Parting of the waters: divergences in early theologies of baptismal anointing practices

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Religious Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Silviu N. Bunta


The practice of baptismal anointing was diverse both in practice and interpretation in the first four centuries. Early Christians at times interpreted the practice of baptismal anointing in the context of Old Testament anointings, as well as the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Liturgical development of baptism can be seen as early as the second and third centuries with relation to anointing practices. The fourth century shows further liturgical development affected by the Christological and Pneumatological debates, as well as the growth of Christianity both doctrinally and ecclesially. As a result of the heresy debates of the fourth century, many early Christians sought to unify the practice and doctrinal theology concerning the baptismal practices. An understanding of the ritual development can aid in modern theological discussions concerning the baptismal liturgy.


Baptism (Liturgy) History, Baptism History Early church, ca. 30-600, Baptism History of doctrines, Religion; religious history; theology; baptismal anointing; anointing; baptism; Early church

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Copyright 2013, author