Art. 5, De seint Johan le Baptist

Art. 5, De seint Johan le Baptist : EXPLANATORY NOTES

[Fols. 43vb–45vb. ANL 546 (2). Scribe: A, with title inserted by B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 4. Initials: Unfilled space for opening initial A (four lines high). Layout: Two columns. Editions: D. Russell 1989, pp. 79–91. Other MSS: Paris, BnF MS français 19525, fols. 36rb–38vb (ed. D. Russell 1989, pp. 78–90); Manchester, John Rylands Library MS French 6, fol. 5r–v. Picard Version: Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal 3516, fols. 64r–65r. Latin Analogue: Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. Ryan, 1:328–36, 2:132–40. Translations: None.]

52-54 On John the Baptist in the line of Jewish prophets, compare Herman de Valenciennes’ Passion of Our Lord (art. 2), lines 267–71, 625–29.

124-31 On this account of Elijah, compare The Gospel of Nicodemus (art. 3), lines 384–90. On the theological link between Elijah and John the Baptist, and the appearance of this interest in the Ludlow scribe’s portion of Harley 2253, see Pilgrimages in the Holy Land (art. 38), explanatory headnote; and Reasons for Fasting on Friday (art. 106), explanatory note to lines 5–6.

188-89 pur demander . . . enveneit altre. The question about hell is not in the Bible. It connects with the popular motif of the Harrowing of Hell, where John speaks as prophet and is released from hell. See Harley’s Anglo-Norman Gospel of Nicodemus (art. 3), lines 489–96; and the Middle English Harrowing of Hell (art. 21).

Art. 5, De seint Johan le Baptist: TEXTUAL NOTES


title MS: De S iohan le baptist. Scribe B inserts this title in red ink on a blank line.

Al. So R. MS: l (initial missing at beginning of text).
 
dreitureir. So R. MS: dreiturerr.

e il. MS, R: el il.

pople. So R. MS: pple.

estant a. So R. MS: estant del a, with del deleted.

19 e les. So MS. R: les.

21 douse. So MS. R: deuse.

23 vendra. So R. MS: verdra.

29 ences. So MS. R: en ces jurz.

40 sa. So MS. R: la.

45 propheta. So MS. R: prophetiza.

56 li. So MS. R: il.

57 cuntrés. So MS (re abbreviated). R: cuntrees.

60 conseillera. So. R. MS: conseinera.

75 que. So MS (q lacks descender), R.

80 sun. So R. MS: sunt.

87 es. So MS. R: est es.

108 pernent. So MS (er abbreviated). R: prenant.

112 felunie. So R. MS: flunie.

117 lequel. MS: leque. R: que.

123 Nenil. So R. MS: nusu.

125 Non. So R. MS: Nui.

136 Quant. So R. MS: uant (initial missing at top of fol. 45r).

137 quant. So MS (q lacks descender), R.

158 que. So R. MS: qui.

185 kar. So R. MS: ka.

190 Seignur. MS, R: Seignur lui.

191 ciues. So MS. R: cieus.

202 mun. So R. MS: mum.

220 sa fille. So R. MS: omitted.

225 qu’il li. So MS. R: qu’il.

 
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De seint Johan le Baptist [art. 5]

Al tens Herode rei de Judee, ert provere par nun Zacharie del lignage Abie, si out
une femme del lignage Aaron, e ele aveit a nun Elizabet. E ambure erent dreitureir
devant Deu e si gardoent les comandemenz Dampnedeu senz querels. E il
n’aveient nul enfant, si erent ja de grant eage e mult esteient ja lur jurz alez.


E puis si avint que un jur cum Zacharie devait fere le mester sicum il afereit a sun
meistier, e il entra el temple. E tut le pople esteit defors si orout. E a l’ore qu’il
deveit ensencer l’alter, si li aparut le angle Nostre Seignur estant a destre de l’alter
encensé. E quant Zacharie le vit, si fud mult esbai, kar il out mult grant pour de
l’angle.

E dunc li dist l’angle: “N’aiez pour, | Zacharie, kar Deu ad oié ta ureisun. E ta
femme Elizabeth enfantera un fiz, e si apeleras sun nun Johan. E tu en averas joie
e eleescement. E multes genz s’esjoiscerunt en sa nativité, e si iert grant devant
Nostre Seignur. E vin ne sizere ne bevera. E il iert rempli del Saint Espirit uncore
tant cum il iert el ventre sa mere, e il convertira mulz des fiz Israel. E il irra devant
Jhesu Crist le Fiz Deu en la vertue e en l’esperit de Helye. E si convertira les quers
des peres endurciz es fiz de Deu, e les mescreanz a la creance des dreituriers. E si
apparillera a Nostre Seignur pople de perfectiun.”



Dunc respundi Zacharie, e dist a l’angle: “Coment saverei joe çoe? Joe sui ja viel,
e les jurz ma femme sunt ja mult avant alez.”

