The feast of the baptism of Jesus is the second most ancient liturgical celebration and is among the major mysteries of Christ. The synoptics mention Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, and John's Gospel gives a report of it, indicating its importance.
The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, a systematic study, isolates those themes (Trinitarian, cosmic, sinlessness, liturgical, messianic, divinization, orientation to a future paradise, descent into Sheol/hell, institution of the sacrament of baptism) with which the early Church proclaimed and celebrated the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Drawing on Latin, Greek, and Syrian sources, Father McDonnell shows the Jordan event as the dominant paradigm of Christian baptism in the earliest centuries, and also presents its relation to growing interest in the Pauline death and resurrection themes in the fourth century.
Because it was widely looked upon as the institution of Christian baptism, this history is relevant to contemporary theology and to the liturgical celebration of Christian baptism. The way the early Church used the baptism of Jesus to communicate the central truths of the faith, especially proclaiming the call to holiness the vocation to participate in the divine life is still valuable today.
Liturgists and systematic theologians teaching the sacraments will be particularly interested in this patristic, systematic work.
Chapters are: "The Beginning of the Gospel: The Scriptures," "Sinlessness and Liturgy," "An Article of the Creed and the Ordo of Salvation," "The Cosmic Baptism," "'Come to Me by My Road: Put on Poverty and Freedom' Asceticism," "The Lukan Variant and the Jordan as Birth Event," "The Jordan as Womb and the Great Fire/Light," "The Messianic Anointing of Jesus with the Spirit," "Taking the Robe of Glory from the Jordan Divinization," "The Cosmic Jordan and the Robe of Glory Eschatology," and "The Descent into the Jordan and the Descent into Hell," "Contemplation and Initiation Institution of Christian Baptism," "The Principle: Jesus' Baptism Constitutes our Baptism Institution," "Calvary Threatens the Dominance of Jordan Institution," and " The Threat of Sacramental Imagination and the Jordan's Tenacity Institution."
Includes chapter summaries.
Kilian McDonnell, OSB, is president of the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, Collegeville, Minnesota, co- chair of the international classical Pentecostal Roman Catholic dialogue, and a participant in the international Disciples of Christ/Roman Catholic and the national Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogues. His ground breaking Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit, co-authored with George Montague, SM, has been published in seven languages.