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Arator on the Acts of the ApostlesA Baptismal Commentary$
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Richard Hillier

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198147862

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198147862.001.0001

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Lotus sed non Mundus Simon Magus and the Raven

Lotus sed non Mundus Simon Magus and the Raven

(p.73) 4 Lotus sed non Mundus Simon Magus and the Raven
Arator on the Acts of the Apostles

Richard Hillier

Oxford University Press

Arator passed over the difficulties associated with one passage of the Acts of the Apostles — the separation of baptism from the laying on of hands and the gift of the Spirit, which apparently Philip did not or could not bestow — and instead concentrated on the nature of that gift and the conditions necessary for its bestowal. Arator is at pains to point out that baptism is no magic remedy which dissolves the stains of sin and ensures eternal salvation. Inspired by Augustine's identification of Simon Magus with the raven, Arator elaborates an exposition of the passage which is both neat and highly pertinent. Just as in the days of the flood both the dove and the raven were cleansed in the ark, so in Samaria both true penitents and the sinful Simon were baptized; however, both raven and magician fail to find salvation. The symbolism of the raven was more obscure and intriguing than that of the dove, and had already inspired a rich tradition of exegesis in the works of earlier Christian writers.

Keywords:   Arator, Simon Magus, raven, baptism, spirit, salvation, sin, Acts of the Apostles

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