In 1970 B.F. Smith published a book, Christian Baptism, in which he highlighted his Baptist perspective in no small way by another book more than a hundred years old called, Baptizein, by Baptist scholar T. J. Conant.

Then in 1980 Jay Adams, in his, The Mode and Meaning of Baptism, offered a Presbyterian-Reform point of view which included reference to another series of books more than a hundred years old called, Classic Baptism, Judaic Baptism and Patristic and Christic Baptism, by James Dale, a Presbyterian scholar.

Conant's and Dale's long-standing works compiled scores of passages from Greek sources to illustrate the usage of baptizo. The "Civil War" between the two camps - credo-baptist immersionists vs. paedo-baptist affusionists - was grievous, and anyone who has read the preceding sections realizes the battle was useless. Nevertheless, as sources to review the usage of baptizo in non-biblical writings these two works, together, are very useful.

The main issue, as has been pointed out, is whether baptizo strictly described mode such as immersion, or whether it rather described a new condition.

Baptizo certainly was used to describe instances where objects were immersed. Examples in the books from both sides clearly show this.

Unfortunately this meaning is often applied to New Covenant usage with hardly a second thought as to whether other critical shades of meaning affixed themselves to the word. Dale's series conclusively showed that various shades of meaning were frequently expressed without any allusion to immersion, in fact or figure.

Moreover, Conant compiled passage after passage of examples in the original Greek to support his Baptist view that baptizo means mode, and yet, when trying to define the word he listed seven different words:

immerse, immerge, submerge, dip, plunge, imbathe, and whelm

When you actually read his book you find at least 11 examples that Conant translated as "overwhelm." How it is possible to believe a single word bound to express mode can be taken as submerge = overwhelm is not explained.

However, between submerge and overwhelm there is a key idea of "complete change of condition," no matter what the mode. That idea is what Dale takes as the heart of the meaning of baptizo without reference to a mode.

While it is possible to disagree with Dale's ultimate interpretation of New Covenant baptism, it is extremely hard to disagree with his presentation of the variety of meanings for the Greek word baptizo.

What follows are excerpts from two of Dale's works, Classic, and Judaic Baptism. At the same time, excerpts from Conant, the challenger to Dale's understanding of the word, will be inserted in bold print into Dale's commentary to give the reader the opportunity to make his own judgment.

For better or for worse we will encounter elements of Dale's polemic against Baptist scholars, including Dr. Conant and Dr. Carson, and at times he quotes their polemic against "the sprinklers" as well. Much has been omitted, except where it was deemed essential to clarify a particular issue. Some of Dale's nineteenth century literary style has been updated for easier reading.

In its primary sense Dale translated baptizo as merse and not immerse, reasoning that baptizo in Greek is normally found without an adjoining preposition and should be represented by a similar word if possible.

Since the Latinism "immerse" is a compound of "im" and "merse" Dale took the root "merse" minus the preposition to come very close to equivalent representation of baptizo in many cases. Rather than methodically trace the development as Dale did, we will start with his later examples which reveal the high degree of flexibility of usage, certain examples present an irrefutable secondary meaning for baptizo, especially drunkenness.

As surprising as it sounds, for Greeks a man who was drunk was a man who was baptized. Other examples show the intent of controlling influence, for example "ruin," by some powerful agency, not just a surrounding. Whether or not every example or comment by Dale be accepted without question, there is more than enough evidence to show his basic argument cannot be doubted.

For those interested -

Conant's work can be accessed in PDF here.

Dale's Classic Baptism can be accessed in PDF here.

The English text of both documents can be searched, though unfortunately the Greek cannot.

The Meaning of Baptizo


"There are some things which exert over certain objects a definite and unvarying influence. Whenever, therefore, baptizo is employed to denote the relation between such agencies and their objects, it no longer expressed a merely general influence, or one which, while receiving some coloring, still admits a varied application; but gives development, in competent manner, to that specific influence which belongs to the case in hand. The specific influence exerted by water over a human being put within it is to drown. The specific influence of wine, freely drunk, is to intoxicate. The specific influence of an opiate is to stupefy. The specific symbol-influence of pure water, or sea water, used in religious rites, is to purify. The rising sun does not more surely, or more necessarily bring with it light, than this Greek word, in such relations, bring with it the specific conceptions of induced drowning, drunkenness, stupefaction, and purification...

This usage justifies...and enables us to employ specific terms, which definitely embody the influence in question, as the most legitimate translation of the word, used absolutely, or of a phrase with which it is in living union. Some passages justifying this view will now be presented.

Stupefied by Drugs


1. Whom having de-mersed (baptized -> stupefied) by the same drug.

[(Conant's translation) "And Satyrus had a remnant of the drug, with which he had put Conops to sleep. Of this, while serving us, he covertly pours a part into the last cup which he brought to Panthia; and she rising went into her bedchamber, and immediately fell asleep. But Leucippe had another chamber-servant; whom having WHELMED (BAPTIZED) with the same drug, Satyrus...comes to the third door, to the door-keeper; and him he laid prostrate with the same draught." ex. 163, pp 79-80. Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon, II.31.]

P 318; (In this example) four cases are here presented, with varying phraseology, in which the work of stupefaction is accomplished by an opiate drug. Are these cases all spoken of under the form of figure? Are some presented in figurative dress, and some in literal attire? Or are all spoken of with a simple, prosaic literality?...And Leucippe's handmaid, by what figure is she "whelmed" (Conant), or dipped as Carson would insist?...Most persons will see, in this passage, a very unembellished statement of the controlling influence of this drug; and as it was soporific in its nature, always producing one definite effect, they will recognize the propriety of translating the word (baptizo) which represents this influence by the specific term - to stupefy.


2. You seem to be mersed (baptized -> drunk) by unmixed wine.

[(Conant's translation) "You seem to me, O guests, to be strangely flooded with vehement words, and WHELMED (BAPTIZED) with undiluted wine. ex. 147, p 70. Athenaeus, Philosopher's Banquet, V. 64.]

P 319; The description of the wine which causes this mersion as "unmixed" determines in the most absolute manner that no physical "whelming" or "dipping" is in the mind of the writer. As it is of no consequence to a drowned man whether it is salt water or fresh water that drowns him, so it is of no consequence, in a physical mersion, whether mixed or unmixed wine be used. But when the influence of wine, as an intoxicating drink is in question, then it is a matter of prime importance whether it is the one or the other. As Athenaeus lays emphasis on the wine as without any mixture of water, he could only intend to express its fullest intoxicating power. Unmixed wine, freely used by convivialists, invariably produces one effect - makes drunk - therefore, the word baptizo which embodies such intoxicating influence may, with the highest propriety, be translated by the specific word expressive of drunkenness.

Drug-Induced High

3. Then, mersing powerfully (baptizing potently -> making high), he set me free.

[(Conant's translation) "Then WHELMING (BAPTIZING) potently, he set me free. ex. 150, p 72. Aristophon (Athenaeus, Philosopher's Banquet, IX. 44.)]

P 319-20; (In this example a slave-girl was given a drug, which she imbibed and was powerfully drugged, she was baptized potently.) Dr. Conant, in making baptizo express an "effect" becomes exposed to the charge of treason to the (Baptist) cause, as brought by Dr. Carson. "Potently" is not a proper qualifying term for dipping; nor for whelming, or mersing, or baptizing in primary use. The agency may be potent, but not the condition. (But) it is entirely proper as characterizing the secondary use, expressive of controlling influence. A specific translation here is more than justified (of being powerfully drugged).


4. Having mersed (baptized -> intoxicated) Alexander by much wine.

[(Conant's translation) "And Thebe, learning the purpose [of Alexander], gave daggers to the brothers and urged them to be ready for the slaughter; and having WHELMED (BAPTIZED) Alexander with much wine and put him to sleep, she sends out the guards of the bed-chamber, under the pretense of taking a bath, and called the brothers to the deed. ex. 149, p 71. Conon, Narration L.]

P 320; "Having immersed Alexander in wine - that is, having made him drunk with wine" (Carson). This translation (of Carson) shows the intenseness of (Baptist) theory while exposing its error. 1. "Immersed." professedly used as synonymous with dip. This profession is never carried out in practice, nor can it ever be. Here, as in unnumbered other places dip is slipped out and immerse is slipped in because the former would not answer the purpose. To "dip anyone in wine" for the purpose of representing a state of drunkenness is figure which no thoughtful person ever employed. (1.) Because of inconsistency. Dipping causes but a trivial effect while drunkenness is one of power. (2.) Because of want of adaptation. Nothing is made drunk by being put into wine. But "immerse" is as unsuitable for other reasons as dip. No one insists more strongly than Carson that the whole person, in baptism, must go within the element, consequently, Alexander must go, head and ears, within the wine; and when there he must stay there long enough to imbibe the intoxicating qualities of the element. How long this will take I cannot say, but quite probably before he gets drunk he will have got drowned. Such a case shows the Baptist error of confounding a dipping with a baptism. The qualities of wine cannot be extracted by a dipping, though they may by a baptism. It shows also the essential error of a figure which represents drunkenness by immersing a living being in wine, a condition which has no tendency to make drunk, but which must drown. 2. "Much wine." Much is, significantly, omitted in (Carson's) translation. It has no fitness in announcing a physical mersion. What matters it whether Alexander were physically mersed in "much wine" or not?...Dr. Carson felt this, and throws it out. But this word is eminently significant if the writer means to express a state if intoxication. "Much wine" gives emphasis to the influence exerted. 3. "In wine." The introduction of "in" localizing the tyrant of Pherae (Alexander) within the wine is an error resulting from the previous error in the form of the act attributed to the verb. If dip (or its claimed equivalent, immerse) be associated with a fluid, that fluid necessarily becomes the element and if no appropriate preposition is furnished one must be supplied. This Dr. Carson has found necessary to do. Error begets error. This construction with its translation is important to notice...

We thus see what vital issues depend on the right determination of the value of baptizo. Has it "but one meaning through all Greek literature - mode and nothing but mode - to dip? (so Dr. Carson). Or is it devoid of all modal action - demanding a condition of intusposition? And does it, with parallelism to bapto, lay aside this primary demand for intusposition, and substitute for it a demand, only, for controlling influence, which attends some phases of intusposition, as dyeing in some cases of dipping?...Carson dips, plunges, immerses Alexander in wine, instead of allowing him to be "influenced (made drunk) by wine."...(Now we come to the) Interpretation (by Carson). - After he...paid tribute to (his Baptist) theory and system by introducing modal act and figure into his translation Carson adds - "that is having made him drunk with wine." With this admission of the meaning, and with the admission of Conant (in his translation, "whelmed with wine"), that there was no dipping, even in figure, we may be satisfied that we do not greatly err in the position that influence is directly expressed, and as that influence can take but one form the translation is faithful which says, "having made Alexander drunk by much wine."...

Baptized by Sleep

5. Merses by a sleep, neighbor of death. (Baptizei d hupnoi geitoni tou thanatou)

[(Conant's translation) "PLUNGES (BAPTIZES) in sleep, neighbor of death. ex. 120, p 58. Evenus of Paros, Epigram XV.]

P 324; "Plunges in sleep, neighbor of death" (Conant). This form of translation differs, both remarkably and unaccountably from the very uniform translations adopted in other cases, identical in spirit and in grammatical structure. I give the translation of all the passages from the classical writers containing the simple dative under the head "Figurative Sense" in Dr. Conant's classification. 1. "Whereby" (i.e. by which desertion) "the city would have been whelmed." 2. "Whelmed by the calamity." 3. "Whelmed with such a multitude of evils." 4. "Whelmed by anger." 5. "Whelm the common people with taxes." 6. "Whelmed with debts." 7. "Overwhelmed by such as are excessive." 8. "Whelmed with undiluted wine." 9. "Whelmed with much wine." 10. "Imbathed with much wantonness." 11. "Whelmed with him in his grief." 12. "When midnight had plunged the city in sleep." Thus in every passage (but one, and it that relating to sleep), the translation is by whelm and with the preposition (by, with) expressive of instrumentality. "Plunge in sleep" is not only out of harmony with Dr. Conant's translations, but with the facts of nature. Dr. Cox complains of opponents translating by plunge because that word expresses "suddenness and violence." But neither "midnight" nor "wine" does "suddenly" or "violently" plunge into sleep. Midnight perfects what earlier hours of the night have been steadily bringing on. Wine does not, primarily, induce sleep; that is a secondary result; therefore, it cannot be characterized as sudden or violent.

It is very clear, both on general views of the meaning of the word and the special features of the case, that "plunge" has no right to appear here. Dismissing it then we have no difficulty in recovering "sleep" from the false position as element and instating it in its true position, as an instrument in the hands of Bacchus (the god of wine)...

Mastered by Water

6. Merses by water...quenched by water. (Hudati baptizetai...hudati katasbesthen)

[(Conant's translation) "Since the mass of iron, drawn red hot from the furnace, IS PLUNGED (BAPTIZED) in water; and the fiery glow, by its own nature quenched with water, ceases. ex. 71, p 34. Homeric Allegories, ch. 9.]

P 325; 1. It is as certain as anything in philology that "plunge" distinctively, as expressing a form of action, does not define baptizo. To overflow, as expressing a form of action is as near contradictory of plunge as it can well be, yet overflow is used by Baptist scholars to define this Greek word...It is a philological axiom that where two differing forms of action can be employed in the exposition of the same word, such word can be, strictly, defined by neither. Plunge has no right to appear as the critical representative of baptizo...No argument can be grounded on the assumption of a plunging. 2. The simple dative with baptizo announces with authority the presence of agency and not of element. There is, therefore, no authority in hudati baptizetai for saying hot iron is "plunged in water." If it is urged in defense that water is capable of receiving hot iron by plunging, this is freely admitted. If it is urged, "hot iron is very frequently...plunged in water," this too is unhesitatingly admitted. And after all else can be said the reply is short and crushing - 1. Baptizo says nothing about plunging. 2. Hot iron may be mersed in other ways than by plunging. 3. The phraseology indicates the agency by which, and not the element in which, the result is accomplished...3. A FLUID ELEMENT may be used as an agency in baptism, and accomplish such baptism without involving the baptized object in a physical mersion...In support of (this position) now, I observe: 1. Wine, a fluid element, has already been seen as an agency to effect a baptism without any physical mersion. "But this is figurative and mersion is supposed to be in it" (goes the counter charge). This is an error...The physical mersing quality of the fluid (wine) has nothing to do with the baptism. It is exclusively its intoxicating quality; the introduction of its physical quality is a huge blunder. When Alexander was brought through the intoxicating principle into a drunken condition he was baptized. Call this figure if you will, it was baptism by a fluid element in which its nature as a fluid had no concern...Wine baptizes by its intoxicating principle solely; robbed of this it ceases to baptize. Baptize is applied to this case, not because of any physical investiture of the object, real or supposed, but because of controlling influence. 2. An opiate potion, a fluid element, has also been seen to effect a baptism without any physical mersion. As in the case of wine, the fluid character of the agency had nothing to do with the baptism...The physically mersing quality of this drug-potion has nothing to do with the case. It is limited solely to the soporific principle. Had the drug been in the form of a pill it would have baptized equally well...3. Water, by its deintoxicating quality, when mixed with wine, baptizes wine (see below). Does it do so by any physically mersing quality? All such notion, through figure or fact is put to flight by such a baptism. 4...The quality of a fluid developed in a controlling degree over its object, is legitimately a baptism...5...Water has many qualities besides that which adapts it for physical envelopment. It will make very wet...when poured on profusely; it will make unintoxicating when poured in wine; and it will make cold when poured on hot iron. And all these cases of controlling influence, apart from physical envelopment, the Greeks called baptisms.

Heraclides Ponticus (if he really is the writer of the above passage) is giving an allegorical representation of Mars, Vulcan and Neptune under the symbols, Iron, Fire and Water. Mars (iron) is held under the power of Vulcan (fire); but Vulcan being brought under the power of Neptune (water), Mars is set at liberty. The point involved in this representation is not whether water can physically merse iron, but the relation between heat and water. The writer says that heat is of such a nature that it is mastered, mersed, completely controlled by water. This is not true of cold iron. Cold iron may be mersed in water, but this mersion is essentially different from the mersion of hot iron by water. The one is simply a mersion of position...The other is a mersion of influence. This has nothing to do with position. Hot iron, mastered, subdued, influentially baptized, robbed of its heat, by water, however brought in contact with it...Heraclides does not say one syllable about a mersion "in" water. He says, that "red hot iron mersed by water" - brought under the cold-inducing quality of water - "the heat is quenched by the water and ceases."...


