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In the study of the history of Baptism, we note that the difference between envelopment with influence and envelopment for influence is intent. It is baptism for the sake of a change of condition, not simply a change of condition that resulted, somewhat unintentionally, from the baptism.

History of Baptism - More Drowning Baptisms for Baptidzo

“And the dolphin, displeased at such a falsehood, baptized (BAPTIDZO), killed him.” Aesop , Ape and Dolph

This dolphin was displeased because it was lied to. Therefore it determined to baptize or kill the man. There is no mode of baptism specifically mentioned here
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History of Baptism

although it was probably pushing down or sinking resulting in a drowning. Mode is not inherent in the word BAPTIDZO, only result, in this case, death. Death is a common result of baptism simply because baptism merses for an indeterminate period of time. If the sinking is for a determined and short period of time, it is inevitably called a BAPTO, a dipping.

In the history of Baptism, we never find a Christian baptism that is a BAPTO; it is always a BAPTIDZO for in Christian baptism we are eternally united to Christ with the result that we change from death to life. Can you imagine the result if we were but dipped in Christ with no lasting eternal union?


“But, baptizing (BAPTIDZO) you by sea-waves, I will destroy you by bitter billows.” Alcibiades on Eupolis

The mode of baptism is here described as “sea-waves” and “bitter billows;” the result is death by drowning.


“Struck by the enemy, were baptized
(BAPTIDZO).” Dion Cassius , L 35

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Envelopment For Influence

If there is a mode here, it is “struck,” the result of the baptism is death by drowning.


“Struck by the enemy, were baptized (BAPTIDZO).” Dion Cassius , L 35

If there is a mode here, it is “struck,” the result of the baptism is death by drowning.


“Baptizing (BAPTIDZO) others into the lake.” Heliodorus , Aeth., I, 30

Mode continues to be a non-essential element in the history of Baptism. The “others” were drowned, by what mode, we are not told. One thing we know for sure, they were not dipped. For if they were dipped then they would have lived.


“Thrust such a one upon the head, baptizing (BAPTIDZO) him.” Lucian , Timon, 44

Here the mode of baptism is to “thrust,” one not commonly used in the Baptist churches. The result of the baptism was death, which was a common result of the baptism of living things in Classic Greek.


“Nobly baptizing (BAPTIDZO) himself into the lake Copais.” Plutarch , Gryllus, vii

This person committed suicide by drowning. How, we are not told. Perhaps the mode was “throwing” as in he threw himself in the water, or “sitting” as in sitting down in the water, or “floating” as in floating face down in the water. There is a great range of modes possible in Greek baptisms. The only thing that is certain is that he did not dip himself into the lake. Dipping, by its momentary nature, does not produce death, BAPTIDZO by its undetermined duration, does.


“One saved in the voyage, whom it were better to baptize (BAPTIDZO).” Themistius , Orat., iv

This person survived but the author suggests it would have been better if he had drowned (BAPTIDZO). However, the author did not suggest or apparently care what mode should be used to achieve the desired result-just as long as he was dead.


These are all cases of drowning by baptism. In the history of Baptism, drowning is the normal goal, or at least result, of the Greek baptism of a person or animal. Unless something intervenes to save life, baptism always drowns the baptized object. BAPTOis never used to express any case of drowning. In every case BAPTIDZO is the preferred word. BAPTO doesn’t work because of the limited period of time inherent in the dipping. In BAPTIDZO, the period of time is undetermined and tends to be prolonged; hence it results in drowning.

In the history of Baptism, the “act” or “mode” of baptism “as a uniform modal act, has no shadow of existence in Greek literature. The form of the act, through which the mersion is secured, does not enter into the meaning of the word. Such acts are multitudinous and endlessly diverse.” The one mode that is uniformly absent is “to dip.” That is never a mode in Classic Greek baptisms. It is the only mode in modern Baptist baptisms.

History of Baptism - Baptisms for Influence

“They baptized (BAPTIDZO) a pole into the water prepared with pitch.” Achilles Tatitus , ii, 14

Consider the nature of what is here done. A pole is prepared with pitch that it might not become water logged and rot after spending some period of time in water. If one were simply “dipping” the pole in water, the addition of the pitch would be entirely unnecessary. But because it is being baptized (BAPTIDZO) instead, it needs some preparation to protect it; the obvious conclusion? Through the history of Baptism, Baptism is not a dipping and a dipping is not a baptism.


