βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 28th, 2015, 1:53 am

jdhadwin wrote:I'm going to get some help privately and learn a bit more before I post publicly again
People have been supportive of your inquiry here. You posted your ideas to test whether you had given it a fair assessment.

You are a learner who sees the beauty, balance and interconectedness of the knowledge that you are acquiring - rather than learning by seeing a whole lot of unrelated and seemingly contradictory. Your reasoning was sound according to the knowledge of Greek that you had. People who know more Greek than you have pointed out that difference in usage between ὑπέρ with the genitive and ὑπέρ with the accusative, that is something that you will need to work into your own mental model of Greek. It is like the mental quandary that someone might have if you were learning about traffic flow for the first time and someone said, "Traffic flows east on Beijing Road, west on Nanjing Road and both east and west on Shanghai Road." To not get freaked out about possible accidents and chaotic traffic jams on Shanghai Road, one needs to have another type of ordering, such as median strips or lane-line markings.

When you have worked the "same preposition different case doesn't cause a traffic jam" logic into your language model for Greek, you should post your ideas again. You don't NEED to have enough knowledge to make sure you're not going to look foolish, though some people prefer to make less errors. People who come with a stance of "here is my argument knock it down of your able", do not thrive here, and nor do those who are unable formulate questions within a traditional grammatical framework. In effect the forum is not so open and inclusive. As a participant, you need to learn those two skills in addition to learning Greek - how to be perceived as a certain type of non-combatant participant, and how to express ideas in terms of the traditional grammar system. Those things are both strengths and weaknesses of the forum. The sensitivity that you notice among some older members is also reflected in the fact that other older members do not continue to participate in such a restrictive environment. Unrestricted engagements tend to become heated - without the opportunity to torture, impale or torch those who disagree with their interpretation of scripture, they resort to winning arguments. Greek (the appeal to the original text in the original language) is a trump-card that many people like to use. While words in Greek or arguments using it may sound good to the masses, most people here know enough Greek to either disagree or to to say. "Yeah,and so?". That is the culture and mentality of B-Greek. So it is a fine line we newbies walk here - I have different ways of viewing the workings of language that just don't make sense, and you have used theological understanding in an argument.

Now...

I haven't had time to do jig-saws for quite a while, but lets assume that we've both at some point in our lives done some of the really big ones, (or had an uncle or grandmother who has).

How do you start? With edges and pieces with easily identifiable patterns or colours. Where do you end? With pieces that have all about the same colour, and you have a handful that are put in without much significance to the overall picture, and are simply put in because they fit.

Moving on from the jig-saw analogy now, prepositions in general are the words which have the least definite "meaning", and even if they were left out all together, you could pretty well guess what they would be. If you didn't scurry for the dictionary when you see a preposition, but rather, on the basis of you experience in life, knowledge of the world, ideas about religion, etc. thought of all the things that the preposition could be, that might be a good start. The assumption being that the addition of a preposition clarifies which of the meanings (a reasonable person not trying to sound too crazy - when Ockham's razor leads to a room with 3 doors - would consider) is meant here. Prepositions will clarify which of the doors are meant to be opened.

Have a look at your example, Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; Εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν;

For the interpretation that the that holds that οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν refers to the same people - οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι are the οἱ νεκροί (those who stay dead as opposed to those who hope for the resurrection) ie, the third person plurals, the groups whose theme runs right through this passage mentioned first in verse 12
1 Corinthians 15:12 wrote:Εἰ δὲ χριστὸς κηρύσσεται ὅτι ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγήγερται, πῶς λέγουσίν τινες ἐν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν;
, we could consider what other preposition could have been used, if ὑπὲρ (c.gen.) were not.

Two questions:
Is the preposition ὑπὲρ (c.gen.) ever used of self interest?
Is the preposition ever used with a middle-passive form?
0 x


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Jonathan Robie
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 28th, 2015, 10:48 am

I'm going to step in here with a little advice for beginners.
jdhadwin wrote:After looking at the word ὑπὲρ (ὑπέρ), I found that it is rendered in a couple of different ways. Clearly, here the translators have determined that it means "for" (on behalf of). But I'm very curious why they wouldn't follow the precedent they set in Matthew 10:24 when they rendered μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον as "disciple above his master" and δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον "servant above his lord."
As a beginner, I really think you should assume that experts are more likely to be correct than you are. The translators are experts. When they all agree, I would start by assuming that they are right. You can assume that translations are widely discussed and people point out potential flaws all the time, and that translators know what the word ὑπὲρ means.

