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Tytuł: Wczesnochrześcijańskie nazwy chrztu
Autor: Słomka, Jan
Słowa kluczowe: Teologia chrztu; Kościół wczesnochrześcijański; Patrologia; Liturgia chrztu
Data wydania: 2009
Wydawca: Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstrakt: Writing about baptism, a number of most significant Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Basil of Cesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Jerusalem or John Chrysostom, use various terms to describe the sacrament. In their writings or catecheses devoted to the subject, they begin with a longer or shorter list of terms and continue with baptismal reflection which refers to the terms provided. Such a way of writing on baptism is typical, first of all, of the Greek Fathers. The Latin Fathers, beginning with Tertullian, referred to the history of salvation and the typological exegesis of Old Testament texts rather than lists of terms. However, in their texts, they also made use of various terms describing baptism, and each Father did it in his own characteristic way. It has to be noted that the method of teaching which involved commenting upon numerous terms was used by the Fathers when writing on baptism; it is generally absent from their treatises on the Eucharist or the ordained priesthood. Beginning with Clement of Alexandria, however, providing numerous names and commenting on them is a common method applied by the Greek Fathers in their teaching on God and Jesus Christ. In the present work, each term referring to baptism has been presented from a historical perspective. Particular attention was given to the earliest texts: the time and circumstances in which a given term emerged. In so far as possible, the biblical roots of every term were presented, however, to a limited degree, as the work is outside the scope of biblical theology. The discussion of the later Fathers focuses on baptismal catecheses and treatises devoted to baptism, it thus covers the writings of Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa and Ambrose. The texts may be considered as representative of the various trends in baptismal catechesis during the golden period of patristic literature. The review of terms describing baptism, as far as Latin literature is concerned, stops right before St Augustine. Even though his writings are mentioned, the number of the mentions does not reflect the significance and the volume of his writings, especially those devoted to baptism. Cyril of Alexandria is the latest Oriental writer included in this work. Washing — cleansing is the first term to be discussed. Such image of baptism was, first of all, of propaedeutic nature: it was targeted at those who had not yet been baptized — either pagans, or catechumens. Until St Cyprian, Latin literature focuses on the washing — cleansing of an individual. Cyprian, on the other hand, writes about the washing of the Church as a whole. Only in the Church washed by Jesus Christ may the cleansing of its individual members take place. The washing of baptism is a one-time event and is considered as the first fruit of baptism, opening the way to receive all other gifts related to the sacrament. Clement and Origen, and then Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, also turned to the Platonic idea of catharsis in their reflection on baptism as cleansing. Origen’s idea of baptism which washes away prenatal sin was developed — and processed — mainly in the West, where the line of Cyprian — Ambrose — Augustine can be clearly identified. The Eastern theology, on the other hand, totally abandoned that idea of Origen’s. Another description of baptism refers to giving the name of Jesus. It is typical of the Judeo-Christian literature, later it appears only occasionally. It is closely linked to yet another term — that of the seal which, in the Judeo- Christian tradition, means first of all assuming ownership. In the traditions which are not so closely connected to Judeo-Christianity, the seal is understood as a commitment, and the term is usually accompanied by a moral catechesis calling for a change of life after baptism. Gradually the seal begins to relate to the whole Trinity, while in the literature of the fourth century the term, if used, usually means the gift of the Holy Spirit. The most comprehensive discussion is devoted to the following group of terms: new creation — new birth — death and resurrection. The image of baptism as a new creation first appeared in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and only there does it stand on its own. Later, the motif is used by the majority of writers, but it always accompanies other more relevant terms: new birth, death and resurrection. Baptism as birth and rebirth, on the other hand, is ever-present in the texts on baptism, starting with Justin. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the motif was transformed under the influence of the Nicene theology: instead of birth, the Fathers refer to the adoption as sons and release from captivity. Only then does the idea of the “divine sonship of Christians” enter the baptismal catechesis to a wider extent. In the pre-Nicene writings, there is practically no reference to Paul’s image of baptism as the death and resurrection with Christ (Rom 6:1—13). Origen began two interpreting traditions: “dogmatic” and moral. The former presented St Paul’s text as a description of deep transformation taking place within the human nature as a result of baptism. After Origen, this way of interpretation was mainly developed by Gregory of Nyssa and Theodore of Mopsuestia. For both of them, the words of St Paul were a significant starting point for the discussion of baptism, as reflected in their writings. Moral interpretation, on the other hand, pointed to the meaning of death and resurrection as dying to sin and rising to life free from sin, it was thus, first of all, a call to remain faithful to the gift received in baptism. This type of interpretation occurs in the writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and is most fully expressed in the homilies of John Chrysostom. In the fourth century, a tradition developed independently from Origen, whereby baptism was presented as a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. The tradition can be described as mystagogical and cultic, as it referred to St Paul’s words in order to explain the course and the symbolic meaning of the successive elements in the rite of baptism. Baptism was presented as an initiation into the mystery of the Cross. Such interpretation occurs mainly in the baptismal catecheses of Basil of Cesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem and Ambrose. The catecheses of John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia, on the other hand, do not emphasize that motif. The image of baptism as death and resurrection is always combined with the presentation of baptism as the new birth, usually enriching and complementing the latter. A reverse relationship is not common: there are authors who do not combine the motif of the new birth with that of death and resurrection ( Justin, Ambrose On the Mysteries). Illumination is yet another term describing baptism. It was familiar to both the Latin and the Greek traditions, at least from the second century on. It never played a dominating role in the West, and the symbolism of light is introduced to baptismal rites relatively late. The first liturgical testimonies come from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In the Greek literature, on the other hand, references to baptism as illumination are much more common. They are present in the writings of Justin, Clement and, most prominently, in an oration of Gregory of Nazianzus. The latter also gives the first testimony to the ceremony of light that accompanied baptism. Origen, however, seems to dislike the term. Other names for baptism, which have been briefly touched upon in the work, include anointing (which soon became the name for a rite accompanying baptism); circumcision; making a covenant; enlistment; inscribing in the heavenly book; granting the citizenship of the heavenly city (most comprehensively presented in the catecheses of Theodore of Mopsuestia); nuptials; entering the nuptial room; putting on a robe (similarly to anointing, it soon became a name for an accompanying rite).
ISBN: 9788322617847
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