- Bryan D. Spinks, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School, USA
- Series : Liturgy, Worship and Society Series
Presenting a comprehensive survey of the historical underpinnings of baptismal liturgies and theologies, Bryan Spinks presents an ecumenically and geographically wide-ranging survey and discussion of contemporary baptismal rites, practice and reflection, and sacramental theology. Writing within a clear chronological framework, Bryan Spinks presents two simultaneous volumes on Baptismal Liturgy and Theology.
In the first volume, Early and Medieval Rituals and Theologies of Baptism, Bryan Spinks summarizes the understandings of baptism in the New Testament and the development of baptismal reflection and liturgical rites throughout Syrian, Egyptian, Roman and African regions. He focuses particularly on the Homilies of Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodore and Ambrose, the post-nicene rites and commentaries, and the impact of medieval theologies of baptism and Augustinian theology with reference to Western understanding.
In the second volume, Reformation and Modern Rituals and Theologies of Baptism, Spinks traces developments through the Reformation, liturgies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and explores important new ecumenical perspectives on developments of twentiethth-century sacramental discussion.
Contents: Introduction. Part I Rising Springs: The New Testament foundations; Pre-Nicene baptismal practice and faith; Baptismal rites, commentaries and mystagogical catecheses: the 4th and 5th centuries. Part II The Deep Rivers of Tradition: The formation and theology of the eastern rites of baptism: I the Syrian traditions; The formation and theology of the eastern rites of baptism: II the Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopic rites; The western rites: from John the Deacon to Anglo-Saxon England; The western rites: the later medieval rites, technical theologies, and the Tridentine Reform; In the floods of great waters; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Bryan D. Spinks is Goddard Professor of Liturgical Studies and Pastoral Theology at Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School, USA
Reviews: ‘… the author's love of the topic shines through… a fascinating and intriguing read… an enticing introduction to the breadth and beauty of early Christian initiation ceremonies… This is an excellent source for scholars who need a brief, clear, learned, and very readable introduction to the central rite of Christian initiation. As such, it would also make a useful text for any course in Christian thought and practice.’ Speculum
'[Bryan Spinks] has produced the most comprehensive history of Christian baptism available, perhaps the most complete ever published.' Touchstone
'Few readers will fail to encounter something new in these learned pages... the attenuated and diluted baptismal practices, to say nothing of theologies, of wide reaches of evangelical Christianity could surely benefit from exposure to some of the richness of imagery and actions displayed in this study.' Themelios
‘… fills an important gap, both for the student and the scholar… one is struck both by the sheer variety of the material, and by the surefooted way in which Spinks negotiates his journey through the perilous terrain of scholarly controversy and ongoing research… All in all, Spinks has provided the world of scholarship and teaching with many favours for the years to come in [this] well-presented and thoroughly researched [work].’ Journal of Theological Studies
‘… of particular value in that Bryan Spinks presents that variety and disagreement, causing and caused by the Churches' separation, so that readers are forced to identify and reflect on the traditions in which they have been formed, implicitly or explicitly. Readers who may never have questioned the meaning and purpose of their own baptism will be enabled to align themselves with one or more liturgical practices or nuanced theological positions of the foundational event in Christian discipleship.’ Church Times
‘Bryan Spinks is a master of clear, concise summary. The history of 1,500 years is compressed into little more than 150 pages; a great deal of erudition, scattered through a host of learned journals and monographs, often difficult of access, is summarised in these pages. This book will be hugely valuable, both to the student seeking to orientate himself and to the scholar needing to refresh his or her memory… Spinks seeks to go beyond the traditional descriptive phenomenology of liturgical scholarship to bring out the varied theological ideas expressed through the baptismal rites.’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History
‘… a slim, accessible, and general introduction to baptism in the Christian tradition from biblical times to the early modern period. The volume ambitiously surveys a wide diversity of baptismal practices as seen through surviving liturgical rites as well as homiletic and theological writings.’ Religious Studies Review
‘… an essential addition to the considerable literature on the subject… surely an obvious choice for teachers of liturgy to recommend to their students, taking its place in the library of essentials.’ Theology
‘Bryan Spinks provides here an extremely well-written and carefully documented history and theology of Christian initiation rites from their beginnings all the way through the great diversity of modern liturgical practice. Spinks’s erudite grasp of such a multiplicity of traditions and rites is impressive. It is no small feat to wade through so carefully and authoritatively the varieties of baptismal rites and interpretations, not only in the early and medieval periods, but especially in the second volume, that is, in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, a time period often ignored by scholars of liturgical history… students and teachers alike will find both volumes to be helpful introductions to baptismal rite and theology.’ Church History
‘… a splendid textbook, written with an exceptional verve and clarity. Spinks’ careful, perceptive and engaging discussions, and his firm grasp of the sources, both primary and secondary, makes this book a compulsory reading for anyone interested in the formation and theologies of Baptism.’ Francia
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