The Jewish penitential preacher Jochanan Mamdana (Latin Ioannes Baptista) was born in 1 BC and allegedly died as a martyr in Jerusalem in 29 AD. His historicity is disputed, however, but according to the prevailing view today is vouched for by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. He lived as an ascetic in the desert, where he clothed himself in rough camel's hair and fed on locusts and wild honey. According to tradition, he first appeared in public as a penitential preacher in the year 28. In Christianity, he is regarded as a forerunner of the imminent arrival of the Messiah. John preached in the style of the ancient prophets and administered baptism. According to Christian belief, he also baptised Jesus. His day of birth and commemoration is 24 June. Other commemorative days are 24 February (when his head was found) and 29 August (the day of his beheading).
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