usage more fluid as wel1.
Also implied in T. Levi 14(though this could be a later interpolation). Avigad, Jerusalem, 130; idem, «Burnt House,» 71, cites t. Menah. 13:21; b. Pesah. 57.1 alongside archaeological attestation of a priestly name appearing there (Kathros).
P. Ter. 6:1. The early church reportedly made inroads into both communities (Acts 6:7; 15:5).
E.g., Simon, Sects, 24; cf. Baumbach, «Sadduzäerverständnis.»
E.g., for rabbis sending rabbis to other rabbis, p. Tacan. 3:11, §4; Sanh. 1:2, §10; for messengers to other regions, cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 15:5; perhaps CIJ 1:438–39, §611.
2Macc 1:18; Acts 9:1–2; Sanders, Jesus to Mishnah, 255–57. Cf. Josephus Ant. 13.62–69; Safrai, «Relations,» 204–7, citing Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.32–33; Acts 28:21; and numerous other sources.
Cf. Brown, John, 1:43, who also points out their relative scarcity in the NT. Barrett, John, 172, does note that Lévites remain distinct from priests even as late as rabbinic literature (m. Hor. 3:8) and, like Brown, notes their function as police as well as worshipers (citing m. Tamid 7; Mid. 1–2), the former function perhaps being more relevant in our text.
Haenchen, John, 1:143, contrasting this with the OT and 1QS.
See Kraeling, John, 26–27.
Despite Josephus's portrayal of its later revolt against Rome, the priestly aristocracy clearly sought its own interests from Rome and not just peace for its people (e.g., Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 315; more harshly, cf. Horsley, «High Priests»).
Cf. Blomberg, Reliability, 76.
Cf. Manson, Sayings, 39 (though doubting that Q is the source here); see Tilborg, Leaders, for an analysis of this typical Matthean redactional tendency.
Mark 1:5; Matt 3:5–6; Luke 3:3, 7; Josephus Ant. 18.118.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 20.98, 168, 171 (though the reports are less complete in the earlier War, e.g., War 2.263).
Edersheim, Life, 142, citing m. Sanh. 1on the later view of the procedure.
Josephus Ant. 18.118–119; cf., e.g., Meier, «John,» 226–27; Kraeling, John, 85–91; Hoehner, Antipas, 143–44.
In either case, the group speaks as a chorus, reflecting a corporate perspective (Malina, Windows, 140) familiar in antiquity (e.g., Virgil Aen. 11.122–131; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 6.10.1; 6.87.1; Acts 4:24; cf. 1Sam 11:4; 2Sam 5:1–2).
Their «What therefore?» was common idiom, frequent in various forms in early Christian writers (cf. John 6:30; Acts 21:22; Rom 3:1, 9; 4:1; 6:1; 1Cor 3:5; 14:26) and elsewhere (Musonius Rufus 5, p. 50.21; 16, p. 104.8; Menander Rhetor 2.1–2, 376.4; cf. Seneca Dia1. 3.6.1).
Cf. Freed, "Egō Eimi." Westcott, John, 18, noted the contrast between the Baptist and Christ implied in the emphatic egö throughout this section (1:23,26,27,30,31,33,34); John мая say ειμί εγώ here rather than εγώ είμι to distinguish him from Jesus.
«Confession» (ομολογία) can appear in the setting of witness (μαρτυρία); cf. the Hellenistic Rhet. Alex. 15, 1431b.21.
Contrast the traditional idiom in «answered and said» (1:26, 48), common in Semitic texts and their translations (e.g., 1 En. 106:13; 4 Ezra 4:13, 19, 20, 22, 26, 33–34, 36, 38, 40, 44, 52; 2 Bar. 14:1; 15:1; 16:1; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1).
See comments on 1:6–8 above. One should not press too much the distinction between «confessed» and «denied not» (as Westcott, John, 18, endeavors to do).
So many commentators, e.g., Hooker, Message, 9; Ladd, Theology, 35; Lane, Mark, 51. Nortjé, «John,» sees Jesus as a John, hence Elijah, redivivus.
Hunter, John, 22, suggests that our author's remark is difficult to explain if the author knew Mark.
Martyn thinks that the Fourth Gospel suppressed a source identifying Jesus as Elijah to conform to the broader Christian tradition. Another proposal, that Jesus viewed himself as a new Elisha following John the new Elijah (Bostock, «Elisha»), is reasonable but lacks adequate supporting evidence.
Taylor, Mark, 390 suggests that in the transfiguration Moses and Elijah represent the law and prophets; but probably they are just harbingers of the end; cf. Moule, Mark, 70.
For the latter view, see Brown, Essays, 181–84. The evangelist мая use rhetorically less favored historical presents here (1:21) and elsewhere for vividness (as, e.g., in the Latin of Caesar Gallic War, passim), though scholars could criticize inconsistency in verb tenses (e.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus 2 Amm. 12); on the importance of vividness, see Anderson, Glossary, 43,125 (cf. also 73).
Diversity of perspectives on Elijah extended even to interpretations of biblical narratives; cf. Zeller, «Elija.»
E.g., b. Móed Qat. 26a; Sanh. 113b, although such texts мая reflect differing implications as to whether (perhaps 'Abot R. Nat. 38, §103 B, till Messiah comes) or not (cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:4) he would die. Josephus's words are more guarded (Ant. 9.28), probably accommodating Hellenistic skepticism.
See Keener, Spirit, 20–22; Sipra Sh. M.D. 99.5.6; also Tg. Jon. on 1Sam 19and on 2 Kgs 6:1; 9:1,4.
'Abot R. Nat. 2A; b. cAbod. Zar. 36a; Ber. 3a; Git. 42b; Hag. 9b; Qidd. 79a; Menah. 32a; p. Ber. 9:2, §3; Ter. 1(unclear here whether the activity in this text was in ancient Israel or the rabbinic period); Pesiq. Rab Kah. 11:22; he conversed with rabbis about unspecified or nonhalakic issues in b. B. Mesica 85b; Sanh. 113b; Yoma 19b-20a. Cf. his settling of questions pertaining to himself in b. Ketub. 106a (instructing R. Anan as he wrote Seder Eliyyahu Rabba and Seder Eliyyahu Zuta); Gen. Rab. 71:9. Elijah already appears as «greatly zealous for the law» (έν τω ζηλώσαι ζήλον νόμου) in 1Macc 2:58.
E.g., b. Ber. 4b; he appears as an executor of judgment against a sacrilegious man in b. Ber. 6b; as a bearer of news to a rabbi in b. Šabb. 33b (Simeon ben Yohai); Deut. Rab. 5(Meir); Targum Rishon to Esth 4(to Mordecai). For his knowledge of what God does, cf. b. B. Mesica 59b; he wakes the deceased patriarchs for prayers in b. B. Mesica 85b.
E.g., b. cAbod. Zar. 17b; Tacan. 21a; p. Ketub. 12:3, §6; Kil 9:3, §4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 18:5; Gen. Rab. 33:3. Other miracle-workers мая have been associated with Elijah (cf. Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 72, 76–77, whose case is probable though not certain). His appearances to Jewish teachers seem to begin in the second-century sources (Bamberger, «Prophet,» 308).
Sipre Deut. 41.4.3; 342.5.2; b. Menah. 63a; at the redemption of the new exodus in Exod. Rab. 3:4; he would punish the Gentiles in Gen. Rab. 71:9; involved in the resurrection in m. Sotah 9:15; p. Seqa1. 3:3. Ford, Revelation, 179, cites also Pirqe R. E1. 43,47; Seder Eliyyahu Rabba 25ff.
E.g., the four craftsmen and comments on the seven shepherds of Mic 5in b. Sukkah 52b; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:9; Song Rab. 8:9, §3; Pesiq. Rab. 15:14/15 (one мая compare the priest anointed for war–and perhaps the two messiahs–in these texts with earlier Qumran expectation (see above on Christology, pp. 286–88 of our introduction). In late texts of varying date and opinion, he is associated with the Messiah (Lev. Rab. 34:8; Deut. Rab. 6:7; Song Rab. 2:13, §4), preceding him (b. cErub. 43b; Pesiq. Rab. 35:4); coming with him (Exod. Rab. 18:12); knowing something about the time of his coming (b. B. Mesica 85b); he is also protective of his coming reign (Gen. Rab. 83:4); or Elijah is Phinehas the high priest (Tg. Ps.-J. on Exod 6:18; cf. L.A.B. 48:1).
Primarily in Amoraic texts, e.g., b. Ber. 35b; B. Bat. 94b; b. Mesica 3a, 30a; Menah. 45a, bar.
M. cEd. 8:7; t. cEd. 3:4; cf. Song Rab. 4:12, §5.
E.g., m. cEd. 8:7; Sotah 9:15. Milikowsky, «'lyhw,» cites the Seder cOlam as an early source for Elijah as the Messiah's forerunner (although the sourcés date мая be debated).
See the many references (especially the nonrabbinic ones) in Teeple, Prophet, 4–8. Cf. also Sib. Or. 2.187–189; but because its context is a Christian interpolation, we cannot date it early with much assurance; 4Q382 frg. 31 маяbe eschatological (in a context about Elijah, frgs. 1,3,9). Justin's view that Elijah precedes Christ (Dia1. 8.4) fits the evidence (cf. Williams, Dialogue, 18 n. 5) but that he would anoint the Messiah (Dia1. 8; 49) lacks other attestation (see Schneider, «Reflections,» 169; the parallel in Williams, Dialogue, 18 n. 6, is inadequate).
Aune, Prophecy, 124–25; cf. Brown, John, 1:47. This is relevant even if rabbinic evidence for Elijah's role as forerunner (b. cErub. 43ab, bar.) is later (as contended by Faierstein, «Elijah» [see esp. 86]; Fitzmyer, «Elijah»; contrast Allison, «Elijah»).
Enoch, Moses, «and possibly Ezra, Baruch, and Jeremiah» (Longenecker, Christology, 33).
Teeple, Prophet, 106, is probably wrong in identifying Elijah in this text with a prophet-king Messiah, however.
See Aune, Prophecy, 124–25; Ford, Revelation, 179; 4Q375 1 1.1–4. Bamberger, «Prophet,» 303, also associates Elijah's coming with the eschatological return of prophecy.
Sipre Deut. 175.1.3; cf. also Dalman, Studies, 49.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 27.
Cf. Lightfoot, Gospel, 102; Longenecker, Christology, 33ff.; Appold, Motif, 72.
See Keener, «Pneumatology,» 78–79. Riesenfeld, «Background,» 88, is nonetheless correct to point to the potential relevance of the assimilation of royal, priestly, and prophetic features in the latter passage (with T. Levi 8; Meeks, Prophet-King, 115, finds the prophet-king combination also in Philo and contends that non-Jewish sources cannot explain it).
See references in Longenecker, Christology, 33ff; Cullmann, Christology, 14ff. (although they include texts referring to the new Elijah in particular).
1QS 9.11 (the Hebrew for «messiah» here is clearly plural); Haenchen, John, 1(on John 6:14) cites also 4QTest. 5; and compares T. Ben). 9:2; T. Levi 8:15; 1Macc 4:46; 14:41.
See Meeks, Prophet-King, 168–71; cf. Teeple, Prophet, 51–52. John the Baptist мая fill such a role in Slavonic additions to Josephus inserted between War 2.110 and 3 (LCL 3:644–45), but (especially in view of Josephus's reticence to speak of true prophets in the contemporary period) the additions are spurious.
Bruce, Time, 36–42, esp. 39; cf. Longenecker, Christology, 34. Simon, Stephen, 61, 73, affirms that the Mosaic prophet-messiah appears in the Samaritan Táeh (Taheb) but not in Judaism; but Qumran employed the same texts (see Gaster, Scriptures, 393,444–46), including Deut 18 (Villalon, «Sources,» 62–63; cf. Vermes, Scrolls, 247–48).
Brown, John, 1(citing Teeple); Bruce, Time, 40.
See Hill, Prophecy, 53–54; Robinson, Studies, 32.
For Acts and John here, see Cribbs, «Agreements,» 55; but both probably derive the language from earlier Jewish or Christian tradition. On the correspondence between Acts and traditional Jewish language here, cf. de Waard, «Quotation.» Teeple, Prophet, 86, also finds allusion to Lev 23:29. Aune, Prophecy, 155, thinks this reflects older tradition (because Luke neglects Moses redivivus imagery in his Gospel); contrast Meeks, Prophet-King, 27–28. Many note the helpful double entendre on «raise up» in Acts 3:22, 26 (Doeve, Hermeneutics, 155; ÓToole, «Observations»; Ellis, «Uses,» 202).
Davies, Sermon, 24; Gundry, Matthew, 342; Lane, Mark, 321; Bruce, Time, 40.
Cf. Davies, Sermon, 20–21; Argyle, Matthew, 132; Lane, Mark, 317.
See Meeks, Prophet-King, especially his proposition on p. 25.
On the Johannine community and prophetism, see esp. Keener, «Pneumatology,» 284–329; see the discussion of the Paraclete and prophetism on 14:16.
For short reference, Jewish testimonia collections sometimes attributed composite citations to the more prominent author (Longenecker, Exegesis, 138).
Roman-period Jews still understood Isaiah's language («preaching good news,» etc.) with respect to eschatological salvation and Israel's restoration, e.g., Pss. So1. 11:1, and expectation of a new exodus continued (e.g., 4Q389 frg. 2).
The idea of making a highway straight for a king or other travelers by leveling ground was still widely known in the late first century (in Trajan's reign, cf., e.g., ILS 5863, in Sherk, Empire, 155 (100 C.E.); similarly Galen 10.633 in Sherk, Empire, 164) and hence would not be lost on John's readers (cf. Luke 3for a fuller citation).
See esp. Stendahl, School, 48, on the Synoptic dependence on the LXX here. A minor divergence from the LXX мая have christological implications (see Leaney, Luke, 106); Lukés extension of the quotation is also significant (Wilson, Gentiles, 38).
Higgins, Historicity, 76 (citing also Zech 9in John 12:15, vs. in Matt 21:5; Isa 6in John 12:40, vs. in Matt 13:14–15; Acts 28:25–27; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10). But contrast Menken, «Quotation,» who thinks that John's quotation does reflect a Septuagintal form.
See Freed, Quotations. Schuchard, Scripture, 1–15, however, argues that John's translation of Isa 40here comes from the old Greek (roughly, the LXX).
See the brief discussion in the introduction, ch. 1, pp. 40–42; Smith, Among Gospeh, 195–241.
E.g., Robinson, Studies, 13.
1QS 8.13–14; cf. 4Q176 1–2 1.4–9; cf. also Brownlee, «Comparison,» 71; Brown, «Scrolls,» 4. They applied it especially to their knowledge of the law (1QS 8.15–16).
1QS 8.13–14; 9.19–20; Scobie, «John,» 68. Even with crowds visiting, however, the wilderness remained a place of social isolation (cf. the Stoic claim in Cicero Fin. 3.20.65).
Bruce, «Qumrân,» 177. Yet the Qumran sect could also take «wilderness» figuratively, and clearly understood the promise of a new exodus in the biblical prophets; cf. 1QM 1.2–3 and comments in Yadin, War Scroll, 257.
Cf., e.g., Mauser, Wilderness, 55–60. Mark's explicit mention of the Jordan (1:4) reinforces the image of the new exodus for his readers (Kingsbury, Christology, 59; Rhoads and Michie, Mark, 65; Kee, Community, 88).
Theissen, Sociology, 48–50, lists especially Essenes and Zealots; cf. also Pesiq. Rab. 15:14/15 (probably third-century tradition).
Josephus Ant. 20.189; War 2.259,261–262 (some of these «false prophets» мая have also ventured messianic claims, which we would expect Josephus to suppress rather than recount).
Cf. Num. Rab. 11:2; Song Rab. 2:9, §3; Pesiq. Rab. 15:10; Tg. Neof. on Exod 12:42; many of the eschatological wilderness prophets in Josephus were popularly susceptible to messianic interpretations (see Glasson, Moses, 18, citing Josephus Ant. 20.97–99; War 2.259,261; and our previous note that addresses wilderness prophets, n. 90).
Many concede that the Baptist understood his mission in terms of a wilderness renewal (e.g., Koester, Introduction, 2:72). The wilderness was also a natural place for refugees (in general, not just Essenes) from hostile society; see, e.g., Heb 11:38; Rev 12:6; Pss. So1. 17:17; Song Rab. 2:13, §4).
