MAKING BODY POLITIC: THE RHETORIC OF EARLY CHRISTIAN BAPTISMAL DISCOURSE
AbstractThis article considers contemporary baptismal discourse in a Reformed theological context in its relation to early Christian baptismal practice and discourse. It is argued that whereas Reformed baptismal discourse presents the ritual as connection with divinity, early Christian baptismal practice had a primarily social function. Early Christian baptism was a way of constituting a new “body politic.” The difference between the two types of baptismal discourse is an effect of the different social functions of the two religious discourses in different contexts. The changing nature of religious performance as demonstrated via different conceptions of baptism, illustrates – and undergirds – a social theory of religion.
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