Abstract

Irenaeus of Lyons reports that a second-century Valentinian group, the Marcosians, developed a ritual system that included a sacrament performed for an individual at the point of death. The rite helped to "establish" the individual in the higher celestial realms. Using comparanda from various ancient sources, this paper examines our extant evidence for early Christian death rites. It asserts that the Valentinian death sacrament precedes the development of a similar Catholic rite by nearly a thousand years, thus attesting to the sophistication of Valentinian ritual systems distinct from those of the nascent orthodox church.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3184
Print ISSN
1067-6341
Pages
pp. 525-561
Launched on MUSE
2009-12-05
Open Access
N
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