7. Resembles one heavyheaded and mersed (drunk).

[(Conant's translation) "When an old man drinks, and Silenus takes possession of him, immediately he is mute for some time, and seems like one heavy-headed and WHELMED (BAPTIZED). ex. 148, p 71. Lucian, Bacchus, VII.]

P 330; This passage gives the clearest evidence for a secondary use and sense. Lucian is not speaking of drinking from a wine-cup, but from the fountain of Silenus. He does not describe directly the effect of such drinking, except as to its inducing "silence;" in other respects, he says the drinker "resembles one heavy-headed and mersed." In this statement, baptizo is joined with a word which, in its literal, primary meaning, expresses one of the features of wine-influence over the system, - "heavy-headedness." It is incredible that a reference to intoxication would thus mix up together the literal and the figurative. If "heavy-head" is literal, "mersed," also is literal. Again: We use for illustration things well known, to throw light on things less known. "Heavy-headedness and mersion" therefore must have been things well understood, as they are the illustrative explanation of the influence exerted upon those drinking of the Silenic fount. Now these terms are used by Lucian to express a state of intoxication. They must therefore have been in familiar use, with such meaning. The language bears on its face evidence of well-worn, every-day use. "Mersed" is used absolutely and as self-explanatory...This phraseology proves every-day familiarity to the popular lip and ear...We then have the case of a man not only baptized by a fluid element, but at a fountain without any mersion in it. What higher evidence we could have that the Greeks appropriated this word to express as state of drunkenness, I do not know.


8. I myself am of those mersed (baptized -> drunk) yesterday.

[(Conant's translation) "For I myself am one of those who yesterday were OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED). ex. 146, p 69-70. Plato, Banquet, ch. IV.]

P 331; (I myself am of those drunk yesterday.) Again, we have the absolute use of the word without the slightest indication of a picture or a comparison. Language could not be used more deeply stamped with the evidence of self-completeness. Yet Dr. Carson says: "When baptizo is applied to drunkenness it is taken figuratively; and the point of resemblance is between a man completely under the influence of wine and an object completely subjected to a liquid in which it is completely immersed" (p. 80). It is an error to say, "a man completely under the influence of wine resembles an object completely immersed in water." Because, 1. There is nothing in the former case to which the envelopment in the latter can be resembled. Wine does not exert its intoxicating influence by the envelopment of its object. 2. Envelopment of an object in water does not necessarily exert an influence over the immersed object. A flint stone immersed in water experiences no influence from the enveloping fluid. 3. When the object is of such a nature as to be influenced by such position, as a man suffocated by encompassing water, there can be no resemblance to such position; because a drunken man is in no analogous position. The resemblance must be confined to the influence...Wine, in its fully developed influence sways a complete and controlling influence over the intellect and body, water sways a complete and controlling influence over a living man immersed in it. There is no resemblance between the mode in which the influence is exerted for there is no resemblance between drinking and immersion...All resemblance might be expected to disappear, first, from the form of utterance; then, from the conscious intellectual apprehension, leaving behind only the abstract thought of controlling influence. The facts of usage show that such was the case. An advanced step would give the word baptizo, by frequent appropriation, a specific character. This seems to have been done, as in this and other passages, by its identification with wine-influence. "I was of those, yesterday, (baptized) - mersed - made drunk."...

Bewildered - Confused

9. I, knowing the youth to have been mersed.

[(Conant's translation) "And I, perceiving that the youth was OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED), wishing to give him a respite," etc. (Speaking of young Cleinias, confounded with the sophistical questions and subtilties...). ex. 135, p 65. Plato, Euthydemus, of the Disputer, ch. VII.]

P 334; Cleinias, a young man, in company with some sophists, was hopelessly embarrassed by a series of subtle questions addressed to him. And, on this foundation shall we sketch a picture of a youth exposed to rolling billows (sea-waves) and sweeping torrents?...If usage like this does not prove an absolute departure from water immersion, both in fact and figure, what can prove it? To baptism, thus exhibited, there is but one idea to be attached; it is that of bewilderment. And this case shows the greatness of the error, when a figure is attempted in bringing water envelopment, or any specific influence flowing from it into the foreground of the picture. What has "bewilderment" to do with immersion in water or suffocation? Understood to express, generally, controlling influence, it has a facile adaptation to any case, of whatever nature, marked by such influence. One bewildered by questions or drunk with wine is equally a baptized man. They are brought into a new condition of being.

Getting Drunk out of Great Wine Jars

10. Mersing out of great wine-jars, drank to one another. (Baptizontes ek pithon megalon...proepinon.)

[(Conant's translation) "Thou wouldest not have seen a buckler, or a helmet, or a pike, but the soldiers, along the whole way, DIPPING (BAPTIZING) with cups, and horns, and goblets from the great wine-jars and mixing-bowls, were drinking to one another. ex. 25, pp 11-12. Plutarch, Life of Alexander, LXVII (LVII?).]

P 335; The historian is speaking of the riotous march of Alexander's army through a region of abundance after the perils and sufferings of the homeward march from their Eastern conquest...Dr. Conant mentions a doubt expressed by Du Soul as to the correctness of the reading, baptizontes, on the ground of its construction with ek pithon. He (wrote), however, that the difficulty is obviated by the suggestion of Coray, "a part of the action is put for the whole, as one must dip the vessel in order to fill it." The difficulty...and explanation proceeds on the assumption that the word baptizo signifies to dip, which is a mistake...In the edition of Plutarch before me there is a comma after baptizontes, showing that in the judgment of the editor there was no immediate logical or grammatical connection between that word and ek pithon. According to the punctuation of this edition, and without changing the Greek order, it would read, "but with bowls and cups and flagons, along the whole way the soldiers mersing, out of large wine-jars and mixing-vessels, drank to one another;" or, the soldiers drank to one another, out of large wine-jars and mixing-vessels, with bowls and cups and flagons, along the whole way, mersing (making drunk one another). Baptizo, in the sense to make drunk, is entirely familiar to Plutarch. The translation, "dipping" is entirely without authority from use, as has been shown, and as is confirmed by this construction so impracticable on that view...When Plutarch uses this Greek word in connection with the drunken rout described he undoubtedly uses it, as he does elsewhere, to express the controlling influence of the wine, which was flowing like water.


11. Crippled and mersed (baptized -> hung-over) by yesterday's debauch.

[(Conant's translation) "So then, O Hercules, there is manifest stratagem, with guile; for the worthy man, himself sober as you see, purposely sets upon us while still affected with yesterday's debauch, and OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED). ex. 145, p 69. Plutarch, Water and Land Animals, XXIII.]

P 337; (Affected and hung-over (baptized) by yesterday's debauch.) There is an express contrast made between one in a state of sobriety and others in a state of inebriety. Drunkenness presents various stages and phases. It is to its later developments that reference is here made. How dipping into water is to be made, by figure, to illustrate such a passage I leave for others to explain. The contrast of the sober man and the drunken impossible to find resemblance between the action of drinking and the action of dipping, for there is none. It is impossible to find resemblance between the mode in which wine (drinking) exerts its influence, and the mode in which water (enveloping its object) exerts its influence, for there is none. It is impossible to find any resemblance between the nature of wine influence and the nature of water influence, for there is none.


 12. A good temperament of the body, unmersed (un-baptized -> un-intoxicated) and active.

[(Conant's translation) "For truly, a great provision for a day of enjoyment is a happy temperament of the body, UN-WHELMED (UN-BAPTIZED) and unencumbered. ex. 144, p 69. Plutarch, Banquet, VI, (introd.).]

P 338; This remark is based on the benefit consequent upon an abstemious mode of living. An unmersed body is one not under the influence of wine...


 13. But the body not yet mersed (baptized -> intoxicated).

[(Conant's translation) "For of the slightly intoxicated only the intellect is disturbed; but the body is able to obey its impulses, being not yet OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED). ex. 143, pp 68-69. Plutarch, Banquet, III, question 8.]

P 338; The word translated "slightly intoxicated," akrothorakon, means literally and primarily, "slightly armed;" yet Dr. Conant does not hesitate to translate it as having also the direct meaning, "slightly intoxicated." Is there any better reason for giving a secondary meaning to one of these words rather than to the other? If the former means "slightly intoxicated," must not the latter, of necessity, mean thoroughly intoxicated?...baptizo has acquired the power to express, directly, the influence of wine to make drunk.

Dilute the Power of Wine

14. To merse Bacchus at the Sea. (Baptizein ton Dionusson pros teen thalattan).

 [(Conant's translation) "Why do they pour sea-water into wine, and say that fishermen receive an oracle, commanding to IMMERSE (BAPTIZE) Bacchus in [or at] the sea? ex. 66, pp 31-32. Plutarch, Physical Questions, X.] P 339;

 "Why do they pour sea-water into merse Bacchus in (or at) the sea?" (Conant). A note is appended (by Conant), in which is quoted the statement - "To immerse Bacchus is nothing else than to temper wine." Here is a baptism commanded by divine (according to their notions) authority. Dr. Conant says it is a literal, physical (such is the caption) baptism. We are, then happily out of the land of figures. How was this oracle-command to baptize Bacchus obeyed? 1. As to Bacchus. We learn that Bacchus has no personality, but only stands as representative for wine. Well then, the command is to baptize wine. How is this done? 2. As to the sea. It is to be done "by the sea." Whether this means locality only or directly declares or indirectly suggests the means of baptism, all will admit that there is enough of appropriate element at hand for any amount of dipping, or any measure of immersion. How was it used?... 3. As to baptize. Dr. Carson says, I will make the word baptize find me water, enough to dip in, amid a sandy desert. The word need not go far then when standing on the sandy shore of the sea to find sufficient for every demand. Does it make use of it for "dipping" Bacchus?...Plutarch says not. He declares that as Bacchus was esconced in the goblet they took water from the sea and poured it over him. "True, they poured the sea-water over him, but pouring is not baptizing; yet, if you pour long enough and cover him all over there will be a baptism (comment on a different example by Dr. Fuller, another Baptist). I do not think the pouring was "long enough." I rather think that Bacchus would have resisted the mode as heretical and un-Greekly. Had it persisted in "long enough" I think he would have overleaped the goblet's brim, and utterly refused to be "covered over." In plain English, covering over wine by pouring water into it cannot be done. The baptism must be sought in another direction...Does the case before us necessitate such acknowledgment (that pouring long enough to change the quality or condition of an object is a baptism)? I think that it does, most unmistakably. 1. It is a fact that Bacchus (wine) was commanded to be baptized. 2. It is a fact that under this command water was poured into wine. 3. It is a fact that water thus poured into wine exercises a controlling influence over it; "tempers it;" changes its character; takes away its intoxicating quality; removes it out of the class of intoxicating liquids into the class of unintoxicating liquids; changes its condition. 4. It is a fact that such baptism is in completest harmony with the exposition of the baptism of hot iron by pouring water on it...brings it into a new condition. 5. It is a fact that such baptism accords, most fully, with the exposition given of drunken baptism by pouring wine into the man; it controls him; changes his character; makes him irrational; removes him out of sobriety into inebriety. 6. It is a fact that Dr. Conant places this among "literal, physical" baptisms. We are happy to have his high authority for such a truth...There is no dipping, no plunging, no immersing, but there is a controlling influence exerted over an object; and that, whether it be by putting water into wine, or wine into a man, or water upon a hot iron, is true and literal baptism, if the usage of classical Greek writers is of any authority. Wine made unintoxicating by water poured into it is baptized wine.

15. And merse thyself, (going) to the sea.

[(Conant's translation) "Call the old Expiatrix, and PLUNGE (BAPTIZE) thyself into the sea, and spend a day sitting on the ground. (Eita kalon kalos heauton baptizon eis teen Kopaida limneen, hos autothi katasbeson ton epota kai tees epithumias apallaxomenos) ex. 64, p 31. Plutarch, On Superstition, III.]

Pp 342-347; This baptism differs from all others that have claimed our attention in that it is a religious baptism. The passage constitutes the counsel given to one who had been disturbed and was supposed to be defiled by ill dreams. Sea-water is to be used for the sake of its purifying influence. (On the interpretation of this passage Dale stands on the position that baptizo is not related to the act of dipping, plunging, immersing, but of the controlling influence of purification. In view of his previous examples such could well be the case, but there is no decisive proof in this particular example. The reader is referred to Classic Baptism pp 342-47.)

Thoroughly Drunk


1. I know some, who, when they become slightly intoxicated, before they become thoroughly drunk...

[(Conant's translation) "And I know some, who, when they become slightly intoxicated, before they are completely OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED) provide, by contributions and tickets, a carousal for the morrow; regarding the hope of the future revel as part of the present festivity. ex. 142, p 68. Philo (the Jew), On a contemplative Life, (ii, 478).]

P 84 Judaic Baptism; Such use of baptizo is to be regarded as proof that this word had secured to itself the power to express directly the influence of wine-drinking, - to make drunk. 1. The ground of this conclusion is found in the prevailing and persistent usage of the same phraseology and with the same application (see above in Classic Baptism). Those quotations are from various writers, separated from each other widely geographically, and extending through a space of time exceeding five centuries. In addition to this the fact (drunkenness) to which the word was applied being a daily occurrence, and extending from generation to generation, it could not but be that any word used to designate it must be in continual use. This is farther shown to be true from the form of use. It is employed absolutely, without any helping adjunct, and without the shadow of stated or designed figure. Unless the word was in familiar use it would be unintelligible when thus thrown upon its power of self-explanation. But it had, most clearly, such self-explaining power. And now, if all other usage of baptizo were blotted out of the Greek language this usage would live, having life in itself, and proclaim from every passage - make drunk! 2. ...The word is not only self-explanatory, but is capable of being used in this well-understood sense in explanation of what was less understood. (see above...resembles one heavy-headed and drunk (baptized)). There baptizo is used by Lucian, as possessed of a meaning so unmistakable that he considers it quite sufficient to say, "it resembles one baptized," when expounding something not understood. Who will say this is figure and means that the one who drinks of the Silenic fount is like one dipped in water, whelmed by a waterflood or sunk in the sea? All retreat under cloudy figure here is gone. There is but one meaning possible. The effects of drinking Silenic water are like the effects of drinking wine. The effects of what is not understood are explained by that which is well understood. 3. Proof of this meaning is found in the meaning of the associated and contrasted word, - akrothorakes. This word, in philology, has nothing more to do with wine-drinking than has baptizo. It means "slightly armed" or breast armed. Yet Dr. Conant does not hesitate to translate it - "slightly intoxicated" - while the contrasted word, baptizo, which every rational consideration requires to be translated - excessively intoxicated - he beclouds by translating - whelm. If there is one-half the evidence for translating akrothorakes by "slight intoxication" than there is for translating baptizo by "excessive intoxication" I do not know where it is found. Reference may be made to Aristotle iii Prob. 2, Erotianus Onomast., Plutarch Sympos., Mercurialis iv 6 Var. Lect., and Clem. Alex. I, 416, in support of the meaning. And there may be other authority, but this is enough. And if so, why not the more numerous authorities, and the more varied evidence suffice to establish the meaning of baptizo, however diverse from bare philology? This association of terms causes them to react, the one upon the other, in confirming to each the meaning attributed to it. (p 87) 5... Impracticability of any rational introduction of figure. Imagination can do a great deal, but much that it does is without sanction of right reason. To expound the passage under consideration Dr. Conant uses the following language: "To overwhelm (figuratively) with an intoxicating liquor, or a stupefying drug, that takes full possession of one's powers, like a resistless flood; or, (as figure may sometimes be understood,) to steep in, as by immersing in a liquid." In what way or in what measure this language throws light upon the case before us I cannot say, for to me it is much less intelligible than what it is intended to expound. Does Dr. Conant mean by "overwhelm, figuratively" that a mental picture is to be sketched of wine-casks, with bursting heads, pouring forth a vinous flood by which the drunkard is overwhelmed and swept away?... If it should please anyone to write, "As the rising sun enlightens the world, dissipating the darkness of night, scattering its morning mists and lighting up its valleys, so education enlightens a people, dispelling the darkness and doubts and errors of ignorance," must we, therefore find in the sober utterance - "he is enlightened by education," all this play of imagination? Just as much as in the statement, "I was yesterday baptized - made drunk - by wine."... No picturing can be rationally deduced from such direct and naked statements as those before us. 6....Baptist translations. Conant translates, - "Whelm - overwhelm with wine." Both these words are continually used to express the highest degree of influence without suggesting or thinking of covering the object. Whether "covering" was in the mind of Dr. C., or not, I cannot tell, but very few of his readers will feel themselves called upon by this language to tax their imaginations to find "covering" for the drunkard... If a man is overwhelmed with wine by drinking he is not overwhelmed by it as a wine billow. The translation can only express influence without covering. But Dr. Carson says, "The classical meaning of the word is in no instance overwhelm." "Literally it is immersed in wine," (p. 79 of Carson's book.)...But Dr. Carson... declares that the point of resemblance is not in the immersion at all, "but between a man completely under the influence of wine, and an object completely subjected to a liquid in which it is wholly immersed," (p. 80.) "There is no likeness between the action of drinking and immersion," (p. 79.) "The likeness is between their effects," (p. 272.) Let us bring this likeness to a more definite point. Is wine-influence resembled to the influence exerted by immersion over any particular object, - a stone, a ship, a bag of salt, a human being? Since the influence in each of these cases differs the resemblance cannot be specific, and if you eliminate that which is specific you have an abstract controlling influence. We are then, under the leadership of these Baptist translators, brought to this conclusion, - that there is a usage of baptizo in which resemblance rejects mode of action, rejects immersion, rejects specific influence and reveals an abstract controlling influence. Their statement then is this; "A man completely under the influence of wine is a baptized man, because he is like an object completely subjected to a liquid in which it is wholly immersed - in so far as it is subjected to some controlling influence." A rather roundabout way of reaching the truth, but better such way than not at all...To be baptized by wine - therefore, can convey but one meaning, - to make drunk ...




