Date of Award

4-1999

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Maier

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Porter

Third Advisor

Dr. Larry Simon

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Baptism is a central rite of the Christian church, and has been practiced throughout the entire history of the church. Volumes of material have been published regarding the biblical roots underlying baptism and the theological significance of the rite. However, very little research has been conducted regarding the historical development of baptism through the centuries since the inception of the church. In this thesis, I sought to discover specifically what could be known about baptism as it was practiced in the second century of the church. By investigating second century sources, I hoped to find lines of continuity which would tie together the practices of the first century church and those of later times. Christian baptism is introduced by setting it in its context of the biblical writings, existing Jewish practices, and parallel pagan and heretical sources. This is followed by the actual review and analysis of the writings of the church fathers that are relevant to the topic, in a roughly chronological order. Finally, a series of conclusions is drawn from the evidence regarding the belief and administration of baptism in the church of the second century.

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