Saturday, August 29, 2009
Did John the Baptist Eat Locusts & Wild Honey?
No doubt he ate wild honey, but how about locusts? There has always been speculation by scholars that John was an Essene and lived with the community in Qumran. If that were the case, the Essenes, no doubt, followed the levitical laws and locusts would have been forbidden. It has also been suggested that John was born into a priestly family (Luke 1:V) and as such would have been aware of the laws of kashrut. So it is highly unlikely that he would have resorted to eating locusts as he would have known otherwise.
A more plausible argument is made by Archimandrite Akakios in his book Fasting In The Orthodox Church where he quotes from Professor Cavarnos, who states, "The Greek word akrides refers to 'shoots of bushes' and is probably [incorrectly] translated as 'locusts.' Thus we can assume that the Prodromos fasted continuously and avoided anything except food from plants and wild honey."
Not a far leap to infer that John the Baptist was a vegetarian and perhaps even a vegan. Did his lifestyle influence his spirituality and his authentic character?