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Although the Christology of the Ebionites in general, and the so-called Gospel of the Ebionites cited by Epiphanius of Salamis in particular, has been commonly classified as adoptionist, the utility of the term ‘adoptionism’ has been recently called into question. This article will focus on the fragment about Jesus’ baptism in Panarion, 30.13.7–8 to determine whether it depicts Jesus’ adoption to divine sonship. Although the text does not use adoptionist terminology and imagery, Jesus does acquire a new christological identity in the pericope when he is possessed by the spirit and metaphorically begotten by the deity. This should be relabelled as a possessionist Christology. However, Epiphanius wrongly interpreted the text through the lens of Cerinthus’ Christology, in which Jesus is only temporarily inhabited by the Christ aeon between his baptism and his crucifixion.
Reformed accounts of infant baptism are usually covenantal and promissory in nature. They are about bringing the child into the ambit of the visible church in the hope the infant will own the faith upon reaching the age of reason. This paper sets out an alternative Reformed account of baptism, drawing on the Scottish confessional tradition. On this account, infants have a disposition to faith conveyed to them in baptism that will in due course become dispositional faith exercised in saving faith. Thus, baptism involves regeneration – or something close to it.
In Purgatory where Dante learns how all the purposes of the journey thus far which had progressed from the terrifying dark mountainside, through Hell and into Purgatory, are achieved in his finally passing beyond the whole purgatorial mentality itself into a place of the recovery of the original innocence of Eden. Here Dante learns from Beatrice that the burdens of sin can be finally laid down in the Earthly Paradise, and that he should now have learned, at last, how to smile. For here, she says, sin no longer has any place on the agenda of Dante’s recovery, which takes the form of a redemptive act of memory, recalling the innocence lost in Eden; and now, with the recovery of that true memory, he is now able truly to narrate the journey thus far. Now he can write the Comedy.
This chapter takes Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s baptismal certificate as a point of departure for exploring how Johann Sebastian Bach’s personal and professional relationships during the Weimar years can help illuminate his otherwise poorly documented musical interests in March 1714. He and his first wife, Maria Barbara, selected two musicians – Georg Philipp Telemann and Adam Immanuel Weldig – to stand as godfathers to their newborn son. This move signaled friendship and trust in each man’s potential to guide the future of the next generation of Bach family musicians. Telemann, Weldig, and J. S. Bach were all young men at the time of the baptism, enjoying blooming musical careers. Weldig was engaged at the musically adventurous court of Weißenfels, while Telemann, working in Frankfurt am Main, was a highly prized musical guest at the Weimar ducal courts. Bach was actively engaged both with the repertories performed at Weißenfels and the latest Italianate instrumental styles represented by Telemann’s music. Using Bach’s Cantata BWV 54 (Widerstehe doch der Sünde) as a case study, I show how such diversity is reflected in the way Bach’s and Telemann’s compositions are in dialog with contemporary musical language and, at times, with each other.
Several recent studies have proposed that according to Paul gentiles join Abraham's lineage in a quasi-physiological way by being infused with material πνɛῦμα. This article assesses that proposal, finding it to be an inaccurate description of Paul's language and rationale, and sets forth an alternative proposal based on Romans 4 and Paul's descriptions of baptism. This alternative proposal is that Paul understood the forging of an Abrahamic and divine pedigree for gentiles to be a divine act of creation from nothing, that is concomitant with believers’ proleptic death and resurrection in solidarity with the messiah.
In this chapter, I explore the connections between Tertullian’s de Baptismo, the Acts of Paul, and the supposedly Cainite Gnostic text, the Gospel of Judas. Are Tertullian’s comments concerning both Thecla and Cainites accurate? First, in de Baptismo, Tertullian attacks a Cainite woman for using the example of Thecla as a model to justify women teaching in churches. Further, he criticizes the Cainite woman for denying the practice of baptism within some of the churches of North Africa. Second, the Gospel of Judas—a ‘so called’ Cainite text—seems to affirm the rite of baptism. Do Tertullian’s comments concerning Cainites betray an unfamiliarity with it? Third, in the Acts of Paul, the rite of baptism is affirmed generally, while specifically Thecla is commissioned to teach and even baptizes herself. Why Tertullian would cite the case of Thecla is not clear. How does one synthesize this seemingly contradictory evidence? This chapter focuses upon sorting out these inconsistencies. Ultimately, this chapter demonstrates how some of the churches of North Africa were reading the Acts of Paul as a form of hagiography that was inspiring women in their faith while also impacting their understanding of Christian rituals and practices (i.e., baptism and missions).