Psychological Shock

1. Astounds the soul, befalling it unawares, and de-merse (de-baptized) it.

[(Conant's translation) "For that which, of a sudden, comes all at once and unexpected, shocks the soul, falling on it unawares, and WHELMS (BAPTIZES). ex. 162, p 79. Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon, I. ch. 3.]

P 286 Classic Baptism; What is there, on the face of this statement, suggestive of water? Certainly dipping, and plunging, and sinking, are out of all question. The only thing that could be, with any consistency, introduced here, would be a wave, and from that Baptists shrink, because it moves the element and not the object. But to take "the soul" out to sea, and then conjure up a wave "suddenly," "all at once," "unexpectedly," "to fall upon" it, is a piece of extravagance...of taste which will commend itself to but few. How simply, clearly, and fully is the case met by attaching to baptizo the secondary meaning, to exercise a controlling influence, changing the condition. The notion that the soul is put under water, in any way, or intended to be so represented is simply absurd. It is influence only which is at issue.

Overwhelmed by Evils

2. As in a few days to be mersed (baptized) by such a multitude of evils.

[(Conant's translation) "What so great wrong have we done, as in a few days to be WHELMED (BAPTIZED) with such a multitude of evils? ex. 111, p 54. Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon. III. ch. 10.]

P 287 Classic Baptism; It would require some ingenuity to work up "a few days," and "a multitude of evils," and a mersion, so as to form a billow, or a dipping, out of them. But supposing some imagination to be sufficiently inventive and constructive, better save it for a better purpose and take what is on the face of the record, the exercise of controlling influence. The agency is expressed by the dative without a preposition.

Overwhelmed by Anger

3. But he, mersed (baptized) by anger, sinks.

[(Conant's translation) "And he, WHELMED (BAPTIZED) by anger, sinks; and desiring to escape into his own realm is no longer free, but is compelled to hate the object beloved. ex. 113, p 55. Achilles Tatius, book VI. ch. 19.]

 P 287 Classic Baptism; "Speaking of love, contending with and subdued by anger, in the same bosom" (Conant). I do not know how "love and anger" are to be got into water...Until a better solution is found...we will accept what every letter of the passage proclaims controlling influence. Anger exercises a controlling influence over love; holds it in subjection; will not let it escape. The agency is marked by the simple dative.

Overwhelmed by Misfortunes

4. Misfortunes befalling merse (baptize) us.

[(Conant's translation) "Misfortunes assailing WHELM (BAPTIZE) us. ex. 112, p 54. Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon, VII. ch. 2.]

P 287 Classic Baptism; I take this to be a very direct and prosaic statement announcing the homely truth - Misfortunes exercise a controlling influence over us. The introduction of "falling" waves or wrecked ship going to the bottom is a freak of the imagination not to be laid to the charge of Achilles Tatius. So Virgil - "Mersed by these evils."

5. And mersing (baptizing) the tow with oil.

[(Conant's translation) "A certain man, having a grudge against a fox for some mischief done by her, after getting her into his power contrived a long time how to punish her; and DIPPING (BAPTIZING) tow in oil, he bound it to her tail and set fire to it. ex. 86, p 42. Aesopic Fables, Man and the Fox.]

P 288 Classic Baptism; Dr. Conant's translation... "dipping tow in oil"... is objectionable:...(2.) The proper form for expressing the element, in which, by the dative, requires the preposition. Its use may not necessarily indicate the element, but it lays the burden of proof to the contrary on the objector. (3.) In every clear case where the inclosing element is associated with the dative the preposition, by itself or in composition with the verb, is used. (4.) The dative, without preposition ordinarily indicates instrumentality. It does so in all clear cases (in common with the genitive) with which we have to do. If such is not accepted as its import, in any particular case proof to the contrary must be adduced...(6.) It is beyond all rational controversy that this tow could be baptized as properly by pouring oil upon it as in any other way. Vessels in which oil is kept are best adapted for pouring. It is improbable that a mass of tow would be mersed in a large vessel of oil. We claim that tow brought thoroughly under the influence of oil, in any way, is baptized, saturated, mersed, of changed condition. (7.) The translation should be, mersing the tow with oil; the dative being without the preposition.

Made Depressing

6. My life will be de-mersed (de-baptized).

[(Conant's translation) "Is it a great and wonderful thing to see the beautiful Nile? Is it not also a great thing to see the Euphrates? Is it not a great thing also to see the Danube? Are not also the Thermodon, the Tigris, the Halys, the Rhine, among the great things? If I am to see all the rivers, life to me will be WHELMED (BAPTIZED), not beholding Glycera. ex. 161, p 79. Aliciphon's Epistles, II. Ep. 3.]

P 289 Classic Baptism; An invitation to visit Egypt, and see "the beautiful Nile," was declined on the ground that equal reason might be urged for visiting the Euphrates, the Danube, the Tigris, &c., to do which would consume his life and deprive of fellowship with Glycera. Is there anything in this form of expression, or the nature of the sentiment, which shadows forth water and a dipping? Is there not the clearest statement that to enter the course indicated would exercise a controlling influence over his life?


7. The quantity of wine de-merses (de-baptizes) the physical and vital power.

 [(Conant's translation) "Why is it that many die, of those who have drunk wine to excess? Because, again, the abundance of wine WHELMS (BAPTIZES) the physical and the vital power and warmth." ex. 160, p 78. Alexander of Aphrodisias, Medical and Physical Problems, I. 17.]

P 289 Classic Baptism; Wine (which is imbibed) neither dips, plunges, nor sinks; not even by "catachresis." Nor does it in this case "cover" by pouring down the throat, for it is a physical impossibility thus to cover over "the physical and vital power and the warmth." Another reason. If wine as a fluid effects this mischief then as much water would do the same. But this is not true. Therefore it is a case of controlling influence; not exerted by wine as a fluid, but by its peculiar influential qualities as a influence controllingly, changing the condition.

Achieve Rhetorical Mastery

8. For these know how to thorough-merse (thorough-baptize) with him.

 [(Conant's translation) "Not the speakers [public orators], for these know how TO PLAY THE DIPPING (BAPTIZING) MATCH with him, but private persons and the inexperienced. ex. 157, p 77. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton, Oration I.5.]

P 290 Classic Baptism; "Showing what kind of persons Aristogeiton was accustomed to harass by false accusations and extortion. In this case the compound word is used metaphorically, and the sense is: For these know how to match him in foul language - in the game of sousing one another." (Conant.) Supposing this use to be derived from the contest in "thorough-mersing," it shows the varied and facile application of the word. The orator employs baptizo to show the mastery which practiced speakers have over their opponents, being able to confound them by their skill and power in the use of language, and thus bring them under their controlling influence.


9. Not wholly mersed (baptized) but bears up.

[(Conant's translation) "For the dominion [of the soul] over the body, and the fact that, entering into it, she is not wholly IMMERGED (BAPTIZED) but rises above, and that the body separate from her can do nothing... ex. 58, p 27. Demetrius, the Cydonian, On contemning death, ch. XIV. 4.]

P 290 Classic Baptism; For the soul has control over the body, and entering into it, is not wholly mersed by it, but rises above it; and the body, apart from her, can do nothing. We are certainly exempt from the intrusion of water here. And we are certainly brought face to face with controlling influence. Will anyone say the soul "entering into the body" - dusan eis auto - is not "wholly covered by the body"?...(But) for the soul "to enter the body, yet not be wholly " under the controlling influence "of the body," is a very intelligible statement; very conformable with facts, and very much like what the writer declares, the soul "controls the body," and is not controlled by it.


10. They do not merse (baptize) the people by taxes.

[(Conant's translation) "The second part the kings have received for public revenues;...and on account of the abundant supply from these, they do not WHELM (BAPTIZE) the common people with taxes. ex. 132, p 64. Diodorus, the Sicilian, Historical Library, I. ch. 73.]

P 291 Classic Baptism; The following exposition is given by Dr. Carson: "In this figure, the rulers are supposed to immerse the people through the instrumentality of oppressive taxes. Mr. Ewing very well translates, 'on account of the abundant supply from these sources, they do not oppress the common people with taxes.' The literal translation is; 'They do not immerse the common people with taxes.' The people, in the case of oppressive taxation, are not supposed in such figures either to have the taxes poured upon them, nor themselves to be immersed in the taxes; but to sink by being weighed down with taxes. The taxes are not the element in which they sink, but are the instrumental baptizers. They cause the people to sink by their weight...We say ourselves, dipped in debt, drowned in dept, sunk by debt, or sunk in dept. To sink in debt figures the debt as that in which we sink. It is a deep water in which we sink. To sink by debt figures the debt as a load on our shoulders, while we are in deep water ..." (Dale responds)...Is this the import of the phrase, "mersed by taxes"?... What do "taxes" have to do with water, shallow or deep?...Do taxes dip people, or sink people, or drown people, in water?...If anyone...has a fancy for tracing back the relations of baptizo, after passing through all watery depths, they can bring back nothing germane to the case in hand but the simple idea ruin. Dipping, plunging, sinking of the Egyptians in water is pure impertinence. The dipping, plunging, or sinking of anything else is equally so, in all respects, save only as to the one point of destructive influence. Hence proceeds...a flash of light which illumines the passage. But the passage needs no such help, it is self-luminous. It proclaims with its own tongue the ruinous character of excessive taxation...The dative is without a preposition...The mersion is purely one of influence, and the source whence that influence proceeds and which gives character to the mersion is stated. This completes the thought - mersion by taxes - such controlling influence as excessive taxation universally begets, changing the condition of those subject to it.

Overwhelmed by Calamity

11. And mersed (baptized) by the calamity.

[(Conant's translation) "And Cnemon, perceiving that he was wholly absorbed in grief, and WHELMED (BAPTIZED) in the calamity, and fearing lest he may do himself some harm, secretly takes away the sword. ex. 108, p 53. Heliodorus, AEthioptics (Story of Theagenes and Chariclea), II, ch. 3.]

P 294 Classic Baptism; Is there anything here suggestive of a cold bath? Is there not the clearest statement of controlling influence? Does not the introduction of figure, "water floods, or inundations, swollen torrents or shipwrecks," dislocate everything? "Whelmed by (sic) the calamity" (Conant). Calamity is the agency, source of influence, and is represented by the simple dative.

Baptized with Sleep

12. When midnight mersed (baptized) the city with sleep.

[(Conant's translation) "When midnight had PLUNGED (BAPTIZED) the city in sleep, an armed band of revellers took possession of the dwelling of Chariclea. ex. 121, p 58-9. Heliodorus, AEthioptics (Story of Theagenes and Chariclea), IV, ch. 17.]

P 294 Classic Baptism;...Why "plunge" should be chosen to introduce a quiet night's rest is hard to tell...The ideas of force and violence are out of place. Sometimes it is said - "he took an opiate and fell into a sweet sleep." But in such a case to suggest that figure is used, and the sleeper is represented as standing on the edge of a precipice, or the bank of a river, and "falling" thence into a running stream is too irrational even to be laughed at. "To fall" thus used expresses...the idea of passing quickly from a state of wakefulness into a state of slumber. "To plunge into sleep," is phraseology difficult to vindicate under any circumstances, and cannot be vindicated here, either as the translation of the Greek word or as the work of midnight. The probable use of (plunge by Conant) was to secure the introduction if in. "Whelm" is the almost invariable translation of the many passages Dr. Conant calls figurative. But "whelmed in" would not answer well; neither would a dipping in sleep answer; therefore to save "in" the rude term "plunge" is adopted. But according to Baptist interpretation, "plunge in" brings up a water scene. (Therefore) sleep is figured as a flood large enough for a city to be plunged into it. Did any poet or orator ever venture to state in words any such figure?...It is all important to show that this and kindred passages are exhausted under a just interpretation by showing the agency, clothed by its associate baptizo with a plenary influence over its object, and that no element for dipping, or plunging, or sinking in fact or in figure belongs to the exposition...Dr. C. puts the passage under consideration with others under the explanatory heading - "To plunge, to immerse, to whelm (as ingulfing floods) sleep," etc. Dr. Conant does not tell us the point of resemblance between a city asleep at midnight and "a man plunged in ingulfing floods." Until he does I rather think that the world must remain in ignorance on the point ...

Whelmed with Grief

13. But let us not be co-mersed (co-baptized) by this grief of his.

[(Conant's translation) "For Charicles, indeed, it shall be lawful to weep, both now and hereafter; but let not us be WHELMED (BAPTIZED) with him in his grief, nor let us heedlessly be borne away by his tears, as by floods, and throw away the favorable occasion. ex. 109, p 53. Heliodorus, AEthioptics (Story of Theagenes and Chariclea), IV. ch. 20.]

P 298 Classic Baptism; If anyone should think that the mention of "torrents" (floods) in close connection with the mersion is indicative of an allusion to primary use I would care but little to debate the matter. Such rare references would rather strengthen the general position that where there is nothing of the kind mentioned no allusion is intended. But in the present case, "torrents" are not connected with the mersion but with the "tears." And in determining the relation between torrents we must guard against the extravagance of supposing tears to be converted into torrents. Such is not the point. The resemblance is between the moral effect of tears and the physical effect of torrents. The influence of tears changes our feelings and purposes, the influence of torrents changes the position of objects encountered. The man who is influenced by tears is not to be thought of as carried away by torrents; but is like (so far as change of moral position is concerned) to one who is carried away by torrents, so far as physical position is concerned. The mersion (of the passage at hand) is by grief and is indicative of profound influence. In this case and in all similar cases mersion, or baptism, represents a complete change of condition.

Deeply Affected by Events

14. Because the events still mersed (baptized) you.

[(Conant's translation) "But for us your own wanderings, if you were willing, would best forward the entertainment, being pleasanter than any dancing and music; the relation of which having often deferred it, as you know, because the occurrences still WHELMED (BAPTIZED) you, you could not reserve for a better occasion than the present. ex. 110, p 54. Heliodorus, AEthioptics, (Story of Theagenes and Chariclea), V. ch. 16.]

P 299 Classic Baptism; Could any statement be farther removed from a dipping or plunging into water? There cannot be a reference to an act, for the statement turns on a continuous condition. How devoid of all reason would be the idea of a long-continued mersion in water of a living man! (On the other hand), that remarkable events and casualties of life should exercise, for a long time, a controlling influence over our feelings, so that we should feel a reluctance to speak of them, is a matter of daily experience. This, and not plunging or lying drowned in water is the statement made by Heliodorus.


