The Messianic Forerunner Concept in Earliest Christianity (Q)

  • Michael Flowers

Student thesis: Phd


In this thesis I consider the messianic forerunner concept within "Q" (which I take to be a source used by all three of the synoptic authors). I argue that at least five units in Q (3:2-3+7-9+16b-17; 3:21-22; 7:18-20+22-23; 7:24-27; 7:28) envisage John as a messianic forerunner to the Messiah Jesus. The messianic forerunner concept is therefore quite pervasive in Q and cannot be said to have originated with the evangelist Mark, as is sometimes supposed. Q attempts to deal with the historical fact that Jesus had not fulfilled Israel's messianic expectations. It did this by portraying Jesus as a rejected Messiah whose redemptive mission had been thwarted by Israel's unbelief. Jesus will ultimately redeem Israel but this will take place at his second coming and that cannot take place until Israel repents.I consider whether Q's redactor(s) utilised any earlier sources. I find this not to have been the case in Q's Prologue (3:2-3+7-9+16b-17) or in Jesus' Baptism by John (3:21-22). Earlier source material can, however, be detected in 7:18-19+22-23; 7:24-27; and 7:28. I consider whether any of this latter material derives from a rival "Baptist" source and conclude that it does not. The question of whether the messianic forerunner concept had its origins in Judaism prior to Jesus and his new movement can therefore not be established by any of the Q units examined in this thesis. What can be established, however, is that the concept goes back to some of the earliest traditions of Jesus' followers.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTodd Klutz (Supervisor) & Peter Oakes (Supervisor)


  • Messianic forerunner, Elijah, John the Baptist, Q, Christian origins, Q 3:16-17, Q 7:18-23, Q 7:24-27, Q 7:28

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