[B-Greek] Baptismal Regeneration

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Jul 16 06:17:58 EDT 2003

At 10:36 PM -0400 7/15/03, Michael G. Burke <truthseeker921 at comcast.net> wrote:
>I would like to know if it's true that ALL the Church Fathers were
>unaminousin their interpretation of John 3:5 (as refering to water
>baptism.) I've read that more then once, but I've also read that there may
>have been exceptions. Origen was mentioned by one source as a possible
>exception, but no direct quote was given. Does anyone know if there were
>any true exceptions to the prevailing view of baptismal regeneration?

Moderator's note: This inquiry is somewhat extraordinary in that it poses a
question not about what the text of John 3:5 must mean as a Greek text but
about how it was interpreted in antiquity--a question that is really more
appropriate to the Elenchus  (Christianity in Late Antiquity Discussion
Group) list. Please keep responses limited to discussion of ways in which
the phrase GENNHQH EX
hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS has been interpreted in antiquity and steer clear of
discussion of doctrine itself.

The above message was intended to have the signature of Michael G. Burke
appended to it. It might have been clearer if the original phrasing had
been resubmitted:
"Someone has written the following concerning John 3:5: 'A major line of
interpretation, which dates back as far as Origen, is to take GENNHQH EX
hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS as referring to the purifying work of God's Spirit.
Exegetically, kai is understood as either epexegetic (water, namely the
Spirit) or coordinate (water as the Spirit's instrument of purification
and renewal')". Did Origen take KAI to be "epexegetic" here? was he the
first? If he took it to be "coordinate," how would this view differ from
that of baptismal regeneration? Wouldn't the water still be an "essential

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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