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price: 38 euro
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year: 2021
isbn: 9789042943469
pages: XX-126 p.
Hac Nocte in Aeternum Diem Renascentes Populi Procreantur
Christian Initiation and the Easter Vigil in the Missale Gothicum

The “Missale gothicum” (c.690-710) is arguably the most important manuscript witness in which the Exultet survives in its original Gallican context. Its Easter Vigil formulary contains, next to the Exultet, a Eucharistic “immolacio” closely related to the Exultet in structure and content, as well as several other prayers for the rites of light, initiation, and the Eucharist. It is shown that, while Exultet and immolacio reflect an identity of Easter Night as privileged night of initiation, the formularies for initiation seem to reflect an earlier practice of baptism during Epiphany. It is argued that Exultet and immolacio go back to a common predecessor (a paschal homily) that partially originated because the introduction of paschal baptism in fourth century Gaul made it necessary to reinterpret Christian initiation in light of the paschal events and to create a coherent theological understanding of the meaning of Easter Night as privileged night of initiation.