Kelber, Story, 17; Mauser, Wilderness, 90; that Mark depicted John in terms of Jesus is often noted (e.g., Marxsen, Mark, 33).
Marxsen, Mark, 37; Bultmann, Tradition, 246; Anderson, Mark, 69.
Cf. Josephus Ant. 18.118. Robinson, Problem, 73, who notes the allusion to Isa 40:3, concurs that the tradition itself is historical (citing Matt 11:7,18).
See Josephus Ant. 18.117. Although the Qumran community would not have welcomed a maverick like John (see Pryke, «John»; Gaster, Scriptures, xii), he probably baptized near them (see evidence in Jeremias, Theology, 43), an area called the «wilderness» (see Mauser, Wilderness, 78).
Theissen, Gospels, 39.
That the Johannine community assumed this position is also supported by Rev 12:1–6, where the wilderness represents the course of the present age (cf., e.g., Rissi, Time, 38; Kassing, «Weib»).
T. Ab. 14:13; 15:1; 20:13A; cf. Charlesworth, «Voice»; idem, Pseudepigrapha and NT, 128–30, citing also Apoc. Sedr. 2:5/2:2–4; Apoc. Ab. 9:1–4; Γ. Job 3:1–2; 2 Bar. 13:1; also Ellul, Apocalypse, 104, on Rev 1:12.
Aune, Prophecy, 137, citing Josephus War 6.301 and the bat qo1.
Pace Robbins, Teacher, 190.
See Keener, Spirit, 136–62; Koester, Symbolism, 155–84. Origen Comm. Jo. 13.26–39 also suggests that John 4 reveals Jesus' water to be greater than that of the Scriptures.
E.g., Chilton, Approaches, 31.
Thaïes (sixth century B.C.E., in Allen, Philosophy, 2). One мая thirst after philosophy (Socratics #25, Cyn. Ep. 278–79) and drink it (Porphyry Marc. 4.54); proper education is a source, a fountain (πηγή) of goodness (Plutarch Educ. 7, Mor: 4C; cf. Marcus Aurelius 7.59; Eunapius Lives 460–461; cf. John 4:14; virtue in Valerius Maximus 5.6.ext.2; 7.2.ext.lb); rhetors had πηγάς of words (Philostratus Vit. soph. 1.482; Valerius Maximus 2.6.8); philosophy purifies (εκκεκαθαρμένους) souls (Xenophon Symp. 1.4); cf. moral impurity in Aeschines Timarchus 19. Nile water мая have been linked with immortality (Wild, Water, 97–99).
Plutarch Obso1. 5, Mor. 411F; cf. Sir 24:30, Odes So1. 40:2, and perhaps the wise speech that «flowed» (ρείουσι) from Adam and Eve in Sib. Or. 1.33–34; good rhetorical style also «flows» (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 100.2). The priest at Claros and prophetess at Colophon reportedly would drink from a sacred spring before prophesying (respectively: Maximus of Tyre Or. 8.2; Iamblichus Myst. 3.11).
Philo Posterity 127–129; Dreams 2.242–243.
Philo Dreams 2.242–243; Worse 117 (the «fountain of divine wisdom»); Flight 166; see Knox, Gentiles, 87–88; Argyle, «Philo,» 386. Cf. 1QS 10.12, in a hymn that speaks of God as the מקור דעת ומעיו קודש, the «fountain of knowledge and the spring of holiness»; rabbinic Hebrew uses «fountain» and «spring» also with reference to issuing from the womb, but the image here is more likely for the source of water; cf. further 1QS 3.19; 11.3, 5, 6–7; probably CD 3.16–17. Arabic and Syriac A Ahiqar 1(ed. Charles, 2:726–27) compares a father's instruction to bread and water.
Sir 15:3,24:25 (understanding, compared to rivers), 24(where Wisdom says, «έκχεώ my teaching like prophecy»). Cf. similarly Wis 7:25.
E.g., Exod. Rab. 31:3.
M. 'Abot 1(attributed to a pre-Tannaitic sage); 2(attributed to ben Zakkai, though the form is heavily redacted); Mek. Vay. l:74ff.; Bah. 5(allegorizing OT on water); Sipre Deut. 48.2.7; 306.19.1; 306.22–25; 'Abot R. Nat. 18 A; cf. b. Tacan. 7a; B. Qam. 17a, 82a; Gen. Rab. 41:9; 54:1; 69:5; 70:8–9; 84:16; 97:3; Exod. Rab. 47(and bread); Song Rab. 1:2, §3; Origen Comm. Jo., 13.26–29.
R. Akiba in Sipre Deut. 48.2.7; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 24:9; Tg. Neof. on Num 21:18–20; cf. Belleville, «Born,» 130, arguing that the rabbis used a well as a symbol of Torah more than they used water in general, to bolster her argument that the water of John 3is not Torah.
M. эAbot 1(attributed to Abtalion, first century B.C.E.); Sipre Deut. 48.2.5.
E.g., Gen. Rab. 71:8; see further Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 163ff. Nevertheless, Jesus the Word never appears as «water» in the Fourth Gospel, but only as its source (so also Culpepper, Anatomy, 196; cf. Lee, Thought, 218).
Abrahams, Studies, 1:43; Freed, Quotations, 29; McNamara, Targum, 110.
E.g., Smalley, «Relationship,» 97, although he sees it as less developed than Paul's. Brown, John, l:cxi, cites Cullmann, Vawter, Hoskyns, Lightfoot, and Barrett as tending toward the sacramental view.
Brown, John, l:cxi, cites Bornkamm, Bultmann, Lohse, and Schweizer as holding a non-sacramental or antisacramental understanding of John. For a summary of the major views before 1945, see esp. Howard, Gospel, 206–14.
Kysar, Evangelist, 256. Brown, Essays, 97, also doubts that 1is distinctly sacramenta1.
MacGregor, «Eucharist,» 118. Ottós parallel with pagan magical sacramentalism depends on Western sources geographically removed from Christian baptism's origins in the Baptist (see Kraeling, John, 120).
Lake, «Spirit,» 104.
Besides the references in his commentary, see Bultmann, Tradition, 165–66. Mowry, «Scrolls,» 92, suggests an anti-Essene polemic; this is answered by Belleville, «Born,» 126.
Käsemann, Testament, 32.
E.g., b. Tacan. 16a; Pesiq. Rab. 44:1. Judaism despised false proselytes (e.g., Jdt 11:23; T. Jos. 4:4–6; Sipre Deut. 356.5.7; b. cAbod. Zar. 3b; Šabb. 33b; Pesiq. Rab. 22:5), later texts explicitly demanding fear of God as the proper motive for authentic conversion (b. Qidd. 62a; Yebam. 24b, 47a; p. Git. 1:4, §2; Qidd. 4:1, §§2–3; Num. Rab. 8:4, 9; cf. Urbach, Sages, 1:387–88 on b. B. Mesïa 72a), though some allowed that proselytes from impure motives might still have some status before God (cf. p. Sanh. 6:7, §2). Some second-century rabbis rejected proselytes who balked at so much as a single obligation of Torah (t. Demai 2:50; cf. Num. Rab. 5:3). Neusner, «Conversion,» 66, argues that political factors мая have partially motivated the conversions of Helene and Izates, though their conversions were sincere.
1QS 3.4–9; 4.21; 5.13–14; Bonsirven, Judaism, 116, also cites t. Tacan. 1:8. See Sanders, Judaism, 230, citing Let. Aris. 305–306; Philo Unchangeable 7–8. Early Christians retained the Jewish and the Baptist's prerequisite of repentance for valid baptism (against Flusser, Judaism, 53, who thinks Christians weakened it).
Michaels, John, 16, points to the particularly Johannine construction of the language here.
Spell 20, part T-l, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (trans. Allen, 36); Mover, «Purity,» 130; Blackman, «Purification,» 476; cf. Philo Moses 1.14.
Moyer, «Purity,» 130.
Ibid., 132; cf. the importance of ritual purity in «Instructions for Palace Personnel to Insure the King's Purity,» trans. Goetze, ANET 207; «Instructions for Temple officials,» 14, trans. Goetze, ANET 209.
The principle also appears in genetically unrelated or distant societies, e.g., postpartum purificatory water rituals among Eskimos, in Fiji, and Uganda (Fallaize, «Purification»); postpartum or postmenstruation rituals among the Nandi and the Ndebele (Mbiti, Religions, 169, 172); prénuptial washings in Batoro (Mbiti, Religions, 182–83), Jewish (Safrai, «Home,» 758) and Greco-Roman (Ferguson, Backgrounds, 54–55; Batey, Imagery, 28) cultures; Hindu water purifications before approaching a deity (Fry et a1., Religions, 61, and, to a lesser extent, in Shinto tradition in Japan [ibid., 154]); possibly related Islamic purifications (Guillaume, Islam, 88); Mandaeans (Drower, Mandaeans, 100–23; cf. Kraeling, John, 107–9).
Diogenes in Diogenes Laertius 6.2.42. Plutarch explicitly condemns only the βαπτισμοί of superstitious religion and magic (Superst. 2, Mor. 166A).
Cf. Diogenes Laertius 8.1.33; Culpepper, School, 49 (following Iamblichus V.P. 71–74).
Diogenes Laertius 7.1.119.
E.g., an inscription (SIG2 566.2–9) from Athenás temple at Pergamum, in Grant, Religions, 6. Aune, Prophecy, 30, cites the Pythiás ritual bath preceding sacrifice. Achilles Tatius 8.3.2, speaks of a fountain of το ιερόν ϋδωρ used for ablutions in the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Even deities might purify themselves (Ovid Metam. 4.479–480).
Epictetus Diatr. 3.21.14; Mylonas, Eleusis, 248; Angus, Mystery-Religions, 81–82.
Plutarch Isis 75, Mor. 38ID; Apuleius Metam. 11.1. For such ablutions deriving from older Egyptian traditions, see Wild, Water, 129–48. Cf. later blood baptisms in the cult of Cybele (Goodenough, Church, 9; cf. Prudentius Peristephanon 10.1011–1050 in Barrett, Documents, 96–97).
E.g., Bultmann, Christianity; 158.
Livy 39.9.4; Burkert, Cults, 101; Nock, Christianity, 60–62,133; Wagner, Baptism, 71–72,102–3; Meeks, Christians, 152–53. Typical stages of initiation were κάθαρσις (purification), σύστασις (sacrifices), τελετή (initiation proper) and εποπτεία. Romans also «cleansed» (καθαίρονται) by sacrifice (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 4.22.1–2).
Nock, «Vocabulary,» 134. John twice uses καθαρισμός, both times for Jewish lustrations (2:6; 3:25).
E.g., Josephus Ant. 6.235 (who implausibly reads it into the David narrative); cf. his comments on the form of purification used by Essenes at the temple in Ant. 18.19.
Wirgin, Jubilees, 27–38, adduces numismatic evidence that мая argue for priestly use of holy water for their hands and feet in the Maccabean period.
On the development of mikvaot ideology in an early period, see Selkin, «Exegesis,» esp. ch. 5 (pp. 97–161). The Pharisees probably did more to extend it beyond the priesthood than anyone else (e.g., Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 87).
E.g., Yadin, Masada, 164; Avigad, Jerusalem, 142; Bruce, Thoughts, 50–51; Kotlar, «Mikveh,» 1535; see fuller discussion in comment on John 2:6.
Avigad, Jerusalem, 85–86; notes in Cornfeld, Josephus, 50; probably at Gezer, in Reich, «Mqww'wt»; Netzer, «Mqww'wt.»
E.g., Reich, «Miqweh.»
Pearlman, Zealots, 179, who identified this mikveh as the earliest known at the time of his writing.
See Avigad, Jerusalem, 139–43. M. Parah 3also mentions a place of immersion at the Mount of Olives.
Avigad, Jerusalem, 139,142.
Cf. the «Chamber of Immersion» (m. Mid. 1:9) and, for the immersion of lepers, the Chamber of Lepers (m. Neg 14:8). See Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 55; Mazar, «Excavations,» 52; Cornfeld, Josephus, 272. The list of «officers» in the temple (m. Seqa1. 5:1–2) includes one Nehemiah as «over the water,» literally, a «trench-digger,» and he was «in charge of the aqueduct and the temple cisterns, and to look after the baths» used for ablutions (Jeremias, Jerusalem, 174).
Neusner, Beginning, 24–25.
See especially the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Talmudic tractates MiqwáOT. The most extensive discussion of this material to date is in Neusner, Purities. Mikveh was considered a commandment of God (cf. the Amoraic blessing in b. Ber. 51a).
M. Parah 11:6; b. Šabb. 64b; p. Sebu. 2:1, §6. The touch of Gentiles could communicate impurity requiring immersion (cf. p. $eb. 6:1, §12,36c).
E.g., b. Ber. 2b, with a purportedly Tannaitic attribution.
B. Pesah. 90b; Šabb. 84a; Yoma 6b; the importance of this мая be underlined by the haggadic illustration on an OT narrative in Lev. Rab. 19:6, and the illustration of R. Gamaliel's maidservant in Pesiq. Rab Kah. 12:15.
M. Maks. 4:6; Miqw. 9:5–7, 10; Sipra Sh. pq. 220.127.116.11–8; b. Šabb. 15b, 34a, 84a; Zebah. 22a; Menah. 101a; Bek. 22a; Hu1. 123a; p. Hag. 3:8, §§1–3; cf. m. Tehar. 8:9; CD 10.12; 11.3–4. Other Eastern cults (such as that of Cybele) also purified vessels (Martial Epigr. 3.47).
B. Pesah. 59a, bar.; references in Urbach, Sages, 1:582–83. Cf. Jdt 16(the people έκαθαρίσθη before offering sacrifices); cf. John 2with 2:13.
See, e.g., Ladd, Theology, 38–39.
Fritsch, Community, 7; Thiering, «Initiation»; idem, «Cleansing»; Smith, «Baptism»; Brownlee, «Comparison,» 58; Brown, «Scrolls,» 4; cf. Robinson, Studies, 16; Jeremias, «Qumran Texts,» 68–69; Anderson, Mark, 70–71; against, Pryke, «John,» 483–96; Delmore, «Pratique.»
See 1 QS 5.8–23 and texts in Josephus cited by Cross, Library, 95 n. 96a. Wood, «Dip,» argues for dipping in ritual purifications; the mikvaot that archaeologists have uncovered argue strongly in favor of immersion as the form of washing, fitting other early Jewish evidence.
Cf., e.g., Josephus War 2.150. This has been argued by many scholars, e.g., Driver, Scrolls, 496–506; Ringgren, Faith, 221; Milik, Discovery, 102–3; Pryke, «John,» 483–96; Simon, Sects, 75. Such purifications were not thought to purify the soul from sin; see Sutcliffe, «Baptism.»
So Black, Scrolls, 94.
E.g., 4Q512 passim; 4Q414 frg. 12; Oxford Geniza Text C.2–8; Mount Athos manuscript in Wise, Scrolls, 255. The impression that Essenes were meticulous in washings мая be gained, e.g., from Josephus War 2.129, 150; cf. Ant. 18.19. It should be noted, however, that non-Essene Jews in upper-city Jerusalem, who had adequate resources, мая have also been more meticulous than their halakah demanded; see Avigad, Jerusalem, 142.
Cf., e.g., p. Qidd. 3:12, §8.
Beasley-Murray, Baptism, 18–31; Anderson, Mark, 71; cf. Albright, Stone Age, 290.
E.g., Abrahams, Studies, 1:42; Montefiore, Gospels, 1:8; Rowley, «Baptism»; cf. Taylor, Mark, 155; White, Initiation, 78–79; Argyle, Matthew, 23.
Schiffman, «Crossroads,» 128; Schiffman, Jew, 26; Goppelt, Theology, 1:37; Bruce, History, 156; Ladd, Theology, 41; Meeks, Christians, 150; Falk, Jesus, 151; cf. Hooker, Message, 9; LaSor, «Miqvaot.»
Rowley, «Baptism,» 333–34.
See, e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.169–171; Eliade, Initiation, 21–25; Mbiti, Religions, 160, 165, 329, 333; cf. Artapanus in Eusebius Praep. ev. 9.27.10 (contending that Egyptians and Ethiopians borrowed it from Moses rather than the reverse).
