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Just wonder about the depiction of a procession. My understanding is that the earliest descriptions of Christian baptisms indicated that they were done au natural and the men and women separated, or at least the services were separated using the same baptismal font, so that might be an additional indication why there was a procession of exclusively women. Maybe not, but just a thought. Just curious, you mentioned various paintings perhaps relating to baptism, what was the topic of the other paintings found in the room and the meaning derived if any?
Having read the publication of Early Christian Temples and Baptism for the Dead: Defining Sacred Space in the Late Antique Near East by David M. Calabro I am struck by the potential correctness of David Calabro’s hypothesis. Granted that what prior theories have postulated may be true, but on the other hand, what David Calabro writes may be as equally true.
I am prone to say that Brother Calabro’s theories have every bit as much possibility as any other theory posted out there. This includes “accepted” theories as are currently in vogue. I mean, which of us were actually there during those days to state definitively that such-and-such place or that this-or-the-other was in fact what took place. In addition, David’s strong correlation to written texts (as he correctly points out in the article should and must be considered in the light of his presentation.)
Quoting David Calabro, “It seems to me more than coincidence that of the two earliest known buildings devoted to Christian worship, one was specifically called a temple, and the other had a baptismal font as its most prominent feature…” along with “But this study shows that it is very difficult to know how a given ritual space was conceptualized by the people who used it unless we have written texts to help fill out the picture.”
For those who might find Baptism for the Dead an unsatisfactory proposition, especially as potentially practiced in Edessa and Duro Europos, any attempt at a dismissal of David Calabro’s proposal without even slight consideration of the possible correctness of Bro. Calabro’s theories speaks testaments to how correct David Calabro might actually be. To summarily dismiss his deductions without analyzing the Syriac and Greek as he has done, could lead to huge flaws in theoretical composition.
From my standpoint, as I read his thesis, I find it convincing and probable. I see no reason to throw the baby out with the bath-water in this instance. Nice research and elegant portrayal of the evidence in these instances, David!