Saturday, 7 February 2015

Maureen Tilley: Pseudo-Cyprian and the rebaptism controversy in Africa

Much of the quarrel between Catholics and Donatists revolved around their respective theologies of the sacraments. As the fourth and early fifth centuries progressed each group diverged from the other, especially on the validity of the sacrament of Baptism.
This paper traces one of the roots of the schism between the two groups to a baptismal controversy that was evolving out of the pseudo-Cyprianic corpus. In De rebaptismate,  a little studied treatise, the author addresses the question of what actually constitutes Baptism: is it the water bath alone or is it the entire nexus of rituals. The pseudo-Cyprianic emphasis on anointing as integral to the baptismal rite may help explain how and why Catholics and Donatists evolved separated theologies of Baptism.

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