Early and Medieval Rituals and Theologies of Baptism: From the New Testament to the Council of Trent, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Early and Medieval Rituals and Theologies of Baptism

From the New Testament to the Council of Trent, 1st Edition

By Bryan D. Spinks


204 pages

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Presenting a comprehensive survey of the historical underpinnings of baptismal liturgies and theologies, Bryan Spinks presents an ecumenically and geographically wide-ranging survey and discussion of contemporary baptismal rites, practice and reflection, and sacramental theology. Writing within a clear chronological framework, Bryan Spinks presents two simultaneous volumes on Baptismal Liturgy and Theology. In the first volume, Early and Medieval Rituals and Theologies of Baptism, Bryan Spinks summarizes the understandings of baptism in the New Testament and the development of baptismal reflection and liturgical rites throughout Syrian, Egyptian, Roman and African regions. He focuses particularly on the Homilies of Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodore and Ambrose, the post-nicene rites and commentaries, and the impact of medieval theologies of baptism and Augustinian theology with reference to Western understanding. In the second volume, Reformation and Modern Rituals and Theologies of Baptism, Spinks traces developments through the Reformation, liturgies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and explores important new ecumenical perspectives on developments of twentiethth-century sacramental discussion.


’… the author's love of the topic shines through… a fascinating and intriguing read… an enticing introduction to the breadth and beauty of early Christian initiation ceremonies… This is an excellent source for scholars who need a brief, clear, learned, and very readable introduction to the central rite of Christian initiation. As such, it would also make a useful text for any course in Christian thought and practice.’ Speculum '[Bryan Spinks] has produced the most comprehensive history of Christian baptism available, perhaps the most complete ever published.' Touchstone 'Few readers will fail to encounter something new in these learned pages… the attenuated and diluted baptismal practices, to say nothing of theologies, of wide reaches of evangelical Christianity could surely benefit from exposure to some of the richness of imagery and actions displayed in this study.' Themelios ’… fills an important gap, both for the student and the scholar… one is struck both by the sheer variety of the material, and by the surefooted way in which Spinks negotiates his journey through the perilous terrain of scholarly controversy and ongoing research… All in all, Spinks has provided the world of scholarship and teaching with many favours for the years to come in [this] well-presented and thoroughly researched [work].’ Journal of Theological Studies ’… of particular value in that Bryan Spinks presents that variety and disagreement, causing and caused by the Churches' separation, so that readers are forced to identify and reflect on the traditions in which they have been formed, implicitly or explicitly. Readers who may never have questioned the meaning and purpose of their own baptism will be enabled to align themselves with one or more liturgical practices or nuanced theological positions of the foundational event in Christian discipleship.’ Church Times ’Bryan Spinks is a master of clear, concise summary. The history of 1,500 years is compres

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Part I Rising Springs: The New Testament foundations; Pre-Nicene baptismal practice and faith; Baptismal rites, commentaries and mystagogical catecheses: the 4th and 5th centuries. Part II The Deep Rivers of Tradition: The formation and theology of the eastern rites of baptism: I the Syrian traditions; The formation and theology of the eastern rites of baptism: II the Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopic rites; The western rites: from John the Deacon to Anglo-Saxon England; The western rites: the later medieval rites, technical theologies, and the Tridentine Reform; In the floods of great waters; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Bryan D. Spinks is Goddard Professor of Liturgical Studies and Pastoral Theology at Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School, USA

About the Series

Liturgy, Worship and Society Series

The Liturgy, Worship and Society series provides a library of innovative scholarship in liturgical studies at a time of vital changes in liturgical life and vigorous debates in academia. The series highlights contemporary work in liturgical studies, attuned both to traditional scholarly inquiry and to recent and emerging questions. In particular, the series is committed to exploring the relationship between liturgical life in Christian churches worldwide and the broader cultural and social contexts in which worship takes place. By offering a thorough grounding in the historical and theological foundations of liturgy as well as determined attention to contemporary developments and concerns, the Liturgy, Worship and Society series is set to make a vital contribution not only to scholarship in liturgical studies but also to the practice of Christian worship in the world today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General