Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RBTR 2:2 (July 2005) p. 118
Readers will understand that we are not able to supply these books.
Baptism, [Three Aspects: Archeological; Historical; Biblical], F.M. Buhler, W.P. Bauman, trans. (Dundas, Ontario, Canada, Joshua Press, 2004), reviewed by Michael T. Renihan
This little work whets the appetite for more of the same sort of information. It is a general introduction to the most significant archeological material (related to baptism) discovered in the past few hundred years. It is an affirmative reminder of what other historians have recently penned.1
The work (88 pp.) has two small, but not insignificant, problems: it lacks an index and the type face is too large. The lack of an index diminishes the value of the title as a quick-reference tool. In its favor, the Table of Contents is extensive. It could function as a de facto index if one remembers to look there. The large type size takes away from the serious nature of this important material. If the point size had been smaller, the book would have had many fewer pages. That, too, could have caused it to be dismissed as not being a serious treatment of the matters at hand. With that said, please get and read this book. Have a copy or two ready for other honest and objective inquirers.
One of the great values of this title is the collection of photos, charts, and graphs. There is a full-color section in the center of the book that beautifully illustrates what Buhler wrote. Each of these pictures is worth a thousand words. There are sixteen illustrations over as many pages on the right hand pages only for easy viewing. Following the photos and illustrations are seven appendices. The Second Appendix caught this writer’s attention. It is a diagram displaying the evolution of baptism from the First Century to the Twentieth. It charts the meaning, mode, and place of baptisms. The visual imagery at the foot of the page is striking. It shows the place of baptism as gradually emerging from being in the ground, containing a great amount of water, to the above ground font
RBTR 2:2 (July 2005) p. 119
with only a little bit of water. Readers who have not put the progressive changes of the practice of baptism together previously will be aided by this device.
The main text of the work is found between pages 8 and 46. The first section deals with archeological and historical aspects of baptism. It is succinct and to the point as it gives a general outline of the salient points to be considered. Yet, it pulls no punches. The second section is titled, “The Biblical Aspects of Baptism.” It is not a rehashing of proof texts; it presents a number of sage observations a...
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