Cornelis Bennema, «Spirit-Baptism in the Fourth Gospel. A Messianic Reading of John 1,33», Vol. 84 (2003) 35-60
The various ways of understanding "baptism in the Holy Spirit" has caused much division in both academic scholarship and the church. Most theories have been based on the Synoptics and Acts, but the phrase o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is also present in the Fourth Gospel (1,33). However, Johannine scholarship has hardly given attention to this concept. This paper will seek to establish that o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is a programmatic statement for Jesus’ nexus of soteriological activities in relation to people by means of the Spirit. "To baptize with Holy Spirit" refers to Jesus’ programme of cleansing people through revelation by means of the Spirit. Moreover, this concept is rooted in Jewish messianic traditions, which were able to expect a messiah who would judge, restore and cleanse by means of his Spirit-imbued word.
demonstrate that the statement in 1,33 concerning Jesus’ baptizing in or with Holy Spirit is programmatic for Jesus’ ministry of revelation and cleansing by means of the Spirit.
We start by examining the phrase bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| and determining its basic meaning (I). Subsequently, we will investigate whether Judaism knew of this concept (II). We shall then return to the Fourth Gospel to elucidate how Jesus’ Spirit-baptism is related to particular events or activities in his ministry (both before and after his departure) (III). Finally, we will attempt to establish a more precise meaning of the concept of "Spirit-baptism" in the Fourth Gospel (IV).
I. The Referent of bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w|
The vast majority of scholars think 1,33 means that Jesus will give the Spirit to or bestow the Spirit on people6, but is this really what John the Baptist himself (or the Evangelist) would have implied or how a first-century Jew would have understood it? Turner argues that Judaism was probably not able to conceive of any messianic figure bestowing the eschatological Spirit on Israel, and therefore it is unlikely that John the Baptist himself (or any first-century Jew for that matter) would have thought about it7. Judaism naturally understood the