[B-Greek] No mode in BAPTIZW
George F Somsel
gfsomsel at juno.com
Wed Mar 8 07:12:46 EST 2006
On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 20:07:11 -0500 frjsilver at optonline.net writes:
> Dear Friends- -
> I'm not sure just what point Tom Logan is making here, so I'll just
> tell you what this word looks like to me.
> Chantraine doesn't (yet) include it, but has a very productive entry
> on BAPTW, the verb of which BAPTIZW is a frequentative form.
> Sometimes, but not always, frequentative forms suggest an
> imperfective aspect: the notion that the verb's concept is
> incomplete, or repeated, or ongoing -- somehow a work in progress.
> I think that this might be true of BAPTIZW. Rather than simply
> 'plunge into' (active -- not middle) something liquid, BAPTIZW has
> the flavor of 'in and out' or 'over again', something perfectly
> consonant with the triple immersion still practiced by the orthodox,
> faintly imaged by the triple pouring of other Christians. As
> described in the DIDACH, pouring and sprinkling are the least
> desirable methods of baptism, which then becomes analogous rather
> than actual, but still effective as a minimum when the maximum is
> truly impossible rather than just avoided.
I think that the practice of referring to BAPTIZW as immersion is an
example of the "root fallacy." While it may be (OK, is) true that the
word originally signified an immersion into a liquid, I think this was
fairly obviously no longer the case when the NT was written. In 1 Cor
10.2 Paul wrote
KAI PANTES EIS TON MWUSHN EBAPTISQHSAN EN THi NEFELHi KAI EN THi QALASSHi
It is rather much of a stretch to call the passage through the sea
"immersion" since according to the tradition the water stood up on either
side and they walked on dry ground. Furthermore, the cloud is said to
have preceded them on their journey so they would thus not be "immersed"
or enveloped in the cloud.
In addition, in Mk 7.4 we read
KAI AP' AGORAS EAN MH BAPTISWNTAI OUK ESQIOUSIN, KAI ALLA POLLA ESTIN hA
PARELABON KRATEIN, BAPTISMOUS POTHIRIWN KAI CESTWN KAI XALKIWN [KAI
While these items mentioned can be immersed, it is doubtful that anyone
would be inclined to immerse a couch. There would soon be quite a
collection of rather soggy couches. It does not help to note that the
reading is not totally sure since it is apparent that someone thought
that BAPTIZW could be properly used with regard to couches.
Rather, it would seem that baptism, by whatever method, was a rite of
cleansing and / or identification. By the ritual items could be
ceremonially cleansed as in the cases of persons or dishware -- and, yes,
apprently couches as well. It furthermore seems to have involved
identification since Paul states that they were "baptised unto Moses",
i.e. identified with the Mosaic covenant. Paul also notes (Rom 6.3) that
in baptism we are *identified* with Christ, specifically in his death and
H AGNOEITE hOTI, hOSOI EBAPTISQHMEN EIS XRISTON IHSOUN, EIS TON QANATON
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