Dunc respundi l’angle, si dist: “Joe sui Gabriel qui estois devant Nostre Seignur,
e si m’ad enveié pur parler od tei, e que jo douse ceste novele dire. E pur çoe ke
tu ne la creiz, si ers muz e ne purras parler devant çoe que seit avenu tot ceo ke t’ai
dit. E quant le tens vendra, si serra aempli quanque joe t’ai dit.”

E le pople ki atendeit Zacharie dehors le temple s’esmervieillout qu’il demourout
tant dedenz le temple. E quant il eissi fors si ne pout parler a eus, dunc surent il
bien qu’il aveit alcune visiun veue el temple. E il lur feseit signes si remest issi muz.


E quant les jurz furent passez qu’il deveit aveir serviz, si s’en ala a sa maisun. E
aprés ces jurz, se conçut Elizabet sa femme. Ele se mussa par cinc meis, si dist:
“Ore se reguarde Nostre Seignur. E si esta ences ma hunte entre les fiz des
homes.” [Compare Luke 1:5–25.]

E quant le tens vint de l’enfantement, si out un fiz. E quant çoe oirent ses
veisins e ses cosins, que Nostre Seignur li aveit fait tele misericorde, si orent
de li grant joie. Si vindrent a l’utisme jur pur faire l’enfant circumcis, si l’apelerent
Zacharie cum sun pere.

Dunc lur dit sa mere: “Nenil,” dist ele, “n’avera mie a nun Zacharie, einz avera nun
Johan.”

E ses parenz li respondirent: “Ja n’i ad nul de nostre lignage ki ait a nun Johan.”


E il firent enseignes a Zacharie sun pere cument il voldreit qu’il eust nun. E il
demande par enseignes sun escriptorie, si escrit: “Johan est sun nun.”


E tuz ces parenz s’enmerviaillerent. Aneire si | fu sa buche aoverte e sa lange fud
deslié. Si parla e benesqui Deu sun Seignur. E dunc orent grant pour tuz lur veisins.


E par tutes les muntaines de Judee furent espandues ces noveles. E tuz diseient
en lur curage: “Ki quidez vus cest enfant serra? Saciez que la main Nostre Seignur
serrat od li.”

E Zacharie sun pere fud plein del Saint Esperit, si propheta e dist: “Beneit seit
Nostre Seignur Deu de Israel, kar il ad visité e fait le rechatement de sun pople.”
[Compare Luke 1:57–68; Luke 3:4.]

E desque sain Johan fud de l’age qu’il deut prechier le nun Nostre Seignur e
prophetizer de lui, si s’en ala el desert. Iloec si prechout a ceus qui veneient a lui,
si lur diseit: “Faites vos penitences, car le regne del ciel est aprocié.” [Compare
Matthew 3:2.]

E d’icest Johan, fut dit par Ysaie le prophete qu’il serreit veuz el desert ki criereit
e dirreit: “Apparillez la veie Nostre Seignur e faites dreites ces sentes.” [Compare
Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3.]

Cil Johan aveit vestemenz de peilz de camail e une velue ceinture entur ces reins,
e sa viande ert logustes e miel salvage. E a li veneient d’icels de Jerusalem e de tute
Judee e de tutes les cuntrés envirun le Flum Jordan. E il les baptizot el flum
Jordan, e il li regehiseient lur pecchiez. [Compare Matthew 3:4–6; Mark 1:4–6.]

Dunc diseit sain Johan as turbes des genz ki veneient a li pur estre baptizez:
“Engendreure de guivres, ki vus conseillera de fuir devant li rei k’est a venir? Faites
— cheles! — dignes fruiz de penitence. Joe vus di adecertes ke Nostre Seignur puet
bien de vus qui estes durs cum piere fare les dignes fiz Abraham. La cuinié est ja
mise as racines des arbres, e chascun arbre qui ne fra boen fruit serra trenchié e
mis el feu.” [Compare Matthew 3:7–10; Luke 3:7–9.]

E la gent li demandoent dunc: “Que ferrum nus idunc que nus puissum estre salf?”


E saint Johan lur respundi, si dist: “Ki ad dous guneles si duinst le une pur Deu
a celui qui nule nen ad, e qui ad viande si en duinst a celui qui nient nen ad.”


E neis li publicane, une gent senz lei, veneient a li e se feseient baptizer. E si li
demandouent: “Maistre, que frum nus que nus puissum estre salf?”

E il lur diseit: “Çoe faite ke vus avez oi que ai dit as altres.”

E li chevaler li demandouent ensement: “Maistre, que ferum nus | ke nus puissum
estre salvez?”

E il lur dist: “Ne faites a nul home mal ne tort. Si seiez suffisant de voz soldees, si
en donez pur amur Deu.” [Compare Luke 3:10–14.]

E neis tut le pople quidout que sain Johan fud Jhesu Crist, e saint Johan sout ben
lur pensé, kar il ert plain del Saint Espirit. Si lur diseit: “Joe vus baptis sulement
en ewe. Aprés mei vendra plus fort de mei, de ki jo ne sui pas digne que joe deslie
la curaie de sun soldler. E il vus baptizera par le Seint Esperit e par la chalur del
feu qui vient de s’amur. E il tendera le flavel en sa main si esneira sa ire, e si
essemblera sun furment en sun gernier. E la paille si ardera el feu ki ne purrat
estre esteint.” [Compare Matthew 3:11–12; Mark 1:7–8; Luke 3:15–17.]


