why isn't BAPTIZW translated?

KULIKOVSKY, Andrew (AKULIKOV@baea.com.au)
17 Sep 96 20:56:06 EDT

Last Sunday my church held a baptism service
for a recent convert who wanted to obey the
the Bible's command for baptism.

As usual we had someone explain what baptism
was all about and what its purpose is.

Now this got me thinking...

the word for baptize in the the greek is BAPTIZW
which means the English is basically a transliteration
of the Greek.

This word along with its various cognate forms appears
72 times in the NT and only once is it actually
translated (Heb 9:10 - "washings") It is also
used twice in the LXX (2 Kings 5:14 - "dipped" and
Isa 21:4 - not actually sure what it's rendered as here)

All the standard lexicons (BAGD, LS, Louw-Nida, TDNT,
NIDNTT) indicate that it generally means to dip, sink,
immerse or wash by immersion.

Now, one immediately wonders why have translators
failed to actually translate this word in the NT?
- especially when you consider there is no uncertainty
about the semantic range of this word.

Has it gained some special meaning in NT usage? If so
what evidence is there for this? and also why?

One wonders whether theological/historical presuppositions
are coming into play here. As far as I can see the meaning
of BAPTIZW in the NT is dip/immerse/place into/envelop
Now this does cause a problem for some traditions - especially
if translators happen to belong to traditions that practice
sprinking instead of immersion.

Actually this is not the only word that has not been
translated: the word SATANA in Mk 8:33 borrowed from
Aramaic is another. This word means "adversary", and in
the context of Mk 8:33 this makes much more sense than
the transliteration "Satan".

So what do you make of this, scholars???


| Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
| Software Engineer
| British Aerospace Australia
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| email: akulikov@baea.com.au
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