Jewish prophet revered1 in Christianity as the forerunner2 Sources for his life are the four Gospels， the Acts of the Apostles， His mother， Elizabeth， was perhaps a relative of Mary; his father was the priest Zechariah. As a young man John lived in the Judaean desert， either as a hermit3 such as the Essenes. He attracted much public notice c. AD 28 as a prophet in the Jordan Valley. He preached the imminent4 wrathful judgment5 of God and called on his hearers to repent6 himself came to be baptized by John and shortly afterward7 began his own mission. John was imprisoned8 for criticizing the illegal marriage of Herod Antipas， and was executed after Herod's stepdaughter， Salome， demanded his head as a reward for dancing for the king's guests.