John the Taeufer was real

John the Baptist and Jesus

1. Introduction to the subject and the methods

At the beginning I would like to tell an old Jewish joke to explain the term "immediate eschatology": Moshe says to his friend in the synagogue: "Chaim, our rabbi has declared that the Messiah will come soon!" Chaim is startled: «God forbid! Since the creation of the world all my relatives will be resurrected - and they will all want to come here and live with me! " We'll remember this joke during the lecture! Most of the tradition we have about the teaching of Jesus has been preserved in the New Testament on the basis of the Septuagint in Greek. However, it is assumed that Jesus learned and taught the Hebrew language as it was spoken at the end of the Second Temple period.1 This language, as well as the topics and terms that reflect this time, include: preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the oral Torah (Mishnah) and in Jewish prayers (Sidurim). It was in this Mishnic Hebrew (the language of the Mishnah) that Jesus and his contemporaries discussed. This mixed-niche Hebrew fills the gap between the Bible in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.

First, I try to answer the following questions: How can one identify the authenticity of the teaching of Jesus in his mother tongue under the Greek surface? In the Jewish traditions, the voices of the various Torah teachers, the opponents of a certain conception and the followers are intertwined. So it is about confrontation or the dispute about the correct interpretation of the writings of the Torah. We can also see similar arguments in the Greek New Testament. How can we try to unravel the tangle of opinion and clearly identify these disputes in order to better understand the teaching of Jesus in his original language? I want to make this clear with an example: In the New Testament, differences between the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of John the Baptist can already be found in Greek texts. Today, by looking at the Jewish background, we can better recognize Jesus' own teaching, which developed in the confrontation with the teaching of John the Baptist. This can be seen particularly in the Lukan double work.

This raises the following questions: What do the Synoptic Gospels report about the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth? How does this information correspond to the historical Jewish context? To which contemporary Jewish movements do the eschatological aspects of the teaching of John and the teaching of Jesus show a particular proximity? Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one could not be sure whether there was tension between John and Jesus regarding eschatology. Now it seems to be clear that John belongs to the fascinating spiritual world of Essenian thought.2 On the other hand, a close connection between the teaching of Jesus and Pharisaism is becoming increasingly evident.3 How did John the Baptist apply Essenian principles in the context of eschatology for his interpretation? How did Jesus apply Pharisaic principles to his interpretation? The examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Oral Torah on the one hand and the testimonies of the Synoptic Gospels on the other allows us to rediscover the Jewish background of the New Testament. Now we can try to hear and distinguish the voices of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth in their own mother tongue. This makes it easier to see what an exciting discussion between these two great teachers in Israel about the way in which the coming world, "a-Olam a-Ba", is hidden under John's hotly controversial question: "Are you the one to come? shall we wait for someone else? " (Lk 7.19 / Mt 11.3).

2. John the Baptist and the messianic interpretation of Isaiah

The prophetic one4 The activity of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, as presented at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke (John the Baptist in Lk 3,1-18; Jesus of Nazareth in Lk 3,22 and Lk 4,16-30) is based particularly on a messianic one Interpretation of the prophet Isaiah (40.3–5; 42.1 and 61.1). We find the parallel motifs in contemporary Hebrew contexts. The parish rules of the priestly movement "Ha-Jahad" (the community) in Qumran should be mentioned here in particular. They are neighbors of John the Baptist in the Judean Desert. One rule reads: “If this is done for the community in Israel, then according to these determinations they shall be set apart from the midst of the abode of the men of iniquity, to go into the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord there, as it is written: ‹Prepare the way of the Lord in the desert, make a path for our God in the steppe› (Isa. 40,3). This is the study of the law (Midrash a-Torah) which he commanded through Moses to do according to all that is revealed from time to time and as the prophets revealed through his holy spirit (be-Ruach Kodscho) » (1QS VIII, 12-16). According to this interpretation, the priestly community of the Holy Spirit (“Le-Yesod Ruach a-Kodesch, Serech A-Yachad” chap. 3, sheets 9,3-5) flourishes for almost 200 years: should build a human sanctuary (Mikdasch Adam) in which they should offer Him as a smoke offering before Him acts of the law (Maasei Torah) »(4 QFlor I, 1–13.18 f.). The circle of the disciples of John in the wilderness also belongs to this direction. Luke emphasizes this similarity between the circle of the Qumran communities and the circle of John by mentioning the priestly descent of John: "who belonged to the priestly class of Abijah" (Mishmeret Avia !; Lk 1,5). According to Lk 3.2, the word of God is also given to John there in the desert (not in the temple, as to his father!), Which prompts him to appear publicly. «In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness and proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This is what was said through the prophet Isaiah (40: 3): 'The voice calls out: In the desert pave the way for the Lord, in the steppe pave a road for our God'. " For the priestly community of Qumran, too, this prophetic word means a call, "They should separate themselves from the abode of the men of iniquity, in order to go into the desert, there to pave the way of the Lord" .4

