Article

Christian Initiation

Maxwell E. Johnson

in The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199271566
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199271566.003.0035

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Christian Initiation

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To study the rites of Christian initiation in the early church is to encounter not one but several liturgical traditions in development. This article seeks to provide an introductory overview of the sources, issues, and problems encountered in the development and interpretation of the rites of Christian initiation within early Christianity. It proceeds in two parts: from the first century to the Council of Nicaea; and from the Council of Nicaea to Augustine of Hippo. Augustine of Hippo serves as a fitting conclusion to this focus since, as a result of his controversies with both Donatism and Pelagianism, a new article in Christian initiation begins and continues throughout the medieval and even Reformation periods of church history.

Keywords: Christian rites; early liturgy; Christian initiation; early Christianity; Council of Nicaea; Augustine of Hippo; Donatism; Reformation periods

Article.  8412 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies ; Sociology of Religion

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