Re: Comments on 1 Corinthians

Here are two patristic references that are pretty clear.

Speaking of 1 Cor 15:29 Tertullian says

   Now if some of them are "baptized for the dead" can we not
   assume that they have a reason for it?  Certainly he [Paul]
   is maintaining that they practised this in belief that the
   ordinance would be a vicarious baptism and as such be
   advantageous to the flesh of others, which they assumed
   would be resurrected, for unless this referred to a physical
   resurrection there would be no point in carrying out a
   physical baptism.
      - Tertullian, On the Resurrection 48, in PL 2:864

At the beginning of the 5th century Epiphanus says

   From Asia and Gaul has reached us the account of a
   certain practice, namely that when any die without baptism
   among them, they baptize others in their place and in their
   name, so that, rising in the resurrection, they will not have
   to pay the penalty of having failed to receive baptism, but
   rather will become subject to the authority of the Creator of
   the World.  For this reason this tradition which has reached us
   is said to be the very thing to which the Apostle himself refers
   when he says, "If the dead rise not at all, what shall they do
   who are baptized for the dead?"
      - Epiphanius, Against Heresies I,28,6 in PG 41:384

I've lost the reference, but the Marcionites were also
one of the branches of early christianity that practiced
some form of vicarious baptism in behalf of deceased catechumens.

Vincent Broman,  code 572 Bayside                        Phone: +1 619 553 1641
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