[B-Greek] was ... VOICE. nice example of "middle" BAPTISQENTES

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Fri Oct 19 05:19:31 EDT 2007

On 10/19/07, Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org> wrote:
> Hi, Randall,
> Thanks for the two additional pieces of data. Comments below:
> From: "Randall Buth" <randallbuth at gmail.com>
> > In the NT itself we have 1 Cor 10:2 EBAPTISANTO in B, p46, K, L, P, 1,
> 69,
> > et al.
> Here I agree that the middle variant form gives a slightly different focus
> than the passive form,
> but again, this has little to do with BAPTIZW in the sense of John's
> baptism or Christian baptism.
> Now to immerse oneself "into" Moses means that the people made a
> deliberate and conscious and
> voluntary decision to follow Moses as their leader, and they showed that
> by following him together
> with the cloud and following him through the sea. It is parallel to Matt
> 18:19 in the sense that EIS
> is used in both places: baptize them into committing themselves to follow
> the Father, Son and Holy
> Spirit.
> In the middle form above, the people are both agent and patient in that
> they commit themselves to
> Moses, but in the passive form, the agent is unspecified.

I would say that in the 'passive' form they are still the agent.

...and even in the passive, I would
> interpret the people (PANTES) to be the implied agent.


The example below indicates that it is
> possible that the passive morphology is used here with a middle sense. In
> any case, in this context,
> the distinction between middle or passive is not that significant, since
> the agent in both cases
> would be the people. It is not God or anyone else apart from themselves
> that "baptized" them into
> Moses.
> >
> > Maybe of more interest is a fragment of an unknown gospel I was reading
> a
> > couple of weeks ago.
> > 'they washed themselves the feet'.
> > This is a nice PAQHTIKOS morphology, with an accusative
> extension/object. It
> > was Oxyrhynchus 840.
> From what date?
> It does show that at this time or for this person the distinction between
> BAPTW and BAPTIZW has been
> obliterated, since BAPTW (or NIPTW or something else) rather than BAPTIZW
> would be the expected word
> for washing one's feet. And I accept that this person uses the passive
> morphology to express a
> middle sense. It helps to get a wider picture of the use of the word
> BAPTIZW in general, but it is
> not relevant for the usages of this word when the sense is what we in
> English call "baptism", a word
> that is obviously more narrow than the Greek BAPTISMOS.

Date may be 4th c., though I've heard 2nd. I'm not a paleographer, and I
probably should tighten up this area of my studies. Of more significance is
that this is a gospel fragment and the persons concerned are the disciples
of Jesus, which makes the word choice more significant.
On the Jewish side, as far as we can tell, proselyte baptism was a
self-immersion, with the candidate walking down into a mikve and walking out
on the other side of a stairway. 1st c mikvaot often had separators in the
stairs into a mikva. Many of these are found around the temple area. This is
archaeologically significant, because the first sermon/mass-baptism
apparently took place in the vacinity of these public-access installations
and it is difficult to picture where else they would have gone. Presumably
they were under Pharisaic control where the baptised was naked, as opposed
to the Essenic loin-cloth. I suspect that the Essenes would not visit these,
though I haven't researched this. Hopefully, they didn't have the problems
that Epictetus mentions with the Greek BALANEION bathhouse, where people
could have their clothes purloined, or otherwise insulted.

Ἰωάνης (τὸ Ἑλληνικόν μου ὄνομα)

Randall Buth, PhD
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη
שלום לכם וברכות
ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il
randallbuth at gmail.com

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