15. For there fighting he mersed (baptized) all Asia.

[(Conant's translation) "He was great at Salamis; for there, fighting, he WHELMED (BAPTIZED) all Asia. ex. 99, pp 49-50. Himerius, Selection XV. & 3.]

 17. Salamis, where thou didst merse (baptize) Asia.

[(Conant's translation) "The crowning achievement was Salamis; where thou didst WHELM (BAPTIZE) Asia. ex. 100, p 50. Libanius, Declaration XX.]

P 299 Classic Baptism; However bravely the attempt may be made to put "all Asia" into the water of the gulf of Argolis, the attempt will issue in both a physical and rhetorical failure. Why should "all Asia" be dipped, or plunged, or sunk into the gulf? All the fleet was not. The mersion of Asia did not turn on the mersion of the ships. If not one vessel had been sunk, but every vessel captured and brought into port, Asia would have been equally mersed. Had this battle been fought on the land, in a sandy desert, with like issue, Asia would still have been mersed. It was a triumphant victory which gave Greece a power competent to sway a controlling influence over, to merse, Asia. (Dr. Gale, another Baptist, dipped) a lake into the blood of a frog because he would not acknowledge a secondary meaning to bapto. Carson exclaimed: "Monstrous perversion of taste!" And all from a denial of the truth,- bapto has a secondary meaning. Its admission obliterates all idea of a dipping and established an effect in the stead of an act. When will a second Carson arise and with imperial utterance constrain his friends to confess baptizo too, has a secondary meaning, putting to flight shadowy figures and "monstrous perversions of taste"? Asia was mersed by "fighting" not by dipping. Controlling influence changed her condition.


16. By which the city would, immediately, have been mersed (baptized.)

 [(Conant's translation) "He did indeed exhort the body of bakers to be more just, but did not think it expedient to employ forcible measures, fearing a general desertion; whereby the city would immediately have been WHELMED (BAPTIZED), as a ship when seamen have abandoned it. ex. 89, p 44. Libanius, Life of himself.]

P 300 Classic Baptism; Two mersions are here distinctly stated. The one of a city and the other of a ship. The one by the desertion of food-makers, the other by the desertion of the navigators. Mersion in the one case is said to be just as certain as in the other. That the one mersion is like the other is a folly not stated. That the one mersion is likened to the other, as a dipping, or plunging, or sinking in water is a crude conceit nowhere intimated. There is a point in which the two widely different mersions are like; not a likeness dimly seen through the haze of figure, but an absolute likeness...certain ruin. A city abandoned by its food-producers will be ruined by tumult and famine. A ship abandoned by its navigators will be ruined by winds and waves. The nature of the baptism in the one case and in the other is indicated by its proximate cause. It would be difficult to find a clearer proof passage of the existence of the secondary meaning contended for. Agreements and differences are best seen when the objects involved can be placed side by side. This is done here. And we find that the baptism of an abandoned city, and the baptism of an abandoned ship have nothing in common, save the being subject to controlling influences issuing in destruction. This is the point of likeness stated by Libanius. It is the true, only and all-sufficient point of contact between the primary and secondary meaning. All attempts to trace resemblances between dippings, plungings, and sinkings in water, is as unprofitable as ploughing the sand. Bread-makers would baptized the city (by deserting it).


18. Would be mersed (baptized) by a small addition.

[(Conant's translation) "But he who bears with difficulty what he is now bearing, would be WHELMED (BAPTIZED) by a slight addition. ex. 101, p 50. Libanius, Epistle 310 to Siderius.]

P 301 Classic Baptism; Where is the person here spoken of? On the land or in the water? What are the things which he is already bearing? Blocks of granite, or masses of pig-iron? If he is...swimming in the water and bearing a hundred weight, a small addition may put him under the water. But if he is on the land, and his burden consists of intellectual or moral responsibilities and solicitudes, then, a very large addition will not transport him to a flood, or merse him under its surface however much it might exercise a controlling influence over him. No comparison is instituted with an overburdened vessel, but the statement has the most absolute limitations to the man and his circumstances. It is their influence...determined by their nature which is spoken of. A "small addition" may change his condition.

Deeply Depressed

19. Who finding the unhappy Cimon mersed (baptized).

[(Conant's translation) "For this is he who found the wretched Cimon WHELMED (BAPTIZED), and did not neglect him when abandoned. ex. 102, p 51. Libanius, Epistle 962, to Gessius.]

P 301 Classic Baptism; Does the writer intend to picture Cimon as found lying under the water, drowned and forsaken? (No) A man who is in distress beyond what courage and hope can contend with is a mersed (baptized) man and would be so if there were not a drop of water on our planet.

Overwhelmed by Grief

20. Grief mersing (baptizing) the soul and darkening the judgment.

[(Conant's translation) "For grief for him, WHELMING (BAPTIZING) the soul, and clouding the understanding, brings as it were a mist even upon the eyes, and we differ little from those who are now living in darkness. ex. 114, p 55. Libanius, Funeral discourse on the Emperor Julian, ch. 148.]

 P 302 Classic Baptism; "Whelms the soul" (Conant). Against this translation we must enter our protest. Not on the ground of merit, but as a Baptist translation... Dr. Conant gives sixty-four quotations under the head of "Tropical or Figurative Sense." Fifty-one of these he translates by "whelm"... This fact becomes the more remarkable when it is added, that of the eighty-six passages under the caption, "Literal, Physical Sense," there is but a solitary case which receives this translation. Dr. Conant's work has been too laboriously, and too artistically constructed to permit us to suppose that no strong reason underlies these facts. Let me suggest: 1. Whelm does not answer Baptist views, because they have insisted upon an act, a definite act, an act which moves the object into the water. But whelm does not have these characteristics. It expresses a condition; the result of the element coming over its object with uncontrollable power. Whelm is therefore eschewed by Baptists as representing the "Literal, Physical Sense," and im-merse, im-merge, sub-merge, dip, plunge, are pressed into the service. 2. These terms which are made to express, as far as possible, forms of action, will not answer for the tropical or secondary use; because it exhibits merely controlling influence...and resort is made to whelm, which does in like manner carry into...secondary use the same idea of controlling influence. Dr. Conant, therefore, in rejecting im-merse, im-merge, sub-merge, plunge, dip, in (his "figurative") use (since these words do not carry with them the idea of controlling influence), and by adopting the before discarded term, whelm (which does carry with it this idea), furnishes the most conclusive testimony to the point, that baptizo, when turned from its primary use, does carry with it and directly express the secondary meaning of controlling influence. Thus, grief, is said in the passage before us to exercise "a controlling influence over the soul, darkening the understanding," &c...Whelm in secondary use rejects, 1. All forms of action; 2. All varieties of physical material; 3. All physical covering; and adopts and carries with it into its new domain controlling influence, which is always present in every case of physical whelming. It is because of this truth that Dr. Conant abandons his translations in the physical use and adopts another in what he terms figurative use. In so far as controlling influence is concerned baptize and whelm do very completely measure each other. The nature of this influence is determined by its adjunct terms. It may be of joy or sorrow, virtue or vice, life or death. Whatever can influence its object controllingly - be it great or small, much or little...whelms, baptizes, merses, changes completely, the condition.


21. But the remaining part being small, was mersed (baptized).

[(Conant's translation) "...And they, indeed [those who neglected their public duties, for their own interests and pleasures] slept, and indulged the body, and laughed at those who went not the same way with them; but the remaining part, being small, was WHELMED (BAPTIZED), and the service rendered to the people terminated in beggary. ex. 115, pp 55-6. Libanius, Funeral Discourse on the Emperor Julian, ch. 71.]

P 303 Classic Baptism; This refers to the opposite courses, selfish and unselfish, pursued by the members of the councils in the cities, and the issue to the honest few. They were mersed, and fidelity to their trust ended in beggary. The absolute use of the word joins with all other considerations to demand a direct and essential value to be given to it. The influence brought to bear upon them was beyond their control. (They were ruined.)


22. But now, as you see, the duty being mersed (baptized).

[(Conant's translation) "Especially if our public discourses had enjoyed an auspicious fortune, and it had been our lot to sail with favoring gales, as they who before us presided over the bands of the young;... but now, as you see, the business [of instructing the young] being WHELMED (BAPTIZED), and all the winds being set in motion against it. ex. 116, p 56. Libanius, On the Articles of Agreement.]

P 304 Classic Baptism; As the context speaks of "sailing" &c. we may suppose from the rhetorical embellishment that the origin of the word was present to the writer's mind. There is however, a strong and exclusive forth-putting of the idea of controlling influence, (ruin).


23. You have no spare time, but are mersed (baptized).

[(Conant's translation) "...But if one asks your judgment of any of the greater matters, you are not at leisure but are OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED), and the multitude of other affairs holds you in subjection; as if those affairs, of which you speak, give place to wine-cups, but grudge to some their safety! ex. 124, p 60. Libanius, Memorial to the King.]

P 304 Classic Baptism; Such free and absolute use of the word is highly indicative of its being not merely a satellite in the world of letters, shining only with borrowed light, but a fixed star, having light of its own. If we are unable to affix a specific character to the general import of the word as thus absolutely used...still we know beyond controversy that some controlling influence is referred to.

Debilitate by Disease or Magic

24. Mersed (baptized) either by diseases or arts of the wizards.

[(Conant's translation) "But when he does not continue [happy], WHELMED (BAPTIZED) either with diseases, or with arts of Magians? ex. 137, p 66. Plotinus, Ennead I. IV. Happiness, 9.]

P 304 Classic Baptism; "Whelmed either with diseases or with arts of magians" (Conant). Why not in diseases and in magical arts as well as "in sleep"? The former is as suitable to represent the element of mersion as the latter. But neither of them should do so. It is the agency, the source of the influence only that is spoken of. And what appearance of water is there in this statement? How shall it be introduced? What part belongs to "diseases and wizard arts" in the picture? Does the unhappy man lie down on the sea-shore while diseases and incantations, converted into billows, roll over him?...(Controlling influence again clearly seen.)

Completeness of Condition

25. Because he mersed (baptized) the stewards.

[(Conant's translation) 'For he is praised,' says he, 'because he DIPPED (BAPTIZED) the stewards; being not [Tamias] stewards, but [Lamias] sharks.' ex. 26, p 12. Plutarch, Aristophanes and Menander.]

P 306 Classic Baptism; I do not know the nature of this baptism. I cannot say that water had not something to do with it, or everything, because I have no certain knowledge. The passage, as it stands (I am indebted for it to Dr. Conant), does not throw a ray of light upon the nature of baptism. It is impossible to tell whether it is primary or secondary, literal or figurative. The stewards might have been drowned, might have been put to sleep by an opiate, might have been made drunk, might have been confounded by an expose of their administration or a dozen other things, and the language would apply equally well in either case. The would all alike be mersions, baptisms. How delusive is the position, - "One meaning, clear, precise, definite through all Greek literature." Any such word could expound itself. But this word cannot. Completeness of condition is its essential demand.

Overwhelmed by Affairs of Life

26. That we, mersed (baptized) by the affairs of life.

[(Conant's translation) "Such is the manner of the good Genius; that we, WHELMED (BAPTIZED) by worldly affairs,... should ourselves struggle out, and should persevere, endeavoring by our own resolution to save ourselves and gain the haven. ex. 103, p 51. Plutarch, Genius of Socrates, XXIII.]

P 306 Classic Baptism; Rhetorical figure carries the mind back to the circumstances out of which the secondary use sprang (destructive mersion of a ship). Therefore, to insist on introducing shipwreck, struggle, swimming and reaching a harbor into every conversational use of the word would be as stilted and mistaken as to put on state dress to go out and do a day's ploughing.

Overwhelmed by Debts

27. Mersed (baptized) by debts of fifty millions.

[(Conant's translation) "Knowing him to be dissolute and prodigal, and WHELMED (BAPTIZED) with debts amounting to fifty millions. ex. 133, p 64. Plutarch, Life of Galba, XXI.]

P 307 Classic Baptism; "Whelmed with debt ..." (Conant). "Oppressed with a debt ..." (Carson). Conant figures the debts as a mass falling on the debtor, or as flowing waters rolling over him. It is entirely wrong according to Carson to expound baptizo as bringing the element over the object. The word demands that the object be put into the element. Hence the figure which he pictures out of these same materials is that of a man sinking in still water with a millstone around his neck. "This debt was not poured upon him, nor poured into him; but oppressed by it, as a load, he sunk, or became insolvent. The figure does not represent the mode of putting the debt on him, for in this there is no likeness. It represents the debt, when on him, as causing him to sink." Carson forgets that he should make the debt to dip the man, not to sink him. But we get used to this slipping one word into the place of another in reading this writer. I would also call attention to the confusion and error arising from the use of "oppress" as the equivalent of press. To press and oppress are very different words. The same amount of pressure may cause oppression to one man and not to another. Debt or load may press on a man and his ability to bear the one or the other be entirely adequate. Debt or load which oppresses a man has reached a measure exhaustive of his ability. When, therefore, Dr. Carson translates by "oppress," he vindicates (in like manner as Conant by his translation "whelm") the point we advocate - namely, a secondary use expressive of controlling influence...It is not claimed that this mersion is in debts; the dative is instrumental, as elsewhere (baptized by debts). In every aspect the passage vindicates the idea of controlling influence.

Overwhelmed by Excessive Labor

28. But is mersed (baptized) by those which are excessive.

[(Conant's translation) "...For as plants are nourished by a moderate amount of water, but are choked by too much, in the same manner a soul grows by proportionate labor, but is OVERWHELMED (BAPTIZED) by such as are excessive. ex. 134, pp 64-5. Plutarch, Education of Children, XIII.]

P 308 Classic Baptism; It is impossible to figure "mersed" as a dipping in water without making Plutarch one of the saddest of blunderers..."Plants are nourished by water in measure but are choked by excess." We cannot consent to an interpretation of "mersed" which casts shame on this accomplished Greek writer. If he affirms that the influence of moderate labor is healthy growth, then he affirms that the influence of excessive labor is unhealthy decay. Moderate labor is within the power, under the control, and made subordinate by the soul, to its advantage; immoderate labor is beyond the power, not subject to the control of the soul, but subordinates the soul to itself and injures or destroys it. To express such controlling influence Plutarch employs the term in question...

Baptized with Wantonness

29. Mersed (baptized) with much wantonness.

[(Conant's translation) "And the IO-BACCHUS was sung at festivals and sacrifices of Bacchus, IMBATHED (BAPTIZED) with much wantonness. ex. 151, p 72. Proclus, Chrestomathy, XVI.]

P 312 Classic Baptism; Im-bathed with much wantonness" (Conant). Baptist translators have a remarkable penchant for compounding the translation of baptizo as in im-merse, im-merge, sub-merge, over-whelm and im-bathe when there is no corresponding feature in the original. It is somewhat remarkable that the power of the dative should assert itself as agency contrary to the tendency of the use of im-bathe to convert it into the mersing element. Milton's language (quoted in Conant's book) probably helped to this result. In "imbathe," dipping, plunging, sinking, all disappear. (Dr. Carson's) cherished dogma, "mode and nothing but mode" has utterly vanished. Im-bathe has not the strength of an infant to put its object in anything. It may, but does not necessarily, envelope its object. It has extremely limited use in application to physical elements and I do not know that it is found in such use out of poetry. Imbathe and bathe-in are no more equivalent in use and meaning than are op-press and press-on. Imbathe and oppress refer, almost exclusively, to things and influences which are un-physical. When Dr. Conant translates by the very unusual word "imbathe" (unusual, I mean, in his translations) he does again establish the position that the usage we are examining is declarative of controlling influence...Hence when Dr. Conant says this is "the corresponding English word," there is much truth in it, so far as this secondary use is concerned; but very little so far as the primary use is concerned, as the facts abundantly show.

Overcome by Grief

30. Both mersed (baptized) by grief.

[(Conant's translation) "But whenever she observed me WHELMED (BAPTIZED) by grief, and moved to tears, she is angry, and threatens to do me some fearful and incurable evil. ex. 117, p 57. Themistius, Oration XX, (funeral discourse on the death of his father).]

