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Baptism in the Didache

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the significance of baptism in Didache 7. Commentators generally agree that the few sentences which are devoted to the baptismal liturgy in the Didache are as notable for what they omit as for what they contain. The author argues that baptism in the Didache is not a rite of "christological" significance, but of eschatological meaning. Baptismal theology in the Didache does not embrace the "death and burial with Christ" ideology of Paul, but continues to show the concerns of Jewish-Christians who are committed to the Torah and to observance of ritual purity in matters which touch the table and the "initiatory bath". For the Didachist, baptism does not create an egalitarian community. The baptismal liturgy of the Didache provides yet another reflection of a Jewish-Christian group which wishes to remain faithful to the Torah, and is unwilling to follow either the "extreme liberals" or the "extreme hardliners".

Keywords: Baptism; Didache; Jewish-Christian group; Torah



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