The fact that John the Baptist appears in the Judean desert and invites the people of Israel to be baptized in the Jordan must be seen as an opposition to the priestly temple cult. It is based on the opinion of the Qumran priestly "Ha-Jachad" movement, which has viewed the temple in Jerusalem as desecrated through an unlawful priesthood [foreigners].5 This had to be understood as an opposition to the circles of the high priest, because only there in the temple could the pious Jew legitimately renew the covenant with God, which had been destroyed by sin, through immersion baths (mikveh) and animal sacrifices. This means that for John the Baptist, baptism not only has the character of a ritual cleansing bath, but is the acceptance into a community that (...) presents itself as “a human sanctuary”, i.e. as a spiritual “human temple”,6 "Church of the Holy Spirit" understands and thus takes the place of the temple in Jerusalem as the place of the renewal of the covenant with God. That is how the Ha-Jachad movement is understood.

In this context the required repentance is a return through water and the Spirit to God (cf. Lk 3:22), whose end-time judgment is expected from John the Baptist. The call to repentance, the practice of baptism, the appearance in the desert can be understood with John the Baptist as preparation for the end times, the imminent judgment of God. May I remind you of the old Jewish joke at the beginning of my lecture. John the Baptist prepares his disciples that all of their kin will be resurrected from the creation of the world - and they will all come together to dwell with the disciples of John the Baptist. That is why John and his boys chose the desert as a safe place. There is much more room for the resurrected relatives in the desert than in the small rooms in Jerusalem! The Isaiah text discussed is originally anchored in the beginning of the second temple period, in the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem, in the second exodus, in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The specific messianic interpretation of this Isaiah text in Luke 3, which calls the people to build a spiritual community temple in the desert, connects the faith of John with the faith of the priests of Qumran. The statement of John: "God can raise children for Abraham from these stones" (Lk 3: 8) is a reference to this Qumran concept: a spiritually pure congregation temple made of people in the desert instead of the desecrated temple made of "beautiful stones" .7

3. The baptism of Jesus in the wilderness and the baptism in the Ha-Jachad congregation

Lk 3:21 ff. Reports that Jesus was also baptized by John. New Testament scholar Jens Schröter: “The reasons that prompted Jesus to move to John in the desert can only be guessed at. (...) The direct encounter must then not only have convinced him to undergo the symbolic act of immersion in the Jordan, but also motivated him to join the circle of the disciples of St. John. "8

According to the Gospel of Luke there is also a common biblical background (Isa 40: 3–5; 61: 1) for the prophetic call of John and Jesus. Luke 3:22 seems to refer to the fact that the return to God has to take place through water and the Spirit. Here it is reported that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus after the "baptism". In the translation of the Greek text "and the Holy Spirit descended" into the Hebrew "Ruach hakodasch jarda", the exegete echoes other texts of the Torah: "The Spirit of God floated on the water" (Gen 1: 2). A messianic interpretation at this time consists of the connection of Gen 1: 2 with Isa 61: 1: "The spirit of God rests on me." Evidence comes from both Pharisaic sources and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Middrash Rabba shows echoes from the Pharisee side for this exegesis: "and the Spirit of God floated on the water" - this is the spirit of the Messiah! Where from? As has been said: on whom shall the Spirit of the Lord rest (Isaiah 11: 2). Why is this statement "floated on the water"? Because buses (Teshuwa) is symbolized by water - «Pour out your heart like water» (Lamentations 2, 19) (Bereschit Rabba). The Qumran fragment 4Q521 shows echoes of the Qumran side for this exegesis: «1 [For the] mmel and the earth will listen to his anointed (Messiah) (…). 6 And his spirit will float over the meek (cf. Genesis 1: 2; Isa 61) ». Here we can really feel the intertwined voices of the Pharisees and Essenes in the background of the first meeting between Jesus and John.