For its importance in Jewish practice, see, e.g., Gen 17:10–14; Exod 4:22–23 with 4:24–26; Sir 44:20; Jdt 14:10; 2Macc 6:10; 4 Macc 4:25; Josephus Ant. 12.256; 20.44; T. Levi 6:3,6–7; m. Ned. 3:9; t. cAbod. Zar. 3:12; Ber. 6:13, MSS; b. Sebu. 13a; Exod. Rab. 5:8; 17:3; 19:5; 30:12; 38:8; Lev. Rab. 21:6; 31:4; Pesiq. Rab. 13:8; 52(temporary exceptions for health reasons in b. Pesah. 69a; Song Rab. 7:2, §3; perhaps for one already circumcized, b. Šabb. 135a, first-century schools).
Sevenster, Anti-Semitism, 132–36; Gager, Anti-Semitism, 56–57; cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 3:6.
B. Yebam. 46a.
McEleney, «Conversion»; Gilbert, «Convert»; cf. Lake, «Proselytes,» 78–79.
Bamberger, Proselytism, 49–52; cf. Nolland, «Proselytes»; in support of this position, cf. b. Yebam. 71a. Then again, it is easy to see how the tradition would have been modified to its Palestinian form, to conform the tradition to the normative interpretation of the Torah.
T. cAbod. Zar. 3:11; Ber. 47b; cAbod. Zar. 57a; Yebam. 46ab; p. Qidd. 3:12, §8; cf. t. Zabim 2:7.
Taylor, «Baptism»; Smith, «Baptism,» 13–32; Robinson, Studies, 16 n. 12; Légasse, «Baptême»; Meier, Marginal Jew, 2:52.
For whatever reasons, Judaism attracted Gentile women more frequently than their husbands (cf. Josephus War 2.560–561; CIJ 1:384, §523; inscriptions in Leon, Jews, 256).
Cohen, «Ceremony,» мая be correct that until the mid-second century different people practiced it in different ways. At least in politically sensitive cases such as Izates, some Jews felt circumcision itself unnecessary (cf. Gilbert, «Convert») though others clearly disagreed (Josephus Ant. 20.44).
Cf. similarly Pusey, «Baptism.» Also Taylor, Immerser, 64–68 (though she on other grounds rejects this as background for John's baptism, 69); for Gentile impurity (because of idolatry), cf., e.g., Acts 10:28; 11:3; m. Pesah. 8:8; 'Oha1. 18:7; Josephus War 2.150; p. Šeb. 6:1, §12; Safrai, «Religion,» 829.
Epictetus Diatr. 2.9.20 (despite the interpretation of the Loeb editor that these are Christians, probably based on ignorance of the Jewish practice). Stern, Authors, 541, interprets it correctly.
It might also be implied by Juvenal Sat. 14.104, who would then be regarding it as a matter of common knowledge in Roman society that after Jews circumcized their converts, they led them to the place of washing. On Sib. Or. 4.165, see below; Jos. Asen. 14requires Aseneth to purify her hands and feet in water when converting (for Diaspora handwashing, see comment on 2:6). Cf. Justin Dial 29.1 for a mid-second-century Diaspora reference.
Schiffman, «Crossroads,» 128–31; definite early attestation is not possible here, but «the transmission of this statement in the names of three separate Tannaim мая indicate that it was widespread,» and probably reflects an authentic early dispute. Cf. Torrance, «Baptism,» 154.
Taylor, «Baptism,» 196.
See Abrahams, Studies, 1:37.
Sib. Or. 4.162–165; the text probably dates to ca. 80 C.E., and Collins regards this as Jewish rather than Christian. The association of turning from sin (4.162–164), repentance (4.168–169), and washing in water (4.165) is significant. Some Diaspora circles мая have required only washing of hands and feet (Jos. Asen. 14:12).
Cf. also Rowley, «Baptism,» 313; Cohen, Maccabees, 53; Schiffman, «Crossroads,» 128; White, Initiation, 320. Kraeling, John, 99–100, indicates the widespread acceptance for an early date, noting that «a growing sense of historical proportion showed how impossible» was the view of some early Christian scholars that Judaism took proselyte baptism from the Christians.
Some suggest that the Baptist was an Essene (e.g., Betz, «John»); whether he мая have been one at one time, he certainly was not one by the time he began his public proclamation (Witherington, Christology, 36; Pryke, «John»). Qumran sectarians practiced strict separatism from the rest of Israel (see, e.g., Minde, «Absonderung»). Further, most commonalities between them also appear in most of the rest of Second Temple Judaism (Taylor, Immerser, 15–48), and Johns baptism implied the inadequacy of former purifications (ibid., 99).
John's initial failure to recognize him (1:31) мая underline the fact that he is known only by revelation (1:33; Smith, John , 70), by the Spirit's witness (15:26; 16:7–11).
See Malina, World, 78.
The two Greek words for knowledge used here function interchangeably in the Fourth Gospel; see on «Knowledge and Sight» in the introduction, ch. 6, above.
See comment on 13:5.
E.g., Diogenes Laertius 6.2.44; b. B. Bat. 53b (though both sources ridicule treating slaves in such a demeaning manner); Aeschylus Agamemnon 944–945; see Daubés and Urbachs citations below. Other commentators have noted that this is the work of a slave (Westcott, John, 19; Hunter, John, 23).
Exod 24:13; 33:11; Josh 1:1; 1 Kgs 19:21; 2 Kgs 5:20; 6:15; 8:4; Zeno in Diogenes Laertius 7.1.12; Cleanthes in Diogenes Laertius 7.5.170; t. B. Mesfa 2:30; cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 27, §56B; p. Sotah 5:5, §4; perhaps more like fatherly counsel in Xenophon Anab. 3.1.5–7. Lachs, Commentary, 45, and Daube, Judaism, 266, cite also b. Ketub. 96a. Cf. Joshua as Moses' disciple and other «disciples of the prophets» (CD 8.20–21; Mek. Pisha 1:150–153; 'Abot R. Nat. 11, §28 B).
B. Ketub. 96a, cited by various commentators (many following Billerbeck), cf. Davies, Sermon, 135; Morris, John, 141.
E.g., 2 Kgs 9:7,36; 10:10; 14:25; 17:13,23; 21:10; 24:2; Ezra 9:11; Isa 20:3; Jer 7:25; 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15; 44:4; Dan 3:28; 6:20; 9:6, 10; Amos 3:7; Zech 1:6; cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 37, §95 B; Martin, Slavery, 55–56; Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 3; Käsemann, Romans, 5.
E.g., 2Sam 3:18; 7:5,8,19–21,25–29; 1 Kgs 3:6; 8:24–26,66; 11:13,32,34,36,38; 14:8; 2 Kgs 8:19; 19:34; 20:6; 1 Chr 17:4, 7, 17–19, 23–27; 2 Chr 6:15–21, 42; Ps 78:70; 89:3, 20; 132:10; 144:10; Isa 37:35; Jer 33:21–22,26; Ezek 34:23–24; 37:24–25; cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 43, §121 B.
E.g., Exod 14:31; Num 12:7–8; Deut 34:5; Josh 1:1–2, 7,13,15; 8:31,33; 9:24; 11:12,15; 12:6; 13:8; 14:7; 18:7; 22:2,4–5; 1 Kgs 8:53,56; 2 Kgs 18:12; 21:8; 1 Chr 6:49; 2 Chr 1:3; 24:6,9; Neh 1:7–8; 9:14; 10:29; Ps 105:26; Dan 9:11; Mai 4:4; cf. 4Q378 frg. 22, line 2; L.A.B. 30:2, famulum; 'Abot R. Nat. 43, §121 B.
Lev 25:42, 55; Deut 32:43; Isa 41:8–9; 42:1,19; 43:10; 44:1–2,21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3; Jer 30:10; 46:27–28; Ezek 28:25; 37:25; 2 Bar. 44:4; t. B. Qam. 7:5; 'Abot R. Nat. 43, §121 B; Gen. Rab. 96 NV; p. Qidd. 1:2, §24; cf. Tob 4MSS.
Inscription in Grant, Religion, 122; Martin, Slavery, xiv-xvi (citing Sophocles Oed. tyr. 410; Plato Phaedo 85B; Apuleius Metam. 11.15; inscriptions), 46,49 (against, e.g., Beare, Philippians, 50); cf. Rom 1(cf. Minear, Images, 156). Slaves of rulers exercised high status (e.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.19.19; 4.7.23; inscriptions in Sherk, Empire, 89–90; Deissmann, Light, 325ff., passim; P.Oxy. 3312.99–100 in Horsley, Documents, 3:7–9; Suetonius Gramm. 21 [in Dixon, Mother, 19]; cf. Chariton 5.2.2).
E.g., Anderson, Mark, 72–73; Taylor, Mark, 157.
Kraeling, John, 53–54 points to «the thong of whose sandals I am not fit to loose» as the most primitive form (enumerating variations therefrom on p. 198 n. 13). Matthew's form probably reflects his penchant for abridgement (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, 106; Manson, Sayings, 40, instead suggests «a single Aramaic verb» behind both).
Daube, Judaism, 266, citing Mek. on Exod 21:2; Sipre Num 15:41; b. Qidd. 22b; see also Urbach, Sages, 1(citing Sipre Šelah §115 and comparing Sipre Zuta 190).
On Mark's editorial subordination of the Baptist, see Trocmé, Formation, 55 (although Mark's condensation of Q material attested in Matt 3 and Luke 3 probably reflects standard abridgement for an introduction).
Against Kraeling, John, 130 (cf. 159), who doubts Matt 11:2–6 par. (to which we would respond, if this material were anti-Baptist polemic, why would Q include Matt 11:7–15 par.?). Conversely, Mason, Josephus and NT, 159, thinks Matt 11:2–6 / Luke 7:18–23, «read by itself… implies the beginning of Johns interest» rather than doubting a previous position; but any datum read «by itself» мая contradict other data in an account. Both accounts reflect Q material, and the Baptist's christological testimony мая be multiply attested.
This is especially the case if John writes to a Diaspora audience, even one with Palestinian roots. The exception would be if John presumes a perspective from east of the Jordan (Byron, «Bethany»), in which case this Bethany anticipates the later events at Bethany (12:1–3); but this Bethany is too far from baptismal water (11:18), and geographical digressions were commonplace (Polybius 1.41.6; cf. 1.42.1–7).
Unlike earlier Palestinian Christians, John's readers might not even recognize that such texts indicate that the Jesus movement was for all of ancient Israel, now divided into Judea, Galilee, Samaria, and Perea (as noted by Riesner, «Bethany»). The location and knowledge of John's readership, however, are ultimately less decisive than the consistency of detail; that only the Baptist and not Jesus ministers there actively would suggest that historical considerations control the data that the writer мая employ theologically.
Kraeling, John, 9.
Schnackenburg, John, 1:296, also finds evidence that can be read either way from the Madeba mosaic map of Palestine. Metzger, Commentary, 200, notes that most of the committee doubted that a scribe would alter «Bethabara» to «Bethany.»
Metzger, Commentary, 199–200, on Origen.
Brodie, Gospel, 151. Some think a recently discovered pilgrim site (from 530 C.E. on) east of the Jordan might be the site (Couturier, «Baptisé»), though this evidence is late.
See Carson, John, 146–47.
For this location symbolizing the meeting of «above» and «below,» see Nortjé, «Doper.» In Elishás day prophets assembled near the Jordan (2 Kgs 6:2,4); it could also relate to the new exodus theme (1:23) while anticipating the later events at Bethany (11:1,18; 12:1); but probably such associations are foreign to the way John's audience would have heard the story.
Cf. also McPolin, John, 45–47 (negative vs. positive testimony).
Later scribal schools exaggerated this comparison; see Keener, Spirit, 20–22; Sipra Sh. M.D. 99.5.6; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 26:6/7; p. Hor. 3:5, §1; Sanh. 10:1, §9; 11:4, §1; Tg. Ps.-J. on 1Sam 19:23; 2 Kgs 6:1; 9:1,4.
Aune, Environment, 90 (citing Lucian Hist. 55; for disjunction, Polybius 38.5.1–8). Ovid is a striking example of arranging obviously disparate stories, sometimes in contrived ways, as if they happened sequentially (e.g., Metam. 2.708–713; 6.1–5 with 6.148–150); stories within stories (e.g., Ovid Metam. 4.37–388 within 4.1–415; perhaps Mark 5:21–43) were common. In Tannaitic texts, see Smith, Parallels, 131.
Wiles, Gospel, 15. One who wished to harmonize could claim that John's testimony in 1:32–34 can refer to a past event that could have been followed by a temptation, if (1) the Baptist could have uttered 1:26–27 on more than one occasion and (2) if 1is not his first encounter with Jesus (which the verb tenses in 1:32–34 мая suggest it is not).
E.g., Stanton, Jesus, 119–21; see comments in the introduction on genre.
Dodd, Interpretation, 230–38; Barrett, «Lamb,» 218; cf. Sandy, «Affirmation.» Longenecker, Christology, 50, and Morris, John, 146, see this as the background for Revelation but not for John 1:29.
Cf., e.g., the arguments of Brown, John, 1:58–60; Schnackenburg, John, 1:299–300; Ridderbos, John, 72.
The earliest supposedly non-Christian use of «lamb» for the Messiah is a Christian interpolation in Τ Jos. 19(Fiorenza, Revelation, 95; cf. Michaels, John, 17). A lamb does prophesy in Manetho Aegyptiaca Epitome frg. 64; but the connection with 1 En. 89–90 is at best weak. Likewise, even if Aries was considered a «lamb» in this period and a ruling constellation (Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 49–50), a Palestinian Jewish prophet (applicable to both the Baptist and the author) would think more readily of sacrificial or paschal lambs.
E.g., Wis 19(the redeemed Israelites leaped before God like lambs, praising him); cf. also Luke 10(cf. Matt 10in the context of 10:6) in the Jesus tradition.
Minear, Images, 102–3; Hillyer, «Lamb»; Keener, Revelation, 187.
E.g., Bernard, John, 1:44–46; Taylor, Atonement, 138–39; Schnackenburg, John, 1:300; Bruce, Time, 48–49.
Zimmerli and Jeremias, Servant, 57ff.; Schoeps, Paul, 134–35, 139. Some think Qumran's Teacher of Righteousness is described in terms of Isaiah's Servant Songs (Brownlee, «Motifs, I,» 18–20; Dupont-Sommer, Writings, 361–63); but Sir l:6's rhiza and apekalyphthë probably derive from Prov 8:1, etc., rather than Isa 53:1–2; Pesiq. Rab. 31and the Kabbalah (Ginsburg, Kabbalah, 141–42) are too late to be of value.
Goppelt, Jesus, Paul, and Judaism, 83; cf. R. Simlai (third century C.E.) in Davies, Land, 60, who takes the servant as Moses. (Hooker's exclusion of it even from Isaiah [Servant, 47, essentially on the grounds that the prophet would not have introduced new ideas] is more questionable.) For this reason many scholars are skeptical of the Isa 53reference here (Morris, John, 145).
On the Targum, see Bruce, Acts: Greek, 193; Yamauchi, «Concord,» 165–66, and Zimmerli and Jeremias, Servant, 57ff.
Justin Dial 13, 43 attests Christian rather than Jewish usage (so also 1 Apo1. 50). Acts 8may not explicitly emphasize vicarious suffering (cf., e.g., Decock, «Understanding»), but the quotation of part of a text implied the rest (e.g., p. Qidd. 4:1, §2) and though atonement is not Lukés emphasis, it is not incongruent with his thought (Luke 22:19–20).
Bultmann, Word, 214, sees it as «a Hellenistic variation» of the older form in Luke 22:27; for evidence that the Markan form is more Semitic, cf. Jeremias, Message, 46.
On Mark 10:45's authenticity, see Page, «Authenticity»; Morris, Cross, 29–33; Cullmann, Christology, 65.
So, e.g., Stanton, Jesus, 36.
E.g., Anderson, Mark, 257; Hooker, Servant, 74–79; idem, Message, 93; though Kümmel, Promise, 73, recognizes the allusion, he is reticent to explain it.
Cf. Taylor, Atonement, 14; Jeremias, Theology, 292–93; Cullmann, Christology, 64–65; Higgins, Son of Man, 43–44; Moulder, «Background,» 127; Bruce, Time, 29–30; Ridderbos, Paul and Jesus, 31; Gundry, Matthew, 404; Argyle, Matthew, 154; Albright and Mann, Matthew, 243. For why Jesus could teach his atoning death yet emphasize the kingdom theme more, see Hengel, Atonement, 34.
