Content

“Christians are made, not born” (Tertullian). This unit explores with ecumenical sensitivity the origin, history and meaning of the processes involved in persons becoming Christians. The unit begins by briefly exploring insights drawn from cultural anthropology and ritual studies regarding the significance attached to initiation. On this basis, the unit then follows two lines of inquiry. The first represents an historical survey, charting the practices of Christian initiation in the early Church and the subsequent emergence of the three separate sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. The second line of inquiry investigates the sacraments of initiation as they stand in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, paying particular attention to the RCIA, continuing debates surrounding different approaches to the sacraments of initiation and finally, the significance of the Eucharist as both the high point of the journey of faith for persons joining the Church, and as the repeatable and ongoing sacrament of Christian initiation.

Unit code: CT9350Y (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes

1.

Explain the cultural significance attached to initiation as a ritual process

2.

Identify key historical developments in the emergence and evolution of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist as sacraments of initiation

3.

Articulate major theological insights regarding Christian initiation following the Second Vatican Council, especially in relation to the RCIA

4.

Demonstrate skills in reading and analyzing key texts and rites associated with the sacraments of initiation

5.

Discuss the place of the Eucharist in the church's sacraments of initiation

6.

Analyse debates surrounding the understanding and celebration of the sacraments of initiation in the contemporary Church.

7.

Differentiate between differing ecumenical understandings of initiation and evaluate the theological issues involved

Unit sequence

One Foundational Unit in Systematic Theology

Pedagogy

Use of “visible learning” pedagogy Seminar format: short lectures; class discussions and activities

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bradshaw, Paul F. and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Eucharistic Liturgies: Their Evolution and Interpretation. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.
  • Johnson, Maxwell E. The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1999.
  • Johnson, Maxwell. Sacraments and Worship: The Sources of Christian Theology. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012.
  • Mick, Lawrence. Living Baptism Daily. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.
  • Morris, Thomas. The RCIA Transforming the Church – A Resource for Pastoral Implementation. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1989, 1997.
  • Osborne, Kenan. The Christian Sacraments of Initiation. New York: Paulist Press,1987.
  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Australia and New Zealand: E. J. Dwyer, 2003.
  • The Rites of the Catholic Church: Volume 1. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990.
  • Turner, Paul. Confirmation: The Baby in Solomon’s Court. New York: Paulist Press, 1993.
  • Wood, Susan K. One Baptism: Ecumenical Dimensions of the Doctrine of Baptism. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2009.

Assessment

Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial Paper 1000 words

1000 15.0
Essay - The history of initiation in the early Church

Essay 2500 words

2500 35.0
Essay

Essay 3500 words

3500 50.0
Approvals

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-19 10:52:11 +1100