Equally significant is the voice from heaven that speaks to Jesus according to Lk 3:22. David Flusser comments: “Some researchers rightly believe that in the original report the echoing voice of Jesus proclaimed: 'See, this is my servant, to whom I hold fast, my chosen one, in whom my soul is well pleased, I have my spirit upon him laid, he will speak justice to the peoples ›(Isa 42, 1). This form will probably also be the original because the prophetic word corresponds to the situation. (...) And if Jesus really heard the word from Isaiah at that time, then the words ‹see ... I have laid my spirit on him› were a wonderful confirmation of the gift of the Spirit. "9

4. The teaching of John in the wilderness and the teaching of Jesus in the Galilean synagogues (the interpretations of Isaiah)

Jesus studied with John in the wilderness, but he returned to Galilee anyway and taught in the synagogues. The desert was a place of interpretation by the Qumran community and, on the other hand, the synagogues were a place of interpretation by the Pharisees. The synagogue is not a community temple in the desert, but an assembly and an addition to the temple in Jerusalem, "Mikdasch Me-at" (a small temple [Talmud, Megilah 29a]). In this "Mikdasch Me-at" Jesus brings a specific messianic interpretation of Isaiah that is parallel to the interpretations of the community of Ha-Jahad and the teaching of John. At Lk 4,16-27 a scene is described where a messianic claim of Jesus is based on Isa 61,1, Ps 146 and Gen 1,2.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me, to bring the good news to the poor (meek), to proclaim liberation from prisoners and to face the blind, to release the wounded at liberty" (Lk 4:18). The messianic interpretation of Jesus in the Lukan context clearly echoes the interpretation of Isaiah 61 / Gen 1 / Ps 146 from the scroll of Qumran:

«1 [For the] mmel and the earth will listen to his anointed (Messiah) ...

2 and all that is in it will not deviate from the commandments of the saints ... [cf. Gen 1,1]

5 For the Lord will see to the upright, and he will call the righteous by name ...

6 And over the meek his spirit will float [cf. Gen 1,2], and he renews the faithful by his strength ...

7 Yes, He will honor the upright on the throne of eternal kingship ...

8 He frees the prisoners, He opens the eyes of the blind, He raises the bowed down [Ps 146: 7–8] ...

12 Then he will heal the slain, and he will bring the dead to life; to the meek he will proclaim the good news [Isa 61,1] ... »10 We feel these thoroughly Qumran motifs in the background of chapters 4 and 7 in Luke and this statement is followed by Jesus' answer in Luke 7 to the imprisoned John the Baptist. In response to John's question: "Are you the one to come or should we wait for someone else?" (Lk 7:19), Jesus then answers with the description of the signs of the messianic arrival, which directly recalls the messianic text from Qumran above: "... the dead are raised, the poor and meek are preached good news" (Luke 7:22 ) - here and now! What was a prophecy in Qumran up to that point is now a confirmation hidden in this text that Jesus is the expected Messiah: "... he will bring the dead to life, the meek he will proclaim the good news" (4Q521) .

5. The Baptist's Inquiry

«John learned all this from his disciples. So he called two of them over, sent them to the Lord and had him ask: Are you the one who is to come, or do we have to wait for someone else? When the two men came to Jesus, they said: John the Baptist has sent us to you and lets you ask: Are you the one who is to come or do we have to wait for someone else? At that time Jesus healed many people from their illnesses and ailments, freed them from evil spirits and gave sight to many blind people. He answered the two of them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see again, the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed; The deaf hear, the dead rise and the poor / meek [Hebrew: aniim / anawim] is preached to the gospel. Blessed is he who takes no offense in me »(Lk 7: 18-23).

