How did Gospel authors Matthew and Luke shape the story of John the Baptist around the story of Jesus? Why was the historical Baptist so popular? In John the Baptist: Prophet of Purity for a New Age, Catherine Murphy explores the character of John the Baptist and compares what the foundational Gospels yield: not only the perspectives of the synoptic authors, but also a sketch of the historical figure of the Baptist, which is then placed within the religious, political and economic context of first-century C.E. Judea. Special attention is given to the interface between John and the Qumran community, which scholars have proposed ever since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Chapters are "Will the Real Baptist Please Stand Up?" "Redaction Criticism: How and Why Authors Shape Their Stories," "Baptist Vignettes in the Gospels: A Redaction-Critical Approach," "Another Angle on the Baptist Movement: Social-Scientific Criticism," "Purification Movements in the First-Century C.E. Judea," and "Conclusion."