D’icestes choses e de mulz altres, amonestout saint Johan le pople en prechant.
[Compare Luke 3:18.]

Nostre Seignur puis qu’il comença a prechier, e il oi les overaines que saint Johan
aveit fait el desert, si dist as genz a qui il prechout e as ses disciples de saint Johan:
“Veirement, le vus di, entre les fiz des femmes n’en ad nul greindre de saint Johan
Baptiste. Mes nepurhuec ki menur es ciels si est greindre que Johan en tere. E des
le tens saint Johan Baptiste tresque ore, suefre le regne Deu force, e par force
l’estuet cunqueré. E tuz les prophetes — e neis la lei Moyses — profetizerent de
mai tresqu’a l’avenement Johan. E si me volez creire, çoe est celui de \
que joe diz que joe enveirai devant mei en la vertue de Helye.” [Compare
Matthew 11:11–14; Luke 7:28.]


E saint Johan testimonia de Nostre Sire, e dist, en criant: “Çoe est celui qui
devant mei esteit fait, qui aprés mei vendreit, kar il fud einz de mai. E de la sue
plenté de grace sumes tuz repleniz, kar la lei fud par Moysen doné, grace e
vertu par Jhesu Crist e faite. Kar Deu sicum il est en sa maiesté nuls ne vit unkes
en char; mes le Fiz, ki est el sein sun Pere, il nus ad ceste grace faite. E il nus ad ces
choses cuntez.

“E Nostre Seignur le Pere dist de mei a Nostre Seignur le Fiz par Malachie le
prophete: ‘Veez’, dist il, ‘joe envei mun angle ki apparaillera ta veie devant tei. E
aneire vendra al temple qui est suen le Seignur que vus querez, e l’angle del
testament que vus desirez.’ Estevus ore vient Nostre Seig|nur od grant oste. E qui
purra penser le jur de sun advenement? E qui esterra pur li veir? Il esterra cumme
feu ke l’um sufflera, si serra e si en veier a sun argent e si purgerad les fiz Levi. E
si sufflera cum or e cum argent, e porterunt sacrefice a Deu en justize. E si plerra
a Deu le sacrefize de Juda e de Jerusalem sicum il li plout ancienement. ‘E joe
aprocerai a vus en jugement,’ dist Nostre Seignur. ‘Si jugerai les sorcieres, e les
avulters, e les parjures, e ceus qui pernent les luiers a tort, e ki destruent les vedves
e les orphanins, e ki encumbrent les pelerins. E nient de pour unt de mai,’ dist
Nostre Seignur. [Compare Malachi 3:1–5.]


“‘Ore vus envei joe Helyas le prophete einz ke mun jur vienge, horrible e grant.
E si converterai les quers des peres endurciz de felunie as quers dé fiz Deu.’ Çoe
dit Nostre Seignur li tut pusant.” [Compare Malachi 4:5–6; Luke 1:17.]

En le quincime an que Tyberie Cesar fut emperur de Rume, e Punce Pilate
guardout desuz li Judee, e Herodes fud prince de Galilee, e Philippe sun frere fud
prince de Yturie et Traconitide, e l’an que Anna e Cayphas furent princes des
proveirs, avint cele parole lequel Nostre Seignur aveit dit de sein Johan le fiz
Zacharie ki puis fud el desert. E il fud çoe ke vint prechant par tute la contree de
Jordane le baptesme de penitence en la remissiun des pecchiez, sicum est escrit en
le livre Ysaie le prophete. [Compare Luke 3:1–4.]

Dunc enveierent li Judeu de Jerusalem proveres e diacnes a sain Johan el desert,
si li damanderent si il esteit Crist.

E lur respundi: “Nenil. Jo ne sui pas Crist.”

E il li demanderent: “Ki es tu dunc? Es tu Helyas?”

E il lur respundi: “Non sui.”

E il li demanderent: “Quei dirrum nus, dunc, a cels qui ça nus enveierent, de tai?
Ki es tu?”

E il lur dist: “Jo sui voiz criant el desert, ‘Apparaillez la veie Nostre Seignur,’ sicum
dit Ysaie le prophete.”

E cil qui furent a li enveié furent des Phareseus, e il li demanderent: “Purquei
baptizez tu, dunc, quant n’es Crist ne Helyas?”

E saint Johan lur respundi, e dist: “Jo baptis en ewe, e celi estait enmi nus ki vus
ne cunuissez pas. Il est cili qui aprés mei vendra, ki devant mei fud fait.”