Hooker, Servant, 80–82, also disputes the background of Isa 53 here, but see Jeremias's case, cited below. Doeve, Hermeneutics, 147–48, demonstrates how rabbinic exegetical methods would naturally connect Isa 53 with Dan 7:13–14; but such methods could connect many texts once the connection accorded with tradition.
The most thorough work, despite criticisms on specific points, remains Jeremias, Eucharistic Words; for discussion of the authenticity of the base-form, cf. also Davies, Paul, 244–50; attested in Pauline as well as Synoptic tradition, this appears one of the securest traditions in the Gospels if theological biases against it are set aside.
Pace Jeremias, «άμνός,» 339; C. J. Ball (cited in Bernard, John, 1:44–46, who disagrees with him).
Haenchen, John, 1:152–53; also Barrett, John, 176.
E.g., Gilbert, «Notes,» 46; by contrast, Barrett, «Old Testament,» 155–56, suspects that nuances from various texts are blended together here. The LXX uses a different term (cf. Bernard, John, 1:47), but the Fourth Gospel is not bound to the LXX (Freed, Quotations, passim).
Black, «Messiah in Levi,» 321–22, finds an allusion to priestly sacrifice, father offering son, and possibly Isa 53in T. Levi 18 and suggests that if T. Levi 18 is not a Christian work, it мая supply the background for John 1:29, 36.
E.g., Schnackenburg, John, 1:299; Ashby, «Lamb»; Grigsby, «Cross»; Lightfoot, Gospel, 97; Keener, «Lamb,» 641.
E.g., Schnackenburg, John, 1:300; Brown, John, 1:60–63; Carey, «Lamb»; cf. Pancaro, Law, 348–49.
Enz, «Exodus,» 214, sees Exod 29:38–46 as the background. Pagans would also understand the sacrificial use of lambs (Ovid Tristia 1.10.43, though he wanted to give a larger sacrifice, 1.10.44).
Longenecker, Christology, 50.
E.g., Gilbert, «Notes,» 46; Bruce, Time, 48–49.
Morris, John, 145, correctly citing Josephus Ant. 2.312 (which calls the Passover a «sacrifice»), although in an earlier work Morris saw here merely sacrificial terminology in general (Cross, 143; contrast Morris, John, 146). Bokser, «Passover,» thinks political redemption more central in an earlier paschal tradition (m. Pesah. 10) than in later texts.
One мая read Gen 22:9–13 as a type of the Passover, the redemption of the first-born; note that the ram functions as a «lamb» (22:7–8; cf. Tg. Ps.-J. on Lev 22:27; p. Ned. 1:3, §1, early third century, comparing the sacrificial lamb with Abraham's ram; cf. the unrelated later tradition of the patriarchs as unblemished lambs in Pesiq. Rab. 48:3). Some see Isaac typology in John 1as well; cf. Braun, «Sacrifice»; Grigsby, «Cross,» 51–80; Swetnam, Isaac, 84; Bruce, Time, 48–49.
Koester, Symbolism, 199.
Cf. Turner, «Atonement»; Watt, «Lam.»
See comments of Selwyn, Peter, 146.
Probably the Passover lamb (Minear, Images, 102–3), with possible additional allusions to Isa 53(Taylor, Atonement, 36; Hillyer, «Lamb»). Cf. 1Cor 5:7; also Philo, who interpreted Passover allegorically as deliverance from passions to virtue (Sacrifices 63).
Exod 29:12; Lev 4:7,18, 25, 30, 34; 5:9; 8:15; 9:9. Cf. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 135; Ladd, Last Things, 39. For martyrs as sacrifices, see also 4 Macc 9:24.
Some who argue that the Baptist meant it otherwise concede this sense in the Gospel, e.g., Barrett, «Lamb,» 218.
Kraeling, John, 127, noting the Fourth Gospel's «anti-Baptist polemic,» which must subordinate the Baptist because of the Gospel's high Christology (p. 128).
Probably uttered before his recognition of Jesus. Kraeling thinks that this is an angel-like heavenly figure from Dan 7, not the earthly Jesus (Kraeling, John, 57); given the variety of combinations in early Jewish eschatological speculation, however, the Baptist need not have viewed a heavenly Son of Man and an earthly prince as mutually exclusive. «The mighty one» functions as a title for God in Isa 1:24; 10:21, 34; 49:26; 60:16; Jer 32:18; 2 Bar. 25:4; 32:1, 6; 34but is not necessarily implied in the Baptist's language (even less is Harnack's allusion to the morning star, Ramsay, Luke, 232).
One мая read Mark 1and Matt 3(following Mark) as if the Spirit's descent on Jesus was only his personal vision (contrast Luke 3:21–22), but the voice from heaven is public in all four gospels (Mark 1:11; Matt 3:17; Luke 3:22), suggesting that we take the vision the same way.
In Greek the term is pleonastic (emphatic but superfluous; see Anderson, Glossary, 102) despite its value for John's vision motif.
Tg. Onq. on Exod 12:43; Tg. Ps.-J. on Exod 12:43; the Targum translations also cite Mek. 15 on Exod 12:43; and Mek. de R. Simeon b. Yohai on Exod 12:43.
Thus Bernard, John, 1:44–46, suggests that the author expressed the Baptist's messianic confession in his own words.
The scapegoat, however, would be a more obvious allusion than the intercessor of 2 En. 64(in Boring et a1., Commentary, 247); but αίρω is not used in LXX of Lev 16, though it is a common term (twenty-three times in John alone).
Nock, «Vocabulary,» 137.
Various clues, such as the potentially theological use of «follow» in 1:40, could shift the case, but even their cumulative weight seems inadequate for certainty. «Walking» might possibly allow for peripatetic instruction (see comment on 1:37–39), which was common (hence the name of Aristotlés school; see Aune, Environment, 186; Robbins, Jesus, 171,178).
See Dodd, Tradition, 274; Stauffer, Jesus, 65; Lane, Mark, 52; Kraeling, John, 55, summarizing Lohmeyer, «Überlieferung,» and K. Grobel, «After Me.» On the Baptist's direct influence on Jesus, see further Michaels, Servant, 1–24.
Kraeling, John, 55.
Blomberg, Reliability, 79, following Meier, Marginal Jew, 2:116–20.
Ibid., 56–57, although we doubt his contention that this Son of Man was viewed as an ange1.
Meier, Marginal Jew, 2:34–35, doubts that John saw this announcement in divine terms.
Luke 14:7–11; 1QS 2.19–23; lQSa 2.11–17; t. Sank 7:8; b. Hor. 13b, bar.; p. Ketub. 12:3, §6; Sanh. 1:2, §13; Tacan. 4:2, §§8–9; Ter. 8:7; Plutarch T.T. 1.2.3, Mor. 616E; T.T. 1.2.4, Mor. 617B; Apuleius Metam. 10.7; cf. 1QS 6.10–13 (with 6.26–27; Josephus War 2.132; and comments of Marcus, «Mebaqqer,» 302; cf. p. Roš Haš. 2:6, §9). In current Middle Eastern custom, see Eickelman, Middle East, 23–24.
Philo Contemp1. Life. 66ff.; Ps.-Phoc. 220–222; t. Meg. 3:24; Sanh. 8:1; p. Tacan. 4:2, §12; Lycurgus 14 in Plutarch S.S., Mor. 227F; on respecting elders in general, cf. Sir 8:6; Wis 4:8–9; 1Tim 5:1–2; 4 Bar. 5:20; Syr. Men. 11–14, 76–93 (though cf. 170–172); t. cAbod. Zar. 1:19; Pythagoras in Diogenes Laertius 8.1.22–23.
For the importance of the eyewitness component in «witness,» see, e.g., Aune, Environment, 81; Painter, John, 8; Trites, Witness, 4–19,136–39.
Michaels, Servant, 36. Cranfield, «Baptism,» 58, argues that it was a vision but a real communication to Jesus; Bultmann, History, 248, thinks it describes an objective happening as in Matthew and Luke, but only because it is a faith legend.
Pace Hill, Prophecy, 59; Johnston, Spirit-Paraclete, 18; cf. Bürge, Community, 52; Borg, Vision, 41,53 η. 19; Anderson, Mark, 75; Kelber, Story, 18–19; Hooker, Message, 13; Robinson, Problem, 81; Kingsbury, Structure, 14.
Alongside the Baptist; cf. 15:26–27; Charles, «Witness.»
Cf. also the christological inclusio of 1:1,18; 20(elsewhere, e.g., the sympathetic, choruslike εκκλησία, or public assembly, at the opening and close of Chariton Chaereas and Callirhoe).
Cf. also dramatic language for personal deliverances (e.g. Ps 18:7–16 in context and some Qumran hymns, perhaps including the controversial «messianic» text 1 QH 3, which depicts the psalmist's sufferings in terms of eschatological messianic woes). Mark's heaven rending corresponds with the temple curtain's rending (Rhoads and Michie, Mark, 46), but John omits this scene for other reasons than his own omission of the veil (Mark's connection is subtle anyway).
For John, Jesus' entire ministry was a sort of Moses-like transfiguration (1:14).
Frequent in rabbinic texts, e.g., Sipre Deut. 357.10.3; b. B. Bat. 58a, 73b, 85b; cErub. 54b; Mak. 23b; Pesah. 114a (= Hu1. 44a); Sanh. 104b; Šabb. 88a; p. cAbod. Zar. 3:1, §2; Hor. 3:5, §3; Sotah 9:16, §2; Tacan. 4:5, §10; Lev. Rab. 19:5–6; Lam. Rab. 1:16, §50; Ruth Rab. 6:4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 9:2, 11:16,17:5; reportedly Tannaitic sources in b. Hu1. 44a; Ketub. 104a; Šabb. 33b; Sotah 21a; Ecc1. Rab. 7:12, §1; Song Rab. 8:9, §3 (but many of the attributions are presumably part of later haggadah). For nonrabbinic parallels, see comment on 12:28. The connection cannot be limited to an Aqedah allusion (contrast Stegner, «Baptism»).
E.g., Hooker, Message, 12–13; cf. Gundry, Matthew, 53.
B. Pesah. 94a; Hag. 13a, anachronistically attributed to ben Zakkai; similarly R. Isaac in b. Sanh. 39b. Although the evidence is quite late, it might be relevant that the bat qol could have eschatological ramifications in some very late rabbinic sources (Lev. Rab. 27:2).
A bat qol was, of course, open to challenge, particularly on halakah: p. Móed Qat. 3:1, §6; Kadushin, Mind, 261–63; texts in Hill, Prophecy, 34 (though cf. p. Sotah 7:5, §5).
See, e.g., Keener, Spirit, 55–59.
Theon Progymn. 5.52–56. This embarrassment is often held as one guarantee of its historicity; see Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 11; Jeremias, Theology, 45; Meier, Marginal Jew, 2:100–5; Stanton, Gospel Truth, 164–66; pace Bultmann, Tradition, 251.
Satterthwaite, «Acts,» 345, cites in this respect Lucian Hist. 56–57; Cicero De or. 3.27.104–105; 3.53.202–203; Quintilian 8.4; Longinus Subi 11–12; cf. Lucian Hist. 6.
Often pointed out; e.g., Burkitt, History, 225–26; Smith, John (1999), 70.
Ancient cosmologies differed considerably from our own; many Greeks held the upper heavens to be purer than lower regions (e.g., Plato Phaedrus 248AB; Diogenes Laertius 8.1.27, 31; Philo Flight 62; cf. Aristotle Heav. 1.2, 268bl l-269al9), Romans located gods there (Ovid Metam. 1.168–176), and Jewish apocalypses report God's throne there (2 En. 20:1–3; 3 En. 1:2; T. Levi 2–3; b. Hag. 12b-13a; Rev 4:2–5; see esp. Lincoln, Paradise).
For their function in Neo-Assyrian treaty making, see Begg, «Doves»; for peace and harmlessness, see, e.g., Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 6.12.2.
Πελεΐάς in Aelian 11.27, perhaps referring to the oracle at Dodona (cf. Dodonás doves in Herodotus Hist. 2.57). A dove functions as a decoy in Aelian 13.17; birds often functioned as omens (e.g., Homer II 10.274–275). Doves could also function as carriers (Homer Od. 12.62–63).
Doves often appear with grapes in Jewish art (Goodenough, Symbols, 1:156–57), but an implicit link with 15on this basis would be extremely improbable.
The dove could represent Aphrodite (Plutarch Isis, Mor. 379D; Ovid Metam. 13.673–674; Statius Thebaid 5.58,63; Helen or her daughters in Lycophron Alex. 86–87,103; for Athene disguising herself as a bird, see Homer Od. 3.371–372; 22.239–240), was sacred in some Syrian religion (Lucian Syr. d. 54, in Grant, Religions, 119), and in artwork often symbolized the realm of a goddess, which was transferred to wisdom and hence to the Spirit in later Christian art (Schroer, «Geist»). For a survey of uses in pagan art, see Goodenough, Symbols, 8:27–37; for Christian material, 8:37–41, and other Jewish material, 8:41–46.
4 Ezra 5:26; LA.B. 39(23:7); b. Šabb. 49a, 130a; Exod. Rab. 20:6; Song Rab. 2:14, §§1–2. Johnston, Parables, 595, cites Mek. BeS. 3:86ff.; 7:27ff. but notes that it is not frequent enough to constitute a standard metaphor. Although Augustine applied it to the Spirit (Tract. Ev. Jo. 6.13.1), he noted some applied it to the church (6.11.2).
B. Ber. 3a; cf. Abrahams, Studies, 1:47. One мая compare the prophetic doves of Dodona (alluded to in Sib. Or. 1.242–252; the term is different from here).
Abrahams, Studies, 1:48–49 (followed by Barrett, Spirit, 38; cf. Taylor, Mark, 160–61), cites only Gen. Rab. 2 and Ya1. Gen. 1(where the interpretation seems dominated more by exegetical principles than by standard tradition); Lachs, Commentary, 47, adds b. Hag. 15a (or the Spirit as an eagle in t. Hag. 2:5). A link with the Spirit naturally became common in early post-Synoptic Christian tradition, however (Odes So1. 24:1; 28:1; and the interpolation in T. Levi 18). The Hebrew Bible does sometimes portray God as a bird (e.g., Ps 91:3–4).
E.g., Lane, Mark, 57.
Against the arguments of Odeberg, Gospel, 33–36; Lightfoot, Gospel, 104; Dahl, «History,» 136, which effectively assume that the Johannine community would more readily read the Jacob narrative through late rabbinic tradition on the Hebrew than through the LXX.
Gen 8:8–12; cf. 4 Bar. 7(which develops from Gen 8 the image of messenger-birds); Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 6.19.2–4; pace Bürge, Community, 57. Johnston, Spirit-Paraclete, 20, suggests a combination of Gen 8:8–9 and Isa 11:1–2. Writing on Mark 1:10, Garnet, «Baptism,» connects the dove with Noah, Noah with Enoch, and Enoch with the Son of Man; but this scheme of associations is too complex, and the last two links are particularly tenuous. In early Christian literature, see 1Pet 3:20–21; cf. 2Pet 3:6; Matt 24:38. For a connection with Gen 1and its eschatological interpretation in the DSS, see Allison, «Baptism.»
Turner, Spirit, 59 n. 5, is surely right that the Baptist would not have seen the Spirit rest «permanently» on Jesus; but in view of Johannine usage elsewhere (3:36; 19:31), the Gospel audience would probably understand the term this way.
Lampe, Seal, 35. Cf. the phrase «The Spirit came upon so-and-so» in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Num 11:25–26; 24:2; Judg 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6,19; 15:14; 1Sam 10:6,10; 11:6; 16:13; 19:20,23); cf. also, e.g., Josephus Ant. 6.166; L.A.B. 28:6.
In Mek. Pisha 1:154–155 (Lauterbach, 1:14), the Spirit of the Lord rested on the prophets, and «rest» could function as a designation for the Spirit of prophecy. In t. Pisha 2the Spirit of prophecy «rested» on Rahab.
n Mek. Bes. 3:82–83; cf. Sir. 7.17–18 [Lauterbach, 2:55]), the Holy Spirit rested on Israel when they came out of Egypt.
Hill, Prophecy, 49.
Stronstad, Theology, 20. The Spirit nowhere appears with μένω in the LXX, although καταβαίνω appears in Num 11:17, 25; Judg 14:19. Dowd, «Theology,» 333, contrasts the remaining with the tabernacle (Exod 33:9).
