Baptism in Early Byzantine Palestine 325 – 451

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Joint Liturgical Studies 43

This study aims to bring together the various evidences for the administration of baptism in Palestine in the period from the inauguration of the Holy Sepulchre project to Jerusalem achieving patriarchal status. These restrictions of geography and time serve two purposes: firstly, to further discussion of a distinctive ‘Palestinian’ liturgy against claims for it to be either ‘Syrian’ or ‘Egyptian’ or any other style; secondly, temporally, to assess the situation before Jerusalem became the supreme power in church administration in Palestine, at which point it can be assumed that her impact over the liturgy celebrated ceased to be merely influential and became determinative. This is the period when Christianity appropriated the land as her own ‘holy land’ and witnessed an expansion in an area where previously the church had been a much persecuted minority.

The evidence presented will be primarily literary, although not strictly ‘liturgical’, and archaeological, but the introductory remarks about Palestine in the Early Byzantine period will enable a proper contextualization of the information provided by our sources. The assessment of the information has led to the positing of ‘types’ of baptism which can be differentiated by locus, minister and candidate. This study will, therefore, discuss ‘cathedral’ baptism, ‘evangelical’ baptism and the claims for ‘pilgrim’ baptism.

Juliette Day