Re: why isn't BAPTIZW translated?

Stephen C. Carlson (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 08:45:04 -0400

At 08:56 9/17/96 EDT, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:
>the word for baptize in the the greek is BAPTIZW
>which means the English is basically a transliteration
>of the Greek.

My English dictionary says that the words "baptism" and
"baptize" entered the English in the 14th century well
before the Bible was translated directly from Greek into
English in the 16th and 17th centuries. It looks like
the path was: Greek BAPTIZEIN > Late Latin BAPTIZARE >
Old French BAPTISER > Middle English BAPTIZEN.

The fact is that very early on in Christianity, before the
New Testament was completed, the Greek word BAPTIZW became
a technical term. Technical terms may depart in meaning
from the word upon which they were based. Therefore, the
usage of the early Christians is quite important. For
example, here is chapter VII.1-3 of the Didache:

"Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all
these things, 'baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit,' in running water; 2. but if thou
hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst
not in cold, then in warm. 3. But if thou hast neither, pour
water three times over the head 'in the Name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'"

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35