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COMING OF AGE AND PUTTING ON CHRIST: THE TOGA VIRILIS CEREMONY, ITS PARAENESIS, AND PAUL'S INTERPRETATION OF BAPTISM IN GALATIANS

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This essay examines the toga virilis coming-of-age ceremony in the Roman household and argues that the gentile rite of passage is an important social context in which to understand Paul's interpretation of baptism, particularly of the pre-Pauline baptismal formula of "putting on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). The moral exhortation occasioned by the toga virilis warned the newly togaed youth against succumbing to the flesh, the same fear that Paul expresses concerning the baptized Galatians. This contextualization makes Paul's paraenesis on responsible use of freedom more intelligible than the standard history-of-religions reading. The goal is to move the scholarship on baptism in Pauline theology beyond the limited hermeneutical framework of the "origins" of ritual language.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853602320249473
2002-07-01
2016-12-09

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