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This piece reconsiders Paul’s deferral of Thecla’s baptism in light of internal initiation themes and in connection with broader historical efforts to understand Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 1:17a (“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel”). To this end, the article surveys previous explanations for this deferral of baptism, proposing to integrate several previous insights into a reading of Thecla as initiate, locates this reading on the spectrum of ancient interpretations of 1 Cor 1:17 from Tertullian to John Chrysostom and finally considers other baptismal material in the Acts of Paul.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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