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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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Saucius Infans Baptism and Circumcision

Saucius Infans Baptism and Circumcision

(p.122) 6 Saucius Infans Baptism and Circumcision
Arator on the Acts of the Apostles

Richard Hillier

Oxford University Press

A section of the Historia Apostolica provides another example of Arator's treatment of the text of Acts of the Apostles. The passage occupies only four verses in the biblical text (Acts 9: 32–5); the account of Peter's healing of Aeneas mentions neither baptism nor circumcision, yet Arator with his usual baptismal amplificatio manages to extend his version over forty-seven hexameters to involve a comparison of the Christian sacrament with the Jewish. Arator's rendering of the passage makes the baptism explicit. In addition, the idea of cleansing and purification is introduced by Arator at the outset when he describes Peter's activity in Lydda. Presumably the ‘saints’ are baptized already and Arator means that Peter enlightened them with his teaching. However, Aeneas' healing, as interpreted by Arator, is also due largely, if not totally, to baptism. This chapter examines the way in which Arator uses the healing of Aeneas to emphasize the healing power of baptism which is at such variance with the essentially wounding nature of circumcision.

Keywords:   Arator, baptism, circumcision, Historia Apostolica, Acts of the Apostles, healing, Aeneas

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