baptw/baptizw - James W. Dale

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Fri Jun 07 1996 - 08:44:43 EDT

James W. Dale (1812-1881) wrote 5 lengthy volumes on baptism as follows:
        Classic Baptism 1867
        Judaic Baptism 1869
        Johannic Baptism 1871
        Christic Baptism 1874
        Patristic Baptism 1874
of which I have the last 2 in a single volume. Published jointly by Bolchazy-
Carducci Publishers, P&R Publishing, and Loewe Belfort Projects, Inc.

According to the introduction, a book by David Ford published in 1879
attempted to refute Dale, but Ford misunderstood Dale's argument and "failed
abjectly" in his attempt. Dale argues that baptism as historically used and
understood cannot mean a dipping into water and he marshals a considerable
amount of evidence to make his case. It's difficult reading and sometimes
hard to tell whether Dale is making a point or refuting one. Naturally he
deals with Acts 2:38 (eis afesin...) and has some interesting points.

Has anyone here with a knowledge of the classics and patristic literature
read or tackled Dale? Did the papyrus discoveries shed additional light on
the contemporary (to New Testament times) meaning of baptw/baptizw that
either supports Dale or weakens his points?


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