E.g., Colwell and Titus, Spirit; Cerinthus in Irenaeus Haer. 1.26.1; Hippolytus Haer. 10.17. Even in Mark, this reading is open to challenge. Cf. Morton Smith's view that Jesus' Spirit reception was originally a deification story like some in magical papyri (Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 165); this fails to reckon with the Palestinian Jewish origin of the story (see above) and the retention of its traditional Jewish meaning as late in the history of tradition as Mark 1:9–11.
Bürge, Community, 55,71–110 (esp. 81–87); Lampe, Seal, 35; Turner, Spirit, 59. They appeal especially to Isa 11(which the rabbis took messianically; Bonsirven, Judaism, 218); Jeremias, Theology, 54–55, appeals to Isa 42(as in Matt 12:18). For the association of the Spirit and Messiah in Qumran texts, see Chevallier, VEsprit, 134–43, though he wrongly attributes this to gnostic influence on the relevant texts; he treats Γ. Levi 18:2–14; T. Jud. 24 but correctly warns, «Ces hymnes sont … une prophétie ex eventu de la venue, de Jésus-Messie accomplissant les Ecritures» (125–33).
Cf. in Isaacs, Spirit, 47, citing Philo Flight 132; Moses 1.175 for Moses being the Spirit's «recipient par excellence" and Giants 47 for the Spirit abiding with him longer than with others.
Whitacre, Polemic, 98; see the thesis of Keener, «Pneumatology,» passim.
See, e.g., Mattill, Last Things, 4; Robinson, Studies, 161; Dunn, Baptism, 42; cf. Minear, Kingdom, 135. Tannehill, Sword, 145; idem, Luke, 1:251, connects with the context of division. For authenticity, see Hill, Prophecy, 67.
Isa 26:11; 66:15–16,24; cf. 2 Thess 1:6–7 and many other early Christian sources; cf. Ps 97:3; Nah 1:6; Zeph 1(which readers could have taken eschatologically, although historic judgments stood in the foreground); or for noneschatological judgment, e.g., Num 11:1; Jer 4:4; 15:14; 17:4; 21:12; Ezek 21:31; 22:20–21. The Semitic expression «wrath burned» is common in the Hebrew Bible, and the cognate appears, e.g., in the Moabite Mesha inscription (ANET 320–21).
Chaff did not burn eternally (Ladd, Theology, 37, cites Isa 1:31; 66:24; Jer 7:20); that Q's fire is unquenchable suggests a particular Jewish image of judgment as eternal (the worst sinners in 4 Macc 9:9; 12:12; t. Sanh. 13:5; probably 1 En. 108:5–6; L.A.B. 38:4; Ascen. Isa. 1:2; 3 En. 44:3; p. Hag. 2:2, §5; Sanh. 6:6, §2; Plutarch D. V. 31, Mor. 567DE). There was no unanimous Jewish view; see the probably first-century dispute in 'Abot R. Nat. 41 A; cf. also 36 A. Matthew's view is more obviously Jewish than Lukés (cf. Milikowsky, «Gehenna»; Goulder, Matthew, 63), though Lukés Hellenistic contextualization does not abandon future eschatology (Acts 17:31–32; 23:6; 24:15; contrast to some extent, e.g., Josephus Ant. 18.14, 18; War 2.163; Philo Sacrifices 5, 8).
In the most common rabbinic view, most sinners endure it temporarily till destruction (cf. 1QS 4.13–14; Gen. Rab. 6:6; most sinners in t. Sanh. 13:4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 10:4; Pesiq. Rab. 11:5) or release (Num. Rab. 18:20; other texts are unclear, e.g., Sir 7:16; Sipre Num. 40.1.9; Sipre Deut. 311.3.1; 357.6.7; 'Abot R. Nat. 16 A; 32, §69 B; 37, §95 B). Many Jewish storytellers conflated Gehenna with the Greek Tartarus (e.g., Sib. Or. 1.10, 101–103, 119; 4.186; 5.178; 11.138; cf. Gk. Apoc. Ezra 4:22; b. Git. 56b-57a; p. Hag. 2:2, §5; Sanh. 6:6, §2; Apoc. Pet. 5–12; on the relationship between Jewish and Greek concepts, cf. also Serrano, «Sheol»).
Although God's «Spirit» means more than «purifying wind» here, perhaps John's baptism partly symbolized cleansing by the spirit of judgment and burning (Isa 4:4; Mal 3:2) that would deliver from eschatological fire (so Dunn, «Spirit,» 695); Barnard, «Matt. Ill,» 107, suggests the Jewish and Iranian image of a fiery stream.
Keener, «Pneumatology,» 65–69.
See Kraeling, John, 58–59, against detractors citing the obscure ignorance of Baptist disciples in Acts 19:2. That they were unaware of any Holy Spirit is unlikely, given the prevalence of teachings about the Holy Spirit in early Judaism (with or without the Baptist).
Flowers, «Pneumati»; Manson, Sayings, 41 (citing Acts 19:1–6 against Spirit); cf. Kraeling, John, 61–63; Bruce, «Matthew,» 84; for the wind in winnowing, e.g., Ps 1:4; Isa 17:13; 29:5; 41:15–16; Hos 13:3; Lev. Rab. 28:2; Ecc1. Rab. 5:15, §1.
See Bruce, «Spirit,» 50.
Aune, Prophecy, 132, citing 1QS 4:20–21; for further documentation, see Keener, «Pneumatology,» 65–69.
Cf. Robinson, Problem, 74. For the essential identity between John's and Christian baptism, cf. Bultmann, Theology 1:39.
On the difference, e.g., Meier, Matthew, 25; Parratt, «Spirit»; on their similarity (Christian baptism and Spirit baptism; John's мая function paradigmatically, but this is not in view here) cf. Beasley-Murray, «Spirit»; idem, Baptism, 275–78; Richardson, Theology, 357.
See Dunn, Baptism, 33–34.
Robinson, Problem, 76–77.
The aorist here might contrast with Jesus' eschatological baptism; cf. Botha, "Ebaptisa," who describes it as a «timeless aorist.»
Dunn, Baptism, 24; cf. Beasley-Murray, Baptism, 290; White, Initiation, 87; Robinson, Problem, 9; Hooker, Message, 11; Robinson, Studies, 169.
See more fully Keener, «Pneumatology,» 77–84; less eschatological segments of early Judaism stressed this less, but biblical traditions were clear (e.g., Isa 44:3; 59:21; Ezek 36:27; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28–29).
On the prophetic Spirit, see Keener, «Pneumatology,» 69–77.
On the Spirit of purification in Judaism, see ibid., 65–69.
In Matthew, cf., e.g., Meier, Matthew, 25.
Whitacre, Polemic, 98.
Jeremiah in 4 Bar. 3:5; apparently David in a manuscript of Ps 152(but omitted in other Syriac MSS); Israel in Syriac Ps 155(perhaps also 1 En. 39:7); the righteous in T. Job 4:11/9. Cf., however, the «Chosen» or «Elect» who judges on the throne in Similitudes of Enoch (e.g., 1 En. 39:6; 45:3,4; 49:2; 51:3, 5; 52:6,9; 61:5); 4Q534 1.10 applies it to some eschatological leader.
E.g., Brown, John, 1:55; Ladd, Theology, 44. Ross, «Titles,» 281, prefers «chosen» because John favors variety in his christological terms in the first chapter.
Metzger, Commentary, 200. Michaels notes (John, 18) that John did not alter «holy one» to son in 6(compare Matt 16with Mark 8:29).
Contrast Cullmann, Christology, 72–73, who contends that only John preserves this original form of the declaration, which he derives from Isa 42(which does fit the context of Spirit bestowal; see below).
The arguments for this position are summarized in Marshall, «Son or Servant,» 327; Marshall argues (pp. 327–32) that υιός is origina1.
One мая note, e.g., the probable use of Isa 53 in Mark 10(as advocated above; Moulder, «Background,» regards Luke 22as Jesus' most explicit reference to himself as Servant).
Cranfield, «Baptism,» 61.
On Acts 13:32–33 (interpreting the psalm concerning Jesus' resurrection/enthronement), cf. Dahl, «Abraham,» 148; Goulder, Acts, 53; Hengel, Son, 23. Cf. Midr. Pss. 2, §9 (messianic, after the woes).
See, e.g., Longenecker, Exegesis, 177. The emphasis of Lindars, Apologetic, 211, on the metaphysical as over against the resurrection interpretation of Heb 1:5, appears to me mistaken. Ps 2:7–8 and 110are also linked in 1 Clem. 36.3–5 (ANF 1:15), but Clement is probably dependent on Hebrews here, citing Heb 1:3–4 and also Ps 104(Heb 1:7).
E.g., Marshall, «Son or Servant,» 332–33; but this is also the view of nearly all the commentators below.
See Bright, History, 225–26; Harrelson, Cult, 86–87; cf. De Vaux, Israel, 109, for comparison with ancient coronations. Later Judaism generally regarded the psalm as specifically messianic (e.g., b. Sukkah 52a; Longenecker, Christology, 113).
See Kim, «Mark,» 92.
Kingsbury, Christology, 66.
Marshall, «Son or Servant,» 335; Jeremias, Theology, 53–54; Kingsbury, Christology, 40, 65; Bruce, History, 168; Hurtado, Mark, 6; Schweizer, Matthew, 37; Robinson, Studies, 162; Taylor, Mark, 162 (with Isa 44:2); Bürge, Community, 61. We do not here contest the possibility of influence by the language («echoes»; Robinson, Taylor), but doubt that the phrasing here is intended to evoke the picture of the Servant (in contrast to Matthew).
Hooker, Servant, 72; cf. Anderson, Mark, 79–80.
Hooker, Servant, 72–73.
Schweizer, Matthew, 38.
Cf., e.g., Prabhu, Quotations.
Pace Rodd, «Spirit.» Matthew changes the more Semitic «finger» to fit his own context, perhaps as midrash on Isa 42 just cited; Luke includes the Spirit whenever he can, suggesting it was there missing from his source (cf. also Schweizer, Matthew, 287; Gundry, Matthew, 235).
Best, Mark, 81. Others admit it as probable (e.g., Marshall, «Son or Servant,» 335; Kingsbury, Christology, 65) or find echoes (Taylor, Mark, 162).
Cf. Marshall, «Son or Servant,» 328.
Dodd, Parables, 130 n. 1; Ladd, Theology, 164; Schweizer, Mark, 41.
Matthew and Luke seem to have followed the standard biographical procedure of following one primary (Mark) and another secondary source (presumably Q) before weaving in material around it, whereas John goes his own way. See introduction.
An almost certainly historical tradition; see Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 98–101. Variations in the lists of names support this, indicating that the number existed before the lists were standardized (Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 101). The names мая have varied because people often had multiple names (Acts 1:23; CIJ 1:24, §30; 1:279, §279; 2:111, §879; CP J 2:140, 143, 146–147, §§261, 269–270,274–276; 2:151,153–154,156, §§298,304,311,321; 3:9, §453; see Leon, Jews, 107,111–12); cf. also OT examples, which, regardless of their origins, were by the early Christian period regarded as from one source (e.g., Horeb as Sinai, Exod 3:1; 19:11; 24:13; Jethro as Reuel, Exod 2:18; 4:18; 18:1–12; Num 10:29). On nicknames, see below; nor is twelve an exorbitant number for disciples (e.g., Diogenes Laertius 8.1.39).
Blomberg, Reliability, 80.
Dodd, Tradition, 303–4; cf. the slightly different parallel between John and the five disciples of b. Sanh. 43a also in Bammel, «Name.»
E.g., Johanan ben Zakkai in m. 'Abot 2:8.
Dodd, Tradition, 304.
Whitacre, Polemic, 83, emphasizes the Johannine Jesus' «almost mysterious silence.»
Talbert, John, 83–84, finds parallels for both forms of drawing disciples– another's witness and Jesus' special character (1:36–39, 40–42, 45–49; Epictetus Diatr. 3.23.27) and calling disciples (Plat. Apo1. 19E; Diogenes Laertius 2.48).
Goodman, State, 78–79, citing R. Judah in m. cErub. 3:5.
Diogenes Laertius 6.1.2.
Diogenes Laertius 7.1.3. In less permanent fashion, Socrates allegedly sent a student to hear another's lecture, then sent him back with more questions (Xenophon Mem. 3.1.1–3, 11). Greek adult students were free to move from one teacher to another (Cicero Brutus 91.316) or even attend different lectures on the same days (Eunapius Lives 469).
Other Palestinian fishing cooperatives existed; see Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 69; Applebaum, «Life,» 685. Though fishermen were not rich landowners, they «were among the more economically mobile» members of ancient society (Freyne, Galilee, 241), working a critical industry around the lake of Galilee (see Safrai, «Home,» 747).
Also, e.g., Barrett, John, 180; Fenton, John, 42. «Following» also appears literally, e.g., in Pesiq. Rab Kah. 18:5.
Haenchen, John, 1:158.
Culpepper, School, 222, following Fascher, «Jesus,» esp. 327–31, and citing 1 Kgs 19:21.
Wilkins, Discipleship, 42; see more fully pp. 11–42; cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 6:4. See also Robbins, Jesus, 94–99, on Greco-Roman teacher language in Philo and Josephus; for OT prophetic models of discipleship along with some other Jewish models, see esp. Wilkins, Discipleship, 43–91. Borg, Vision, 48, is too narrow when he contends that discipleship fits the «charismatic stream of Judaism»; it fits scribal tradition as wel1.
Franzmann and Klinger, «Stories.»
Charlesworth, Disciple, 332, based on the inclusio with ch. 21 (on which he follows Ruckstuhl, «Jünger,» 392) added by one who belonged to the community. Evans, John, 17, suggests John son of Zebedee.
Ridderbos, John, 83–84 (who thinks this fits the author's claim to be an eyewitness, probably «from the beginning,» p. 3).
To follow unquestioningly even at another's request was a mark of humility (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 18:5), hence considered appropriate for those of lower social status. For the interchange here, cf. also Whitacre, Polemic, 83; Schnackenburg, John, 1:308.
Given Palestinian Judaism's diversity before 70, no one supervised accreditation and anyone could have followers (Cohen, Maccabees, 122), no matter how much traditions in common Judaism normally dictated some standards (cf. John 7:15; Acts 4:13). «Rabbi» («my master») was usually simply thus a respectful title for «teacher» (Matt 23:7–8; see the pre-70 ossuary inscription in Brown, John, 1:74); by John's day, however, «Rabbi» had taken on more specific nuances and мая play into Johannine polemic.
See Davies, Sermon, 134; Vermes, Jesus and Judaism, 30. Those who deny Jesus the status of «rabbi» do not deny that he was a popular teacher (wisdom sage or prophetic teacher; Freyne, Galilee, 249–50; Hengel, Leader, 42–50,55–56; Jeremias, Theology, 77), and those who allow him the title also distinguish him from other rabbis (Stein, Method 1–3; Cohen, Maccabees, 122); cf. further Borg, Vision, 97–124 (more briefly Meeks, Moral World, 117) on Jesus as a sage. Jesus' ministry bore affinities to rabbis, eschatological preachers, Cynic-Stoic preachers, etc. (Davies, Setting, 422–25; against limits in, e.g., Smith, Magician, 22–23).
Not exalted (as דנ for Moses in Tg. Ps.-J. to Deut 9:19). John translates both «Rabbi» and «Rabboni» on their first appearances in the Gospel, but it мая be noteworthy that these also constitute the first and last appearances of the «Rabb-» title, which occurs nine times in the Gospel, always for Jesus or (once, 3:26) for John. Tilborg, Ephesus, 99–100, provides information on the office of «teacher» in Ephesus, but it would have been widespread.
See Keener, Matthew, 45–51.
Some purist stylists objected to including foreign words in their works; see, e.g., [Virgil] Cata1. 7.
Cf. Latinus's question of the Trojans and subsequent hospitality in Virgil Aen. 7.197,202.
Jewish texts especially speak of «following after» God (rather than onés own desires); see Helfmeyer, «Gott.»
