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The Phenomenon Of early Christian "Anti-Saoramentalism"

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Chapter Summary

For the historian of early Christianity, the use of hypothetical models or typologies is indispensable for the meaningful arrangement and interpretation of disparate data. The narrative of Jesus' baptism by John is missing, as is the institution of the Lord's Supper from Jesus' last meal with his disciples which, unlike the Synoptics, is not a Passover meal. After the second mention of the fact that Jesus baptized followers, the Evangelist inserts a parenthetical denial that Jesus himself ever baptized anyone. Unlike Matthew, the Fourth Gospel contains no command that the disciples baptize future converts. These phenomena may be contrasted with three explicit allusions to the sacraments. This chapter briefly enumerates the major interpretive solutions to the problem: The "antisacramental" approach sees in the Fourth Evangelist a critic of the extremes to which sacramentalism had been taken in the church of his time.

Keywords: antisacramental approach; baptized followers; early Christianity; Fourth Gospel; Jesus' baptism; Lord's Supper



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