Barry Newman's Blog

February 8, 2012

Baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (part VIII)

Filed under: Uncategorized — barrynewman @ 11:01 pm

                    “In the name” with reference to “in” (en)

Using the Thesaurus Linguae Graeca I came across four instances of “en to onomati” appearing in the Greek literature apart from the New Testament up until about the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. One related to a person’s reputation, the other three seemed to be related to words as names for things.

In the New Testament, the phrase, “en to onomati” occurs 29 times. On 23 occasions the reference is to Jesus in one way or another, the phrase being “in my name” eight times, “in your name” three times, “in the name of Jesus Christ” three times, “in the name of the Lord” three times, “in the name of Jesus” twice, and “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”, “in his name” and “in that name” (i.e. “Christ” as in “Christian”?) once each. Other references are to the Father (as “in the name of the Father” and “in your name”, each twice), with one reference being to “in his own name” (an unnamed “another person”) and another being to “in what name”.  The contexts are: some action being carried out, some situation occurring or something being said or requested “in the name”   “In my name” is to be found seven times in John’s Gospel with one occurrence in Mark’s Gospel. The references to the names ascribed to Jesus are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, James and 1 Peter.  Acts 10: 48 records Peter commanding that Cornelius and his company be baptised.

The phrase, “en onomati” also occurs in the New Testament and is found there 12 times. On six occasions the reference is to “in the name of the Lord” (God), “in the name of Christ” and “in the name of the Lord Jesus” twice each and “in the name of Jesus Christ” and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”, once each.

There are no instances in the New Testament of the phrase, “en tois onomasi” (in the names). However a cursory search of the Thesaurus Linguae Graeca turned up many instances of its occurrence up until about the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. 26 of these are attributed to Galen, and six each to Dionysius Halicarnassus, Apollonus Dyscolus and Philo Judaeus.  No further analysis of the usage of “en tois onomasi” was carried out.

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I do not think the material relating to “eis ta onomata”, “epi to onomati”, “epi tois onomasi”, “en to onomati” or “en tois onomasi” is all that relevant to the subject on which we are mainly focussed.   However it may be helpful to keep in mind that “eis”, “epi” and “en” often seem to function like each other.  Perhaps it simply depends on who the author is.  For example, “eis” occurs in the phrase, “in his name” in John’s Gospel, whereas, “en” occurs in the phrase, “in your name” in Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels and in the phrase “in my name” in John’s Gospel, and “epi” occurs in the phrase, “in my name” in each of the synoptic Gospels.

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