Re: Baptism

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Wed Feb 24 1999 - 12:17:26 EST

>Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 07:39:40 -0600
>To: Biblical Greek <>
>From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
>Subject: Re: Baptism
>Cc: Biblical Greek <>
>Reply-To: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
>At 12:55 PM +0000 2/24/99, Blahoslav Cicel wrote:
>>translating EIS hEN SOMA (1 Cor. 12.13) as "for to be one body" is
>>an exegesis of "into one boby". At the moment you are put INTO the
>>(as long as you are not considered an intruder) you become a part of
>>body and you ARE ONE BODY with all the rest.
>>So, you can understand it both ways - directional or intentional
>>(telic). That is my opinion.
>>As support to that view cf. Mt 3:11 where John the Baptist sais: EGO
>>hUMAS BAPTIZO *EN* hUDATI *EIS* METANOIAN. In Mk 1:8 there is no
>>preposition at all: EGO EBAPTISA hUMAS hUDATI. Similar in Lk 3:16: EGO
>>Could I see the difference between EN, EIS and EPI this way?
>>EN TW ONOMATI stands as opposing to the (EN) hUDATI to display the
>>difference between the baptism of John and Jesus.
>>EIS TO ONOMA stands as the paralle to the EIS METANOIAN (in the telic
>>sense) to express the goal of identification with the ONOMA thus the
>>person of Jesus.
>>EPI TW ONOMATI stands to declare the base of the faith - Jesus is the
>>The different facets of one fact.
>>If I'm wrong (or I'm trying to be too accurate), shot me down :) -> :(
>OK, I'll shot you down ;-) , but gently, I hope. And possibly even
>I rather think you're trying to be more accurate than the Greek text
>for; at any rate, I don't think these prepositions are intended to
>marked differences of perspective on baptism, and I'd take note of the
>that Clay Bartholomew stated yesterday, that EPI in Acts 2 has EN as a
>textual variant in a couple important MSS, meaning at least that the
>scribes questioned the reading EPI, even if it is older.
>A couple observations here, based on nothing more than my opinion, one
>has fermented for quite some time and that I may well have gotten from
>unknown source in reading at one time or another:
>(1) TO ONOMA IHSOU = IHSOUS. This surmise of mine is either wrong or
>self-explanatory: (a) grammatically, ONOMA means the noun (Lat. NOMEN)
>to refer to any person, place, or thing; (b) Hebraic usage may play a
>here too: ha SHEM = IHWH, when one hesitates to pronounce the word
>Therefore, I think it's fair to say that EN TWi ONOMATI IHSOU is
>in meaning with EN TWi IHSOU, EIS TO ONOMA IHSOU will be identical in
>meaning with EIS TON IHSOUN, and EPI TWi ONOMATI IHSOU (if that reading
>correct) will be identical in meaning with EPI TWi IHSOU.
>(2) Regardless of the narrative function given the story of the baptism
>Jesus by each evangelist, I would suppose that the Sitz-im-Leven of the
>original story in oral tradition is functioning as the "foundation
myth" of
>the ritual of baptism in the Christian community: each baptizand enters
>into the water as did Jesus himself, then issues from it reborn to be
>greeted by the community as a favored child of God, a brother or sister
>IF that is the case, then it seems to me that these different phrasings
>BAPTIZW EPI TWi ONOMATI IHSOU all actually mean the same thing as the
>Pauline formula of 1 Cor 12:13 EIS hEN SWMA: each baptizand is baptized
>INTO the body of Christ, each becomes incorporate IN Jesus Christ
>he is the means and the end of the process of baptism.

Thanks to Blaho and Carl for this discussion.

Carl's collapsing of the differing Greek constructions into the same
meaning vs Blaho's 'faceting' attempt to differentiate these meanings
according to foundational [EPI], locational [EN], and
telic/intentional/purposive [EIS] understandings seems to me to
underscore the difficulty that we EQNOI have in understanding the Jewish
writers writing in Greek. It would seem that only an ethmic 1st century
Jew would have a chance at understanding the Greek! It [the Greek]
translates simply enough, yet that translation can only be understood in
the context of the whole of Judaism up to the time of its writing. This
has me wondering if one has to be[come] a Jew in order to become a
Christian! :-)

So I'm feeling a little daunted... For it's not for nothing that it is
called the JUDEO-Christian religion... And perhaps the GNT is not as
foundational an apparatus for understanding and possibly resolving
divergent Christian views as I once thought.

'Tis an amazing glitch for me just now...



George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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