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Infant Baptism in Historical Perspective: Collected Studies (Wright)

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These important and incisive essays, spanning more than two decades of research and engagement, probe facets and episodes of infant baptism's fortunes over twenty centuries. The story of pedobaptism is traced from its shadowy beginnings as a variant of faith-baptism, through inflated Reformation defenses as infant-baptism monopolized baptismal thought and practice, to biblical and ecumenical reevaluations and hopeful contemporary rapprochements across divisive waters.


Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Strange History of Infant Baptism, Not Least in Scotland

Part A: The Early Centuries: Slow Development

1. The Origins of Infant Baptism – Child Believers’ Baptism?

2. How Controversial Was the Development of Infant Baptism in the Early Church?

3. The Apostolic Fathers and Infant Baptism: Any Advance on the Obscurity of the New Testament?

4. The Meaning and Reference of ‘One Baptism for the Remission of Sins’ in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

5. At What Ages Were People Baptized in the Early Centuries?

6. Augustine and the Transformation of Baptism

7. Monnica’s Baptism, Augustine’s Deferred Baptism, and Patricius

8. Donatist Theologoumena in Augustine? Baptism, Reviviscence of Sins and Unworthy ministers

9. Infant Dedication in the Early Church

10. The Baptism(s) of Julian the Apostate Revisited

Part B: The Reformation Era: Scripture and the Appeal to the Fathers

11. Out, In, Out: Jesus’ Blessing of the Children and Infant Baptism

12. Infant Baptism and the Christian Community in Bucer

13. George Cassander and the Appeal to the Fathers in Sixteenth-Century Debates about Infant Baptism

14. 1 Corinthians 7:14 in Fathers and Reformers

15. The Donatists in the Sixteenth Century

16. Development and Coherence in Calvin’s Institutes: The Case of Baptism

17. Baptism at the Westminster Assembly

Part C: Towards a Modern Consensus

18. The Baptismal Community

19. One Baptism or Two? Reflections on the History of Christian Baptism  

20. Scripture and Evangelical Diversity with Special Reference to the Baptismal Divide

21. Baptism in Scotland

22. Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (the ‘Lima Report’): An Evangelical Assessment

23. The Lima Report: Baptism and Eucharist Compared

24. Habitats of Infant Baptism

25. Children, Covenant and the Church

26. Recovering Baptism for a New Age of Mission

27. Christian Baptism: Where Do We Go From Here? 



David F. Wright is Emeritus Professor of Patristic and Reformed Christianity, New College, University of Edinburgh.



"There is much learned historical scholarship here illuminating the history of the practice of baptism in general and infant baptism in particular. There is also much wise reflection on the pastoral implications of the practice for the church then and now. No one with a serious interest in the doctrine of baptism can afford to neglect this volume."  -- Anthony N. S. Lane, Director of Research and Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology

"Wright's penetrating historical vision is combined with persuasive arguments for the unduly neglected but critical importance of baptism for the whole church. The result is a book that challenges both the received traditions and current practices, but in the most edifying way imaginable." -- Mark A. Noll, McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame