Monday, October 15, 2012
So you need a dissertation topic (Installment 1): Was Jesus a disciple of John the Baptist?
There are several possible ways to explain this connection and none of these are given much thought by Jesus scholars. Perhaps Jesus and John admired one another from afar. Perhaps Jesus’ relationship with John was more like that of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie – i.e. maybe Jesus popped into meet the crazy guy once or twice just to check him out. Perhaps the evangelists extrapolated the relationship between John and Jesus from overlapping sermon topics that had circulated and conflated in oral tradition. But, and here is the beauty of this topic, one does not need to prove an alternative theory in order to point out the frailty of the assumptions from which most Jesus historians build.
There is much work to be done and I do not intend to pursue this myself. Have at it!