Now that further research into the various rites of Christian initiation has challenged traditional assumptions, it is time to rewrite the textbooks. The ritual structure, specific detail, prayer content, and theology within the various rites indicate significant differences, ones that cannot be forced to fit the single, "normative" Western model that has been advanced. These essays for seminary or graduate-level courses recognize the richness of the Christian liturgical tradition: multi-layered, multi-formed, multi-liturgical. They are presented in an order that facilitates their use in a study of the historical development and theological interpretation of Christian initiation. They offer the solid foundation in initiatory theology and history needed to promote an informed pastoral practice in the Churches today.
Following the model of editor R. Kevin Seasoltz's Living Bread, Saving Cup: Readings on the Eucharist, this ecumenical collection will forward the teaching and study of the rites of Christian initiation by gathering in one volume the significant contributions of many of the most important scholars working in the field. The contributors are Aidan Kavanagh, Georg Kretschmar, Adela Yarbro Collins, Gabriele Winkler, Paul F. Bradshaw, Jean Laporte, Joseph L. Levesque, Frank C. Quinn, Paul Turner, Laurence H. Stookey, Eugene L. Brand, Bryan D. Spinks, Paul F. X. Covino, and Mark Searle.
Maxwell E. Johnson, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is assistant professor of liturgy in the School of Theology, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He received his doctorate in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame.