John the Yogi?

Ernest Renan, in his small work Vie de Jésus made an interesting comment about John the Baptist:

From his infancy, John was Nazir—that is to say, subjected by vow to certain abstinences. The desert by which he was, so to speak, surrounded, early attracted him. He led there the life of a Yogi of India, clothed with skins or stuffs of camel’s hair, having for food only locusts and wild honey. A certain number of his disciples were grouped around him, sharing his life and studying his severe doctrine. We might imagine ourselves transported to the bans of the Ganges, if particular traits had not revealed in this recluse the last descendent of the great prophets of Israel.”
Life of Jesus translated by J.H. Holmes (New York: Random House, 1927), 136.
Portrait of Joseph Ernest Renan, by F. Mulnier. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Portrait of Joseph Ernest Renan, by F. Mulnier. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

This Frenchman's depiction aimed at making John "exotic" (he wrote the book in 1863), a "Yogi of India" who we may imagine living by the Ganges. Also, he makes the claim that John was the last great prophet of Israel, contentious in itself. But these comments give us a fascinating window into some of the "life of Jesus" writers of that day.