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Baptism Portrayed as Martyrdom in the Early Church

Gordon Jeanes Pp 62-80 in: Forms of Devotion: Conversion, Worship, Spirituality, and Asceticism Everett Ferguson (Editor) SERIES: Re ent Studies in !"ristianit#, $%%& ' G(R)(*+ P,$)IS-I*G, ne. /or0 and )ondon, 1222 345678

"Baptismal rites before the fourth e!tur" tal#e$ about re%e!eratio!& after the patter! of 'oh! ()*+& more tha! about $"i!% a!$ risi!% ,ith -hrist i! the ,or$ of .aul i! /oma!s 0)(ff12 this shift i! emphasis from the o!e u!$ersta!$i!% of baptism to the other ,as probabl" %e!eral throu%hout the -hur h i! both 3ast a!$ 4est2"5p 016 5m" phrase)6 7! these later rites& the ritual assume$ a purifi ator" hara ter& a!$ is 8ie,e$ as a battle ,ith 9ata!9 93D3 4;<4C= :;847= 5CB8 :;<;C3 :;45;B:3 48A= 62-@ >?= :;<63= Et"is paper suggests t"at the baptismal

language of the combat with Satan 222i! the

ate heses6 ",as ta#e! o8er from the histor" a!$ literature of the :his ha!%e of $"!ami s " a!!ot be 8ie,e$ i! the baptismal rites i!


isolatio!& but i! the ha!%e of $"!ami s i! the -hur h as a ,hole2 :he a%e of the mart"rs ,as past& the ima%er" a!$ la!%ua%e of mart"r$om ,as& as it ,ere& "up for %rabs"& a!$ also ,hat the mart"rs stoo$ for& the ra$i al halle!%e of the %ospel to the ,orl$& ,as a #i!$ of "!o ma!;s la!$" Ep 6@F ."i " needed to Ge o upied iH t"e .itness oH t"e !"ur " .as to Ge ontinued9 In part t"at .as ta0en up G# t"e Ion0s, Gut 999EaJsoF in t"e ne. rites oH GaptisI ever# !"ristian no. "ad to spea0 personaJJ# t"e Janguage oH t"e Iart#rKs reLe tion oH t"e .orJd and engage in oIGat .it" Satan9 Ep6MF 9imilarities bet,ee! baptism a!$ mart"r$om 999"ave t"eir Gasis in t"e sa#ing oH Jesus asso iating "is deat" .it" "is GaptisI ()u0e 12:'0)9E!"rist .as Nt"e supreIe Iart#rN p9 6'F Eon t"is Gasis Iart#rdoI .as seen as a se ond GaptisIF9 Et"ereHore Iart#rdoI, Ji0e GaptisI, NO43;=B3 :;S=>= 7<S43= =S;4 B= ,R;53; O4>3 Q> C4B P=;44 B= OBN 1 ;:4B PRB:< OA US ,;:;>= 3>;P :;;>8 ;:4B ;<PRB:< OB999;<=8T< ;:;>= ,?;C4 R4C>= ;<=8T< 5CB ;<=;SN 2 N ,;:44R:8

onHers Horgiveness oH sinsF9 In a serIon deJivered in Easter .ee0 to t"e neop"#tes in t"e "ur " oH t"e Iart#rs in (ntio ", !"r#sostoI Ia0es a dire t oIparison oH t"e neop"#tes .it" Iart#rs @: 999Got" oH t"eI die to t"e .orJd9Ep 6MF $ut ."ereas t"e Iart#r is t"e Hait"HuJ onHessor oH !"rist, t"e andidate preparing Hor GaptisI oIes in HroI t"e .orJd and stiJJ s"ares in its guiJt9999 Ep 68F

V"e pi ture oH t"e

martyr as athlete and soldier is eWtreIeJ#

oIIon and goes

Ga 0 to t"e Geginning oH !"ristianit#9 In PauJKs .ritings t"ere is t"e at"Jete ."o is t"e runner in t"e ra e (1 !or9 2:2M-X), Gut Joser to our t"eIe EYIart#rsF is t"e GJending oH ra ing and onHJi t in 2 ViI9 M:X-89 999V"e Iart#r at"Jete is Iore .restJer t"an runner, and is set to ombat i! the %la$iatorial %ames < o!l" the ombat is a%ai!st 9ata! M9 Ep 68F99 :he o!test ,ith 9ata! ,as a! e8er=%ro,i!% feature i! the baptismal rites i! both 3ast a!$ 4est 9Ep 68F IIitation oH !"ristKs deat" aJso Ieant iIitation oH "is suHHering and "is triuIp" over eviJ9 Ep X2F :he histori al pro ess b" ,hi h the la!%ua%e of $"i!% ,ith -hrist e!tere$ i!to baptismal litur%ies has bee! reliabl" $ate$ to the fourth e!tur" a!$ later 9999EV"usF t"e tradition Ge aIe a Jiturgi aJ Janguage onJ# aHter it "ad999 eased as a urrent a tuaJ issue9 It is onJ# ."en t"e Iart#rs Ge aIe a t"ing oH t"e past t"at t"e Janguage oH Iart#rdoI ouJd Ge appJied to t"e inintiation oH ever# !"ristian999V"e iIage, in order to Ge Hreed Hor t"e oIIon Janguage, "as to Ge a step reIoved HroI t"e reaJit#999 :he passi!% a,a" of the a%e of mart"rs free$ the ima%e of mart"r$om222 EearJier !"ristiansF did not need to eIp"asiZe t"e deat" iIage Ge ause it .as Hostered eJse."ere, Ep X8F 999EGut Jater it Gegan to Ge eIp"asiZed t"atF the

ascetic in the desert [was] "putting self to death"

Ep X2F

With the triumph of Constantine and the end of the period of persecution the idea of the spiritual combat might ha!e dropped out of use if there had not immediately become a!ailable another class of men to whom it could be applied
6M >?8 34<633 =? 4:A=4P @ E9g., Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis 109 EngJis" trans9 In: The Acts of the M Christian martyrs, p9 118-12

now that the martyrs were no more namely the mon"s 99 9 V"e
vi tor# .on in t"e arena ."en, G# s"edding "is GJood, t"e Iart#r pro JaiIed and Iade IaniHest t"e vi tor# oH !"rist and t"e rout oH Satan ouJd no Jonger Ge Joo0ed Hor[ Gut it ,as still possible to ,i! 8i tories o8er the $e8il b" re>e ti!% his temptatio!s& a!$ b" arr"i!% the ,ar i!to his o,! territor" 5the $esert6&

### $he monastic profession

then becomes a substitute for martyrdom and to the mon" are applied the epithets formerly bestowed upon the martyr# %e is both the athlete and the soldier# # # # $he spiritual combat introduced into Christian thought by St Paul transferred by necessity to the physical plane in the age of the martyrs has now once more mo!ed bac" to the realm of the spirit [p &'] [(uoted from) V"e warfare of Christ G# GeraJd $onner, pp9
M8, '0, '2F

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