Barry Newman's Blog

September 15, 2011

Baptised on behalf of the Dead (part II)

Filed under: Baptism — barrynewman @ 10:17 pm

An Alternative Approach

All of the above suggestions are based on the unquestioned assumption that in the text, a water ceremony, labelled baptism, is in mind.  The position in this paper is that this is a mistake – a mistake brought about partly because of a lack of understanding of how the Greek word, “baptizo[1] was sometimes used in the ancient Greek speaking world and partly as a result of the practice in some languages including Latin and English to transliterate the word, rather than translate it, when creating “translations” of the New Testament text.  That it was considered important to transliterate it may have had its origins in a view that “baptizo” had taken on a sacred and technical meaning in the New Testament documents.  The approach taken in this paper argues that in the text the reference being made is not to a practice but to a situation – a situation which is consonant with the context that follows in verses 30 – 32a.  Furthermore, with this alternative approach, Paul’s main argument for the reality of a resurrection from the dead is in no way weakened.  Perhaps some might see it as indeed strengthened.  And certainly, with the text that will be argued for below, no odd questions come to mind, such as, “Why would Paul refer to that?” or “Why would people do that?”


[1] A letter underlined indicates that a long vowel is involved.

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