[B-Greek] 1 Peter 3:20-21

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Mar 10 04:08:55 EST 2006

On Mar 10, 2006, at 1:59 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:

>> Sorry... I was so focused on the relative pronoun that I neglected  
>> to give the complete translation:
>> I translate as "They were saved through water. That which now  
>> saves you as a type, baptism"
>> I still have the same question: Should hO above be translated  
>> "that which". And the relative part of the pronoun
>> "which" is having as its antecedent hUDWR while the demonstrative  
>> part of the same pronoun "that" is pointing forward
>> Thanks!
>> Rich Lindeman
> Since hO is a neuter pronoun I prefer to see it not as referring to  
> the immediately preceding word but to the whole
> preceding sentence, the activity or concept of salvation while  
> passing through water. The problem with water is that
> Noah and his family was not saved by the water, but by the ark  
> through the water and actually in spite of the water that
> killed everybody else.
> So this event of being saved by the ark (or by God by means of the  
> ark) passing  through water is a type or example of
> how you, too, are saved nowadays, namely by passing through  
> baptism. It can hardly be the water that saves.

I can see that's a possible alternative, but this may depend upon the  
extent to which one wants to be precise and literal about the terms  
SWQHNAI and hUDWR: to come or to be brought safely through the water  
is a by-no-means uncommon religious symbol of death and regeneration  
into a new life, dissolution in the waters of chaos and regeneration  
as new being.  Certainly the association of baptism with death and  
resurrection is not alien to the NT: Jesus' question to James and  
John (Mk 10:38 par); Paul insists that believers are baptized into  
Jesus' death (Rom 6:3); the flood is a symbol of salvation in early  
Christian art, and the association may be assisted by the gospel  
accounts of passage through the stormy waters of Galilee in the boat  
with Jesus. I do not want to initiate a discussion of water/salvation  
imagery in early Christianity itself, and I certainly don't deem  
Iver's view implausible; I simply note that there's plausibility also  
in the view that hUDATOS is the antecedent of the hO in this verse.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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