So a better way to phrase your question might be something along these lines:
Sample Beginner wrote:I notice that ὑπὲρ is generally translated "for the sake of" in this verse:

Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
~1st Corinthians 15:29

But above in this verse:
Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
~Matthew 10:24
I don't get it. How do I know which meaning this word has in a given context?
The first time you do that, someone will point you to a lexicon, the next time you will probably consult a lexicon first. If you mess up, someone will remind you. I've asked questions this year that were answered in a lexicon, and was a bit embarrassed to see that I could have answered the question easily myself, so don't beat yourself up over this kind of thing.
jdhadwin wrote:Likewise, it seems clear to me that the baptism of a living person on behalf of a dead person is complete nonsense
Almost all translators disagree. That should tell you something. Even if you were an expert, that should tell you something, you would have to give very strong evidence for the view that almost all translations are wrong. But more to the point, a sentence does not have to mean what you would like it to mean. That's why we learn the language, so we can reason carefully about what a sentence says.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 28th, 2015, 10:53 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:People who come with a stance of "here is my argument knock it down of your able", do not thrive here, and nor do those who are unable formulate questions within a traditional grammatical framework. In effect the forum is not so open and inclusive. As a participant, you need to learn those two skills in addition to learning Greek - how to be perceived as a certain type of non-combatant participant, and how to express ideas in terms of the traditional grammar system. Those things are both strengths and weaknesses of the forum. The sensitivity that you notice among some older members is also reflected in the fact that other older members do not continue to participate in such a restrictive environment. Unrestricted engagements tend to become heated - without the opportunity to torture, impale or torch those who disagree with their interpretation of scripture, they resort to winning arguments. Greek (the appeal to the original text in the original language) is a trump-card that many people like to use. While words in Greek or arguments using it may sound good to the masses, most people here know enough Greek to either disagree or to to say. "Yeah,and so?". That is the culture and mentality of B-Greek. So it is a fine line we newbies walk here - I have different ways of viewing the workings of language that just don't make sense, and you have used theological understanding in an argument.
This is very well put.

But we will teach newbies this fine line. On the other hand, learning to understand the language takes a lot of work, and we will push newbies in that direction. B-Greek is a place to learn a language, that's what it is for. It's not a good place for clarifying theological disputes.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

jdhadwin
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by jdhadwin » September 28th, 2015, 11:30 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:[Two questions:
Is the preposition ὑπὲρ (c.gen.) ever used of self interest?
Is the preposition ever used with a middle-passive form?
It's going to take me awhile, but I'll answer that ASAP. I have no idea right now. ~Off to find the edge pieces of the puzzle ;)
Jonathan Robie wrote:As a beginner, I really think you should assume that experts are more likely to be correct than you are. The translators are experts. When they all agree, I would start by assuming that they are right. You can assume that translations are widely discussed and people point out potential flaws all the time, and that translators know what the word ὑπὲρ means.

So a better way to phrase your question might be something along these lines:
Sample Beginner wrote:...I don't get it. How do I know which meaning this word has in a given context?
The first time you do that, someone will point you to a lexicon, the next time you will probably consult a lexicon first. If you mess up, someone will remind you. I've asked questions this year that were answered in a lexicon, and was a bit embarrassed to see that I could have answered the question easily myself, so don't beat yourself up over this kind of thing.
I know that children take awhile to awake to the concept of when they should be embarrassed... I'm awakening to that right now. I've got to do more legwork before I formulate an opinion. Above, you proposed a much better way for me to ask questions about these sort of things. Thank you.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
jdhadwin wrote:Likewise, it seems clear to me that the baptism of a living person on behalf of a dead person is complete nonsense
Almost all translators disagree. That should tell you something. Even if you were an expert, that should tell you something, you would have to give very strong evidence for the view that almost all translations are wrong. But more to the point, a sentence does not have to mean what you would like it to mean. That's why we learn the language, so we can reason carefully about what a sentence says.
I will immediately put your advice into use: I don't get it. How do any of the translations indicate whether the dead party is not one and the same as the baptizing party? I'm still processing what Stephen said, so I think it is simply, the fact that the preposition would have been a different one (to indicate reflexivity?).

