John the Baptist: A Literary Symbol

- May 2001 -

If many concepts in religion have their roots in pan-cultural symbolism, the reverse may also be true. Some religious personalities may unexpectedly acquire a symbolic value, and become literary metaphors. John the Baptist can be a very valuable metaphor, especially in times of confusion and uncertainty. John the Baptist is the prophet par excellence, and this consideration has nothing to do with religious evaluation. Even those people who are not Christian, or are atheistic, have to admit the remarkable metaphoric power of John, who is unlike all the other prophets the Bible is so full of. John's strength lies in his awareness, which is double-edged. It is both the certainty of his coming before someone superior who is coming after, and the imminence of that coming. As if the past were prophesying a future which is already present. Unfortunately no writer or poet has ever had such a brightly prophetical soul! If only Locust Magazine had the same consciousness John the Baptist so uniquely revealed!

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