P 313 Classic Baptism;...If "moved to tears" (in Conant's translation) is an everyday phrase, well understood as directly expressive of a change in feeling under some powerful influence (which becomes an impertinence to expound as figure denoting a change in locality) by what law is it that "mersed by grief" is excluded from the same just method of interpretation? "Mersed by grief" was as familiar phraseology to the Greeks, expressive of the controlling influence of sorrow, as is "moved to tears" familiar to us, as expressive of a change of feeling under tender influences. While the origin of both is obvious, frequent use has given to each a direct power of expression which at once carries thought to the mind without any reversion to primary use ...








Bring to Ruin

1. For he, himself, would overmerse (over-baptize) the city.

 [(Conant's translation) "And that it did not become him, either to fly from enemies, or to abandon friends; nor to leap off, as from a ship overtaken by a storm, into which he had entered in fair weather; that he would himself OVER-WHELM (BAPTIZE) the city, as no one would longer dare to make resistance to the enemy, when he was gone through whom their courage was sustained. ex. 97, pp 48-9. Josephus, Jewish War, III. ch. 7, 15.]

P 76 Judaic Baptism; Baptism of the city of Jotapata. Josephus, besieged in Jotapata, purposed, after the defense became hopeless, to escape, thinking that he might, on some other field, be of more service to his country. The citizens objected in the language above quoted. A first glance at the passage might convey the impression that baptizo was used in picture figure. A closer examination would however, correct such impression. There is indeed figure in the passage, but it is limited to a comparison between the city unassailed by enemies (when Josephus came to it) and a ship in a calm, and between the city assailed by enemies (when Josephus talks of leaving) and a ship in a storm. This is all the figure. The subsequent use of baptizo, most probably, was suggested by this figure; but it is not itself figurative; certainly not in any Baptist sense. It is intolerable to suppose that a city is figured, through the departure of an individual, as dipped into water, immersed in the sea, overwhelmed by a flood, or sunk in the ocean. Such extravagances, in full statement, Baptist writers are careful to keep out of view. They content themselves with a vague reference to the vague term "figure," and then vaguely translate by some word made vague in its import by a double use. Dr. Conant calls it "figure" and translates overwhelm. But this word has a double use, in one of them neither water-floods nor covering can be found...Dr. Conant theoretically uses "overwhelm" in one sense; all his readers will understand it in another sense. Dr. Carson translates "sink the city" in flat contradiction of his reiterated and absolutely exclusive definition, - "dip, and nothing but dip."...(Further) Dr. Carson does not mean that "sink" shall either put the city into the sea or into the earth, but contrary to theory, is compelled to use it in its secondary sense - to ruin. Hear his own language: "He would not sink or epibaptize the city. His desertion of the city would be the means of ruin. He is then represented as doing the thing that would be the consequence of his departure," (p. 98.) And this ruin is directly, and not figuratively, expressed by baptizo, deriving its power so to do from that destructive influence which is the so-common result of envelopment baptism. The nut is cracked, the enveloping shell is worse than useless and thrown aside, while the kernel-truth, adapted to the case, is applied..."He would overmerse - ruin - the city, because no one would longer resist the enemy." Then the epibaptism was to come from the "enemy," not from an overwhelming flood, nor from the ship-city sinking in the sea. Figure would have required their efforts to be made against the storm, not against the Romans. The case is one of secondary use, - influence without envelopment...

Brought to Ruin

2. Who, independently of the sedition, afterwards mersed (baptized) the city.

 [(Conant's translation) "Who, even apart from the sedition, afterwards WHELMED (BAPTIZED) the city. Josephus, Jewish War, IV, ch. 3, 3.]

P 78 Judaic Baptism; During the war between the Jews and the Romans certain robber chiefs with their bands sought refuge in Jerusalem, where they became the source of turmoil and sedition. But these were not the only evils resulting from their presence. The provisions of the city were limited from a protracted siege, and these plundering and murderous bands, consuming the food which might otherwise have sufficed for the defenders of the city, brought on famine and thus without sedition would have baptized - mersed - ruined - the city. Dr. Conant calls this "figure" and says: "This natural and expressive image of trouble and distress occurs often in the Old Testament. For example, Ps. 69:2, 'I am come into deep water, where the floods overflow me.' Verses 14, 15: 'Let me be delivered...out of the deep waters; let not the water-flood overflow me.' Ps. 18:16,17: 'He drew me out of many waters; he delivered me from my strong enemy.' Job's afflictions are expressed under the same image (ch. 22:11): 'The flood of waters covers me.' Compare Ps. 124:4,5; 144:7; 32:6; Ezek. 26:19." (Dale responds) A grand source of confusion...has been looseness in the statement of principles, or looseness in the examination of the evidence adduced to support those principles; sometimes looseness in both these particulars... There is a looseness in applying these "torrents and floods" to baptism which needs to be corrected. A torrent may effect a baptism and a flood may effect a baptism, but a torrent may sweep against one, and cause great distress and peril without causing a baptism; and one may be in the midst of a flood and be filled with anguish in view of a baptism within its waters, and yet escape unbaptized. Timon's proposed victim (see below) had been swept away by a flood of waters; he was in distress and helpless as he was swept by the torrent toward the bank where stood this hater of his race; but he was not baptized until this man-hater stopped his ears to the cry: "I am come into deep waters;" "Deliver me; let not the water-flood overflow me;" "Draw me out of many waters;" and, with a heart which knew no sympathy...baptized him, pressing his head, never to rise again, beneath the waters. Now this victim of Timon's went through all the experiences suggested by these quotations of Dr. Conant before his baptism; this imagery of water-floods is no image of baptism, but of peril, distress and anguish. Water-floods may issue in a baptism, they do not do so necessarily; rushing waters and swelling floods therefore are not imagery for baptism, but for troubles and distresses which are always their accompaniments. Jonah's ship, assailed by the tempest and the dashing billows was in distress, in peril, and "ready to be baptized;" so that the cry rang out above the howling of the storm: "Let us be delivered out of the deep waters; let not the water-flood overflow us!" That picture - raging sea, bending masts, tossing ships, praying crew - is the image of distress; it is not the image of baptism. Baptism is not an act done, nor something in transitu, but a result reached; a state or condition accomplished. Herod's sons (see below) were many times in peril and distress from plottings and machinations (torrents and floods); but were never baptized until Salome's accusation put them into their graves; their baptisms calmed the troubled waters, as Jonah's baptism stilled the tempest, and brought deliverance to the imperilled ship and crew. These quotations from the Psalms, therefore, confound things that differ. "Trouble and distress" are no more baptism than a tempest-tossed ship is a ship lying in the depths of the sea. If you would have imagery of baptism (in this direction), you must not present imagery of suffering and peril, but of ruin and death. And this conclusion brings, again, into bold relief the entire incompetency of the Baptist theory to account for the usage of the word.

Let us now look at the passage itself. In doing this we are struck with the simplicity and straightforwardness of the statement. Nothing could be more naked of all figurative picturing, unless it be found in the naked word baptizo. Baptist writers have long enough assumed the power of "the word to find them water in a desert." They must give some evidence of its power to flood Jerusalem. They will not find such evidence in the passage. These robbers baptized the city, not by letting loose an imaginary flood upon it, but by eating up its provisions! This is Josephus's notion of a baptism, and under its influence the imaginative Baptist soaring on waxen wings is brought back, very summarily, to the regions of common sense. The provisions devoured, then comes conquest, then the flaming temple, and stone torn from stone, blank ruin - profoundest baptism. Most evidently does Josephus take the element of destruction, inherent in so many baptisms, and crowding that idea into every letter of this word, to the rejection of all beside, most directly affirms, that "the robbers, by inducing a famine, baptized the city" - brought it into a state of utter ruin! I affirm baptism in water-floods more strongly than any Baptist writer ever did, or ever can, with any show of consistency with his theory; but I affirm that there is no more water in baptizo in this passage than there is fire. There is not the remotest hint in word or thought that water was present to the mind of the writer. As for the word itself, there is as much fire in it as there is water; and Dr. Conant might as well have quoted the fiery baptism of Sodom and Gomorrah, as the water-floods of the Psalms to meet the demands of the Greek word. Indeed, as there was more fire under the Roman torch in the final baptism of Jerusalem than there ever was water, baptism by fire would seem to have the right of precedence over water baptism. This is certain, beyond all controversy, that the simple word baptizo gives no authority to introduce water into any baptism; therefore, its introduction in any case, in fact or by imagination, must bring justifying evidence from other source than this word. In the present case there is not one particle of such evidence. On the other hand, we have the most perfect evidence, from text and context, that utter destruction is the thought in view; while we have no less complete evidence that baptizo is identified with results of destruction most absolute, and is therefore qualified on the present occasion to express such destruction. And this duty, we say, it does in fact here perform ...


3. As though the reason were mersed (baptized) by the things coming upon it.

 [(Conant's translation) "And one might show it also from this, that those who live soberly, and content with little, excel in understanding; but those, on the contrary, who are always glutted with drink and food, are least intelligent, as though the reason were WHELMED (BAPTIZED) by the things overlying it. ex. 136, pp 65-6. Philo, the Jew (an extract in Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, book VIII. at the end).]

 P 83 Judaic Baptism; Philo was a Jew, living in the first century. He contrasts in this passage the intellectual manifestation of those who lead a frugal, with those who lead a gluttonous life, - vigor characterizing the former and imbecility the latter. It is a fact of universal experience that excessive eating and drinking exerts an unfavorable influence over intellectual development...Dr. Conant translates by "whelm." Whether "the natural and expressive image" of water-floods is to be introduced here, as in the previous case of "whelming," he does not state. What light can be thrown upon the meaning of baptizo by dipping, or sinking, or whelming this glutton, in fact or figure, I have not enough imagination to conceive. If no such picturing is to be done then we must look for the baptism either in a literal envelopment, or give the word direct power to express hurtful influence without envelopment. Some might plead in favor of the first interpretation, that the meat and drink are represented as "coming upon" the reason. In that case, the reason would have to lie at the bottom of the stomach, while eatables and potables came down upon it. No doubt a baptism could be so effected;...My preference, however, is for the other baptism. I accept the statement as simple and direct in both cases: "The reason is affected beneficially by temperance, while it is baptized - influenced injuriously - by gluttony.

Drown to Death

[(Conant's translations) 1. And the dolphin, angry at such a falsehood, IMMERSING (BAPTIZING) killed him. ex. 51, p 24. AEsopic fable of the Ape and the Dolphin.

3. You dipped me in plays; but I, in waves of the sea IMMERSING (BAPTIZING), will destroy thee with streams more bitter. ex. 60, p 29. Epigram on comic poet Eupolis.

 10. And others leaping into the sea were drowned, or struck by the enemy and WERE SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED). ex. 37, p 17. Dion Cassius, Roman History, L. ch. 35.

 11. And every form of war was enacted and witnessed; the natives sustaining the conflict with zeal and with all their force; the others, having greatly the advantage both in number and in the unexpectedness of the attack, and slaying some on land, and PLUNGING (BAPTIZING) others, with their boats and huts, into the lake. ex. 81, pp 39-40. Heliodorus, AEthiopics, Theagenes and Chariclea, I. ch. 30.

 14. And if the winter's torrent were bearing one away, and he with outstretched hands were imploring help, to thrust even him headlong, IMMERSING (BAPTIZING), so that he should not be able to come up again. ex. 28, p 13. Lucian, Timon or the Man-hater, 44.

18. Then bravely PLUNGING (BAPTIZING) himself into the lake Copais, that there he might extinguish his love, and be freed from desire. ex. 65, p 31. Plutarch, Gryllus, VII.

24. And neither can the swordsmith determine whether he shall sell the sword to a murderer, nor the shipwright whether he shall build ships for a robber,...nor the pilot whether he saves, in the voyage, one whom it were better to SUBMERGE (BAPTIZE). ex. 41, p 19. Themistius, Oration IV. (XXIII).]

Classic Baptism


1. And the dolphin, displeased as such a falsehood, mersing, killed him.

3. But mersing you by sea-waves, I will destroy you by bitterer blows.

10. Struck by the enemy, were mersed.

11. Mersing others into the lake.

14. Thrust such a one upon the head, mersing him.

18. Nobly mersing himself into the lake Copias.

24. One saved in the voyage, whom it were better to merse.

(1.) These are cases of drowning. The drowning was by mersion and was the influence designed to be secured over the mersed objects. Mersion does not necessarily drown because something may intervene to arrest this consummation; but where there is no such intervention, all living animals are drowned by mersion.

 (2.) In many of these cases the mersed object was already in the water, only the head remaining above; yet the putting under the head merely, causing death, is called the mersion (baptism) of the person...

(3.) Bapto, tingo, dip, are never used to express any case of drowning. Their power and nature make them unfit for any such use.

(4.) "The act of baptism," as a uniform modal act, has no shadow of existence. The form of the act, through which the mersion is secured does not enter into the meaning of the word ...

(5.) We see from such usage how readily baptizo might (does?) advance, from the idea of mersion to express that of drowning. In such use as in ex. 24, - "the pilot does not know whether he saves in the voyage one whom it were better to merse," - we are shut up to the meaning, to drown.

Sinking Vessels for Destruction

9. And hence, they gained the advantage each over the other; the one dropping within the lines of the ship's oars, and crushing the oar-blades, and the other from above SUBMERGING (BAPTIZING) them with stones and engines. ex. 36, p 17. Dion Cassius, Roman History, L. ch. 32.

12. And I will show you also my soldiers; one fighting life-like even in the painting...and another IMMERGING (BAPTIZING) with his hands the Persian fleet. ex. 40, p 19. Heimerius, Oration, X. & 2.

17. Some [of the vessels] thrusting down, under a weight firmly fixed above, they sunk into the deep; and others, with iron hands, or beaks like those of cranes, hauling up by the prow till they were erect on the stern, they SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED). ex. 3, pp 2-3. Plutarch, Life of Marcellus, ch. XV. 20. For if any were hard pressed by the enemy, they retreated safely on account of their fast sailing into the open space; and then with reversed course, now sailing round and now attacking in flank the more advanced of the pursuers, while turning and embarrassed on account of the weight of the ships and the unskillfulness of the crews, they made continued assaults and SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) many of the vessels. ex. 1, pp 1-2. Polybus, History, I. ch. 51, 6.

21. Which being done, some of the vessels fell on their side, and some were overturned; but most of them, when the prow was let fall from on high, BEING SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED), became filled with sea-water and with confusion. ex. 2, p 2. Polybus, History, VIII, ch. 8, 4.

22. Pierced and BEING IMMERGED (BAPTIZED) by a hostile ship. ex. 8, p 5. Polybius, History, XVI, ch. 6,2.]

P 277 Classic Baptism; The features of these baptisms are too obvious to call for exposition. The act effecting the baptism is widely various; the farthest possible removed from dip. The dative without preposition, and the genitive, express agency. The duration of the baptism has no limit. The baptism is sought for its destructive influence. The ships have been baptized, were left in a state of baptism, and have continued in it for two thousand years.


[(Conant's translation) "And after the calamity of Cestius, many of the distinguished Jews swam away, as when a ship is BEING SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED), from the city. ex. 23, p 11. Josephus, Jewish War, II, ch. 20, 1.]

 P 72 Judaic Baptism; 1. Many of the distinguished Jews, as from a ship being mersed, swam away from the city...The condition of the city at this time is most hopeless and likened to a ship on the point of being swallowed up in the sea. The comparison thus instituted between the condition of the city being ruined and the condition of the city being swallowed up leads to the use of a word ("to swim away") expressive of method of escape, well adapted to one member of the comparison, a ship, but not appropriate, in its form of movement, to the other, a city. "To swim" is not limited to application to movement through water, - "She swam across the room." But such smooth, gliding movement is not adapted to express the movement with which men fly from impending ruin. Are we then to understand the writer, by use of this term and by the comparison with a ship, to intend that his readers should conceive of Jerusalem encompassed by a waste of waters into which its citizens are leaping and "swimming away?"... Let us make another application of this method of interpretation. In this same paragraph this escape from the city is represented as a "flying away." Shall we now, on the strength of this term make another draft on our imaginations, and taking these eminent citizens from the watery element, substitute wings for fins, while we gaze in rapt admiration as they launch away from the crumbling battlements and "fly" to some far-off region of repose? "Ran away" is used to describe this same flight. Does this word shut us up to the spectacle of a race against time, running on foot or on horseback? Or is the wealth of imagination to be displayed by the conception of a picture in which all these features are artistically grouped; having war-shattered Jerusalem for its center, encompassing waters for its fields, citizens "running" through its shallows, citizens "swimming" through its depths, citizens "flying" through the air - is this the picture? Does this seem to be only an amusing extravagance?...

