catechetical lectures.51 They were presumably more readily approachable by the candidates than were the catechists. Dionysius for his part envisages the sponsors answering questions put to them by the candidates, and Moses bar Kepha goes so far as to describe the sponsor as '"Teacher" because he has to teach him [sc., the candidate] how to conduct himself in the Church precincts and in the pious practices of asceticism'.52 It is in this way that they are best able to act as guarantors for the 'contract' (syntheke) that is baptism.53

The sponsor's role as a 'guarantor' is even more in evidence in the case of an infant's baptism. There is evidence for resistance to paedobaptism in the patristic era, for example from Tertullian. But his objection is limited in scope: he would have baptism come as a deliberate choice, which is manifestly impossible for children. His final word on the matter was 'let them be made Christians when they have become competent to know Christ'.54 By contrast, Origen sounds the note that reverberates through the early Christian centuries when he commends the practice, even attributing to it an apostolic origin. With an eye to Psalm 50[5i].5 ('in sin did my mother conceive me'), Origen states, 'It is on this account as well that the Church has received the tradition from the apostles to give baptism even to little children. For they to whom the secrets of the divine mysteries were committed were aware that in everyone was sin's innate defilement, which needed to be washed away through water and the Spirit.'55 Children as humans were seen as being implicated in the fallen condition of the human race.56 This unhappy solidarity in separation from God is therefore answered by the joyful reconciliation that comes through belonging to the community that aspires to godliness.

It should be noted that even Christians who rejected the idea of inherited sin would not scruple to use a different baptismal formula for (putatively sinless) children.57 These claims were made in the context of a debate about the consequences of Adam's sin that has been repeatedly taken up by Western

51 Chrysostom, Baptismalhomilies 2.15-16 (SC 50:141-3); Theodore ofMopsuestia, Cat. hom. 12.16 (ST 145: 347-9); Egeria, Travels 45.2, 46.1 (SC 296: 306, 308).

52 Moses bar Kepha, Mysteries of baptism 3d (trans. Aytoun, 346-7).

53 Chrysostom, Baptismal homilies 2.17-21 (SC 50:143-5); cf. Moses bar Kepha, The mysteries of baptism 3b (trans. Aytoun, 346).

54 Tertullian, On baptism 18 (ed. and trans. Evans, 38-9).

55 Origen, Commentary on Romans 5.9, 11 (PG 14:1017).

56 Cf. Cyprian, Letter 64.5 (CSEL 32: 720), in which Cyprian reports the positive recommendation of infant baptism by the bishops who met at the Council of Carthage in 252: '. . . infans qui recens natus nihil peccauit, nisi quod secundum Adam carnaliter natus contagium mortis antiquae prima natiuitate contraxit'.

57 E.g., Pelagius, On the faith 7 (PL 15:1718): 'Baptisma unum tenemus, quod iisdem sacra-mentiuerbis ininfantibus, quibus etiam in maioribus, asserimus esse celebrandum.' Cf. Caelestius, ap. Augustine, On the grace of Christ and original sin 2.5.5 (CSEL 42:169-70).

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