The Diet of John the Baptist: “Locusts and Wild Honey” in Synoptic and Patristic Interpretation
2005 (English)Book (Other academic)
Much scholarly attention has been devoted to four of John the Baptist’s actions—most famously, his baptizing in the Jordan River, but also his preaching a message of repentance, having disciples and wearing clothing made of camel’s hair. Considerably less attention has been given to another deed attributed to John, namely his eating “locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6c||Matt 3:4c). The Diet of John the Baptist offers the first ever comprehensive analysis of Mark 1:6c||Matt 3:4c in its socio-historical context, the Synoptic Gospels and subsequent Christian interpretation. The first chapter surveys various anecdotes about John’s food in the Synoptic Gospels and notes that there has never been a consensus in scholarship concerning John‘s “locusts and wild honey.” Chapters 2 and 3 address ancient perspectives on locusts as human food and assorted kinds of “wild honey.” Chapter 4 considers the different meanings of this diet for the historical Baptist, Mark, and Matthew, as well as the reason for Luke’s omission of Mark 1:6. Contemporary anthropological and nutritional data shed new light on John’s experience as a locust gatherer and assess whether these foods could have actually sustained him in the wilderness. The last chapter demonstrates that the most prevalent interpretation of the Baptist’s diet, from the third through the sixteenth centuries, hails John’s simple wilderness provisions as a model for believers to emulate. An epilogue reflects on the methods employed in this study and suggests several avenues for future research, including conceptions of food and culture in early Christianity and the interplay between paideia and early Christian biblical interpretation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck , 2005, 1st. , xxi + 256 p.
, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, ISSN 0512-1604 ; 176
John the Baptist, food in antiquity, locusts, grasshoppers, honey, patristic biblical interpretation
Research subject New Testament Exegesis
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-140623ISBN: 3-16-148460-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-140623DiVA: diva2:384109
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