...Now, when the terms "swim away," "fly away," "run away," each denoting originally a definite form of movement...are applied to the flight of citizens from an imperilled city, shall we insist on the definite movement of each, or merge them in the idea, to escape, which is common to all? To "swim away" from a ship indicates the use of the last means for safety; to "swim away" from a city suggests, not the modal use of arms and legs, but resort to extreme means for getting away. So "to fly away," "to run away" (speak of escape.)

In the passage before us the mersion has nothing to do, directly, with the city. The figure centers in the destruction common to ship and city with the anxiety of sailors in the one case, and of the citizens in the other, to escape being involved in that destruction; it does not reach either to the nature or means of the destruction. The figure does not involve the city in any water envelopment. The ship perishes, the city perishes. Ruin and the escape from ruin begin and end "the figure." The figure involves a destructive mersion, and therefore has nothing in common with a dipping.


P 74 Judaic Baptism

[(Conant's translation) "This as a final blast, OVER-WHELMED (BAPTIZED) the tempest-tossed youths. ex. 96, p 48. Josephus, Jewish War, I, ch. 27, 1.]

2. This as a last storm, overmersed the tempest-beaten young men. These young men were the sons of Herod, whom he had long threatened with death, under the idea that they were plotting against him..."as a last storm," they lost their lives. This passage presents what is rare, a distinct and well-sustained picture figure, with mersion as a leading element. (These) sons of Herod...became, after their mother's death, objects of suspicion, accusations and plottings, with a view to compass their destruction. Josephus indicates this condition of things when he speaks of them as tempest-tossed and weather-beaten. They suffered from these influences, but lived. Salome effected their destruction. These facts suggest a resemblance to a ship which has weathered many storms, but at last goes down under one of resistless power. The points of comparison are plain: 1. The young men and the ship and her crew. 2. Various evil machinations and frequent storms. 3. Salome's accusation and the final storm. 4. Death and baptism. What demands attention here, as bearing upon our inquiry is: 1. The absence of all show of comparison between any act on the one hand and on the other. 2. The same lack of comparison between any condition on the one side and condition of envelopment on the other...There is no comparison between the direct means causing the death of these young men, whatever it was, and the direct means causing the destruction of the ship, which was envelopment by water; but the comparison is between the indirect means, namely, Salome's accusation and the final storm. Thus, envelopment is left out of view, and its result - remediless destruction - is brought into the foreground. As used in this passage, baptizo speaks directly of destruction. "This accusation caused these suffering young men to perish, as a final storm causes a weather-beaten ship to perish." The quo modo of perishing, in the one case or the other, however well they may be understood, are not in comparison. Figurative use of words often lights up resplendently their literal use. We are here distinctly taught that baptizo may be used to express directly the result of mersion (destruction) ...

Forceful Immersion (Leading to Death)

P 66 Judaic Baptism

[(Conant's translation) "Continually pressing down and IMMERSING (BAPTIZING) him while swimming, as if in sport, they did not desist, till they had entirely suffocated him. ex. 16, p 8. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XV, ch. 3, 3.]

1. Always pressing down and mersing him, as if in sport, while swimming. Aristobulus, high priest and of royal blood, greatly beloved by the people, had awakened the suspicion and jealousy of Herod (who reigned even though lacking lineal descent to be king). Herod, having resolved upon his destruction, allured him to engage in sportive exercise and when heated thereby, enticed him to a fish-pond within the palace grounds to induce him to seek refreshment by bathing in its waters. In the pond were already some of his creatures under the pretense of bathing, but really to carry out the murderous intent of the king. Aristobulus having entered the pool, these assassins consummated their purpose by "pressing down and mersing his head while he was swimming, as if in sport." Thus Aristobulus was murdered by being drowned.

The comment of Dr. Carson..."Aristobulus was several times dipped before he was entirely suffocated...It was not the word baptizo which destroyed him. It was the keeping him too long under the water after immersion," (p 263.)..."The Greek word baptizo would not hurt them more than the harmless English word dip, were there an immediate emersion; and dip, if not followed by an emersion will be followed by death as its consequence as well as baptizo; and the latter may be followed by emersion as well as the former. The continuation under water is not here expressed by the verb in question," (p. 286.). (Dale responds) Baptists have good reason to do their best with this case, both to get drowning out of it and to get dipping into it. They could have no bolder or abler representative in making such an attempt than Dr. Carson. How has he succeeded? The fact of drowning is so ingrained in the narrative of the baptism that even a Carson will not attempt to eliminate it. The best that he can do is to try and divorce it from baptizo. The basis of this endeavor lies in the assumed identification between a baptism and a dipping... In reply to the statement that "Aristobulus was several times dipped," we reply, Aristobulus was not "dipped" once. There was no act of "dipping" performed. He was in the water, under the water, except his head. That, his murderers did not dip, but "pressed down." The act of pressing down does not involve any raising up; nor did these murderers volunteer any such addition... If the head of Aristobulus ever got above water again, into which it was "pressed down," he must get it there himself as best he could. He will have neither deed nor wish from Herod's assassins to help him. But not only does "pressing down" involve no taking out, and is thus alien to dip, neither does it involve any limitation of continuance within the water, and is, thus again shown to be foreign in its nature from that word (dip). Two things are evident in the narrative. 1. Aristobulus was not "pressed down" sufficiently long the first time to suffocate him; this would have betrayed the murderous intent. 2. He was "pressed down" sufficiently deep, and kept under water sufficiently long to cause partial exhaustion. A repetition of such "sport"...soon produced the legitimate effect of a "pressing down" baptism. He was drowned. But Dr. Carson says, "It was not the word baptizo which destroyed him. It was the keeping him too long under the water after immersion." Is it naivete most charming, or acuteness most marvelous which makes this suggestion? In whose service and at whose behest is "pressing down" acting? Is it not that of baptizo? When "pressing down" puts the unhappy High Priest under water does baptizo object? When it keeps him "under water too long" for life, does baptizo object? ...

...The assassins baptized Aristobulus. Aristobulus recovered himself out of this state of baptism without help from them. Again they baptized him, and again he recovered. At length, too much exhausted to struggle more he remained in that state of baptism into which he was brought by Herod's command, and perished ...

 P 69 Judaic Baptism

[(Conant's translation) "And there, according to the command, being IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) by the Gauls in a swimming-bath, he dies. ex. 17, p 9. Josephus, Jewish War, I, ch. 22, 2.]

2. And there, being mersed in the pool by the Galatians according to command, he died. This is a second allusion to the same murder. It differs from the former in omitting...any form of act by which the baptism was effected. In the absence of such information imagination might exhaust itself in vain attempts to learn the facts of the case. So far is it from being true, that the Greek word is in such matters, its own expositor; there is absolutely no help to be derived from it to learn the definite act by which any baptism is secured. Such knowledge must come from other quarters. Had the "Antiquities" of Josephus perished, this statement in his "War" would have left us hopelessly in the dark as to the act employed by the assassins in the baptism of Aristobulus. This passage also leads to the remark that Josephus had other ideas than to the legitimate force of a baptism. The historian says, "being mersed (baptized) he died." (Carson) says, "baptize does not hurt anybody, it is being kept too long under water!" It would seem that Josephus thought that this baptism embraced the "too long under water." Neither Jew nor Greek ever wrote "being dipped he died." This baptism was for the sake of its deadly influence.

Scuttle a Ship

"As I also account a pilot most cowardly, who, through dread of a storm, before the blast came, voluntarily SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) the vessel. ex. 18, p 9. Josephus, Jewish War, III, ch. 8, 5.]

3. As, also, I esteem a pilot most cowardly, who, fearing a storm, should voluntarily merse his ship before the tempest came. This is part of an argument by Josephus against suicide in times of impending peril. He says that self-murder to avoid peril is not manlike, but cowardly, as the action of a pilot who should sink his ship for fear of a storm. As to the particular form of act by which the vessel was to be brought to the bottom of the sea, the Orator gives us no information, any more than he informs us by what form of act the suicide was to kill himself. To kill expresses a very definite result to be accomplished, but does not throw one ray of light on a thousand definite acts equally competent to reach that result. To merse expresses a very definite result to be effected; but it is dumb with silence as to the form of act by which it may be accomplished. We must then, remain forever in ignorance whether this pilot was to baptize his ship by running her against a rock, by carrying too much sail, by turning her broadside to the rising wave, by unshipping her rudder, by scuttling her, or in whatever other conceivable method the end could be accomplished. Certain is it, we appeal in vain to baptizo to instruct us on this point...This comparison by Josephus of a suicide to this mersing pilot may help us to understand some other cases of mersion. The points of comparison pair off thus: self-murderer and pilot; life and ship; suffering and tempest; death and mersion. Does anyone doubt that the point of accord in the first pair is that of control wielded by the suicide over life and by the pilot over his ship; in the second pair the stakes are at issue; in the third pair the sources of dread; and in the fourth pair, what? a likeness between death and dipping? between death and enveloping water? or between destruction of "life"...and the destruction of the "ship"...? Will anyone in his sober senses think of bringing into view the means to these ends, a sword in the one case, a watery envelopment in the other? Is not the comparison wholly exclusive of such things and exhausted by the naked idea of destruction, caused in the one case by a sword and in the other by encompassing waters, and agreeing in nothing but their power of destruction? If this be so, then we may find in other cases that "mersion" stands neither for envelopment nor definite act, but as a representative of destruction. Certainly this ship-mersion was a baptism for influence.

Overwhelmed - by Passion, Wave or Sea

2. But Dyonisus, a man of culture, was seized indeed by a tempest, and was WHELMED (BAPTIZED) as to the soul; but yet he struggled to emerge from the passion, as from a mighty wave. ex. 93, p 46. Chariton of Aphrodisias, Chaerea and Callirrhoe, III, ch. 4.

3. For I saw a vessel, wandering in fair weather, filled with its own tempest, and WHELMED (BAPTIZED) in a calm. ex. 94, p 47. Chariton of Aphrodisias, Chaerea and Callirrhoe, II, ch. 4.

4. For, as being borne along in a troubled and unsettled state of affairs, they differ little, or rather not at all, from those who are driven by storm at sea, but [are born] up and down, now this way; and if they commit any even the slightest mistake, are totally SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED). ex. 87, p 43. Dion Cassius, Roman History, XXXVIII, ch. 27.

5. And I myself am one of those SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) by that great wave. ex. 88, p 44. Libanius, Epistle XXV.

6. For, as when the rest of the tackle is toiling deep in the sea, I, as a cork above the net, am UN-DIPPED (UN-BAPTIZED) in the brine. ex. 62, p 30. Pindar, Pythic Odes, II. 79, 80 (144-147).]


P 278; 1... For although mersed (baptized) by the passion, the noble man attempted to resist; and rose up, as out of a wave.

2. But Dionysius...was seized by a storm, and mersed (baptized) as to his soul; but yet strove to rise above the passion, as out of a great wave.

3. I saw a vessel wandering in pleasant weather, full of its own storm, and mersed (baptized) in a calm.

4... and should they commit any, even the least mistake they are wholly mersed.

5. And I am of those mersed (baptized) by that great wave.

6. I am unmersed (un-baptized) like a cork upon a net, of the brine.

(1.) In no one of these quotations is there the shadow of a dipping.

(2.) In most cases, it is the element which moves to reach its object. A sea-wave is irresistible. So is baptism.

(3.) The point of the figure, in no case, is either to act, or covered condition, but wholly turns on influence, powerful influence...

FIGURE WORN OUT BY CONSTANT USE; These passages receive vividness and force from the rhetorical embellishment. For this purpose appeal is made to those physical facts which give origin to the word in its literal use, and which serve to illuminate its tropical (figurative) use. The number of passages is not large. Words which pass from a primary to a secondary use, and are in daily employ lay aside their rhetorical character and become purely prosaic in their import. The secondary meaning becomes as simple, direct, stripped of ornament and unfigurative as in the primary use...(Even) Dr. Carson says: "Very many of the words of every language have received a metaphorical application; but when custom has assigned this as their appropriate meaning, they are not to be considered as figures of speech."... These statements and definitions justify the position that any word which, in secondary use, has secured a well-defined meaning of daily, long-continued use, and with great breadth of application, loses wholly its figurative character, and must be considered simple and literal in its expression. This is true in all respects of baptizo. We find this word used through a thousand years, commonly, variedly and independently, as expressing a definite meaning of its own, clearly growing out of, yet wholly distinct from its original primary physical use. It is a noticeable fact that this Greek word, according to Baptist writers, presents a figurative use as frequently, if not more frequently than the literal use. Is not this extraordinary? But this fact becomes more noticeable when we turn to bapto, and find scarcely a single instance of figurative use in its primary meaning. Can any explanation be given of this very diverse usage of these two words, which, we are told, are of entirely the same value? There is an explanation, and one full of meaning. There was a time when Baptist writers gave as long a list of cases of the figurative use of bapto as they now give of baptizo. How has that great cloud of figures been dissipated? By the admission that they had made a mistake in denying to bapto a secondary meaning; and thus, had been compelled to resort to figure to expound difficulties, which, even by all the help of figure, Carson says...were "very clumsily got over." This history is repeating itself. By denying a secondary use to baptizo resorting to figure as often as to fact has been necessary; seeking for help to get over difficulties, which, after all, are not got over, and the failure brings out the clumsiness of the attempt into the boldest relief. When baptizo is acknowledged to have a secondary use it will be found to have but little more figure about it than has bapto.

Render Unconscious




The blood boiling up, through great force, often overflows the veins, and flowing round the head within, merses the breathing (passage) of the intellect.

[(Conant's translation) "For the blood when quite young, and boiling up through intense vigor, often overflows the veins, and flooding the head within, WHELMS (BAPTIZES) the passage of the reason." ex. 56, p 26. Achilles Tatius; Clitophon and Leucippe, IV. ch. 10.]

P 260; This is the case of a person who has fallen down, in a state of unconsciousness. "Whelm" (Conant). This translation ignores "the act of baptism." The act was "flowing round" (perikluzo), which is materially different than dip. Such cases show how vain is the attempt to fasten on the baptizo the form of any act, whatever, by which an object is put into a fluid element; and no less, any attempt to stamp it with the form of any movement by which a fluid is brought upon its object. It is only surprising that such an attempt should ever have been made ...

Drowned to Death


Many of the land animals, surrounded by the river, perished being mersed; but some, fleeing to the high place, are saved.

[(Conant's translation) "Most of the wild land animals are surrounded by the streams and perish, being SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED); but some, escaping to high ground are saved." ex. 14, pp 7-8. Diodorus the Sicilian. Historical Library, I. ch. 36.]

P 261; It seems hardly credible that Carson should offer this as a case of modal dipping, and yet it is even so...This is his language: "The whole land, overwhelmed, might be said to be modally dipped, by catachresis, and that the animals would at first swim, and then sink, and be entirely immersed. The sinking of animals is here called baptism. What, then, is baptism but immersion?" Here is a melange of words which exhibits a remarkable rhetorical and logical monstrosity...Diodorus says nothing about the land being dipped or baptized, but the animals only...Can there be a shadow of a doubt as to the sense in which "immersed" is here used (by Carson)? Is there any possibility for its meaning to dip ...? Does it not represent the condition of the animals after sinking, and as a consequence of the act of sinking"?... It is neither here said, nor can it be said that sinking is baptism...Sink, on this occasion, as flow, fall, throw, walk, &c., &c., &c., on other occasions, (only) expresses the form of the act by which the drowning-baptism took place ...

Drowned to Death2


The river with a stronger current rolling down mersed many, and swimming through with their arms, destroyed them.

[(Conant's translation) "The river, rushing down with the current increased in violence, SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) many and destroyed them attempting to swim through their armor." ex. 13, p 7. Diodorus the Sicilian. Historical Library, XVI. ch. 80.]

P 263; This is a death baptism by a strong river current. These baptisms are a sort of dipping hardly contemplated in "Baptizing is dipping, and dipping is baptizing." They exhibit an influence exerted over their object such as no Greek ever used bapto to express, and to which no one in a sane mind would apply dip.