E ces paroles furent dites en Bethanie dela le Flum Jordan u seint Johan baptizout.
[Compare John 1:19–28.] |

Quant Nostre Seignur fud de l’age de trente anz, si vint a sain Johan Baptiste al
Flum Jordan. E quant saint Johan le vit venir vers li, si dist: “Veez l’aignel Deu,
veez celui qui tolt les pecchez del munde. Çoe est celui de qui joe vus dis qui aprés
mei vendreit, ki devant mei esteit fait, e qui einz de mei ert. E joe çoe qu’il fust
coneu en Israel vinc joe devant li, baptizant en ewe.” [Compare John 1:15,
29–31, 36.]

E cest testimonie dist sain Johan de Nostre Seignur: qu’il vit le Saint Espirit
descendre del ciel en semblant d’un colum e se mist sur lui. E Nostre Seignur, qui
aveit enveié sain Johan devant sei pur baptizer le pople en ewe, li aveit dit par
l’angle: “Celui sur qui tu verras descendre le Saint Espirit en guise de colum, çoe
est celui qui baptize par le Saint Espirit.”

“E joe,” dist sain Johan, “le vi e si en porte testemonie que çoe est le Fiz Deu.”
[Compare John 1:32–35.]

E quant Nostre Seignur fu venu de Galilee a sain Johan sur le Flum Jordan pur
estre baptizé de lui, si dist sain Johan a Nostre Seignur: “Joe dei estre de vus
baptizé, e vus venez a mai pur estre baptizé de mei.”

E Nostre Seignur Jhesu li respundi, si dist: “Suffrez ore, si nus covent aemplir tute
dreiture.” [Compare Matthew 3:13–15.]

Dunc vint sain Johan si baptiza. E quant Nostre Seignur fu baptizé, si s’en issi
aneire de l’euue, e les ciels s’aoverirent sur lui. E dunc vint une voiz del ciel, si dist:
“Icist est mun cher Fiz ke joe mult aim, en ki mult me plaist, e par qui jo ploi a mei
mesmes.” [Compare Matthew 3:16–17; Luke 3:21–22; Mark 1:9–11.]


E puis que saint Johan out baptizé Nostre Seignur Jhesu Crist, e saint Johan oit
dire ke Herodes aveit tolet Philippe sun frere sa femme, si li peisa mult de si
criminel pecchié cum de tolir a sun frere sa femme. E la femme ensement
reblasmout il mult d’içoe qu’ele aveit suffert si horrible pecchié. E a la femme
enpeisa qu’il les chalangout issi oiant la gent, kar ele dutout que Herodes la
guerpisist pur les paroles saint Johan. Ele saveit bien que sain Johan ert saint home
e que Herodes le oit volenters parler. [Compare Mark 6:17–20; Matthew 14:3–4;
Luke 3:19–20.]

Mes nepurhuec si enpeisa a Herode que sain Johan le chalengout de la femme, kar
il l’amout si la hait mult a laisier. Si en demanda consail a la femme que il purreit
faire, kar il haiet ke sain Johan le defamout issi pur sun pecchié. E la femme mult
amout l’a|vulterie, e haiet sain Johan mortelement pur sun chastiement. Si loa a
Herode qu’il faist prendre sein Johan e mettre le en prisun e que tele parole ne
parlast mes al pople.

Herodes, qui amout le mal e la folie plus que le ben ne que le chastiement del saint
home, si crei le consail de la fole femme, si fist prendre sain Johan e mettre en
prisun. Si empeisa durement al pople a qui il soleit prechier la parole Deu. En
ceste manere, sil tint Herodes en sa chartre.


E quant Nostre Seignur Jhesu Crist oia dire que sain Johan estet pris e mis en
chartre, si guerpi la cité de Nazareth si s’en ala en Galilee. Si habita en
Chafarnaum en la marine de Zabulon e en la contree de Neptalim, pur aemplir la
prophecie que fud dite par Ysaie le prophete: “La tere de Zabulon e la terre
de Neptalim, e la veie de la mer e de la gent de Galilee utre le Flum Jordan, le
pople qui la seeit en tenebres vit grant lumere. E a ceus ki seeient al realme de
l’umbre de mort, grant lumere lur est nasçu.” [Compare Matthew 4:12–16.] Le dist
Ysaie le prophete.

E des idunc comença Nostre Seignur Jhesu Crist a prechier, e a dire: “Faites vos
penitences, kar le regne de ciels se aproescera.”

Nostre Seignur faiseit granz vertuz la u il alout en la contree de Galilee. E quant
nostre seinur sain Johan oi les vertuz que Nostre Sire feseit, la u il ert en la chartre,
si prist dous de ces disciples, sis enveia a Nostre Seignur pur demander s’il vendreit
aprés li en enfern sicum il esteit venu aprés li el munde — u il enverreit altre.


E Nostre Seignur respundi as disciples sain Johan, si lur dist: “Alez si dites a Johan
çoe que vus avez oi e veu, kar les ciues veient, e li clop vunt dreit, e les leprus sunt
mundé, e li surd oient, e li mort sunt resuscité, e li povre prechent. E beneit seient
tut sil ki ne mescrerrunt de mai. E par ces choses poet Johan saveir ke jol sywerai
en enfern, sicum jol ai siwi el munde.”

