John the Baptist had a flourishing sect- more properly an international organization- that was already well established by the time Jesus began his mission: indeed, it seems that the new messiah began his spiritual life as one of John’s disciples. What happened to John’s religion – or his “Way” as it was known – is a matter of academic conjecture: most scholars think it simply fizzled out, or was absorbed into the new Christian sect. Either way, it is not of much interest to the world of academe – but perhaps it should be, for in the real history of john’s cult lie some of the darkest secrets of Christianity, even perhaps of Christ himself. The apparent disappearance of John’s sect may simply be a footnote in religious history as far as most academics are concerned, but of course we know that certain cabals within the Templars – and others – preserved the Baptists cult. Yet even the very idea that John had a cult will be surprising to most Christians, to whom he is merely a necessary adjunct to the story of Jesus.

Lynn Picknett

(submitted by John Logan Parsons III)