[(compare also Conant's translation of the following passages)

"And she breathed as persons breath after having been IMMERSED (BAPTIZED), and emitted a low sound from the chest, like the so-called ventriloquists." and;

"And she breathed as if breathing after having been IMMERSED (BAPTIZED)." ex. 30, p 14. Hippocrates, on Epidemics, books V and VII.]

(These cases of someone "baptized" obviously mean more than having been dipped, there is a terrific influence, nearly to the point of drowning.)

Meaning of Bapto



Bapto, p 137; It has been confidently affirmed that bapto has but two meanings to dip and to dye. Usage will show that this latter position is as untenable as the earlier one which denied that it had more than one meaning - to dip. But it is unnecessary to particularize; the quotations will speak for themselves.

To dip has been placed first in order among the meanings of bapto; but whether dip or dye be regarded as the primary meaning, the meaning is dip and not plunge, or sink, or any other word whose meaning characteristically differs from dip.

By "dip" is meant a downward movement, without violence, passing out of one medium into another, to a limited extent, and returning without delay. Plunge differs essentially from this word in that it demands rapidity and force of movement; and, more especially, in that it makes no demand for a return. In critical, or controversial writing no word can, fairly, be substituted for dip, which has characteristics alien from and contradictory to its nature.

I know of no instance where bapto is used to put an object into a fluid to remain there permanently, or for an unlimited time. Nor do I know of any instance, where this word is used to draw up anything out of a liquid which it had not first put into it. Dr. Carson gives more than fifty quotations from Hippocrates, in which he says, "there can be no doubt but we shall find the characteristic meaning of bapto." In all these cases there is the double movement of intrance and outrance. Whether this twofold movement be the result of the explicit demand of the word, or consequential on that which is immediately expressed, the result is the same; both find place in the "characteristic" use of the word.

To dye is now acknowledged to be a secondary meaning without any necessary dependence upon dipping. This doctrine was long and strenuously opposed by Baptist writers, who contended then that bapto had but one meaning as now they contend that baptizo has but one meaning; and that dyeing was a mere appendage to dipping, and an accident consequent upon a dipping into a coloring element. This position is, at length, thoroughly abandoned, and the admission made that dyeing by sprinkling is as orthodox as dyeing by dipping.

In other words, it is now...unreservedly admitted, that while bapto to dip expresses a sharply defined act; bapto to dye expresses no such act; but drops all demand for any form of act, and makes requisition only for a condition or quality of color, satisfied with any act which will meet this requirement.

This being true, it is obvious that the difference between dip and dye, and dip and plunge, is not a difference of measure and form, but a difference of nature. Dip and plunge express forms of act to be done; dye expresses a condition or quality to be secured.

Thus we secure a stepping-stone toward the truth which we would like to establish; to wit, that baptizo, unlike bapto to dip, but like bapto to dye, does not express a form of act, but a condition - condition of intusposition primarily, and condition of controlling influence, secondarily. Bapto, in one of its aspects, demands a movement which carries its object, momentarily, within a fluid element; and in another of its aspects demands a condition which is met by flowing, pouring, or sprinkling:

Baptizo, in one of its aspects, demands a condition which may be effected by flowing, pouring or sprinkling; and in another of its aspects, demands a condition which may be effected by anything, in any way, which is competent to exercise a controlling influence over its object. The two leading meanings, to dip, to dye, have modifications in usage...refusal to accept any farther modification in the meaning of this Greek word is not well grounded.


Primary - To Dip

P 139; Dipping the crown into ointment. AElian, lib. xiv, cap. 30

Dipped its feet into the wax. Aristophanes, Nubes, i,2.

I will dip-in, the torch, having taken it. Aristophanes, Peace, 960.

If any one should dip into wax. Aristotle, On the Soul, iii, 12.

It is necessary to dip and then to draw up. Aristotle, Mech. Quest. c. 29.

He dipped a vessel into water. Constantine. Epigr. of Hermolaus.

Dipping the spear into the breast. Dionys. Hallic. Ant. Rom. lib.v.

If a vessel has...dipped. Euripides, Orestes, 705.

Dipping it, bring hither of the salt sea. Euripides. Hecuba, 608.

To dip is to let something down into water or some other fluid. Scholium, Hecuba, 608.

Nor to dip-into the periranterium. Iamblichus, Vit. Pythag. c. 18.

Dipping pleasure with foreign vessels. Lycophron, Cassandra, 1365.

Will dip the sword into the viper's bowels. Lycophron, 1121.

Dip honey with a pitcher. Theocritus, Idyl v, 127.


Wetting the hollow of his hand he sprinkles the judgment seat.

Bapsas koileen teen keira, prosrainei teen dikasteerian. Suidas, de Hierocle.


Being pressed it moistens and colors the hand.

Thlibomenos de baptei kai anthizei teen keira. Aristotle, Hist. Anim. v, 15.

 Bapsai, the poet has called to moisten.

To bapsai, dieenai kekleeken ho poieetees. Plutarch, Sympos, Prob. 8,6.


Washed head and shoulders of the river.

Potamoio ebapsato...omous ek kephalees. Aratus, 220.

Cloudless, washes of the western flood.

Anephelos, baptoi hroou hesperioio. Aratus, 858.

Washed himself, going upon the river.

Ebapse heouton bas epi ton potamon. Herodotus, Euterpe, 47.

They wash with warm water.

Baptousi thermoi. Aristophanes, Eccles. 216.


They dye the robe of Venus.

Baptousin Aphroditees ton peplon. Achil. Tat. II, 87.

The drug with which it is dyed.

To pharmakon hoi baptetai. Achil. Tat. II, 89.

The lake was dyed with blood.

Ebapteto d'haimati limnee. AEsopi, Phry. Fab. Batr. 218.

Lest I dye you a Sardinian dye.

Hina mee se bapso bamma Sardianikon. Aristophanes, Achar. I, 112.

A dyed bird.

Ornis baptos. Aristophanes, Aves, 526.

And the garments which are dyed from it.

Kai ta ap autees baptomena himatia. Barker's Class. Rec. p. 418.

Some say that you dye your hair.

Tas trikas, ho Nikulla, tines baptien se legousin. Bentleii, Ep. Coll. 139.

Thou may'st dye thy head, thy old age thou canst not dye.

Teen kaphaleen bapteis, geeras de son oupote bapseis. Bentleii, Epigr. Coll.

 To drug was called to dye.

Kai pharmassein to baptein elegeto. Eustathius ad Il, x. 32.

When it drops upon the garments they are dyed.

Epeidan epistaxeei himatia baptetai. Hippocrates.

As dyers cleanse beforehand.

Kathaper hoi bapseis proekkathairontes. Iamblichus Vit. Pyth. xvii.

You will call bapsee color, paint.

Ereis de bapsee krosis, katakrosis. Julius Pollux, vii, 30.

And I will dye.

Kai bapsomai. Menander, Frag. 2, Anger.

Whether one dye other colors, or whether these.

Ean te tis alla kromata bapteei ean te kai tauta. Plato, de Repub. iv 429.


Is it well that thou hast stained thy sword with the army of the Greeks?

Ebapsas egkos eu pros Argeion stratoi. Sophocles, Ajax, 95.


Playing the Ludoi and the Pseen, and smeared with frog-colored washes.

Ludizon, and pseenezon, kai baptomenos batrakeiois. Aristoph. Equites, 523.


Having gilded poverty thou hast appeared rich.

Kai penieen bapsas, plousios exephanees. Jacob's Antho. iii, 145.


Temperers of brass?

Kalkou bapsas. AEschylus, Agam. 612.

To lose temper.

Bapseen aphienai. Aristotle, Pol. 7,14.

Working...tempers with cold water.

Ein hudati psukroi bapteei...pharmasson. Homer, Odys. ix, 392.

As iron by tempering.

Bapsee sideeros hos. Sophocles, Ajax, 651.

Tempered by oil it is softened.

Theelunetai bebammenos hupo elaiou. Scholium, Ajax. 663.


The soul is imbued by the thoughts, imbue it, therefore, by the habitude of such thoughts.

Baptetai gar hupo ton phantasion hee psukee, bapte oun auteen teei sumekeieei ton toiouton, phantasion. Antonius. M. v, 17.

Imbued by integrity to the bottom.

Dikaiosuneei bebammenon eis bathos. Antonius M. iii, 6.

Beware of Caesarism, lest you be imbued by it.

Hora mee apokaisarothees mee bapsees. Antoninus M. vi, 25.

He first imbued the Muse with viperish gall.

Mousan ekidnaia protos ebapse koleei. Bentleii, Epig. Coll. p. 156.

Arrows imbued with the gall of serpents.

Koleei bebamenois opheon distois. Strabo. xvi, p 1117.

Should adopt the character of one imbued.

Analabeei to pathos tou bebammenou. Epictetus, Arrian, xi, 9.

The Baptae.

Hoi baptai. Eupolis.


All the quotations showing the primary, literal use, confirm what Aristotle says, that the act expressed is one which carries its object, superficially, into a fluid and brings it out. The act is, emphatically, one of limitations. - limitation of force, limitation of extent of entrance into the element, limitation of time of continuance within the element, and by consequence, limitation of influence. It is also noticeable that the objects are limited in magnitude, although there is not other necessity for this that the limitation of human strength, in its ordinary exercise, by which objects are usually dipped.

"If a vessel has...dipped" by Euripides, "the dipping of a sailing vessel; but it is not the entire vessel that is dipped, but merely the rising and falling produced by the wind. The case, more fully stated is this: 'Has a ship with sheet hauled close, struck by the wind, dipped? She will right again if the sheet be loosed.'...The dipping is...involved in the 'righting' (of the ship)." Others translate, "if a vessel has sunk." Dale says to the contrary, "This case proves that a part only of an object may be dipped, although there be no express limitation in the statement." He continues, "The vessel is dipped (by a sudden blast) into the sea without being "dipped all over" (the words of Carson).


P 145 1. To Wet.- This is the unavoidable consequence of dipping anything into water; and it would be in perfect harmony with the laws of language to use the word, whose act produces the effect, to express such effect when not produced by its form of act. It is difficult, if not impossible, to translate dip in the passage from Suidas, (wetting the hollow of his hand he sprinkles the judgment seat) and it seems to be a necessity to translate by wet.

2. To Moisten.- In the quotation from Aristotle dip is out of all question, and dye seems to be as much so, in consequence of the use of "anthizei." Two words are not needed to express dyeing; while the moistening by the juice of the berry pressed is essential to dye, stain, or color the hand. We the more readily adopt this meaning as Plutarch expressly says that the word is used in this sense.

3. To Wash.- Aratus speaks of a crow washing itself "of the river." The phraseology indicates that dipping is not intended. The scholiast omits the limitation ("head and shoulders") in the text and says, "washes itself" - baptei de heauteen hee kornikee - including the whole, while a part only is washed. In the second quotation from the same writer the form of the phraseology is similar, and is indicative of a similar use. The importance of the form of expression is obvious in the translation of Carson - "if the crow dips his head into the river." "Into" has no existence in the text and whatever Carson may think, others will be likely to judge that "into the river" and "of the river" are phrases of very different value. The quotation from Herotodus is thus translated by Carson: "The Egyptians consider the swine so polluted a beast that if any one in passing touch a swine he will go away and dip himself with his very garments, going into the river." Unless the text of Dr. Carson differed from that before me, we have here another of those broad discrepancies so often found in the translations of this writer as compared with the original. There is nothing said about "going into the river;" the text is "going upon" (the bank of) "the river." If however, it be assumed as an unstated fact that after having come upon the river he also "went into the river" and then "dipped himself," we learn from Dr. Carson that after all, the dipping of the head and shoulders may be accepted as the dipping of the man "himself" into the river. The same writer tells us... "Here is a religious baptism, and it is by immersion." As depicted by Carson this Egyptian "baptism" into the Nile is a perfect model for those more modern "religious baptisms" with which he is familiar. "Going into the river," "with clothes on," dipping the head and shoulder; these are the necessary elements...But the equanimity with which this transaction is referred to as a solution of the mode of baptism must be disturbed. It is not called a "baptism" by Herodotus, but by Dr. Carson, and with self-inconsistency, for elsewhere (p.48 of Carson's book) he says that this word should never be used with bapto. Dr. Carson attempts in vain to bridge over the gulf between these two words by saying; "The person dips himself; therefore it is bapto to dip, and baptizo to cause to dip." The attempted distinction has no real existence...Besides this reasoning is nullified by (Carson) himself when he speaks of Naaman, finding no embarrassment from the presence of baptizo; but makes him, by this word, "dip himself," entirely oblivious of the necessity arising from (his interpretation of) this word, that somebody else should be there "to cause him to dip." It remains then classically true that "Bapting is dipping and Dipping is bapting;" but this truth throws the rite of our (Baptist) friends entirely out of range of Scripture phraseology. What this swine-polluted Egyptian did, whether he went into the river and dipped his head, or remained on the bank and washed, has some bearing on the meaning of bapto; it has none on baptizo. It...has no bearing on the baptism of Scripture.

Aristophanes.- "They wash the wool with warm water." Carson admits that this translation "gives the sense, but not the exact version of the words; what is asserted is that they dip, or immerse, or plunge the wool into warm water." I am sorry that I cannot say that his translation either "gives the sense or is an exact version of the words." Of what use is it for a controversialist to translate baptousi thermoi, "they dip into warm water"? And of what use are grammatical forms, if such as that before us is to be converted...into another essentially different? The form and the nature of the case unite in sustaining the conclusion that the dative is instrumental and that there must be a corresponding modification in the use of the verb. Some things may be washed by dipping but a greasy fleece of wool is not among the number; a dipping therefore, is not the thing that is here called for, but a washing. It is admitted (by Carson) that "Suidas and Phavorinus interpret baptousi by plunousi;" but "it argues shallow philosophy to suppose that on this account the words are perfectly synonymous." The "shallowness" may be found in Dr. Carson's examination of the case;...I leave it to lovers of truth to determine...the results bear more strongly on general truth than on the specific issue before us.


Dr. Gale, representing Baptist writers up to that time, says: "The Greeks apply the word to the dyer's art, but always so as to imply and refer only to its true, natural signification TO DIP." This position was tenaciously held for more than a hundred years, notwithstanding all the mass of evidence accumulated against it. At length Dr. Carson arose and sharply rebuked his friends for attempting to advocate so untenable a position. He boldly affirmed that bapto, "from signifying mere mode, came to denote dyeing in any manner. This serves to solve difficulties that have been very clumsily got over by some of the ablest writers on this side of the question. Hippocrates employs bapto to denote dyeing by dropping - 'When it drops upon the garment they are dyed' - this surely is not dyeing by dipping."

 This reasoning is presented by Dr. Carson as unanswerable, and it has been accepted from him by Baptists as truth...Yet, when identically the same argumentation is adduced to prove that bapto may mean to wet - Nebuchadnezzar being bapted by drops of dew - it is rejected as a mere nullity, and bapto can mean nothing else but dip! 'Bapting by sprinkling' was once regarded as a very fair subject for the exercise of the powers of ridicule; but that time has passed"...the time will also soon pass for "making doubly ridiculous 'baptizing by sprinkling.'"

Bapto to dye has a far more practical and instructive relation to baptizo than has bapto to dip; because the former meaning is not, like the latter, a demand for an act, but for an effect, and there is a consequent harmony in grammatical forms, and measurably, of thought branching out of it... As a dyed condition may be effected in almost endless variety of ways, even including the paradox, "dipping by sprinkling," so, a baptized condition may be effected in ways no less numberless, even including "the absurdity" baptizing by sprinkling. We might decline to use dye to express the modified meaning of bapto and retain dip throughout, as the Greeks retain bapto. There would be a propriety in doing so; because, 1. It would perfectly reflect the Greek practice. 2. Because dip, in English, also has the meaning to dye. 3. Because thrown on to the sentiment and the syntax, to learn the modification of the primary meaning, there would be some equalization of the case with that of baptizo, when it is compelled to vindicate its claim to modified meaning under uniform use of a single word through all its usage. But we will not insist on putting a similar burden on bapto; but cheerfully assume the unequal task, believing that the word is able to vindicate its rights even under such favorable circumstances.


