RE: Why isn't BAPTIZW translated?

Date: Thu Sep 19 1996 - 04:33:57 EDT

Here are a few more comments. I agree that for some or maybe a lot of eccles-
iastical terminology there is a time to translate it for clarity, but you
might be surprised at how some of these terms really are used in everyday
situations. More than once I have heard sportscasters speak of an athlete's
"baptism" into the major leagues after the athlete has faced an overwhelming
challenge (e.g. going hitless against a good slider), and the idea of a
trial and initiation of sorts is not far from the Biblical usage. Andrew
draws from the terminology of Rom. 6, which is common enough, but one of my
seminary theses was on this and several other passages, and I found some
interesting details. For one, it may very well be that the ritual of water
baptism has nothing to do with the Rom. 6 image, which may rather concern
Spirit baptism. Peter (1 Pet 3) certainly speaks of water baptism, but does
it in the context of the flood, where the water threatens death and destruc-
tion. Also, BAPTIZW itself apparently doesn't refer to removing anything from
the water (or other agent of baptism), only to immersing it. In fact, the
word *immerse* itself does not include the idea of removal from the water
(which would actually be emersion, as one can see if one looks at the Latin
roots). The sunken ship analogy which is used so often also leaves out the
idea of emersion. So maybe transliterating BAPTIZW isn't too bad an idea,
considering the ambiguities of our options.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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