John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Dead Sea Scrolls: A “Cosmic Messiah” Who Raises the Dead?

One of the more intriguing of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a fragment now titled “Messianic Apocalypse” (4Q521). This text contains three rather striking features that are of particular significance for comparing the apocalyptic beliefs and expectations of the Qumran community with the emerging early Christian movement. First, the text…

Messiahs in the Time of Jesus

Josephus mentions a dozen or more “messiah” figures beginning with Hezekiah/Ezekias c. 45 BCE whom the young Herod defeated whom he variously labels as “brigands” (ληστής) or “imposters” (γόης)—though he calls Judas the Galilean a “wise man” (σοφιστής) and credits him with the founding a the “fourth philosophy” (Jewish Antiquities18.23).…