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A Remarkable Case Of Religious Interaction: Water Baptisms In Judaism And Christianity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sketches a global picture of the interrelationships and interaction between various forms of baptisms, rituals involving a purification of the body by means of water, in Judaism and Christianity between the end of the Second Temple period and the end of Antiquity. It clearly emerges from this that the origins and emergence of early Christian baptism itself was the result of a complicated interaction between various Jewish ritual traditions and a new religion in the making. The author shows that this process did not simply come to an end everywhere when the nucleus of the specifically Christian ritual of baptism had taken shape. Finally, the author follows the further development of this nucleus during the third and fourth centuries CE and thereafter, when it attracted a number of additional acts, gestures, and symbols making the original simple baptismal act into a complicated cluster of initiatory rites.

Keywords: Christianity; Jewish ritual traditions; Judaism; religious interaction; Second Temple period; water baptism



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