E quant les disciples saint Johan s’en furent alé, si comença Nostre Seignur a
demander as turbes des genz de sain Johan quant il l’aloent veeir el desert: “Que
alestes vus veeir el desert? Quidastes vus que saint Johan fud rosel | demené
par vent? U quei quidastes vus veer? Quidastes veer que saint Johan fut vestu
de mols dras? Nenil,” dist Nostre Seignur, “cels qui vestent les mols dras servent
as maisuns des rais seculers. Mes quei alastes vus dunc veer el desert? Alastes
vus veir Johan le prophete? Veirement,” dist Nostre Seignur, “il est ne mie
sulement prophete, mes prophete e plus ke prophete. Il est celui de qui mun
Pere dist par Malachie le prophete: ‘Veez, joe envei mun angle devant ta face, qui
apparillera ta veie devant tei.’” [Compare Matthew 11:2–10.]


E tut çoe dist Nostre Seinur pur testimonier la grant sainte vie que esteit en sein
Johan. E le pople ben l’en creiet kar il aveient quidé, devant que Nostre Seignur
prechat, que sain Johan fust Crist, pur les vertuz qu’il aveit fait e pur la
marvailleuse vie qu’il menout el desert. Mes puis que nostre seignur sein Johan fud
pris e tenu en chartre, e Nostre Seignur Jhesu Crist comença a prechier, e il diseit
al pople de saint Johan qu’il a veié cum sun prophete. E par les merveilluses
overaines qu’il li veient faire, sourent il ben qu’il esteit Crist, e ke seint Johan ert
sun prophete, qu’il aveit devant sei enveié sicum il lur dist.

Sicum saint Johan ert en la chartre, u il fesait mutes vertuz, si ke Herodes ben le
saveit. E que la femme avuiltre ke mortelement le haiet le voleit volenters oscire.
Mes ele ne poeit pur Herode, kar il le feseit ben guarder. E il le cremeit, kar saveit
qu’il esteit saint home e dreiturer. E pur çoe, le fesait il ben garder, e multes choses
feseit il par sun consail.


Mes quant le jur vint cuvenable que Herodes fist la feste de sa naisance, e il fist
grant convivie as princes e as plus halz de Galilee. Si se purpensa dunc Herodiana
la reigne en quele manere ele porreit sain Johan liverer a mort. Si prist [sa fille],
ki ben saveit treschier e tumber, si l’enveia al rei Herode. E quant ele vint devant
le rei si comença a balier e a tumber, si plout mult al rei Herode e a tuz cels qui
manjouent od lui.

Dunc dist le rei a la meschine: “Ore me demandes çoe ke tu voldras, e jo el te
durrai.” E si jura le rei qu’il li durreit çoe qu’ele de|mandast demi sun regne.


E la meschine ala e si demanda a sa mere quele chose ele deveit demander al rei,
e la mere li dist: “Demandez,” dist ele, “le chef sain Johan le Baptiste.”

E ele s’en ala aneire al rai, si dist: “Jo voil,” dist ele al rei, “ke vus me dungez le
chef sain Johan le Baptiste en un esquiele, e çoe hastivement.”

Dunc fud li rai tristez pur le serement qu’il aveit juré e pur cels qui manjouent od
lui, kar il haiet oscir saint Johanz, e il rehaiet estre tenu a mençunger e parjure. E
pas ne voleit corusier la meschine ne sa mere, si ama mielz a plaisir a homes ke a
Deu. Pur çoe si comanda aneire a trencher le chef saint Johan e porter le aneire
en un esquiele.

E un home ala, si li decola en la chartre. E si aporta sun chief en une esquiele sil
dona a la pucele. E la pucele le dona a sa mere.

E quant ces disciples oierent qu’il fud mort, si pristrent sun cors, si l’ensevelirent
en un monument. [Compare Matthew 14:6–12; Mark 6:21–29.]

En ceste manere fina nostre seignur saint Johan Baptiste, le plus glorius des fiz des
femmes.


 
The Life of Saint John the Baptist [art. 5]

At the time of Herod king of Judea, there was a priest named Zachary of the
lineage of Abia, who had a wife of the lineage of Aaron, and she had the name
Elizabeth. And both were righteous before God and followed the commandments
of Almighty God without complaint. And they did not have any children, and they
were already of great age and much advanced in their days.

And then it happened one day that Zachary was obliged to perform the service
assigned to his office, and he entered the temple. And all the people were outside
and prayed. And at the time when he was to cense the altar, there appeared to him
the angel of Our Lord standing to the right of the censed altar. And when Zachary
saw him, he was much dismayed, for he had extreme fear of the angel.

And then the angel said to him: “Don’t be afraid, | Zachary, for God has heard
your prayer. And your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you will call his
name John. And you will have joy and gladness from this. And many people will
rejoice in his birth, and he will be great before Our Lord. And neither wine nor
fermented cider will he drink. And he will be filled with the Holy Ghost while he
is still in his mother’s womb, and he will convert many of the sons of Israel. And
he will go before Jesus Christ the Son of God in the strength and in the spirit of
Elijah. And he will turn the fathers’ hardened hearts to the children of God, and
the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. And he will prepare unto Our Lord a
perfect people.”

