Did John the Baptist Eat like a Former Essene? Locust-eating in the Ancient Near East and at Qumran

Did John the Baptist Eat like a Former Essene? Locust-eating in the Ancient Near East and at Qumran DID JOHN THE BAPTIST EAT LIKE A FORMER ESSENE? LOCUST-EATING IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND AT QUMRAN JAMES A. KELHOFFER Saint Louis University James H. Charlesworth has argued that John the Baptist’s eating locusts and honey characterizes the legendary wilderness prophet as a former Essene: During the beginning of his [John’s] attempt to enter the Community, he would have sworn an oath to obey Torah according to the interpretation of the priests (1QS 1.16 – 20; 5.1 – 6.1; 6.13 – 23). He ate only honey and wild locusts. That would indicate that he did not accept food from others. The description of what John ate has a decidedly Qumran or Essene ring to it. That is, locusts and honey were acceptable foods for the Qumranites and the Essenes. 1 Charlesworth uses a particular interpretation of CD 12:11b – 15a to support this characterization of John as a former Essene: No-one should de fi le his soul 12 with any living being or one which creeps, by eating them, from the larvae of bees to every living 13 being ( d[ µyrwbdh ylg[m hyjh çpn lk ) which creeps in water. And fi sh: they should not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Dead Sea Discoveries Brill

Did John the Baptist Eat like a Former Essene? Locust-eating in the Ancient Near East and at Qumran

Dead Sea Discoveries, Volume 11 (3): 293 – Jan 1, 2004

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0929-0761
eISSN
1568-5179
DOI
10.1163/1568517042643756
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

DID JOHN THE BAPTIST EAT LIKE A FORMER ESSENE? LOCUST-EATING IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND AT QUMRAN JAMES A. KELHOFFER Saint Louis University James H. Charlesworth has argued that John the Baptist’s eating locusts and honey characterizes the legendary wilderness prophet as a former Essene: During the beginning of his [John’s] attempt to enter the Community, he would have sworn an oath to obey Torah according to the interpretation of the priests (1QS 1.16 – 20; 5.1 – 6.1; 6.13 – 23). He ate only honey and wild locusts. That would indicate that he did not accept food from others. The description of what John ate has a decidedly Qumran or Essene ring to it. That is, locusts and honey were acceptable foods for the Qumranites and the Essenes. 1 Charlesworth uses a particular interpretation of CD 12:11b – 15a to support this characterization of John as a former Essene: No-one should de fi le his soul 12 with any living being or one which creeps, by eating them, from the larvae of bees to every living 13 being ( d[ µyrwbdh ylg[m hyjh çpn lk ) which creeps in water. And fi sh: they should not

Journal

Dead Sea DiscoveriesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2004

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