See, e.g., Wis 1:1; Jub. 1:15; 21:2; Matt 6:33; in the DSS, e.g., 1QS 1.1–2; 5:9,11; CD 1.10; 6.6; 4Q185 frg. 1–2, co1. 1, lines 8–12; 4Q416 frg. 2 (with 4Q417 in Wise, Scrolls, 384–85), co1. 3, lines 12–14; cf. Garcia de la Fuente, «Bûsqueda»; «seekers of smooth things,» negatively, 4QpNah. 2.2, 4; 3.3. For Wisdom, e.g., Sir 51:13–14,21; Wis 8:2; the law, Sir 35:15; for seeking out a prophet, cf. Sipre Deut. 62.1.1; on the application to study of Torah, see CD 6.7, and esp. Culpepper, School, 291–99, with John 5:39; 7(pp. 298–99). On seeking and «finding» (cf. John 1:41,45) God, cf. Wis 1:2; Jub. 1:15; Matt 7:7; a prophet, cf. Sipre Deut. 62.1.1.
Stibbe, Gospel, 1, finds an inclusio between 1and 20:15. For this as Johannine discipleship language, see Collins, Written, 52, 94–127.
For reticence in responding, as in Luke 24:28–29, see, e.g., Bailey, Peasant Eyes, 108. One might protest that another of higher status has no time (Ovid Metam. 5.333–334) and await their assurance to the contrary before proceeding (5.335–336). A teacher might converse in a low-key manner to arouse the hearers' interest to learn more (e.g., Philostratus Hrk. 1.1–5.6).
See Liefeld, «Preacher,» 223, noting Dio Chrysostom as an exception due to his exile. Most of Socrates' students wished to be with him as much as possible (Xenophon Mem. 4.1.1; 4.2.40). Musonius Rufus advocated this approach (11, p. 84.9–14; cf. 6, p. 52.7).
Gerhardsson, Origins, 16–17.
See abundant evidence in Young, Parables, 214; Safrai, «Home,» 762; among Romans, though usually inside, see Jeffers, World, 255. Vermes, Religion, 46, notes some meager evidence for «'wandering Galilean' Bible interpreters.»
Robbins, Jesus, xxi, 101, 105, contrasting Greek teachers and the portrait of Jesus in Mark. But even most Greek teachers lectured in particular locations. See also local teachers in current Middle Eastern communities (Eickelman, Middle East, 141).
See Watson, «Education,» 312. Although specific buildings probably were used in the Mishnaic Beit ha Midrash, the scant evidence (cf. Goodman, State, 75) need not require formal structures exclusively devoted to study in this period.
Evidence is unclear as to whether Jesus' ministry was seasonal (Sanders, Figure, 110).
Horsley, Galilee, 192.
Safrai, «Home,» 762. On teachers traveling, see also Safrai, «Education,» 965.
See Liefeld, «Preacher,» 229. For emphasis on traveling with those who hold divine favor, see t. cAbod. Zar. 1:17; Šabb. 17:2; on finding a good traveling companion to talk with, see Aulus Gellius 17.14.4; cf. Babrius 15.1–4; Plutarch Cicero 39.4; Luke 24:14–17; Hock, Context, 28.
Following the use of time in the Synoptics (Mark 15:25,33; Matt 27:45–46; Luke 23:44) and in Jewish texts (e.g., Exod. Rab. 41:7), i.e., reckoning from dawn around 6 A.M. Apart from legal contracts, Romans counted from sunrise as well; noon was VI (not XII) on their sundials (Morris, John, 158 n. 90; cf. Michaels, John, 20).
Different peoples reckoned days from different points (Aulus Gellius 3.2.4–6); a Jewish «day» began at nightfall, but a Roman «day» technically began at midnight (Plutarch R.Q. 84, Mor. 284C; Aulus Gellius 3.2.7). Thus Bruns, «Time,» 286, notes that literally «staying a day» with Jesus on the Jewish method (which he favors, pp. 286–87) is only two hours.
The so-called Egyptian method of reckoning; Walker, «Hours.» Westcott, John, 282, thinks that John follows the practice of reckoning civil days from midnight (cf. Matt 27:19; Mart. Po1. 21), though admitting that Romans, like Jews and Greeks, normally reckoned hours from sunrise.
Hanhart, «Tenth Hour,» 345, suggests that John had two fixed points on his festival calendar, with John 19 to be read on Nisan 14 and John 1 on Nisan 15.
Casson, Travel 176–77 (though this was probably the exception); on variation in hour lengths through the year on Roman clocks, cf. Carcopino, Life, 149–50.
Cullmann, Time, 44, explains such references to time as indicating Johns special interest in Jesus' life as a redemptive event; but his argument that John otherwise betrays less interest in geography or chronology than the Synoptics is mistaken.
E.g., 4:29; 11:34; «come» (δευρο) in T. Ab. 7:1; 14:5; 16:4A; Gen 29:21. «Come and do or contemplate such-and-such» or «Go do or contemplate such-and-such» was idiomatic, e.g., Jas 4:13; 5:1; Epictetus Diatr. 1.2.29; 1.6.37; 1.7.10; 1.8.14; 1.11.25; 1.16.9; 1.18.28; 1.23.9; 2.4.9; 2.10.21; Plutarch Mus. 2, Mor. 1131E; Athenaeus Deipn. 11.459–460 (Greek texts reading age, etc.); Cicero Tusc. 3.20.49; Horace Sat. 1.10.51; 2.3.152; Martial Epigr. 1.42 (most Latin texts read age or ferrum). For «come and testify,» t. Sebu. 2:12, 13, 14; 4:1; «come and I will teach you,» b. Menah. 109b (cf. Sank 81b); «come and learn,» Sib. Or. 3.562. One мая compare the American English idiom «Come see (this).» Cf. apocalyptic language (e.g., Rev 4:1; 17:1; 21:9; J En. 14:24–25; 15:1; 2 En. 21:3; cf. Plutarch D.V. 33, Mor. 568A), especially when used in a rabbinic context (3 En. 41:1; 42:1; 43:1; 44:1; 47:1; 48A).
Schnackenburg, John, 1:309; against Barrett, John, 181, who notes its commonness in rabbinic literature but finds «no special significance here.»
For clearly nonhalakic usage, see esp. t. Tacan. 2:13; 'Abot R. Nat. 13, §32; 18, §40 B; b. cAbod. Zar. 26a; B. Bat. 46a; 73b; 74a; Bek. 28b; Ber. 25a; Šabb. 30b.
E.g., m. 'Abot2(attributed to ben Zakkai); Mek. Pisha 1.156; t. B. Mesica 6:17; Šabb. 1:14; Tacan. 2:13; 'Abot R. Nat. 11, §28; 13, §32; 18, §40 B; Sipre Num. 88.2.1; Sipre Deut. 43.6.8; b. cArak. 15a, bar.; 30b; B. Bat. 88b; Ber. 5a; B. Mesica 71a, bar.; cErub. 19a; 54a; Hu1. 54b; Ketub. 105a; Qidd. 20a; 31a; Meg. 15a; Menah. 72a, bar.; 99b; Pesah. 68b, bar.; 119a; Sank 22a; 24a; 108a; Šabb. 53b; Sotah 5ab; 13a, bar.; 36a; Tacan. 8a; 23b; Yebam. 63b; Yoma 57a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 2:7; 13:10; 18:5; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 1:16; Deut. Rab. 2:37; Ruth Rab. 3:5; Lam. Rab. 1.5.32.
As in Neusner's translation (4:39) of t. B. Qam. 7:10.
Sample notes from my own reading through the Talmud: b. cArak. lib; 12a; 2ab; 24b; 25b; 26b; cAbod. Zar. 6a; lib; 16a; 22a; 24b; 30a; 32a; 53a; 70b; 71b; 72ab; 73a; 76a; B. Bat. 2b; 5b; 6a; 13ab; 17b; 18a; 19b; 21a; 22b; 23b; 25a; 27ab; 43a; 63b; 64a; 78ab; 83a; 84b; 85a; 86ab; 87b; 92b; 93a; 94b; 95a; 103b; 104a; 116b; 123a; 129b; 131a; 132a; 133b; 140a; 146a; 148b; 149a; 150a; 157ab; 162b; 176a; Bek. 2ab; 3a; 6a; 7a; 10a; 12ab; 14b; 17ab; 24a; 25a; 26b; 28ab; 38b; 39a; 41b; 42a; 47a; 49b; 60a; Ber. 12a; 18b; 19b; 45a; 62a; 63a; Besah 16b; 17ab; 31a; 35a; 40a; B. Qam. 15ab; 17b; 18ab; 19a; 20b; 22ab; 23b; 24b; 28a; 30ab; 31a; 37a; 47b; 48a; 52b; 65a; 68a; 85b; 86b; 91a; 94b; 95ab; 96ab; 97b; 101a; 108a; 109b; 114ab; 119b; see other references under John 1:46.
Witherington, Wisdom, 69–70; Blomberg, Reliability, 81.
Thus, e.g., Democritus kept at his own home a disciple who studied with him (Aulus Gellius 5.3.6).
Even when used physically, John's use of μένω often connotes intimacy (cf. Potterie, «Demeurer»). For the discipleship model here, see also Collins, Written, 53.
Cf. the observations of Michaels, John, 20.
As Shammai, schematically contrasted with the gentle Hillel in rabbinic tradition, is said to have done with prospective converts (the later tradition, dominated by Hillel's followers [cf., e.g., t. cEd. 2:3], naturally viewed this negatively, though Shammaites earlier predominated [e.g., t. Šabb. 1:16; b. Besah 20a]; see comments from various perspectives in Urbach, Sages, 1:589; Falk, Jesus, 49–53, 75; Bowker, Pharisees, 43). On most points (e.g., b. Ber. 23b) Beth Shammai was stricter, but there were exceptions (e.g., b. Hu1. 104b).
Cf. Safrai, «Education,» 965.
Sandmel, Judaism, 246–47, citing b. Ned. 50a; cf. Witherington, Women, 10, citing b. Ketub. 62b-63a. On the enormous number of disciples (and explanations of how they all died off), see b. Yebam. 62b; Gen. Rab. 61:3; Ecc1. Rab. 11:6, §1.
Gen. Rab. 95 (MSV).
M. Ketub. 13:10; 5:6, cited in Safrai, «Home,» 763. It is not clear that all Jewish teachers in the first century would have felt obligated to follow the rulings of the schools, but by the period of Akiba and his disciples, this would be a standard ruling followed by all in the rabbinic movement, unless exceptions could be made for particularly extensive Torah study.
Although the condition of spouses is not mentioned, stories like that of Hillel, a Babylonian immigrant, nearly freezing to death sitting in the window to hear Shemaiah and Abtalion мая reflect such a practice.
In drawing on the widest range of ancient sources for Jesus traditions, we look for broader cultural patterns mediated through Palestinian Judaism; we do not imply that Jesus was a «Jewish Cynic» (pace Crossan, «Cynic»; Mack, Myth, 67–68, 87 n. 1; see Eddy, «Diogenes»; Witherington, Sage, 117–45; Keener, «Critique»). Jesus' movement began in rural Galilee and only later spread to Hellenistic urban areas (cf. Schmeller, «Weg») where Cynics might be known; indeed, what later Judean rabbis seemed to know about Cynics (Luz, «Cynic») does not encourage the view that they were well understood in Judea.
Diogenes Laertius 7.1.22 (LCL 2:132–33).
Diogenes Laertius 6.2.36.
Diogenes Laertius 7.1.22.
Diogenes Ep. 38 (Cyn. Ep. 162–63). The rabbis more frequently tell such stories with regard to conversion to Judaism (e.g., Sipre Num. 115.5.7), which more strictly parallels philosophical conversion than adopting a Jewish teacher would have.
Diogenes Laertius 6.5.87, citing Diodes (LCL 2:90–91).
Diogenes Laertius 6.2.21.
Diogenes Laertius 6.2.75–76 (LCL 2:76–79). Cf. 1Sam 19 for an Israelite example of a similar phenomenon with regard to the Spirit of prophecy.
Matt 8:21–22; Luke 9:57–62; Mark 10:29–30; Matt 19:29; Luke 18:29–30. The particular demand of the dead burying their dead мая involve secondary burials (cf. McCane, «Dead»).
See Hengel, Leader, 1–2, 27–33.
Especially if v. 7 is construed as a question (so Jeremias, Promise, 30; Martin, «Servant,» 15; France, «Exegesis,» 257; contrast Meier, Matthew, 83–84).
E.g., Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 79–80.
Koester, Symbolism, 37. See esp. Theophrastus Char, passim.
Collins, Witness, 46–55, and Xavier, «Andrew,» address Andrew as a character in this Gospe1. On the «roundness» of some of John's (esp. minor) characters, cf. Grant, «Ambiguity.»
John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 19 (on 1:41–42) notes that Jesus convinces Peter, Nathanael, and the Samaritan woman with prophecies.
On the Fourth Gospel's foreshadowing technique, including here, see Ellis, Genius, 9. Fenton, John, 43, correctly notes that the Johannine Jesus regularly foretells the future or demonstrates other supernatural insights (1:47–51; 2:19,21,25; 4:17–18; 5:6; 6:6,64,70–71; 11:4,11–12; 12:23,32–33; 13:1–2,10–11,21,26–27, 38; 16:31–32; 18:4,32).
Brown, Community, 82–84; cf. Hengel, Mark, 52, who argues that the comparison exalts the guarantor of the Johannine tradition over «the guarantor of the Markan-Synoptic tradition.» Possibly the Markan tradition was now so entrenched that the beloved disciplés tradition needed to stake its claims (like Paul in Gal 2:6–10).
Collins, Witness, 56–78.
See маяnard, «Peter»; cf. Watty, «Anonymity.» Comparisons do not always demean their inferior object (see comment on 13:23)
Although John alone of all NT writers includes this Aramaic (see Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 13) term, some older scholars, convinced that the Gospel addressed Gentiles, asked why John translates the term into Greek (though that was the language of most Diaspora Jews); Westcott even suggested that John kept the term to guard against gnosticism (John, 25).
Even Andrews precedence over Peter мая reflect the tradition of Asiatic Christianity reported in Papias (Eusebius Hist. ecc1. 3.39.4, as argued by Dodd, Tradition, 304–5).
Wolmarans, «Peter,» argues that John uses standard literary conventions of this period to portray Peter's character, adapting them for Peter's special characteristics. Matthew and Luke depend largely on Mark's portrayal (Feldmeier, «Peter»), which мая even go back to Peter (Hengel, «Problems,» 238–43).
Ferguson, Backgrounds, 83; Watson, «Education,» 311; Jeffers, World, 256; independent farmers worked about one hundred days annually (Jeffers, World, 20), but their work overlapped with the school year. Some students studied with teachers only for several months (Cicero Brutus 91.315–316), but some apparently studied many years (Eunapius Lives 461), perhaps with little break (cf., e.g., the tale of Akiba, 'Abot R. Nat. 6A).
Brown, Donfried, and Reumann, Peter, 88, observes that John 1confirms the pre-Matthean tradition here; for discussion of that passagés authenticity, see Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2:609–15; Keener, Matthew, 423–30.
See Ellis, Matthew, 128–29; Weeden, Mark, 43. One мая also compare the thesis of Weber, «Petrus»; also idem, «Notes,» who suggests that Matthew's interest in the OT wilderness community explains his preservation of the words as against Mark.
Cf. Cullmann, «Πέτρος, Κηφάς,» 105, who rightly points out (at least from a Markan reading) that the Matthean beatitude interrupts an otherwise negative portrayal of Peter's inadequate Christology. Certainly the whole narrative is exquisitely balanced in Matthew, however (see Meier, Vision, 118; idem, Matthew, 179). Feldmeier, «Excursus,» prefers the Markan portrait while not excluding all historical basis for other traditions.
Rearranging sayings and their contexts was standard rhetorical practice; see, e.g., Theon Progymn. 3.22–23; 5.388–425.
Käsemann, Questions, 106–7; Boring, Sayings, 213–14; cf. Beare, Matthew, 353 (finding elements in the Matthean account that he believes must stem from the later church–Jesus' messiah-ship, the church, and Peter's prominence; we would differ on each point); Goppelt, Theology, 1(unlike Jesus' other sayings). Aune, Prophecy, 273, sees it as a recognition oracle.
E.g., Carroll, «Peter,» attributes the saying to the Antiochan church, where he believes Peter was the first bishop (others also hold the latter position, e.g., Pelikan, «Peter,» 59–60).
Gundry, Matthew, 331.
Harrington, Matthew, 68; Ellis, Matthew, 129–30; Cangh and Esbroek, «Primauté.»
See esp. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 20–22, 99–105; Michaels, Servant, 301–2; cf. Keener, Matthew, 427–28.
