Daniel H. Weiss
Born into Covenantal Salvation? Baptism and Birth in Early Christianity and Classical Rabbinic Judaism
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This article seeks to propose a new conceptual framing for the question of baptism in early Christianity. It takes for its starting point a study that puts forth the claim that in the first three centuries, infants born into a Christian household were not baptized; if the parents were already part of the Christian community, then any child born to such parents was considered to be born Christian. Such a claim would imply that salvational status can be passed down genealogically by Christian parents to their children. I demonstrate that a detailed examination of the theological understanding of conversion and birth in classical Jewish, rabbinic literature can shed light on how we might historically understand the status of baptism and birth in early Christianity.