Then Zachary answered, and he said to the angel: “How shall I believe this? I am
already old, and my wife’s days are already much advanced.”

Then the angel answered, and he said: “I am Gabriel who stands before Our Lord,
and he sent me to speak with you so that I should announce this news. And because
you did not believe it, you will be mute and unable to speak until all that I have said
has taken place. And when the time comes, all that I’ve told you will be fulfilled.”

And the people who awaited Zachary outside the temple wondered that he
remained so long inside the temple. And when he issued forth and was unable to
speak to them, then they knew well that he had seen some vision in the temple.
And he made signs to them and thus remained mute.

And when the days were over that he was appointed to serve, then he went to his
house. And after these days, his wife Elizabeth conceived. She concealed herself for
five months, and she said: “Now may Our Lord be esteemed. Indeed, this was
formerly my shame among the sons of men.” [Compare Luke 1:5–25.]

And when the time came for the birth, she had a son. And when their neighbors
and relatives heard this, that Our Lord had shown such mercy to her, they had
great joy for her. And they came on the eighth day to perform the child’s
circumcision, and they called him Zachary like his father.

Then his mother said to them: “Not so,” she said, “he will not have the name
Zachary, but he will have the name John.”

And their relatives answered her: “There is none of our lineage who has the name
John.”

And they made signs to his father Zachary [to know] whether he wished him to
have that name. And he asked by signs for his writing tablet, and he wrote: “John
is his name.”

And all their relatives marveled at this. And immediately | was his mouth opened
and his tongue untied. And he spoke and blessed God his Lord. And then all their
neighbors had great fear.

And this news spread through all the mountains of Judea. And all said in their
hearts: “Who do you think this child will be? Know that the hand of Our Lord will
be with him.”

And his father Zachary was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he prophesied and said:
“Blessed be Our Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.”
[Compare Luke 1:57–68; Luke 3:4.]

And when Saint John was of the age that he should preach the name of Our Lord
and prophesy of him, then he went into the wilderness. There he preached to
those who came to him, and he said to them: “Do your penance, for the reign of
heaven is near.” [Compare Matthew 3:2.]

And of this John, it was said by the prophet Isaiah that there would be seen in the
wilderness one who would cry out and say: “Prepare the way of Our Lord and people.”
his paths straight.” [Compare Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3.]

This John had clothes of camel hide and a hairy belt around his loins, and his food
was locusts and wild honey. And to him came people from Jerusalem and all Judea
and all the areas around the River Jordan. And he baptized them in the River
Jordan, and they confessed their sins to him. [Compare Matthew 3:4–6; Mark 1:4–6.]

Then Saint John said to the crowds of people who came to him to be baptized:
“Progeny of vipers, who advised you to flee before the king who is to come? Make
— come now! — fruits worthy of penance. I tell you certainly that Our Lord is fully
able to make worthy children of Abraham from you who are as hard as stone. The
axe is already placed at the trees’ roots, and each tree that does not produce good
fruit will be cut down and placed in the fire.” [Compare Matthew 3:7–10; Luke 3:7–9.]

And the people then asked him: “In that case, what can we do so that we may be
saved?”

And Saint John answered them, and he said: “He who has two coats must for God’s
sake give one to him who has none, and he who has food must give of it to him who
has nothing.”

And even the publicans, a people without law, came to him and had themselves baptized.
And then they asked him: “Master, what can we do so that we may be saved?”

And he answered them: “Do that which you heard me say to the others.”

And the knights asked him likewise: “Master, what can we do | that we may be
saved?”

And he said to them: “Do evil or wrong to no one. If you have sufficient wages, give
of them to others for the love of God.” [Compare Luke 3:10–14.]

And all the people also believed that Saint John was Jesus Christ, and Saint John
knew well their thought, for he was filled with the Holy Ghost. And he said to
them: “I baptize you only in water. After me will come one greater than me, of
whom I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his shoe. And he will baptize you in the
Holy Ghost and in the heat of the fire that comes from his love. And he will hold
out the winnowing fan in his hand and cleanse his threshing floor, and he will
gather together his wheat in his granary. And the chaff will burn with a fire that
cannot be extinguished.” [Compare Matthew 3:11–12; Mark 1:7–8; Luke 3:15–17.]

Of these things and many others, Saint John exhorted the people in his preaching.
[Compare Luke 3:18.]

When Our Lord began to preach, and he heard of the works that Saint John had
performed in the wilderness, he said to the people to whom he preached and to
his disciples concerning Saint John: “Truly, I say to you, among the sons of women
there has been no one greater than Saint John the Baptist. But nonetheless the one
least in heaven is still greater than John on earth. And from the time of Saint John
the Baptist until now, the realm of God has endured violence, and by violence it
is overcome. And until the coming of John, all the prophets — and even the law
of Moses — prophesied of me [i.e., my coming]. And if you will believe me, he is
the one with the strength of Elijah whom I said I would send before me.” [Compare
Matthew 11:11–14; Luke 7:28.]

