- Copyright Page
- List of Contributors
- The Archaeology of Early Christianity: The History, Methods, and State of a Field
- Archaeology of the Gospels
- New Testament Archaeology Beyond the Gospels
- The Catacombs
- Burials and Human Remains of the Eastern Mediterranean in Early Christian Context
- The Archaeology of Early Monastic Communities
- Baptisteries in Ancient Sites and Rites
- Baths, Christianity, and Bathing Culture in Late Antiquity
- The Art of the Catacombs
- Visual Rhetoric of Early Christian Reliquaries
- An <i>Anarchéologie</i> of Icons
- Spolia and the “Victory of Christianity”
- Early Christian Mosaics in Context
- Amulets and the Ritual Efficacy of Christian Symbols
- Christian Archaeology in Palestine: The Roman and Byzantine Periods
- The Church of the East Until the Eighth Century
- The Holy Island: An Archaeology of Early Christian Cyprus
- Asia Minor
- Community, Church, and Conversion in the Prefecture of Illyricum and the Cyclades
- The Early Christian Archaeology of the Balkans
- The Archaeology of Early Italian Churches in Context, 313–569 CE
- The Christianization of Gaul: Buildings and Territories
- Britain and Ireland, 100–700 CE
- Christian Landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula: The Archaeological Evidence (Fourth–Sixth Centuries)
- Incorporating Christian Communities in North Africa: Churches as Bodies of Communal History
- Archaeology of Early Christianity in Egypt
Abstract and Keywords
The archaeology of ancient Christian baptisteries, purpose-built venues for the initiation of new Christians, opens new avenues to study early Christianity. Through consideration of structure and design, space, liturgy, and the afterlife of baptisteries, this chapter brings the archaeology and liturgical tradition into a dialogue between site and rite about Christian initiation in Late Antiquity. Archaeology highlights the important role played by a water bath and anointing with blessed oil, on the one hand, and the corresponding evolution of liturgical space, on the other, illustrating how ritual evolution went hand in hand with changes in the material culture. The chapter empowers readers visiting any ancient baptistery to view the space as a sacred vestige of early Christianity through new lenses attuned to archaeology and material culture.
H. Richard Rutherford, Professor Emeritus of Theology, University of Portland, Portland, Oregon, USA.
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