“Then dipping (BAPTW) into oil of roses or Egyptian oil, apply it through the day, and, as soon as it stings, take it away, and baptize (BAPTIDZO) it, again, into woman’s milk and Egyptian oil, and apply during the night and rinse with sweet scented water and apply tallow.” Hippocrates , ii, 710

This is one of the most important passages in all of Greek literature on the history of Baptism. Notice how carefully Hippocrates, known as “The Father of Medicine,” distinguishes between BAPTO and BAPTIDZO. The first is a dipping where the second a soaking. They are not confused; the first is of a short-term duration with little impact, whereas the second is of an undeterminable duration and for the purpose of a noticeable influence by the milk and oil.
It is to be regretted that modern readers of Greek literature lack a perspective on the history of Baptism for they are not as careful in distinguishing the use of these two words, as was Dr. Hippocrates. “Dipping…belongs to itself; has a mission and history of its own; and never, in the hands of a Greek, intermeddles with the mersion of intusposition (envelopment) and controlling influence.” And what was the mode of baptism? It was soaking.


“Baptize (BAPTIDZO) many in strong brine, after dipping (BAPTO) in boiling water.” Nicander , Geo., ii
Again, take note of this critical passage in Greek literature. Notice how carefully baptizing and dipping are used, each playing a different and distinct roll. “To make a pickle, the article is first to be “dipped in boiling water,” and then to be “baptized in strong brine…. The “dipping” is not for the purpose of securing the full influence of the boiling water, but the reverse; while the baptism into the brine is to secure its full power.”” So clearly, a dipping is not a baptizing; a baptizing is not a dipping. What a radical thought (but not to the Greeks).


“Philip was so long thorough-baptizing (BAPTIDZO) with the Pancratiast (fighter/wrestler) and sprinkling [splashing] the face that he did not give up, until the soldiers, wearied, scattered.” Polyaenus , iv, 2, 6

Notice how splashing (the translator says sprinkling) is here a form of baptizing. Philip relentlessly pursued his opponents by splashing water in the face till, fearing death; they finally were wearied and scattered. “The point of the contest was to vanquish an opponent by depriving him of the power of breathing, whether the water was thrown into the face, or whether the head was held under water. The vanquished, on yielding, was released by his opponent from farther assault. This is quite a different affair from a simple dipping.” It would make an interesting baptismal service, however.


“He gathered the shields of the slain foe, and, having baptized (BAPTIDZO) his hand into the blood; he reared a trophy and wrote upon it.” Plutarch , History, I, 51, 6

For many, this passage gives the appearance of the dipping of his writing hand in blood and using it to write on the shields of the slain foe a message. And desperate for a dipping, this is a cherished passage by many Baptists. However, this is not the case. Instead he baptized one hand in blood, gathering enough blood to use to write with the finger of his other hand. Such an explanation is in harmony with the universal use of BAPTIDZO by Plutarch and the Classic Greek writers as a whole.


“The water is incrusted so easily about everything baptized (BAPTIDZO) into it, that they draw up crowns of salt, when they let down a rush circle.” Strabo , xii, 5, 4

The very nature of objects being incrusted with sea salt demands a baptism of some considerable period of time. Incrustation does not leap from the water to an object but briefly dipped in seawater. Envelopment for some considerable period of time is the necessary ingredient for this process. Through the history of Baptism we see that BAPTIDZO provides the necessary time for this process, BAPTO does not.

History of Baptism - The Baptism of Ships

“And if any vessel came near, how could it be that it would not be baptized (BAPTIDZO) by the very multitude of the oars?” Dion Cassius , L, 18

“If they succeeded, they came off the better; but if they failed, their own vessels, being crushed, were baptized (BAPTIDZO).” Dion Cassius , L, 32

“The others, baptized (BAPTIDZO) the attacking ships by stones and engines from above.” Dion Cassius , L, 32
“I will show you, also, my soldiers, one fighting, most naturally, even in a painting; and another, by his hands, baptizing (BAPTIDZO) the fleet of the Persians.” Heimerius , x, 2,

“Some, by a weight fastened above, pressing down they sank into the deep; others, by iron hands or mouths like cranes, drawing up by the prow, upright upon the stern, they baptized (BAPTIDZO).” Plutarch , Marcell., xv

“They made incessant attacks, and baptized (BAPTIDZO) many of the ships.” Polybius , History, I, 51, 6

“But the most, the prow being let drop from on high, were baptized (BAPTIDZO), and became full of the sea and confusion.” Polybius , History, viii, 8, 4

“Pierced and baptized (BAPTIDZO) by a hostile vessel.” Polybius , History, xvi, 6, 2

The acts affecting the baptism of these ships and people are diverse, but they have one thing in common, they are all far removed from dipping. Often the act of (BAPTIDZO) was left unmentioned for it was the condition, state or result that the author was trying to make, not specifically how that result was achieved. The baptism is sought for its destructive influence. The ships baptized two thousand years ago have continued to be baptized till this day, which is a condition BAPTIDZO can effect but one BAPTO cannot.

The history of Baptism opens up a new prespective on how baptidzo can and should be used. None of which are in keeping with the idea of dipping in baptism.