In our study of Baptism, we stated that BAPTIDZO, like many words, has both a primary and secondary meaning. In the previous sections we have looked at many illustrations of BAPTIDZO in its primary meaning, one of envelopment; in this section, we will look at this word in its secondary meaning, a change of condition without a necessary envelopment of any kind.
Let us take a moment and remind ourselves what we mean by a secondary meaning for BAPTIDZO.
SECONDARY MEANING ONE: a) a thorough change of condition, a new state, or an effect accomplished b) without envelopment or mersion within a fluid, but instead c) by any power or influence competent to control and to assimilate
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History of Baptism
the baptized object to its own characteristics. That particular change of condition would be dependent upon and indicated by an adjunct in the sentence, that is, additional words of explanation. This is the secondary meaning of BAPTIDZO.
In other words, if it were said that a person was baptized by tragedy into grief, we would understand that the person had come under the power of a tragedy that possessed the power to thoroughly change the person from a state of peace and contentment into a state of grief by its power to control and to assimilate the person into the calamity. Of course, no liquid was present or needed to effect the change. The adjunct in this scenario is the word tragedy. This is found very commonly in Classic Greek.
SECONDARY MEANING TWO: a) a thorough change of condition, b) without envelopment or mersion within a fluid c) by any power or influence competent to control and to assimilate the baptized object to its own characteristics d) indicated by the absolute use of BAPTIDZO without an adjunct in the sentence at all.
The difference in the secondary meaning of numbers One and Two is only found in point d). This is the result of adjunct words, which were
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Influence without Envelopment - Pt 1
long and frequently used, now dropped yet supplied mentally by the reader. It is the familiarity of the words that allow them to be dropped yet fully understood by the reader. In grammar this is called an ellipsis. “The doctrine of ellipsis is that which is the most essential requisite in any transaction may be omitted, on the ground that it cannot be missed, and therefore will not fail to be supplied.” This is still the secondary use of this word, but one in which little contextual material is given, but simply assumed.
“What crime have we committed, so great, as in a few days, to be baptized (BAPTIDZO) by such a multitude of evils?” Achilles Tatius , Leucippe and Clitophon, iii, 10
There is no physical envelopment mentioned in this passage. The agency of the BAPTIDZO was by “means of” such a multitude of evils. It was not by means of anything material, as by means of water for instance. The supposed “crime” is exercising a power or influence competent to control and to assimilate the baptized object into this multitude of evils - which is the agent of the baptism.
“But he, baptized (BAPTIDZO) by anger, is subdued; and wishing to escape into his own domain is no longer free, but is forced to hate the object loved.” Achilles Tatius , Leucippe and Clitophon, iv, 19
To begin, he is not dipped into and taken out of anger-and certainly not water. Instead, anger exercises a controlling influence over him. It holds him in subjection and will not let him go. A BAPTIDZO can exercise this long-term grip, a BAPTOcannot. A BAPTIDZO is for an unlimited duration, a BAPTOis but for a brief moment.
“Misfortunes befalling us baptize (BAPTIDZO) us.” Achilles Tatius , Leucippe and Clitophon, vii, 2
Again, there is no water here. Instead, Tatius says misfortunes exercise a controlling influence over us. Unfortunately they were not simply dipped into and taken out of misfortunes. If that had been the picture then BAPTOwould have been the word of choice and the misfortune would have had a negligible impact. This was not the case here.
“And baptizing (BAPTIDZO) the tow with oil, binding it to her tail, he set it on fire.” Aesop , Man and Fox
A “tow” is a multi-strand fiber. From this word our more common word for towing something (with this multi-strand fiber) emerges. This fiber was not dipped into the oil, for then the oil would not have had time to saturate the fiber. Instead it was baptized, soaked, in the oil and then it was bound to the tail of the fox. Aesop, looking for a word capable of absorbing the oil, found it in BAPTIDZO. A dipping would not do at all for it implies only a slight influence from the dipping agent. But a more significant influence was desired; one that would keep the tow burning through the rough trip the fox would send it on. He needed a word to describe the prolonged soaking of the tow; and he found it.
“For the soul has control over the body, and entering into it is not wholly baptized (BAPTIDZO) by it, but rises above it; and the body, apart from her, can do nothing.” Demetrius , Cydon, xiv, 4
A soul does not dip into and out of a body. It lives there. As a result BAPTIDZO is a perfect word to describe this prolonged state. “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.” Controlling influence is a necessary element in BAPTIDZO as a result of the unlimited period of the baptism. However, a soul dipping into and out of a body would exercise little control over the body.
“On account of the abundant revenue from these sources, they do not baptize (BAPTIDZO) the people with taxes.” Diodorus Siculus , 1, 73
Taxes are the agency in this baptism; the unspoken financial ruin is the element into which the people are baptized. Financial ruin is not a brief state or condition. If it were, it would not hold such dread on the human mind. As is so often the case in the history of the world, taxes are the means by which this condition is created. Dipping will not do this; a dipping does not produce the prolonged state of poverty necessary to ruin. It is the influence brought about by the baptism that will produce this state, for a BAPTIDZO is for an unlimited period. In this case, the people are spared a baptism with taxes because of “abundant revenue” from other sources.
“Cnemon, perceiving that he was deeply grieved and baptized (BAPTIDZO) by the calamity, and fearing lest he may do himself some injury, removes the sword privately.” Heliodorus , Aethiopics, ii, 3
Here is another baptism without water; this one is by means of calamity. The calamity had a controlling influence over Cnemon; an influence BAPTO could not produce for that is a simple and quick dipping. However, BAPTIDZO has the power of influence because of its unlimited duration. Notice that these are not baptisms in water or by water. This baptism was by calamity apparently into some serious state of depression.