By Robin M. Jensen
Read or Download Living Water: Images, Symbols, and Settings of Early Christian Baptism (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae: Texts and Studies of Early Christian Life and Language) PDF
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Extra info for Living Water: Images, Symbols, and Settings of Early Christian Baptism (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae: Texts and Studies of Early Christian Life and Language)
At least two possibilities exist: first is that they reflect ancient prayers for the dead, and second that they typologically allude to the sacraments. 3. Ancient Prayer for the Dead as Iconographic Source According to many interpreters, the key to explaining these iconographic programs are found in documents that allude to certain narratives as models or exemplars. For example, some ancient prayers recounted instances of God’s divine assistance in earlier times by citing the cases of Noah, Daniel, Susannah, etc.
26 chapter one The supposed baptismal scene shows a man with tunic and pallium, his hand on the head of a small person standing to his right. No dove is visible. 2. 1. Identification of the Scenes and the Figures Most of these baptism scenes portray a large male standing next to and placing his right hand on the head of a small youth. Water appears in the majority, along with a kind of rocky landscape. In about half of them a dove appears overhead. These details account for the usual identification of these scenes as baptismal, which this study has not questioned.
2 The obvious example for comparison is the baptistery in the Christian building at Dura Europos, which (perhaps significantly) lacks a recognizable representation of an actual baptism among its still visible wall paintings. The sepulchral significance of this particular catacomb iconography is the premise of Alfonso Fausone’s monograph, Die Taufe in der frühchristlichen Sepulkralkunst (Vatican City: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 1982). Christian iconography is also found on non-funereal objects, including lamps, gems, and ceramic dishes, but almost none of this is relevant to this discussion of baptismal images in early Christian art.