The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation

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Liturgical Press, 2007 - Religion - 487 pages
2 Reviews
Originally published in 1999, The Rites of Christian Initiation was hailed for its clarity and comprehensiveness. Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B., called it ?the best overall treatment of Christian initiation available," and Paul Bradshaw predicted it would be ?the standard textbook on the subject for very many years to come." The current edition draws on new translations of early texts on baptism as well as recent scholarship on the early traditions in the East and West. It is sure to replace itself as the new standard reference on the rites of Christian initiation.Maxwell E. Johnson?s expanded and revised text provides a more complete view of the history and interpretation of the rites in the Eastern Church, including two chapters that explore the pre-Nicene Eastern and Western traditions in detail. Revisiting the theology of baptism, this edition also provides more nuanced positions on the Eastern and Western traditions. Finally, recent liturgical developments in American Protestant churches, particularly Lutheran, as well as the ongoing development of the RCIA and confirmation practices of Catholics, made it necessary to revisit the place and meaning of these rites in the church today.?If you think Maxwell Johnson has already written the definitive book on the history of Christian initiation rites, you are right. But now he has made it better. A revised and expanded edition is only necessary because scholars have new insights into the history of these rites, and because their contemporary celebration continues to develop. Johnson has written a textbook case of writing good textbooks: clear in organization, generous in quoting sources, precise in analysis, and provocative in expositing contemporary theological issues. Maxwell Johnson is a mystagogical Titan at the top of his form.? Paul Turner, S.T.D. Author of When Other Christians Become Catholic (Liturgical Press)?The revised and expanded edition of Maxwell Johnson?s The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation further enhances the reputation of the Liturgical Press for publishing first-rate liturgical studies that both keep abreast of the field and ahead of it. The first edition clearly established itself as the best overall treatment of the subject and the most widely used textbook available. This new edition captures the fast-moving developments in scholarship on the rites of both eastern and western Christianity. Particularly instructive is Professor Johnson?s discussion of the most recent fruitful engagement of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches on initiation, including directions to be taken in the future. Most arresting, however, is his penetrating theology and spirituality of the rites of initiation. For everyone interested in the rites of Christian initiation, no matter from what faith tradition, this revised and expanded edition is must reading and study.? T. M. Finn Chancellor Professor of Religion Emeritus College of William and Mary?The first edition has already established itself as the standard history of the rites of initiation, and the updating in this second edition will further enhance its reputation.? Rev. Paul Bradshaw, Ph.D. Professor of Liturgy University of Notre Dame?By adopting Maxwell Johnson?s The Rites of Christian Initiation as the standard text for courses liturgy professors across the English speaking world have recognized the author as among the premier liturgical scholars. Johnson is especially competent in the early period. The revised version has substantial additions: chapters for both East and West in the ante-Nicene period, including new material on the Odes of Solomon; new material on the Cappadocians; a new chapter on all of the seven living Eastern Christian traditions (available nowhere else); the chapter on the modern period now includes the new rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELCA), and Lutheran Service Book (Missouri Synod) together with more recent scholarship on the RCIA. This makes it the most up to date and comprehensive book on the rites of initiation.? Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B. Saint John?s Abbey Collegeville, Minnesota
 

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Review: The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation

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A thorough study of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) from the very beginning. Johnson is a Lutheran scholar. He gives a thorough and balanced overview across the traditions. It's something stellar to study, and its definitely a textbook. Read full review

Contents

The Origins of the Rites of Christian Initiation
1
Christian Initiation in the Prenicene East
41
Christian Initiation in the Prenicene West
83
Initiation in the Christian East During the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
115
Initiation in the Christian West During the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
159
Baptismal Preparation and the Origins of Lent
201
Christian Initiation in the Middle Ages
219
The Rites of Initiation in the Christian East
269
Christian Initiation in the Protestant and Catholic Reforms of the Sixteenth Century
309
Christian Initiation in the Churches Today
375
Back Home to the Font The Place of a Baptismal Spirituality and Its Implications in a Displaced World
451
Index
479
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Page 1 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Page 12 - How GoD anointed JESUS of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for GoD was with him.
Page 18 - And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Page 13 - Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
Page 12 - Lord of all) , the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

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About the author (2007)

Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, is an oblate of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, and an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is professor of liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. His articles have appeared frequently in Worship. He is the author of" Living Water, Sealing Spirit, The Rites of Christian Initiation", and "Between Memory and Hope", published by Liturgical Press.

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