Friday, April 10, 2009

In Store Now - Baptism in the Early Church

Another book on baptism? Yes, and what a contribution it is. Everett Ferguson is Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Abilene Christian University. Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries is massive work of over 850 pages (not including indexes). Maxwell Johnson of the University of Notre Dame says "Everett Ferguson has accomplished here the next to impossible by presenting us with a single, detailed, comprehensive, very well written, and easily readable study of baptism in the first five centuries of Christianity. No baptismal font remains unturned. No author or document, whether of greater or lesser significance, is left untreated. Liturgically and theologically, with attention to culture and archaeology, this is a truly remarkable study. Required reading and reference for anyone seeking to enter more deeply into the riches of early Christianity and the diversity of its baptismal practices and theology." (from the book jacket) I can't wait to be immersed in this volume (pun intended). It is divided into seven parts 1) Antecedents to Christian Baptism, 2) Baptism in the New Testament, 3) The Second Century, 4) The Third Century to Nicea (325), 5) The Fourth Century, 6) The Fifth Century and 7) Baptisteries. Twelve pages of black and white photos are included. The introduction provides an outstanding survey of the literature which breaks it down into "Comprehensive Surveys," "Studies with Liturgy as the Theme," "Topical Studies," and "Collections of Sources." It is 953 pages from Eerdmans Publishing and sells for $60.00.

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