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.
One filled with wisdom and knowledge who will cause destruction by the xwr of his breath35.
4Q175 5-13 speaks both of the eschatological Prophet who will bring God’s revelation (with negative consequences for those who reject it) and of a royal-political messiah who will execute judgement. Lines 14-20 of 4Q175 also present the idea of a messiah providing revelation; a priestly messiah who would according to Deuteronomy 33,10 teach the law (cf. the revelatory function implicit in the epithet "the Interpreter/Teacher of the law" in CD 7,18 and 4Q174 f1-3 col 1,11, which probably refers to the same priestly messianic figure)36. 4Q541 f7 4-6 possibly refers to judgement or a sifting of the wicked and the wise ones by means of the Messiah’s word/teaching. 4Q541 f9 col 1,2-3 depicts a priestly messiah who will perform acts of atonement/ cleansing, and he will do so by means of the revelation of his wisdom in the form of divine teaching37. In the Damascus Document we can also find reference to an eschatological act of atonement which will cleanse the sins of the community, performed either by a priestly messiah or by God through his messiah (CD 14,19)38.
It appears that Qumran literature draws on a broad nexus of OT texts for the portrayal of its various messianic figures (see n.34), but these descriptions appear to have some common traits39. Judgement is an important function of the Prophet and the royal Messiah, and takes place when the Prophet’s revelatory words of his mouth are rejected (4Q175; cf. 4Q541) and when the Spirit-endowed royal