I'm still digesting what Stephen said above, so don't think that I'm overlooking or ignoring that, but I suppose that even if the dead is a fourth party, it would be a moot point. As a new friend pointed out, these two questions posed in v29 are entirely rhetorical, and do not necessarily indicate the support of Paul.
Jonathan Robie wrote:B-Greek is a place to learn a language, that's what it is for. It's not a good place for clarifying theological disputes.
Ok, I can also see that the way I posed this, I've potentially opened up a can of theological worms. I'll have to stop doing that.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 28th, 2015, 11:40 am

jdhadwin wrote:I will immediately put your advice into use: I don't get it. How do any of the translations indicate whether the dead party is not one and the same as the baptizing party? I'm still processing what Stephen said, so I think it is simply, the fact that the preposition would have been a different one (to indicate reflexivity?).
I don't understand your question. Here is the text you provided:
Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν
Let's pick a text with some punctuation, here is SBLGNT:
Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν;
What questions do you have about the words or phrases in this text and how they combine to create the meaning of the Greek sentence? Those are the only questions we will discuss here. Quote the phrases you want to understand better, tell us what you do and do not already understand. Keep the focus on the Greek text itself.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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George F Somsel
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by George F Somsel » September 29th, 2015, 1:47 am

Fully realizing that BDAG lists ὑπέρ c. gen. as signifying "for" or "on behalf of", LSJ lists among its usages "over." I would tend to understand it in that sense here. While it would in some way constitute a lectio difficilior theologically to understand it as "for", I think that only applies to variant readings of the text and not to its understanding. What I think is being set forth here is an early instance of relics being buried in the church.
.
For the use of ὑπέρ signifying "over", see Sophocles, Ajax 701-2
νῦν γὰρ ἐμοὶ μέλει χορεῦσαι.
Ἰκαρίων δʼ ὑπὲρ πελαγέων μολὼν ἄναξ Ἀπόλλων
Now I want to dance. And may Apollo, lord of Delos, step over the Icarian sea
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 29th, 2015, 9:20 am

Here is where paying attention to the diachronic development of the word is important. Notice that LSJ only lists 5th-4th century examples of the word in that usage. By NT times, that usage has passed by the way. That is why BDAG doesn't include it.
0 x
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by cwconrad » September 29th, 2015, 9:36 am

George F Somsel wrote:Fully realizing that BDAG lists ὑπέρ c. gen. as signifying "for" or "on behalf of", LSJ lists among its usages "over." I would tend to understand it in that sense here. While it would in some way constitute a lectio difficilior theologically to understand it as "for", I think that only applies to variant readings of the text and not to its understanding. What I think is being set forth here is an early instance of relics being buried in the church.
.
For the use of ὑπέρ signifying "over", see Sophocles, Ajax 701-2
νῦν γὰρ ἐμοὶ μέλει χορεῦσαι.
Ἰκαρίων δʼ ὑπὲρ πελαγέων μολὼν ἄναξ Ἀπόλλων
Now I want to dance. And may Apollo, lord of Delos, step over the Icarian sea
As Barry notes, it's Attic usage, here a 5th c. BCE citation but it wouldn't surprise me to see it in Hellenistic verse such at the Palatine Anthology. This usage of ὑπὲρ with the genitive in the sense "over the expanse of ... " is comparable to the usage of διὰ and the genitive -- in fact, it seems to me that the sense of ὑπὲρ πελαγέων is closer to "across". It's certainly irrelevant to the usage in ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν.
0 x
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ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 29th, 2015, 1:59 pm

jdhadwin wrote:~Off to find the edge pieces of the puzzle ;)
Case endings are not edge pieces.

I have given a rationale for this statement in a separate thread.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 3rd, 2015, 1:30 am

George F Somsel wrote:What I think is being set forth here is an early instance of relics being buried in the church.
I realise that B-Greek is basically about finding and applying the information found in standard reference works and applying that to the text before us. Sometimes other evidence is adduced from external texts such as you have quoted, but seeing as your statement neither stays within the "look up reference books and struggle with the text" model, and raises issues of architecture to find an interpretation of the Greek, then this may be one of those cases where things can be discussed at a level beyond the basic operating parameters of the forum. A moment of stunt flying in a scheduled passenger flight, if you like.

As the surviving church architecture has come down to us, within the West to East journey of entering the Church, being washed first in baptism and the approaching the altar, the relics of the were buried under the altar (or more correctly perhaps, the altar was built over the place where the relics were laid to rest), as an example of the life in Christ that we should follow, and dwelling on the examples of their lives - retelling the stories of their lives gave rise to the synaxarium and the stories of the martyrs. I'm assuming that placing relics under churches is no longer a surviving practice in our modern age. While Revelations 6:9 suggests that the practice may be very early and have been well established by the end of the first century, but I don't think it helps with the βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν that we are considering here. The architectural evidence is very clear, the baptismal font - seen as the place of death and burial to sin and rebirth to new life in Christ - was placed in the west, the starting of the believer's participation in the cultus of the Church. (Now of course, we have pews and chairs, so everything tends to get put in the front where everyone can see things conveniently). The eastern end was seen as heaven, the expectation of the final days, the goal to be attained later and enjoyed now, which those whose relics were worth placing there were placed.

If relics were understood to be at the other end of the Church from the baptistery, could βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν refer to a physical location?
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