Markus Vinzent's Blog

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Arator in his 'Historia apostolica' on baptism

In a forthcoming article ('Arator and Baptism in Sixth-Century Rome': Studia Patristica 53, 2012), Richard Hillier shows 'clearly that, for him [sc. Arator], the critical moment of baptism comes in the descent into the depths and the plundering of the devil’s domain, be it the ocean or the underworld.  For Arator the subsequent "resurrection" is little more than the return to the surface'. In his footnote, he adds: 'Arator’s emphasis is in curious accord with the contention that the celebration of Easter (and thus baptism) was more a memorial of Christ’s passion and death than his resurrection... Such a view is supported by the fact that baptismal candidates (as, for example, in the Gelasian Sacramentary) were asked to affirm their belief in Christ’s incarnation and passion rather than his resurrection' (thus Wolfram Kinzig, ‘"… natum et passum etc.", Zur Geschichte der Tauffragen in der lateinischen Kirche bis zu Luther’, in: Tauffragen und Bekenntnis: Studien zur sogenannten ‘Traditio Apostolica’ zu den ‘Interrogationes de fide’ und zum ‘Römischen Glaubensbekenntnis’, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 74 [Berlin/New York, 1999], 75-183).
So, still in 6th century Rome did the early Christian tradition of linking baptism and Christ's suffering and death prevail in some authors.

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