The Stone-Campbell Movement combined the evangelical revivals of the American frontier, the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke, Thomas Reid, and Francis Bacon, and the democratic ideals of the United States. The “restoration plea” of early Stone-Campbell leaders emphasized four interrelated themes: restoration, unity, missions, and eschatology. Early leaders believed that the restoration of the teachings, practices, and terminology of the New Testament church would lead to visible unity in an increasingly divided Christianity, which in turn would aid global missions and usher in the millennium. They thought restoring the New Testament church would promote greater faithfulness to God and individual freedom of conscience, as Christians would be united around the teachings, practices, and terminology of Scripture alone, not those promoted by later teachers or found in creeds of human origin. Today the movement represents the ongoing desire in American Protestantism for a Bible-based, mission-oriented, non-denominational Christianity.
The complex interaction of different Christian systems created a series of uncertainties: about how to coordinate different ritual systems (e.g. baptism and the ritual year), about hierarchy (e.g. relation of the chain of command to status hierarchy), about the relation between the clerical elite and the monastic elite, and about the ritual status of heretics.
As well as passing on or reaffirming decisions made at Nicaea, the apostolic see around 400 CE was dealing with issues the council had not addressed about who was entitled to administer a given ritual and when it was appropriate to do so. Questions arose notably about the ritual called consignatio, baptism, fast days in the week, a death ritual, and about marriage, adultery, and the Eucharist. These were problems without self-evident answers, and finding solutions might involve considerations both of principle and practicality.
The focus of the chapter is on those features of the late Roman world in the West which were the environment of early papal jurisprudence. These include: the sheer number of clerics and monks, the heterogeneity of these two Christian elites, their relation to existing secular legislation on status and occupations, inconsistency in ritual systems, contested meanings of baptism and its place in the religious year, the symbolic significance of time, the disruption to society of the barbarian invasions, the two Christian systems of marriage (episcopal and imperial), and the spatial structures of empire and church. The chapter attempts to elucidate two overlapping sources of tension which played a part in generating the first papal jurisprudence: the multiplicity of semi-autonomous evolving systems, and uncertainty about where or whether to draw a line between non-negotiable principles and legitimate variation.
When Gratian’s Decretum took its final shape in the mid-twelfth century, one of its three major parts, the Tractatus de consecratione ecclesiae, focused on sacramental law. De consecratione, added in the second recension, reflects the theological climate of the time, when theologians defined seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, penance, the Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, and extreme unction. Previously, the sacraments had occupied only a modest place in the canon law, with exceptions like the Decretum of Burchard of Worms and the collections ascribed to Ivo of Chartres. De consecratione was divided into five distinctions, focused on churches, the Eucharist, and baptism. The text exposed students to the concept of the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine, reflecting the theologies of the previous century and the Gregorian Reform’s critique of simony, buying and selling spiritual gifts.
This chapter discusses a series of high-profile cases in which significant disputes arose involving the application of ecclesiastical law. It begins with Parliament’s debates on its role and authority in this area as it attempted more than once to frame legislation for clergy discipline and the discussions in Convocation. It considers the Gompertz case, raising questions about the role of the bishop; the contrasting churchmanships of Evangelicals and Tractarians; and the controversy about biblical interpretation prompted by the publication of Essays and Reviews. The case of James Shore tested the law on the effect of a clergyman’s finding his opinions had changed to such an extent that he was no longer a member of the Church of England, while still effectively retaining his Anglican priesthood. The chapter also covers the cases of William Bennett and the ‘real presence’, and George Denison’s lengthy dispute with the Bishop of Exeter on the effect of baptism. It ends with the case of Alexander Mackonochie and controversy over the regulation of public worship.
In studies of Pauline reception, most scholars limit themselves to works in the second or early third century (often ending with Irenaeus or the Acts of Paul) and to material from the Latin West and Greek East. Although later Syriac sources are rarely engaged, those who do work on this material have long recognised the importance of Paul's letters for that material. The present argument aims to help broaden the dominant discourse on Pauline reception by attending to early Syriac sources, principally the work of Aphrahat the Persian Sage. I focus in particular on his discussion of baptism and marriage in Dem. 7.18–20, which has confounded scholars over the years. This passage displays a kind of Pauline ‘logic’ indebted to 1 Cor 7.20, which can be discerned among other early Christian applications of that passage in similar contexts, in both East and West.
This chapter sifts through the various contemporary interpretations of the Pauline phrase “in Christ.” Based on the likely origin of the phrase and the way it functions in Paul’s argument, it is suggested that for Paul, union with Christ expresses genealogy and lineage. By being “in Christ” one is folded into Abraham’s family. An analysis of multiple Pauline letters suggests that the means of being united with Christ is baptism. This interpretation calls for a revision of traditional Protestant accounts of the ordo salutis, in particular of the tendency to separate baptism and union in Christ.