Cullmann, Peter, 166–67,187,195; Hunter, Message, 53; Albright and Mann, Matthew, 121.
Brown et a1., Peter, 92; Harrington, People, 29; Meier, Matthew, 179; cf. Cullmann, Peter, 180.
Cullmann suggests the saying belongs to the passion story (Cullmann, Peter, 184; but cf. the critique in Gundry, «Framework»).
Also Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 147.
Cullmann, State, 16, who points to the lack of documentary evidence for Jona as an abbreviation for Johanan. The name Jona continued even among Diaspora Jews to a late period (CIJ 1:483, §671; 2:124, §900). Gundry suggests a symbolic allusion to Jonah in Matt 12:39; 16(Matthew, 332), regarding «John» as original; conversely, the Fourth Gospel could change «Jona» to «John» to allude to the Baptist as the initial witness who «begot» Andrew and Simon (1:40). «Son of John» could mean «John's (the Baptist's) disciple,» but the narrative suggests this role only for Andrew (1:40).
Cullmann, State, 17, uncertainly. Brown et a1., Peter, 88 η. 203, «deem unlikely» this suggestion. Roth's association of even «Simon» with revolutionaries falters in that it was one of the most popular names (Fitzmyer, Essays, 105–12). Theissen, Sociology, 11, speculatively suggests that some called Peter «wild,» i.e., «outlaw,» because he abandoned his family to follow Jesus.
Cf., e.g., CIJ 1:291, §375; 2:112, §880; 2:117, §890; 2:126, §905; 2:128, §911; 2:137, §932; 2:171, §986; 2:312, §1367; 2:391, §1468; 2:445, §1538.
Cf. OT covenant contexts suggested in Palatty, «Covenant.»
E.g., the application for a name change from Egyptian to Greek in W. Chrest. 52 (194 C.E.).
E.g., CIJ 1:117, §165; 2:117, §890; 2:126, §905; CPJ 1:29; 3:191–192; see further Williams, «Personal Names,» 93.
Cf., e.g., Hachlili and Killebrew, «Saga»; idem, «Byt glyt»; Samuel the Small in p. Sotah 9:13, §2; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.2.4; Cornelius Nepos 3 (Aristides), 1.2; Philostratus Hrk. 14.4.
E.g., m. Yad. 4:4; Sipre Deut. 253.2.2; h. Ber. 28a; Bamberger, Proselytism, 234; cf. Dominus Flevit ossuary 31 in Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 68, Finegan, Archeology, 247–48, and Bagatti, Church, 237. That these instances represent Jewish «proselytes» to Christianity is unlikely, since Jewish Christians thought in terms of fulfillment more than conversion; cf. Avi-Yonah, «Sources,» 47–48. Name change was sometimes used elsewhere to connote conversion; see Horsley, «Change»; on initiation rites, cf. Mbiti, Religions, 165,228; Bietenhard, «όνομα,» 243. It could also be associated with a promise or new hope and identity; cf. Gen 17:5; Rev 2:17; 3:12; cf. perhaps Ford, Revelation, 399.
Cf. R. Johanan ben Zakkaís praise of each of his five disciples (m. 'Abot 2:8, redactionally balanced).
E.g., John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 19. Reitzenstein, Religions, 40,320–32, finds parallels to the Christian concept of a divine call in the Mysteries, but the concept is pervasive in the Hebrew Bible and appears in Diaspora Judaism (e.g., God calls Abraham in death in T. Ab. 4:9B).
Cf., e.g., Danker, Age, 17; Harrelson, Cult, 39; names might fit circumstances of birth (Cambridge Geniza Text 3.13–16). On the Roman custom of naming boys on the ninth and girls on the eighth day, cf. Plutarch R.Q. 102, Mor. 288BC; Luke 1:59–60; 2and the late Pirqe R. E1. 48 suggest that the custom мая have also affected Palestinian Jewry (Safrai, «Sources,» 5; idem, «Home,» 767).
Cf., e.g., Sent. Sext. 28. Thus, e.g., ancient Near Eastern kings sometimes renamed their vassals (e.g., 2 Kgs 23:34; 24:17; cf. Gen 2:19–20; 3:20; De Vaux, Israel, 108).
See Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 146–47. This precise name (in contrast to some similar forms) is not attested in the pre-Christian era (Gnilka, Jesus, 186–87), so would not be a name from his parents.
Cf. also the use of a person's name when praising that person in an encomium, even by wordplays (Theon Progymn. 9.49–55). Contrast Stock, «Peter.»
«Building» represents people-of-God language in the Hebrew Bible (Ruth 4:11; Ps 51:18; 69:35; 147:2; Jer 1:10; 24:6; 31:4, 28); cf. esp. Jeremias, Theology, 168; also Ladd, Theology, 109–10). Some connect the saying with the Abraham saying of Isa 51:1–2 (although the rare rabbinic parallels they cite, such as Yalqut Shim'oni 1.766; Exod. Rab. 15:7, are late; cf. Gen. Rab. 44:21); cf. Cullmann, «Πέτρος, Κηφάς,» 106; Bruce, Time, 60; Ford, «Abraham»; Manns, «Halakah»; Chevallier, «Pierre»; Siegel, «Israel,» 108; contrast Arnéra, «Rocher.» Jesus and his teachings, of course, represent the ultimate foundation in the gospel tradition (Matt 7:24–27; Luke 6:47–49), but his witnesses provide the next layer of the structure (Eph 2:20).
As in Mark 11:9; Matt 21:9; Luke 19:38; the Hallel was sung during Passover season (m. Pesah. 5:7; 9:3; 10:5–7; especially mentioned in connection with Sukkoth, e.g., m. Sukkah 3:10; 4:8; t. Sukkah 3:2; Gen. Rab. 41:1); cf., e.g., Stendahl, Matthew, 65; Michaels, John, 207; Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 255–56.
Cullmann, Peter, 18, and especially primary references in n. 11; cf. n. 12. Cullmann holds that «Petros» was also an Aramaic name (e.g., Gen. Rab. 92:2; Exod. Rab. 52:3; contrast Meier, Matthew, 181; Williams, «Personal Names,» 104), but Paul's letters indicate that «Kephas» was the earlier name (Cullmann, Peter, 19 n. 14; contrast Edersheim, Life, 360). The pun indicates identity between Petros and Petra (Cullmann, «Πέτρα,» 98; idem, «Πέτρος, Κηφας,» 106; Brown, «Rock,» 386; Richardson, Theology, 309; contrast Lampe, «Petrusnamen).
This passage is also a unity; cf. Schreiber, «Jüngerberufungsszene.»
Smith, Magician, 147, doubts that all Jesus' disciples were Jewish, contending that «Galileans with pure Greek names like Philip are dubious.»
Palestinian inscriptions in CIJ; cf. also, e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.255; Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism, 1:252; Freyne, Galilee, 172–73; Goodman, State, 88, 175; Meyers, «Judaism and Christianity,» 77–78; Davies, «Aboth,» 138–51. For some nuancing in the other direction, cf. also Vermes, Jesus and Judaism, 26; Sandmel, «Theory»; Feldman, «Hellenism.»
T. Job 1:3; 51:2/1; Mussies, «Greek in Palestine,» 1051–52; CIJ 1, lxvii; cf. also Simon, «Synkretismus.»
Greek names were to be expected in areas such as Bethsaida with its Gentile surroundings (Cullmann, Peter, 22; cf. 17).
Collins, Witness, 79–85, treats Philip as a character in the Gospe1.
So, e.g., Michaels, John, 21. One could appeal in support of this to the parallel structure between 1:40–42 and 1:43–51, since the opening disciple of the first narrative derives from the preceding account; but the symmetry could as easily argue the opposite, for, had Philip been one of the two disciples of 1:37, one would have expected John to have pointed this out as in 1:40.
This need not mean that the anonymous disciple is the beloved disciple (against which see, e.g., Smalley, John, 75), but in favor of the possibility one мая note that (1) he is in the company of Andrew, a fisherman in a fishing cooperative with James and John (Luke 5:10), and (2) this proposal would explain the private Baptist tradition narrated here (not that ancient narrators required such explanation). In the Fourth Gospel, anonymity applies especially to the beloved disciple (at least in later parts of the Gospel), but not exclusively to him.
M. 'Abot 1:6.
M. 'Abot 1:16; both sayings are very concisely formulated and probably reflect the same editing. That the early teachers sought to raise up many disciples (m. 'Abot 1:1) or perhaps held public meetings in homes (m. 'Abot 1:4) need not conflict with this principle.
Socrates Ep. 4 (Cyn. Ep. 228–29).
Socrates with Xenophon in Diogenes Laertius 2.48. In John's Gospel, one might also think of God seeking his people (Ezek 34:11; 4Q521 frs. 2,4, co1. 2, line 5 in Wise, Scrolls, 421).
E.g., Gundry, Matthew, 62. By contrast, Malina, World, 78, suggests that Jesus calling the disciples represents a diminution of his own status to initiate «bonds or alliances with others,» so that Jesus' act here is not one of authority but one of humble service.
Crocker, «Bethsaida,» places Bethsaida at et-Tel1.
Cf. Adinolfi, «Lago.» It was forgotten long after its destruction by the Romans (Arav and Rousseau, «Bethsaide»).
Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 102; Arav and Rousseau, «Bethsaide»; for fishing instruments found there, see Arav, «Bethsaida.» Galilean villages generally regulated their own economy (Goodman, State, 120, citing t. B. Mesica 11:23). Locals likely ignored Herod Philip's Roman name for the town (Julias).
That Mark would transfer Andrew and Simon to Capernaum because of their fishing cooperative with James and John is far less probable, though not impossible if Mark has simply connected chronologically discrete narratives for the sake of narrative unity (Mark 1:21,29; cf. 2:1; Matt 4:13,18).
See, e.g., France, Matthew, 103. Clan and village endogamy мая have been common (Isaeus Estate of Pyrrhus 63; Horsley, Galilee, 199; Ilan, Women, 75–79), and many in the ancient Mediterranean preferred to marry a woman who lived nearby (Hesiod Op. 700), but Capernaum was directly opposite Bethsaida and ties were undoubtedly close. The husband and the bridés father could determine the new marital home (P.Eleph. 1.5–6, 311 B.C.E.), though it was usually initially with the groom's parents (see Keener, Matthew, 271, 330, on Matt 8:14; 10:35).
Malina, Windows, 91.
Tracking people down, as with locations (cf. Ling, «Stranger»), was probably done by asking for them; Jesus, however, presumably had other methods (1:48).
Higgins, Historicity, 59. See, e.g., Νατανήλου on a Jerusalem ossuary inscription in CIJ 2:296, §1330.
Leidig, «Natanael»; cf. more tentatively Higgins, Historicity, 59–60; Blomberg, Reliability, 82. Hill, «Nathanael,» suggests that the identification with James son of Alphaeus in the Epistula Apostolorum might reflect Asian tradition, perhaps early enough to be known by John.
Brown, John, 1:82; cf. Smith, John (1999), 75.
Higgins, Historicity, 59.
The contorted argument of Hanhart, «Structure,» 24–26, that he was Matthew depends on fanciful linkages.
The Law and the Prophets together constitute Scripture, e.g., 2Macc 15:9; 4 Macc 18:10–18; Matt 5:17; 7:12; Q (Matt 11= Luke 16:16); Rom 3:21; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:484, cite also t. B. Mesica 11:23. Cf. also the threefold division in Luke 24(more popular among the sages–Sir pro1.; 'Abot R. Nat. 14A; b. cAbod. Zar. 19b; B. Bat. 13b, bar.; B. Qam. 92b; Mak. 10b; Sanh. 90b, Gamaliel II; 106a; p. Meg. 1:5, §3; Ned. 3:9, §3; Šeqa1. 3:2; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 12:13; Gen. Rab. 76:5; cf. Philo Contemp1. Life 25). First-century Jews attributed the Pentateuch to Moses (Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.39).
See Whitacre, Polemic, 51.
For an example of the question demeaning one, cf. perhaps the later p. Pesah. 6(involving Hillel, and where he is vindicated).
«Nazareth» thus emphasizes Jesus' «humble origin and his humanity» as in 1(Smith, John , 75).
Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 56, suggest 1600–2000 inhabitants, based on the tombs; cf. p. 27. More recent estimates suggest below 500 (Stanton, Gospel Truth, 112; Horsley, Galilee, 193); perhaps those who lived in the nearby countryside would count themselves inhabitants in a more general way. Although some opined that coming from a famous city was necessary for happiness (Plutarch Demosthenes 1.1), Plutarch thinks life in a famous city necessary only if one needed exposure (Demosthenes 2.1; cf. John 7:3–4).
Cf. Finkelstein, Pharisees, 1:41. See Harvey, History, 3, for a summary of the initial archaeological discoveries concerning early Roman Nazareth (for an early defense of Jesus' Nazarene connection's authenticity, see Moore, «Nazarene»; more speculatively on earlier excavations of Joseph's legendary home, cf. de Nazareth, «Maison»).
Horsley, Galilee, 193. Cf. the more concrete data in Egyptian tax records in Lewis, Life, 67–68.
E.g., Goodman, State, 27; Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 89.
The theater seated 4000–5000 (Freyne, Galilee, 138; cf. further Boatwright, «Theaters»). For a summary of archaeological and literary evidence on the city, see Meyers, Netzer, and Meyers, «Sepphoris»; cf. Boelter, «Sepphoris»; for the Dionysus mosaic, Weiss and Netzer, «Sty»; for its wealth, Meyers, Netzer and Meyers, «Byt-mydwt.»
Later rabbis told of individual minim there (t. Hu1. 2:24) but do not provide details for an entire Jewish-Christian community (Miller, "Minim").
See Avi-Yonah, «Geography,» 105, citing especially Josephus Ant. 18.37; Life 67; and aniconic coins after 67 C.E.; Freyne, Galilee, 138; for Tiberias, see Josephus Life 275, 279. Cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 18:5; later rabbinic Judaism found a welcome home there (see Meyers, «Judaism and Christianity,» 76). This is not to say that it was entirely orthodox by Pharisaic standards (cf., e.g., Cornfeld, Josephus, 216); more Gentiles мая have also moved there, at least after 135 (see Horsley, Galilee, 104). For Christians coming there, cf., e.g., b. cAbod. Zar. 17a; Herford, Christianity, 115; Crocker, «Sepphoris.»
E.g., Josephus Life 30,38,124,232, 346–348,373–374. Its pacifism мая have stemmed from its historic devastation in a previous revolt in Jesus' childhood (Josephus War 2.68).
E.g., p. Sanh. 5:1, §3 (early third century). If this is not propaganda, later rabbis thought that Sepphoris was particular about the purity of Israelite lineage (cf. m. Qidd. 4in Jeremias, Jerusalem, 300).
That one of the priestly courses reportedly settled here after 70 C.E. indicates «that the remnants of temple Judaism found Nazareth 'clean' and unsullied by paganism» (Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 27), though for questions on the tradition see Trifon, «Mšmrwt.» Johanan ben Zakkai seems to have settled not far from Nazareth before 70 C.E. (Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 72, citing p. Ber. 7c; b. Ber. 34b). On ancient Israelite pottery before resettlement in the Hellenistic period, see Horsley, Galilee, 193; on the proper Hebrew form of the name, see Rüger, «NAZARETH.»
Goodman, State, 27, 60; Horsley, Galilee, 174–81; pace Crossan, Jesus, 17–19; Batey, «Sepphoris.» All evidence for trade consists of agricultural or very basic products (Adan-Bayewitz and Perlman, «Trade»). Jesus nevertheless probably had some familiarity with Sepphoris; Joseph undoubtedly took up carpentry (Matt 13:55; cf. Mark 6:3) because of Antipas's project rebuilding the nearby city (four miles away) after its devastation (Josephus War 2.68); cf. Schürer, History, 162.
Cf. Millar, «World,» on second-century C.E. Greek villages.
Horsley, Galilee, 177; for relevant estimates of Sepphoris's population, see Horsley, Galilee, 166. Sepphoris was probably Roman Galileés most critical market center (Adan-Bayewitz and Perlman, «Trade»).
Josephus Life 375, 384, 392.
E.g., Longus 2.22; Babrius 108; Ps.-Theocritus The Young Countryman; Alciphron Farmers S (Dryantidas to Chronium), 3.11 par. 1, 3; 22 (Hylê to Nomius), 3.25; MacMullen, Relations, 15, 30–32; Applebaum, «Life,» 663–63; Finley, Economy, 123–49.