In these verses a scene is described in which John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to Jesus while he is himself in prison. There he is later sentenced to death and executed. According to the Torah, at least two witnesses are needed for the truth of a testimony to endure before God's judgment. In Lk 3, his penance sermon helps to better understand whom John means by “he is to come”. In v. 16 it says: “But John answered them all: I only baptize you with water. But someone comes who is stronger than me, and I am not worth untying his shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. " Baptism "with fire" denotes the judgment that the Messiah will perform when he comes at the end of the world. John believes that the coming of the Messiah is imminent and therefore calls for repentance and baptism.When John speaks of “the one who is to come” in Lk 7.19, he means precisely this messianic judge figure, as it is described in a comparable manner in 11QMelch, an interpretation of Malkizedek (Melchizedek), the messianic high priest at the end of the world: ] And Malkizedek will take the vengeance of the judgment of God [and on that day he will deliver them (the sons of light) from the hand of] Belial and from the hand of all the spirits of his lot.] »Another thought of the Qumran congregation, which can be related to John's reference to the “Coming One”, is the idea of ​​the coming of the Son of Man in the Book of Daniel: “I still had the nocturnal visions: Then came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man. He got as far as the very old man and was brought before him. He was given rule, dignity, and kingship. All peoples, nations and languages ​​must serve him. His rule is an eternal, imperishable rule. His kingdom never ends. I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit about this, and what stood before my eyes terrified me »(Dan 7: 13-15). According to this idea, the Messiah comes to earth or with the clouds of heaven and will then judge all people. We encounter here a very moving picture of faith in John. The unjust judge (King Herod Antipas) has thrown the innocent and righteous John into prison and wants to condemn him to death. With a view to Dan 7: 13-15, John addresses Jesus as it were with the question: «If you are the expected messianic judge , - why do I suffer, who have prepared the people for the coming of the righteous judge who comes from heaven? Why are you silent?" Jesus' answer (Lk 7:22) alludes to Ps 146: 8: "The Lord opens the eyes of the blind, he raises the bowed down", and to Isa 61: 1: "The Spirit of God, the Lord, rests me; for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor / meek and to heal all whose hearts are broken, so that I may announce release to prisoners and liberation to those who are bound. " Both of these Old Testament passages were eschatologically interpreted during the Second Temple period. This can be understood from the above-mentioned text from Qumran (4Q521), which deals with "the Messiah of heaven and earth". It is not evident from Jesus' answer alone that it is meant eschatologically. But if one assumes that the ideas of the end of the world that emerge from the Qumran text were widespread in Jesus' time, the messianic component can be felt in the hints. The very short answer of Jesus and 4Q521 are so similar that it can be assumed with reasonable certainty that these two texts are related in terms of content - even if not necessarily in a literary context (see box below):

Lk 7:22 «He answered them both, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed; The deaf hear, the dead rise and the poor / meek are preached the gospel / the good news. "

4Q521 "The Messiah of heaven and earth": [8] He opens the eyes of the blind [12] and he will bring the dead to life, to the meek he will proclaim the good news. "

Jesus points out that the events already mentioned in Genesis 1, Isa 61.1 and Ps 146 as well as in 4Q521 will now be fulfilled through him. He makes it clear to John that he (Jesus) will accomplish what is expressed in the messianic hopes of the Qumran community Ha-Jahad:

[6] "And over the meek his spirit will float, [12] to the meek he (Gd) will proclaim the good news" (4Q521). However, the eschatological faith of Jesus differs from the faith of John the Baptist. While John regards the end of the world as an immediate occurrence, Jesus understands the end of the world as a long dynamic process. John's way of life, including his unjust death penalty, is only the beginning of this process of God's judgment, God's redemption, and God's righteousness. The end of this process depends not only on the will of God, but also on the will of the meek, who understand the good news and who do not despair because of the delay in the last judgment and because of the continuing sufferings of the righteous under unjust judgments, because "Blessed is! whoever takes no offense at me »(Lk 7:23). In the context of the Hebrew terms, I prefer the corresponding statement: "Sche-lo ikkaschel bi!" - «who does not fail because of me (stumbles)». These meek are blessed because here and now they experience the proclamation of the perfect kingdom of God through the spirit of God floating over them (cf. Lk 6:20 / Mt 5,3). While John speaks of an immediate eschatology as a temporal event in human history, Jesus speaks of a dynamic eschatology that has accompanied this story since John's time and is experienced from generation to generation by the "meek of the spirit".

Let me remind you again of the old Jewish joke at the beginning of my contract. According to the teaching of Jesus, Chaim should not be too frightened before the arrival of the Messiah, since all relatives will not be resurrected in a minute, but only the meek, and their resurrection happens step by step so that Chaim is given enough time to make holiday homes for all to be found in sufficient numbers!

