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'Everyone Will Be Baptized in Fire': Mark 9.49, Q 3.16, and the Baptism of the Coming One

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image of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Mark 9.49, with its odd juxtaposition of the images of salt and fire, is a notoriously difficult text, which has mystified many interpreters and engendered numerous conflicting interpretations. In a regrettably disregarded article, T.J. Baarda suggested that the original form of the saying may have been 'For everyone will be baptized in fire'. This study argues that Baarda's proposal is remarkably plausible given its coherence with the preaching of John the Baptist and other aspects of the Jesus tradition. Also considered herein is the previously unobserved possibility that Baarda's reconstruction may offer solutions to problems that have long frustrated interpreters of the Baptist's pronouncement regarding the coming one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Q 3.16).


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