E.g., Barnett, Reliable, 64.
Acts 21:39; Let. Arts. 249 (with Hadas's note, 197); Heraclitus Ep. 9, to Hermodorus (Cyn. Ep. 214–15); Diogenes Laertius 7.1.12; Gen. Rab. 34:15; cf. Rhet. adHerenn. 3.3.4; MacMullen, Relations, 58–59; Yamauchi, Archaeology, 164–65; Ferguson, Backgrounds, 140; Cadbury, Acts in History, 32–33; Longenecker, Paul, 32 n. 41 (on Acts 21:39; Euripides Ion 8); on epideictic orations praising cities, cf., e.g., Quintilian 3.7.26; Aelius Aristides Oration to Rome on Rome; Isocrates Panegyricus and more so his later Panathenaicus.
Whitacre, Polemic, 81, 210 n. 188.
In addition to references under 1:39, cf. Β. Mesica 5a; 7a; 8b; 9a; 14b; 20b; 21ab; 22ab; 23a; 24ab; 25b; 27b; 30a; 32b; 45a; 46a; 47a; 50a; 53b; 54a; 80a; 81b; 89b; 90a; 91b; 92ab; 95b; 96b; 105b; 108b; 109ab; 113ab; 114a; cErub. 11a; 15ab; 16ab; 22b; 30a; 37b; 45b; 52a; 70b; Git. 5a; 12ab; 15a; 20b; 28b; 29a; 33b; 36b; 38b; 41b; 42ab; 43a; 44a; 47ab; 48a; 49b; 50ab; 51a; 54a; 62b; 63ab; 82a; 85b; Hag. 17b; Hor. 2a; 3b; 4b; 5b; 6b; 13a; Hu1. 8a; 9b; 16b; 27b; 28ab; 29a; 31a; 35b; 36ab; 41a; 43a; 45b; 51b; 54b; 55ab; 68a; 70a; 74a; 77a; 79a; 82b; 83a; 86b; 90b; 91a; 95a; 102ab; 107ab; 109b; 113a; 119ab; 121a; 122ab; 123ab; 124b; 127b; 130b; 131ab; 133b; 139b; 140ab; 141ab; Ker. 10ab; 12ab; 15b; 17a; 27a; Ketub. 3a; 5a; 25ab; 28a; 41ab; 46b; 49b; 59a; 69a; 86b; 87b; 91a; 96a; 97ab; 98b; 99ab; 102b; 107ab; Qidd. lOab; 19a; 21ab; 26b; 27a; 32a; 33b; 37a; 51b; 52a; 54ab; 69a; 82a; Meg. 4b; 22ab; 27a; Mecil 5b; 6a; 8b; Menah. 14a; 15a; 16ab; 23b; 24a; 26a; 48b; 52ab; 54ab; 59b; 74b; 76a; 81b; 85ab; 86a; 93b; 104a; 105a; Móed Qat. 14b; 15ab; 16a; 18b; 22a; see further under John 4:29.
See the thesis of Keener, «Pneumatology»; idem, «Knowledge.»
Blackburn, «ΑΝΔΡΕΣ,» 193; for philosophers, see Musonius Rufus frg. 48, p. 140.17–19; in Jewish texts, e.g., Sir 48:24; Mek. Sir. 7.17–18 (Lauterbach, 2:55); t. Pisha 2:15.
The polemical contrast with the accusers is particularly evident in the term's association with true testimony (5:31; 8:13, 14, 16, 17; 10:41; 19:35; 21:24) and with the Father's character and witness (3:33; 5:32; 7:28; 8:26; 17:3). The adjective and its cognates could be applied to other ethnic groups (e.g., αληθινοί Egyptians were recognizable by their speech; P. Giess. 40, co1. 2, line 27).
See Whitacre, Polemic, 81, 210–11 n. 190; Pancaro, «Israel,» 398; idem, Law, 288–304; Collins, Written, 11–14; on «the Jews,» see our introduction, pp. 214–28. There is little to commend the suggestion of Painter, «Church,» 360, that the language suggests nationalistic expectations, which are then confirmed in «King of Israel» in 1:49.
Meeks, "Jew," 181.
Cf. Trudinger, «Israelite.» Hanson, Gospel 37, finds Bethel allusions as early as 1:30–31, 33 (to Gen 28:16), but this is dubious.
E.g., Let. Arts. 246; T. Iss. 1:12.
Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 7.21.1 thinks it symbolizes sin and death (based on fig leaves in Gen 3:7); Fenske, «Feigenbaum,» sees an allusion to the Jewish people (based on Mark 11:12–25 and Nathanael as a «true Israelite»).
Hunter, John, 27; Boice, Witness, 108; Hanson, Gospel, 39; before Strack-Billerbeck, Westcott, John, 27, cited p. Ber. 2:8. Pancaro, Law, 304; Hoskyns, Gospel, 182; Schnackenburg, John, 1:317, mention but do not endorse this solution. For studying Torah under or among trees, see, e.g., Sipra Behuq. pq. 7.268.2.3; p. Ber. 2:7, §2; Hag. 2:1, §4; Gen. Rab. 62(two accounts, one purportedly Tannaitic); Eccl Rab. 5:11, §2; cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5(following Braudel interpretation, 102).
See the partial list in Safrai, «Education,» 965.
E.g., Plutarch Rom. 4.1; b. Tacan. 24a.
Especially in traditional Jewish idiom, e.g., 1 Kgs 4(cf. 2LXX); 2 Kgs 18:31; Isa 36:16; Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10; 1Macc 14:12; cf. Bernard, John, 1:63; Hoskyns, Gospel, 182; Barrett, John, 185; Scott, Parable, 332. Koester, «Exegesis,» ingeniously connects this image with the messianic branch of Zech 3:8–10, but given the breadth of OT allusions possible, this connection is improbable.
Sus 54, 58. That the expression in Susanna became proverbial (Moule, followed by Fenton, John, 45), is, however, improbable (Barrett, John, 185). Others (e.g., Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 31) transform the fig tree into a symbol for Judaism; Michaels, «Nathanael,» suggests a midrashic-style allusion to Hos 9:10, but this would require that text to read, «I saw Israel under the fig tree» rather than as a fig tree.
See also Barrett, John, 185.
In one later story, someone supernaturally (and convincingly) reveals what happened to her inquirer on his journey when he seeks to test her (Eunapius Lives 468); pagans might think such a revealer divine (470). But see esp. comments on 2:24–25.
This Johannine pattern was noticed at least as early as Chrystostom Hom. Jo. 19 (on 1:41–42).
Cf. also Hoskyns, Gospel ρ 182.
Whitacre, Polemic, 81.
See Herzfeld, «Hospitality,» 80.
Theissen, Stories, 161 (citing among early Christian references Matt 12:23; 14:33; Luke 5:8; 7:16; John 6:14; Acts 8:10; 14:11–12; 16:30; 28:6).
Howton, «Son,» 237, suggests that John infuses the term with more meaning than it had previously carried.
Tilborg, Ephesus, 33–38, notes «king» titles in Ephesian inscriptions; an audience in Asia might have contrasted Jesus with the emperor, as in the East the title would connote the king of Persia or Parthia (Aristophanes Ach. 65).
For God as king, see Zech 14:9,16; Jdt 9:12; Tob 13:6; 2Macc 12:15; 1 En. 25:3,5; 91:13; Sib. Or. 1.73; 3.11,56,499,560,704; T.Ab. 15:15A; Philo Good Person 20; 1Tim 1(pace Oke, «Doxology»); Aristophanes Plutus 1095; Epictetus Diatr. 1.6.40; Cleanthes Hymn to Zeus (Stobaeus Ecl 1.1.12, in Grant, Religion, 153); references to «King of kings» below. The royal image for the supreme deity was natural; in unrelated societies, see Mbiti, Religions, 58–59. For Roman imperial propaganda concerning the cosmic implications of imperial rule and its applicability to early Christian proclamation of Jesus, cf., e.g., Fears, «Rome.»
See Dan 2:47; 1Tim 6:15; 2Macc 13:4; 3Macc 5:35; 1 En. 9:4; 84:2; 3 En. 22:15; 25:4; text 67.2 (Isbell, Bowls, 147); Philo Decalogue 41; Spec. Laws 1.18; m. 'Abot 3:1; t. Sanh. 8:9; Sipra Sav M.D. 98.8.5; 'Abot R. Nat. 25, 27 A; 'Abot R. Nat. 1, §1 B; 27, §56 B; 29, §61 B; b. Ber. 28b; 32b-33a, bar.; 62b; Sanh. 38a, bar.; p. Meg. 1:9, §17; Gen. Rab. 8:7; 12:1; 14:1; Exod. Rab. 2:2; 6:1; 20:1; Lev. Rab. 18:1; 33:3; Num. Rab. 1:4; 4:1,20; 8:3; 14:3; 15:3; 18:22; Lam. Rab. 1:16, §50; Ruth Rab. 2:3; Ecc1. Rab. 2:12, §1; 4:17, §1; 5:10, §2; 9:15, §7; 9:18, §2; 12:1, §1; 12:7, §1; Esth. Rab. 3:15; Song Rab. 1:12, §1; 7:5, §3; Pesiq. Rab. 13:7; 15.preamble; 23:8; Dio Chrysostom Or. 2, On Kingship 2, §75; cf. Deut 10:17; Ps 136:2–3; Book of the Dead spell 185E (206); the phrase is rooted in titles of suzerain rulers (Ezra 7:12; Ezek 26:7; Dan 2:37; T. Jud. 3:7; Plutarch Pompey 38.2).
Schnackenburg, John, 1:319, also finds reference to Jesus' continuing signs (2:11); Jonge, Jesus, 59, emphasizes Jesus' «permanent contact with God in heaven.»
Cf. T. Ab. 20(Death to Abraham; Death had previously made his claim of truth emphatic by adding the first-person pronoun, T. Ab. 16A, cf. 18:6A), but this мая represent Christian alteration; the double Amen of m. Sotah 2is an affirmation after, rather than before, a statement; that in an apparent synagogue inscription is uncertain and late (cf. Nebe, «Inschrift»).
On the single άμήν's very likely authenticity and sense, see Keener, Matthew, 54,181. In contrast to the prefatory άμήν, «I say to you» is not unique to the Jesus tradition (see Keener, Matthew, 182; also Wise, «General Introduction,» 264; Matt 3:9; Acts 5:38; 1Cor 7:12; cf. Rev 2:24).
It functions as a solemn confirmation after a blessing also in the Scrolls, e.g., 4Q286 frg. 5, line 8; frg. 7,1.7; 2.1,5,10, and perhaps 6; 4Q287 frg. 5, line 11; 4Q289 frg. 2, line 4 (and perhaps frg. 1, line 2); 4Q509 1.7; 4Q511 frg. 63,4.3; after a curse in Num 5:22. A cognate term could precede a statement, adding the emphatic meaning «truly» (Ruth 3:12; 1 Kgs 8:27; 2 Kgs 19:17; 2 Chr 6:18; Job 9:2; 12:2; 19:4–5; 34:12; 36:4; Ps 58:2; Isa 37:18).
Higgins, Historicity, 74–75, thinks the double αμήν form is not historically improbable given the single usage in the Synoptics. Given John's free restatements of Jesus' language in his own idiom and the uniqueness of the double form to his Gospel, however, it probably represents his own emphatic adaptation of the Synoptic phrase.
For the specific inflected form όψεσθε, which as a plural envisions the other disciples in addition to Nathanael, cf. 1:39; 16:16–19.
Cf. the comments of Sandmel, Judaism, 475 n. 10; Nicholson, Death, 30; Smith, John (1999), 77.
Also Apoc. Mos. 35:2; 2 Bar. 22:1; T. Ah. 7:3A; T. Levi 2:6; see also Lentzen-Deis, «Motiv,» citing especially 2Macc 3:24ff.; 3Macc 6:18. For heaven parting for revelatory messengers, see, e.g., Virgil Aen. 9.20–21; for heavenly vision, see, e.g., Maximus of Tyre Or. 11.11–12; discussion of John's «vision» motif, pp. 247–51 in the introduction.
The particular ascent and descent of angels (e.g., Rev 7:2; 10:1; 18:1; 20:1; cf. 12:12; Jacob sees an angel descend in 4Q537 frg. 1, beginning), like that of other entities (e.g., Rev 3:12; 21:2,10), made sense within the worldview of apocalyptic literature because of its vertical dualism, which this Gospel shares.
Cf. also Morgen, «Promesse»; cf. Luther, 16th Sermon on John, on John 1. Unlike the Greek, the Hebrew term for «ladder» is masculine (Smith, John , 78); but it is unlikely that John would require complete gender agreement for the analogy in any case. Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 63–64, think John evokes in 1the «heavenly» connotations of «Son of Man» from Daniel and Enoch's Similitudes. Others might also understand the necessity of a mediator between gods and people (e.g., Janus in Ovid Fasti 1.171–174).
For John's possible association of Jesus with holy-place imagery, see Barrett, «Old Testament,» 160; cf. Fritsch, «Angelos»; Davies, Land, 299–300. The rabbinic connection between heaven and earth in Gen 28may be relevant (see the summary of this position in Lincoln, Ephesians, 157). Still, some earlier sources, such as Jubilees' suggestion that Jacob sought a sanctuary at Bethel that could be interpreted as an alternative to Jerusalem (cf. Schwartz, «Jubilees»), naturally did not commend themselves to rabbinic development.
See, e.g., Dahl, «History,» 136; Lightfoot, Gospel, 104.
Gen. Rab. 68:12; cf. 82(purportedly second century; cf. also Lam. Rab. 2:1, §2); Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 28:12; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 28:12. Ladder of Jacob (ΟΓΡ2.–401–11) differs from rabbinic description, but its date is also problematic. One rabbi also supposedly saw rabbis ascending to heaven accompanied by angels who regularly were ascending and descending (b. B. Mesica 85b). Jacob's image мая have decorated God's throne as images did the Roman emperor's throne (Stern, Parables, 111–12); the nature of the engraved image in 4Q405 frg. 14–15, 1.2–3, 5; frg. 19A-D, lines 2–3, 6–7 (reconstructed in Wise, Scrolls, 374), мая be disputed but is possibly the Lord's.
McNamara, Targum, 147; Rowland, «John 1.51»; cf. McNamara, Judaism, 229; Morris, «Jesus,» 44. The Targumim stress Jacob's role in prayer at Bethel (see Clarke, «Dream»; Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 28:17; Tg. Ps.-J. on 28:18).
Borgen, «Agent,» 145–46, citing Philo Confusion 146; Alleg. Interp. 1.43. Odeberg, Gospel, 33–36, contends that the celestial and earthly images of Jacob in rabbinic texts correspond to the heavenly glory of Jesus revealed in the flesh, and cites Philo Dreams 1.23 for the ladder «as a symbol of spiritual process,» noting that the Metatron association is later. But Philo also emphasizes that God was on Jacob's ladder (Dreams 1.157), and his use of the stairway as the «air» part of heaven, where disembodied souls dwell (1.133ff.), also reflects a different thought world than John.
For how John's audience might have envisioned various types of ladders, see perhaps p. cErub. 9:1, §3 (on Tyrian and Egyptian ladders); cf. Apol1. Κ. Tyre 43.
Neyrey, «Allusions,» speculates here that Johannine disciples would be visionaries like Jacob.
Jub. 27:27. If John knew the ancient Jubilees tradition, however, he does not exploit it; in it God stood on Jacob's ladder (27:21). Cf. the cosmic ladder of later Jewish Christian tradition in Daniélou, Theology, 173–81.
Cf., e.g., Bruns, Art, 92. A third-century tradition about Jacob's ladder could complement this approach; R. Samuel bar Nahman suggested that the angels ascending on Jacob's ladder were angels of the nations, each ascending a number of rungs corresponding to the years of dominion they would exercise over Israel (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 23:2; cf. Lev. Rab. 29:2). This image could reinforce the picture of Jesus as the ultimate king (John 1:49), but I know no early or widespread corroboration for this view in early Judaism (even other rabbis read it differently, some allegorizing the ladder as Sinai and the angels as Moses, Gen. Rab. 68:12).
Urbach, Sages, 1:157, citing Deut. Rab. 11:3; Yalqut Shim'ont, Deut. §951; etc.
Cf. Michaels, John, 24; Painter, «Church,» 361.
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