There are therefore serious differences between the two expectations - the expectation of John and the expectation of Jesus. Again and again Jesus teaches his disciples about the kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God) and its dawning (Lk 16:16). The teaching began with Jesus beginning to call his disciples during the active appearance of the Baptist, in "the days of John the Baptist." Since then "the kingdom of heaven has broken through". This is another indication that the kingdom of heaven is not in the future, but in the now - since the time of John the Baptist.

The kingdom is breaking through, the meek members of the kingdom of God are breaking through. In Micah (2,12-13) and also in the Midrash it is the Lord and his sheep who break out or break through. In Micah 2:13 are the "breakthroughs" (poretz) and the king are one and the same person, but in the rabbinical interpretation, according to David Flusser, they are two different persons: the "breakthrough" is interpreted as Elijah and "their king" as the Messiah, the descendant (son) of David .11

Jesus changes this picture a little so that it is the kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God) and his sheep that break through. Although Jesus is not referring directly to his role as the shepherd who leads the sheep, his hearers could hardly misunderstand his astonishing statement: - “I am the Lord. Elias [John the Baptist] had come and opened the way, but he had not yet gone out himself, and then the Lord himself led the loud crowd out into freedom. "

Was Jesus' testimony (Luke 7: 24-28) about John sufficient for his disciples? The further story confirms the movement he started: The teaching of John the Baptist plays an important role for the disciples of Jesus, despite the fundamental differences between the expectations of John and those of Jesus with regard to the last judgment of God and the end of the world. May the Eternal please that Jews and Christians continue their interreligious dialogue, following the example of these two great teachers in Israel 2000 years ago: a real conversation, without fear of complicated contexts, not in a competitive way - despite all serious ones Differences between our expectations.

1 David Bivin / Roy Blizzard: What Did Jesus Really Say? The difficult words of Jesus - a key to understanding them. New insights from the Hebrew perspective. Translated by Horst Krüger. Erzhausen 2006. Further reading beyond the works mentioned in the following footnotes: Knut Backhaus: The «disciples' circles» of John the Baptist. A study of the religious historical origins of Christianity. Paderborn et al. 1991; Lawrence Hoffmann: Art. Prayer, III. Judaism, in: TRE 12, 42–47; Christoph G. Müller: More than a prophet. The characterization of John the Baptist in the Lukan narrative. Freiburg i. B r. i.a. 2001; Michael Tilly: John the Baptist and the biography of the prophets. The Synoptic Anabaptist tradition and the Jewish image of the prophet at the time of the Baptist. Stuttgart 1994; Jens Schröter: Jesus of Nazareth, Jew from Galilee - savior of the world. Leipzig 2010; Elisha Qimron / John Strugnell: Miqsat Ma’ase ha-Torah. DJD X: Qumran Cave 4.V. Oxford 1994. Rabbi Dr. Moshe Navon gave the lecture printed here on the occasion of the annual conference of the Swiss Theological Society on October 25, 2012 at the University of Lucerne. The conference was dedicated to the topic of "Jewish studies as a claim and challenge of Christian theology".

2 David Flusser: Jesus. Jerusalem 1998, 258.

3 Shalom Ben-Chorin: Jewish Ethics based on the Patristic Pericopes: Jerusalem Lectures. Tübingen 1983, 10.

4 David Flusser: Jesus. Reinbek 42006, 29 f.

5 Cf. 4 Q F lor 1,1–16, in: John Allegro: 4Q174 Florilegium. Oxford 1968, 53-57.

6 «Mikdasch Adam»; see 4 Q pile 1, 1–16.

7 Cf. Luke 21: 5 f.

8 Jens Schröter: Jesus of Nazareth, Jew from Galilee - savior of the world. Leipzig 2010, 131.

9 Flusser, Jesus (see note 4). 129 f.

10 A fragment from “The Messiah of Heaven and Earth” (4Q521) (cf. Émile Puech: 4Q521 Apocalypse messianique. Oxford 1998, pp. 1–38.). Special thanks to Mr. Reploh for clarifying the German translation.

11 Bivin-Blizzard, What did Jesus really say? (as note 1).