Friday, December 28, 2007

Ioannes Baptista praecursor Domini

Table 1 section 13 - The Precursor

The precursor appears in the Autumn of the 15th year of Tiberius.
– Who are you?
– I am not the Christ.
– What then? Are you Elijah?
– I am not.
– Are you the prophet?
– No.
– Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?
– I am vox clamantis in deserto, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'

My tables, Beloved, are laid out in this room over here. Please take a moment and look around at them - you can see the whole and you can see the multi-hued pieces of each. Note how different the unique portions are. Azure thread in a passage from KATA MARKON means unique to Mark, but Mark's hue in a passage from KATA MATTHEON means that the words are shared with Mark. So it is with the other hues. And the paired passages should reverse their hue in the paired records. That is, what is pink in Mark will be azure in Matthew. What is green in Mark will be azure in KATA LOUKAN and what is pink in Luke will be green in Matthew. These three were in Jerusalem in the tumult before the war.

If there is the yellow thread in one, it should be yellow in all three - but it may be yellow because of a passage in a separate segment. All four records agree that there is a voice crying in the wilderness. For most of my life, I could not hear such a voice.

Mark begins with what Luke and Matthew write later. He refers to the prophets (Malachi and Isaiah) and I have added Isaiah the prophet in the margin.

– Don't write in my books!

Luke wrote of Simeon's longing for the consolation of Israel. This voice crying in the wilderness is at the beginning of the Book of Consolation of the prophet Isaiah.

Comfort, comfort my people.

John and his cousin knew this book– much better than I know it and better than Mark who was not assiduous. My father taught me this book above many others of the Law and the Prophets. We learned it in Greek. Mark uses that work also for he learned from Paul while they were together in Asia where Greek is the common language.

Matthew's record has skipped forward about 35 years. He begins this section with 'the Baptist', without introduction. Luke adds the family name of Zechariah, John's father, to Matthew's reference. Mark writes of his action of baptizing and takes from Luke the preaching of a baptism of repentance. As I take my cues from all four, Mark takes his cues from Luke and Matthew, leaves much out, and reorders the text. What for? Always for focus. Mark sees clearly - not as trees walking - and brushes away what is not necessary.

– you must have a singleness of vision. That will lead you to the knowledge of mercy. Without it you are not alive.
– not alive?
not alive.

He cuts down on the text to avoid distracting the reader, though he is not without detail. Note his description of John's clothing and food (and sometimes he will add from his own memory).

– In mercy, love arises to greet its Lord, astonished at the depth of the gift. There is no pattern of gentleness quite so sweet or so severe.

And the people of the land responded. They went to be baptized, confessing their sins.

– It is not enough for you to imagine you are in him.
– What will I do then? What is enough?
– Watch and wait - be awake - he will show you every step in his way.

Finally, Beloved, we are over the beginning and have started our perusal of the records of these times. I will write a little of what I see of the four records as we have laid them out, one day at a time. I will write a little of what I remember and of what was written for me in the time of my disability.

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