And Saint John testified about Our Lord, and he said, crying out: “This is he who
before me was made, who after me will come, for he was before me. And with his
abundant grace are we all filled, for the law was given by Moses, and it yields grace
and power by Jesus Christ. For God as he exists in his majesty has no one ever seen
in flesh; but the Son, who exists in the bosom of his Father, has performed this
grace for us. And he has related these things to us.

“And Our Lord the Father said of me to Our Lord the Son through the prophet
Malachias: ‘See,’ he said, ‘I send my angel who will prepare the way before you.
And forthwith there will come to his temple the Lord whom you seek, and the
angel of the testament that you desire.’ Here now comes Our Lo|rd with a great
host. And who will be able to imagine the day of his coming? And who will stand
so that he may see him? He will stand like the fire on which a man blows, and then
he will look upon his silver and purify the sons of Levi. And he will blow as with
gold and as with silver, and they will bring proper offering to God. And the
offering of Judea and Jerusalem will please God as it pleased him in former times.
‘And I will draw near to you in judgment,’ said Our Lord. ‘And I will judge the
sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, and those who take their wages wrongfully,
oppress widows and orphans, and trouble pilgrims. And have no fear of me at all,’
said Our Lord. [Compare Malachi 3:1–5.]

“‘Now I send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, terrible and great. And
so he will turn the hearts of the fathers hardened by wickedness to the hearts of the
children of God.’ So spoke Our Lord Almighty.” [Compare Malachi 4:5–6; Luke 1:17.]

In the fifteenth year that Tiberius Caesar was emperor of Rome, and Pontius Pilate
ruled over Judea, and Herod was prince of Galilee, and Philip his brother was
prince of Iturea and Trachonitis, and the year that Annas and Caiaphas were high
priests, came this word that Our Lord had spoken of Saint John the son of Zachary
who was then in the wilderness. And he was the one who came preaching
throughout the land of Jordan the baptism of penance for the remission of sins,
as is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah. [Compare Luke 3:1–4.]

Then the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and deacons to Saint John in the
wilderness, and they asked him if he was Christ.

And he answered them: “Not so. I am not Christ.”

And they asked him: “Who are you then? Are you Elijah?”

And he answered them: “I am not.”

And they asked him: “What shall we say about you, then, to those who sent us here?
Who are you?”

And he said to them: “I am a voice crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of
Our Lord,’ as said the prophet Isaiah.”

And those who were sent to him were Pharisees, and they asked him: “Why, then,
do you baptize when you are neither Christ nor Elijah?”

And Saint John answered them, and said: “I baptize in water, and there stands one
among us whom you do not know. He is the one who will come after me, who
before me was made.”

And these words were said in Bethania by the River Jordan where Saint John
baptized. [Compare John 1:19–28.] |

When Our Lord was thirty years of age, he came to Saint John the Baptist at the
River Jordan. And when Saint John saw him come toward him, he said: “See the
Lamb of God, see the one who takes away the sins of the world. This is he of whom
I told you that he would come after me, who was made before me, and who was
before me. And I [am] the one of whom it was known in Israel that I would come
before him, baptizing in water.” [Compare John 1:15, 29–31, 36.]

And Saint John spoke this testimony of Our Lord: that he saw the Holy Ghost
descend from the sky in the likeness of a dove and alight upon him. And Our
Lord, who had sent Saint John before him to baptize the people in water, had said
to him by the angel: “He upon whom you will see the Holy Ghost descend in the
manner of a dove, that is he who baptizes through the Holy Ghost.”

“And I,” said Saint John, “see him and thus bear testimony that this is the Son of
God.” [Compare John 1:32–35.]

And when Our Lord had come from Galilee to Saint John at the River Jordan to
be baptized by him, then Saint John said to Our Lord: “I need to be baptized by
you, and you come to me to be baptized by me.”

And Our Lord Jesus answered him, and he said: “Permit it now, as we must fulfill
all righteousness.” [Compare Matthew 3:13–15.]

Then came Saint John and baptized. And Our Lord was baptized, and then he
emerged immediately from the water, and the skies opened upon him. And then
came a voice from the sky, and it said: “This is my dear Son whom I love greatly,
for he pleases me greatly, and I myself am pleased by him.” [Compare Matthew
3:16–17; Luke 3:21–22; Mark 1:9–11.]

And after Saint John had baptized Our Lord Jesus Christ, then Saint John heard
it said that Herod had taken the wife of his brother Philip, and it weighed heavily
on him, such a mortal sin as to take from his brother his wife. And the woman
likewise he blamed very much in that she had permitted such a horrible sin. And
it troubled the woman that he accused them in this way in the people’s hearing, for
she feared that Herod would forsake her on account of Saint John’s words. She
knew well that Saint John was a holy man and that Herod willingly listened to him
speak. [Compare Mark 6:17–20; Matthew 14:3–4; Luke 3:19–20.]

