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THE ARCHEOLOGY OF BAPTISM.
BY HOWARD OSGOOD.
ARCHEOLOGY is the investigation that is busied with ancient monuments and especially with ancient art. ever valuable its search may be, its teachings discredit themselves if they are not in harmony with the plain, unequivocal testimony of the literature and history of the period investigated. The last analysis of the archæology, literature, and history of any age must find all three in agreement, or there is some error in the analysis.
In the archæology of the first Christian rite there have been three points of special dissension among writers of Western Europe and America: the relation of the baptism by John the Baptist to the practice of the Jews; the picture in the catacomb of St. Callistus; the mosaic in the vault of the dome of the orthodox baptistery in Ravenna. We think, when contemporaneous literature and history are used to help and enlighten archæology, that these points especially illustrate the fact that only on the agreement of the three can the truth be found.
As to the baptism by John the Baptist, treatises have been written with great learning drawn from the Talmud. But whatever truth the Talmud may contain, it certainly is
VOL. LV. NO. 217. I