In 2008 and 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published two responses to questions posed regarding the validity of modified baptismal formulas. When administering baptism, some Catholic ministers had altered the prescribed formula with regard to the naming of the Trinity and with regard to the declarative introduction of the formula (ie ‘We baptise you …’ instead of ‘I baptise you …’). The Congregation dismissed all of these formulas as invalidating baptism and demanded that individuals baptised with these formulas be baptised again. In explaining its 2020 response the Congregation referred to Thomas Aquinas, who addressed these and similar issues in his sacramental theology. This reference is evidently due to Aquinas’ pioneering thoughts on the issue. However, in studying Aquinas’ work on the subject it is surprising to find that they reveal a far less literalist approach than the Congregation suggests. In fact, his considerations point at an alternative reading, namely that sacramental formulas should be understood as acts of communication which, based on the ministers’ intention of doing what the Church does, aim at communicating God's grace to the receivers in an understandable way.
The renunciation of the devil in the rite of baptism appears in high frequency in baptismal expositions, royal capitularies, acts of church councils, and popular sermons during the later reign of Charlemagne. Close examination of these sources demonstrates a discourse of reform that centers on the proper life and conduct of Christians. In reply to Charlemagne's questions in his encyclical letter on baptism, authors of baptismal expositions commonly expounded baptismal renunciation as a symbol of Christians’ moral conversion. Charlemagne projected his deep solicitude for the life and conduct of ecclesiastics of his realm on the issue of the renunciation of the devil in two capitularies of 811. Archbishop Leidrad of Lyon elaborated his exposition on baptismal renunciation in his second letter of reply to Charlemagne on baptism, which preserves a sample of how an ecclesiastical leader responded to the emperor's reform concerns. Several popular sermons from the later reign of Charlemagne reveal how the moralistic discourse of the renunciation of the devil was disseminated to common Christians. Baptismal renunciation was part of the rhetoric of Charlemagne's empire, and various modes of communication that involved the agency of multiple parties made it a totalizing discourse of reform.
Between AD c. 400 and c. 1100, Christian ideas about the afterlife changed in subtle but important ways. This chapter outlines broad trends in thought about the afterlife in this period in the Latin West, and examines the concomitant changes in thinking about the post-mortem fates of souls. Ongoing contemporary discourse around topics such as sin and penance or baptism contributed to developments in the way that contemporaries understood the afterlife, including heaven, hell, and an interim state between death and universal judgement. Significantly, as Christians came to be more certain about some aspects of the afterlife, the possibility of salvation for individual souls was perceived to be less certain. As a result, by the end of the period there is much greater evidence for concern about the post-mortem fate of the soul than there had been at the beginning, laying the foundations for high medieval theological discussions and developments.
This chapter explores literary representations of believers’ baptism published during the English Revolution. It focuses, in particular, on two surviving testimonies recounting participation in the ordinance originating in Fifth Monarchist communities: Anna Trapnel’s prophetic commemorations of her baptism recorded in 1654 and 1657-8, and the spiritual experiences of twelve-year-old Caleb Vernon published in 1666 as a spiritual antidote to the plague. The recounting of believers’ baptism in Fifth Monarchist communities was shaped by various political, social and doctrinal concerns originating both inside and outside the movement. The ordinance became a nexus of various imaginative affirmations of dissenting identity, including the connection of a present, commemorative act with a triumphant vision of the victorious saints in the near future. Baptisands recognised the commemorative function of baptism as a visible demonstration of their own spiritual regeneration and Christ’s resurrection (as well as other biblical models). However, this chapter will also explore how these surviving testimonies verge on bringing the past into the present, sometimes invoking divine presence through the physical gestures they describe. In such accounts, partly designed to urge fellow dissenters to undergo the ordinance, some believers appear to have transposed the pre-Reformation focus on immanence and sensory experience required by ritual acts.
Reytory von Angola was taken from the west coast of Africa and carried to the island of Manhattan, to the infant Dutch town of New Amsterdam sometime between 1626 and 1640. What awaited her there was a life of struggle, loss, and love. Her life demonstrates the challenges of claiming freedom for those with female bodies. Freedom required claiming family, claiming land, claiming human affections, claiming a role as a wife and a widow and a mother, and also claiming the most intimate parts of her own body. Freedom meant the ability to snatch children out of the maw of enslavement. She would never have a document that “gave” her freedom. Instead, freedom was something she made over the course of her life, which she bestowed on the generations that followed by building and defending a claim to the many aspects of herself. Marriage, motherhood, land ownership, and church membership all served as preludes to her final act of positioning her adopted son to acquire his freedom.
Vatican II was the catalyst for a significant realignment of ministerial life in the Catholic Church. Although the council did not undertake a thoroughgoing revision of episcopal or presbyteral ministry, the repercussions of its stress on the primacy of baptism and on the ecclesial dimension of all ordained ministries have altered the landscape of ministry.