But nonetheless it troubled Herod that Saint John accused him about the woman,
for he loved her and hated much to abandon her. So he asked the woman advice
about what he should do, for he hated that Saint John denounced him in this way
for his sin. And the woman greatly loved the a|dultery, and she hated Saint John
mortally for his chastisement. And she advised Herod that he must take Saint John
and put him in prison so that he’d no longer speak such words to the people.

Herod, who loved wickedness and wantonness more than [he loved] goodness and
the holy man’s chastisement, and who believed the advice of the lewd woman, then
had Saint John taken and put in prison. And it weighed heavily on the people to
whom he was wont to preach the Word of God. In this manner, Herod held him
in his prison.

And when Our Lord Jesus Christ heard it said that Saint John was taken and put in
prison, he left the city of Nazareth and went to Galilee. And he lived in
Carpharnaum on the coast of Zabulon and in the region of Nephthalim, in order to
fulfill the prophecy that had been spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “In the land of
Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, and in the path of the sea and of the people
of Galilee beyond the River Jordan, the people who sat there in darkness saw a
great light. And to those who sat in the realm of the shadow of death, a great light
is born to them.” [Compare Matthew 4:12–16.] This said the prophet Isaiah.

And thereafter began Our Lord Jesus Christ to preach, and to say: “Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven draws near.”

Our Lord performed great miracles wherever he traveled in the land of Galilee.
And when our lord Saint John heard the miracles that Our Lord performed, there
where he was in prison, he took two of his disciples, and he sent them to Our Lord
to ask whether he would come after him in hell — where he would be sent next —
just as he had come after him in the world.

And Our Lord answered Saint John’s disciples, and he said to them: “Go and say
to John what you have heard and seen, for the blind see, the lame go straight, the
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are revived, and the poor preach. And
blessed are all those who do not lack faith in me. And by these things can John
know that I will follow him into hell, as I have followed him in the world.”

And when Saint John’s disciples had gone, then began Our Lord to ask the crowds
of people about Saint John when they had gone to see him in the wilderness: “What
did you go to see in the wilderness? Did you imagine that Saint John was a reed |
shaken by the wind? What did you expect to see there? Did you expect to see that
Saint John was clothed in soft garments? No, certainly,” said Our Lord, “those who
wear soft garments serve in the houses of worldly kings. But what then did you go to
see in the wilderness? Did you go to see the prophet John? Truly,” said Our Lord,
“he is not only a prophet, but a prophet and more than a prophet. It is he of whom
my Father spoke through Malachias the prophet: ‘Behold, I send my angel before
your face, who will prepare your path before you.’” [Compare Matthew
11:2–10.]

And all this spoke Our Lord to testify to the very holy life that was in Saint John. And
the people fully believed him because they had thought, before Our Lord preached,
that Saint John was Christ, on account of the miracles that he had performed and
the wondrous life that he had led in the wilderness. But after our lord Saint John
was taken and held in prison, then Our Lord Jesus Christ began to preach, and he
said to Saint John’s people that he had traveled as his prophet. And on account of
the miraculous works that they saw him perform, they knew well that he was Christ,
and that Saint John was his prophet, whom he had sent before him as he told them.

Meanwhile Saint John was in prison, where he performed many wonders, such that
Herod knew this well. And the adulterous woman who hated him mortally wished
actively to kill him. But she could not [do it] on account of Herod, for he had him
well cared for. And he respected him, for he knew that he was a holy man and
righteous. And on account of this, he had him well cared for, and he did many things
according to his counsel.

But when the appropriate day came for Herod to hold his birthday feast, then he
made a great banquet for the princes and the most important people in Galilee.
Then Queen Herodias considered how she might be able to deliver Saint John to
death. And she took [her daughter], who knew well how to dance and tumble, and
she sent her to King Herod. And when she came before the king and began to
dance and tumble, this was very pleasing to King Herod and those who ate with him.

Then the king said to the girl: “Now ask me for whatever you would like, and I’ll
give it to you.” And the king swore to her that he’d give whatever she a|sked for
from his kingdom.

And the girl went and asked her mother what thing she should ask of the king, and
her mother said to her: “Ask,” she said, “for the head of Saint John the Baptist.”

And she went immediately to the king, and she said: “I wish,” she said to the king,
“that you give me the head of Saint John the Baptist on a dish, and this quickly.”

Then was the king distressed on account of the oath that he’d sworn and on
account of those who ate with him, for he hated to kill Saint John, and he hated in
turn to be thought a liar and perjurer. And he didn’t wish to anger the maiden or
her mother, and he loved more to please men than God. Therefore he ordered
at once that Saint John’s head be cut off and brought at once on a dish.

And a man went out, and he beheaded him in the prison. And he then brought his
head on a dish and gave it to the maiden. And the maiden gave it to her mother

And when his disciples heard that he was dead, they took his body, and they buried
it in a tomb. [Compare Matthew 14:6–12; Mark 6:21–29.]

In this way died our lord Saint John the Baptist, the most blessed of the sons of
women.


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Go to Art. 6, De seint Bartholomeu: Introduction