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The scene definitely depicts Jesus returning from the wilderness to "Bethany, across the Jordan, where John was baptizing." As the question says, the Gospel of John is not recording the baptism event directly, but is recording John B’s testimony of that event. We can draw the tightest possible timeline of events as: Baptism, wilderness: 6 weeks (42 days); ...


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It does not seem that John the Baptist could possibly have been a member of the community of Qumran (which we assume was occupied by the Essenes). The very reason the community withdrew to this remote site was to avoid contact with those less holy than themselves. This is explained in the Community Rule papyrus: The Community Rule - 1Q5-col V.1-3: (...



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