The Diet of John the Baptist

Kelhoffer, James A.  The Diet of John the Baptist. "Locusts and Wild Honey" in Synoptic and Patristic Interpretation
2005. XXIII, 256 pages. WUNT I 176

ISBN 978-3-16-148460-5
cloth € 74.00

James A. Kelhoffer

The Diet of John the Baptist

"Locusts and Wild Honey" in Synoptic and Patristic Interpretation

James A. Kelhoffer offers a comprehensive analysis of Mark 1:6c par. 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 locusts as human food and assorted kinds of "wild honey" in antiquity. Chapter 4 considers the different meanings of this diet for the historical Baptist, Mark, and Matthew. 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.

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