Bobertz comments, "It was such a thrill to write this book. For years I have been convinced that the importance of the ritual practices of the earliest Christians has been underestimated by biblical scholars. This book is a small step toward highlighting the importance of liturgy, primarily the rituals of Baptism and Lord's Supper, in the study of Gospel narratives. It is my fervent hope that those who continue to gather for baptism and meal will enjoy reading my book as a way into a deeper understanding of what it means to encounter Christ in the Gospel."
Baker describes the publication on their website:
"Long before the Gospel writers put pen to papyrus, the earliest Christians participated in powerful rituals that fundamentally shaped their understanding of God, Christ, and the world in which they lived. This volume offers a liturgical reading of the Gospel of Mark, arguing that the Gospel is a narrative interpretation of early Christian ritual. The Gospel begins with Jesus's baptism by John and ends with Jesus and his disciples gathered for the Lord's Supper. In between, the narrative story of Jesus unfolds as the beloved Son is sent to gather not just the Jews but Gentiles and women to the table of the one loaf."
Baker continues, "This fresh, responsible, and creative proposal shows how cultural anthropology and ritual studies elucidate ancient texts, revealing how the rituals of baptism and the Lord's Supper shaped the earliest Christians and impacted their understanding of Jesus. In addition to scholars, professors, and students, its ecclesial and pastoral ramifications will be of interest to pastors and church leaders."
Bobertz is professor of theology and deacon at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. He earned a doctorate from Yale University in 1988, Master's of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and is also an alum of Saint John's University.
Congratulations, Professor Bobertz!