RE: Why isn't BAPTIZW translate

Stephen C. Carlson (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 23:14:55 -0400

At 10:21 9/19/96 EDT, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:
>Stephen you wrote:
>>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:
>BAPTIZW may have become a technical term in English but
>there in no evidence to suggest that it became a technical
>term in Greek. D. A. Carson warns against this "technical
>term" fallacy in his book Exegetical Fallacies (2nd Ed, p. 45).
>In any case the standard lexical meanings (dip, immerse,
>sink, envelop, engulf, place into) fit perfectly into any context
>of the NT.

The evidence that BAPTIZW became a technical term in the NT is that
of the approximately 80 occurrences of the word, *all* of them have
a ritual sense, whether Jewish or Christian (so BAGD). Carson does
discuss the "technical term" fallacy, but he did not discuss BAPTIZW
in specific nor gave much guidance in identifying it. He did say that
merely 8 occurrences of a specialized meaning is not sufficient to
demonstrate a technical term, yet we are dealing with about 80 such
cases (with *no* real counterexamples). However, when the NT writers
wanted to say that something was immersed or dipped in a non-religious
sense, they used the word BAPTW (e.g., Jn13:26 Rv19:13). If this is
not evidence to suggest technical term, I'd like to know what is.

>>"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.'"
>This quote from the Didache, enhances my point. "Baptize" is
>used in all the instructions except for the last one. If there was not
>enough water available (enough to immerse someone) then the
>water could be poured 3 times over the head. Baptize could easily
>be substituted here for Dip or Immerse.

Not really. The poured water in verse 3 is an example of how to
fulfill the hOUTW BAPTISATE "Baptize thus" command in verse 1. This
means that a valid baptism according to the Didache was satisfied
by pouring water (afflusion?) -- confirming the technical meaning of
the term.

Stephen Carlson

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