Originally published in 1999, The Rites of Christian Initiation was hailed for its clarity and comprehensiveness. Kilian McDonnell, OSB, 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.
Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, is professor of liturgy at the University of Notre Dame and an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has published in Worship and is the editor of and contributor to Living Water, Sealing Spirit: Readings on Christian Initiation (Liturgical Press, 1995) and the revised and expanded edition of E.C. Whitaker, Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy (Liturgical Press and S.P.C.K., 2003), to which this study serves as a companion volume.