It would be quite unnecessary to dwell upon any of these quotations if the only purpose was to establish the meaning to dye; this has been thoroughly done and is universally accepted; but there are other reasons connected with grammatical structure, modified translation, varied agencies, the introduction of distinct words to express the form of the action, as they bear upon and illustrate kindred peculiarities in the usage of baptizo, which make a rapid survey of particular passages desirable. The above passage from AEsop, attributed to Homer, is instructive by reason of the manner in which it has been treated in the earlier period of this controversy (over baptizing) as well as for the reasons prompting the abandonment of the ground then taken. Dr. Gale says: "The literal sense is, the lake was dipped in blood. And the lake is represented by hyperbole as dipped in blood." (Fellow Baptist) Dr. Carson replies to this: "Never was there such a figure. The lake is not said to be dipped, or poured, or sprinkled, but dyed with blood. The expression is literal, and has not the smallest difficulty." It is desirable to note several particulars ruling in Dr. Carson's interpretation:

1. The repudiation of Gale's view on the ground of extravagance in the figure.

2. The rejection of all figure by the introduction of a secondary meaning.

3. The denial that the act by which the dyeing takes place is expressed by bapto. "The blood was POURED into the lake," but "bapto does not therefore signify TO POUR."

4. The rejection of the local dative and the substitution of the instrumental.

5. The necessity for this as grounded in the meaning of the verb as modified. So long as Gale insisted on the act dip, he was compelled (whatever might be the amount of violence done to the construction ...) to make the dative represent that in which the act took place, for "blood" could not be instrumental in a dipping; in like manner, when Carson rejected the act (dip) and took the condition (dye), he was shut up to the necessity of interpreting the dative as instrumental; for "blood" can dye while it cannot dip.

6. The dative is made instrumental, notwithstanding that it represents a fluid element (blood) in which (its nature only considered) a dipping could readily take place.

All these elements which enter into the rejection of Gale's interpretation (who in this matter does not stand as a simple individual, but as representative of the entire Baptist body) come into frequent play in the exposition of other passages where Carson will be found attempting to sustain a similar position in relation to baptizo with that of Gale to bapto...One more point in connection with this passage and we may leave it. Bapto, from signifying mere mode, came to be applied to a certain operation usually performed in that mode. From signifying dip it came to signify dye by dipping. And, according to this interpretation, and elsewhere, it came by yet another step to signify to dye without dipping; to dye in any manner. That is to say, the original peculiarity of the word, though the name remains the same, is entirely lost sight of:

1. to dip;

2. TO DYE by dipping;

3. to dye without dipping.

Apply now, this developing process to baptizo and we have,

1. To intuspose within a fluid.

2. To influence controllingly by intusposition within a fluid.

3. To influence controllingly without intusposition.

In the first process (the word) bapto remains, in all its literal integrity, but dip is wholly eliminated from its signification. In the second process, (the word) baptizo exhibits every letter in wonted position, while it has bodily come forth from intusposition in water or anything else. However much it may be denied that this latter word has such is beyond denial that such development may be...and if it may be, then the cry of "absurdity" is absurd ...

"The garments which are dyed from it are called bysinna." The use of the genitive (ap autees) excludes all idea of dipping which might be forced upon the dative. Even Gale could not say here, "the garments are dipped in it." Although the garments should have been dyed by dipping, still, bapto in this construction, could have neither part nor lot in any such dipping. If this act should be desired to appear, and appear under the auspices of bapto, this word as signifying to dip must be called into requisition; as it means to dye in this passage, its power is exhausted, and the dipping must be supplied from some other quarter. No word can have, at the same time, two meanings. No word can mean, in the same passage, both dip and dye.

"And I will dye." No regimen is expressed. "I, also, was once young; but I was not washed, then, five times a day; but now I am; nor had I then a fine mantle; but now I have; nor had I ointment; but now I have; and I will dye." To dye himself did not require that he should dye his whole person, but the hair and beard - "crines et barbam pingebant," a commentator observes. (The process of dyeing in India is recounted, green leaves smeared with black stuff are bandaged onto the beard until the color had well dried on the hair, and such dyeing was a usual custom.) We here learn how absolutely dipping has disappeared from dyeing. The Christian missionary (J.H. Orbison) repeats what Nearchus said two thousand years ago - "the Indians dye their beards." The mode as well as the custom probably remains the same.

"When it drops upon the garments they are dyed." This statement goes beyond the others in the exclusion of dipping, in that while they expressed this by construction and by sentiment, here we are expressly furnished with a word (epistaxe) expressing an act of an entirely different character, by which the coloring material is brought in contact with the material to be dyed. Professor Wilson remarks: "The great critical value of this example consists in its stripping bapto completely of all claim to modal signification, by employing another term to denote the manner in which the dye was applied to the garments." We have here a favorable opportunity to indicate and make the attempt to correct an error constantly outcropping in the controversy. No Baptist would say that bapto in the phrase "to dye by dropping," expressed the act to drop; no such person should say that bapto in the phrase, "to dye by dipping," expresses the act to dip; and yet there is a constant identification of baptizo with the act (whatever it may be) by which its demand is effected. It is possible that it may yet be confessed that it is quite as facile and fully as legitimate to baptize by sprinkling as to baptein by dropping; while in so doing, although the sprinkling effects a baptism as truly as that the dropping effects a bapting, yet baptizo has just as little responsibility for the expression of the act of sprinkling as bapto has for giving expression to the act of dropping.

"Whether one dye other colors, or whether these." "No matter what dye they are dipped in," is the translation of Gale and Carson, and is surely loose enough when used as an element for a critical judgment. It shows no regard to the syntax. The comment of Halley is just: "Whether the kroma was the dye into which the wool was dipped, or the color imparted to it is not the question. Be it which it may, it is the object of bapteei; it has gained in the syntax the place of the material subjected to the process; and therefore, pleads a law of language that bapto in the passage does not and cannot mean to dip, as the color cannot be dipped, whatever may be done with the wool.

"Lest I dye you a Sardian dye." "Lest I dip you a Sardinian dye." (Carson.) Such translations makes a recast of the syntax. And by so doing opens the way for the introduction of the primary meaning, in contradiction to the principle laid down by Buttman and Kuhner - "when the verb is followed by the corresponding or kindred abstract substantive," - which would necessitate the translation, "dye a Sardian dye," or "dip a Sardian dip." The apology offered by Carson for his translation is: "As the reference is to the art of dyeing, so the expression must be suited to the usual mode of dyeing." Against such reasoning we protest. There is nothing whatever suggestive of "the usual mode of dyeing."... If Aristotle had a right to speak of dyeing by pressing a berry, and if Hippocrates had a right to speak of dyeing by drops falling, why is Aristophanes to be interdicted from speaking of dyeing by bruising?

TO SMEAR - Exposition

"Playing the Ludoi and playing the PSeen, and smeared with frog-colored washes." Magnes, an old comic poet of Athens, used the Lydian music, shaved his face, and smeared it over with tawny washes." (Gale and Carson.) The Lydian music and shaving the face are introduced through some misconceptions. The passage alludes to two plays, as above designated. What however, especially claims attention is the translation of baptomenos by smear, with the remark: "Surely, here, it has no reference to its primary meaning. The face of the person was rubbed by wash. By this example it could not be known that bapto ever signified to dip."

"Having gilded poverty thou hast appeared rich." The intimate relation between dyeing and gilding is obvious. In this passage, and in others, the thought expressed seems to have passed into this modification. It is the case of a person who had become wealthy from a state of poverty.

TO TEMPER - Exposition

"Working...tempers with cold water." It might at first be thought that "to temper," as a meaning of bapto should be traced to dip rather than to dye; but the tempering of metals is regulated not by the act of dipping, in contradistinction from other modes of using water and oil, but by the color and dye of the metal; I, therefore, trace this meaning to dyeing rather than to dipping. "The razor blade is tempered by heating it till a brightened part appears as straw color. The temper of penknives ought not to be higher than a straw color. Scissors are heated until they become a purple color, which indicates their proper temper." - Ency. Amer., Art. Cutlery. A friend connected with one of the most highly esteemed edge-tool manufactories in the country, having come into my study, confirms the above statements.

As the tempering of metals is not the performance of any modal act, but the inducing of a peculiar condition of the metal, in the accomplishment of which water and oil are used as agencies; it follows that these fluids should be spoken of, in this connection, as instrumental means by which an end is to be secured, and not as elements into which an object is to be dipped. Carson says: "No one who has seen a horse shod will be at a loss to know the mode of the application of water in this instance. The immersion of the newly formed shoe in water, in order to harden the metal, is expressed by the word baptein." If bapto means to "harden the metal," to temper, nothing is more certain than that it neither does, nor can, express the immersion of the metal; supposing that an immersion took place. The admission is made that the immersion is in order to harden; how facile the transition to express directly the effect - to temper. Such transition is most common; why not exemplified in this word? As for the necessity of dipping, I have seen, in a blacksmith's shop, in routine work, sprinkling, pouring, and dipping, all used within about ten minutes.

"Tempered by oil it is softened." "Dip by oil" is an impossible translation; "dye by oil" is equally so; temper by oil is an every day-transaction. We seem to be shut up to this translation. Whatever plausibility there may be in a plea for dipping, when the dative, especially with a preposition is used, there is none with the genitive. And if in this case the oil must be an instrumental means to an appropriate effect, then we are justified in similar circumstances in arguing that the dative is used instrumentally. It is clear that if in this passage bapto signifies to temper, and the tempering should be by dipping into oil, yet, this bapto cannot express such dipping. Plain as this is, the contrary is so often assumed that the statement needs repetition. In any case the oil is spoken of as instrumental means. The tempering of metals by water, or by oil, results in characteristic differences. The result is not determined by the mode of application of these fluids, but by their peculiar qualities; hence the tempering is by water and by oil, whether it be in water, or in oil, or otherwise.

"Imbued to the bottom with integrity."... Dip is out of the question. Dye is as little in place. Integrity, justice, has no dyeing qualities any more than has pure water. Its glory is to be void of color, to exhibit a transparent pureness. Gale is again hampered and confused by his erroneous conception of the word; "dip'd, as it were, in and swallowed up with Justice; that is perfectly just; as we say, persons given up to their pleasures and vices, are immersed in or swallowed up with pleasures or wickedness." All this mixing up of things that differ shows, 1. The error of limiting bapto to dip. 2. The error of supposing that bapto can mean at the same time to dip, and also to swallow up, and to immerse. And, 3. The error of confounding the usage of bapto and baptizo, now transferring dipping from the former to the latter, and now claiming in return mersing to be handed over from the latter to the former. No passage can be adduced in Greek where bapto, or in English where dip, signifies to be "immersed or swallowed up in pleasures, or wickedness," or anything else. This explanation is not satisfactory to Carson while he offers nothing better. "I would not explain this, with Dr. Gale, 'dip'd, as it were, or swallowed up with justice.' Justice is here represented as a coloring liquid, which imbues the person who is dipped in it. It communicates its qualities as in the operation of dyeing. The figure can receive no illustration from the circumstances that 'persons given up to their pleasures and vices are said to be immersed or swallowed up with pleasures or wickedness.' The last figure has a reference to the primary meaning of bapto, and points to the drowning effects of liquids; the former refers to the secondary meaning of the word, and has its resemblance in the coloring effects of a liquid dye. The virtuous man is to be dipped to be dyed more deeply with justice; the vicious man is drowned or ruined by his immersion." Carson speaks as though the honest man were to be dipped "to the bottom" of the dye-tub, instead of imbued to the bottom of his own soul. Such extravagant interpretations, manifestly groundless and framed to meet the case, will prepare us to appreciate others of like characteristics in connection with baptizo.

"Beware of Caesarism, lest you be imbued by it." "Don't make the former emperors the pattern of your actions, lest you are infected or stained, or as it were dipped and dyed, namely in mistakes and vices." - Gale. "This road to dipping through "infection" and "staining" is rather roundabout, and hardly worth the trouble of passing over, inasmuch as after thus reaching "dipping" the Doctor makes no tarrying, but passes on to "dyeing." This is another illustration of the inconsistency of Baptist writers in affirming that a word has but one meaning through Greek literature, and then availing themselves of the use of half a dozen different meanings whenever the exigency of the case requires it. Carson is never embarrassed by any difficulty, the knot which his principles cannot untie is always resolved by the edge of his knife. When neither dipping nor dyeing will answer his purpose, he...adds to or takes from these agencies at will. He says; "He uses the same word, also, when dye injures what it colors. He cautions against a bad example, lest you be infected." The notion of a dye injuring the fabric is that of Carson, not of Antonius. To make injury to the fabric the basis of interpretation is to go entirely beyond the record... "To infect" is a translation to which Dr. Carson has no right so long as he says that bapto has but two meanings, to dip, to dye; "to infect" is neither the one nor the other...Infection is a consequence of being imbued with Caesarism. There is no dyeing, but a transference of moral qualities. The idea of color is lost...Imbue expresses this modification of thought and is applicable to any quality, good or bad."

"Adopt the character of one imbued." The interpretation of this passage has caused no little embarrassment and given rise to various translations and expositions...Attention has been directed, so far as I am aware, exclusively to the primary meaning of bapto, or to a meaning (connecting it with baptism of which it is not possessed. The clue to the interpretation lies, I think, in the secondary meaning and its modification. I would translate: "When one takes up the character (state or condition) of one imbued and convinced, then, he is in reality and in name a Jew." When the passage is considered alongside of those already examined can there be a reasonable doubt that this is the true interpretation? Usage sanctions the translation and the passage is made luminous by its application ...

"That they may receive the laws in the best manner, as a dye." Plato, having described the great pains taken by dyers in order to secure a dye which would be unchangeable and ineradicable, applies this to the pains taken in training soldiers, which he says is in order to their receiving the laws or ordinances like a dye which cannot be washed out by pleasure, grief, fear, &c. By this comparison made between a military training and dyeing Plato does not represent the soldier as either dipped or colored, but indicates the thorough preparation which is practiced in both cases and the similarity of results, so far as inducing a permanent color in the one case, and permanent soldierly character in the other ...

 "Baptai" - (Dale gives a lengthy discussion of Baptai, the title of a play written by Eupolis. He lists possible meanings for this class of people, the dipped, the washed, the dyed, the imbued and takes the last, the imbued, as the correct translation.)

This investigation as to the meaning of bapto appears to justify the following conclusions:

1. The severe limitation of this word to the two meanings to dip, to dye, is no better grounded that the limitation to a single meaning, to dip.

 2. The natural and prevailing syntax used with bapto to dip is to place in the element, into which the dipping takes place, in the accusative with eis; while bapto to dye, as naturally and prevailingly, requires the element, by which the coloring influence is to be exerted, to be put in the dative, usually without a preposition.

 3. Bapto, after having exercised its powers in communicating the quality of color through dyeing, staining, painting, passes on a step farther, and expresses the communication of qualities devoid of color. And in this extreme development bapto makes its nearest approach to assimilation with baptizo.

Dale concluded his first book Classic Baptism with the question,


[James Dale Concludes]

Against the Baptist answers of;

1. Baptizing is dipping and dipping is baptizing. Baptist Confession of Faith.

2. To dip and nothing but dip through all Greek literature. Alexander Carson, LL.,D. Baptist Board of Publication.

3. To immerse, immerge, submerge, to dip, to plunge, to imbathe, to whelm. T.J. Conant, D.D., Baptist Bible Union.

I would place this answer;

"Whatever is capable of thoroughly changing the character, state, or condition of any object, is capable of baptizing that object; and by such change of character, state or condition does, in fact, baptize it."


The above examples from both Conant's book and Dale's series should be more than sufficient to reveal that an abiding condition or controlling influence is the main of idea of baptizo, not a momentary act.

This central idea was applied by the Jewish people in a religious sense to ceremonies which changed their ritual status.

After the New Covenant was ratified this word was elevated to speak of the eternal change of nature of every disciple who hears the word of God, repents and trusts Messiah, and receives a radical transformation of life by receiving the Holy Spirit.

The related noun baptismos is also now known to have been used in situations far beyond simple immersion. cf. Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 1. p 545; "Baptismos used to be regarded as a new Jewish and Christian term, though cf. Amtyllus Medicus (2nd century A.D.) in Oribasius X,3.9, of lethargic sleep, Archigenes Medicus (2nd century A.D.) and Posidonius Medicus (3/4 cent. A.D.) in Aetius, 6,3 of the frenzy of wickedness."