Hughes, J. H. (1969) Disciples of John the Baptist: an examination of the evidence for their existence, and an estimate of their significance for the study of the fourth gospel. Masters thesis, Durham University.
This study begins by examining the evidence for the claim that alongside the early Christian communities there existed a movement committed completely to the view that John the Baptist was the Messiah. References to John, and to his disciples, in various non-canonical works fail to substantiate absolutely this claim, but they do indicate that extreme views about John were circulating long after his death. On the basis of the New Testament evidence it seems clear that John created at least the nucleus of a Johannite sect, that he saw himself as the precursor of Yahweh and failed to appreciate the significance of Jesus, and that after his death some of his followers held for a time the belief that he had been the eschatological Prophet or Messiah. Eventually, and probably well before the end of the first century, the great majority of Johannites entered the Christian Church and re-interpreted John's role in the light of their new commitment. They came to recognize that John was Indeed the forerunner of Jesus and the herald of the Kingdom of God. This recognition was entirely in accordance with the way Jesus himself had sought to explain John's mission and to link it with his own. The Fourth Gospel's account of John's ministry reflects indirectly his failure, and the temporary failure of many of his followers, to recognize the importance of Jesus. It seems that the Jewish opposition to the Church attempted to make its own malicious use of the traditions of this early period of Johannite history; and it was the need to combat this phenomenon, and not any Johannites who had remained independent of the Church and perhaps also adopted gnostic views, that explains the obvious polemic in the Fourth Gospel against exaggerated views of John's status.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Arts|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||14 Mar 2014 16:25|