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John The Baptist According To Flavius Josephus, And His Incorporation In The Christian Tradition

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Chapter Summary

In Jewish Antiquities 18.116-119, Flavius Josephus includes a section on John the Baptist. Josephus' section on John the Baptist forms part of a longer passage about the dealings of Herod Antipas with the Nabatean king Aretas after the death of Philip, Herod's half-brother and tetrarch in North-Western Palestine. It is possible that Josephus is simply in error, and has mistakenly placed John in the wrong historical context. Josephus' work is not free of chronological errors. Since Christianity had baptism in common with the John-movement, and was still aware that John was its originator, this may have been an additional reason to integrate him into the story of the origin of Christianity. The incorporation of John into the Christian tradition must have taken place after some time, when the reversal of their places in time could plausibly overrule people's blurred collective memory.

Keywords: Aretas; Baptist; Christian tradition; Flavius Josephus; Herod Antipas; Jewish Antiquities; John



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