Thursday, June 23, 2011

1 Corinthians 15:29

Here is some more Greek. I am afraid that I am going to forget what I learned very quickly! Sigh, another thing to do every day - revise Greek. This verse is chosen because it is a topic of discussion at the moment at the B-Greek forum. I find the forum helpful, but I am still new and finding my way around. You can read the topic here. It is about being baptised on behalf of the dead!

Ἐπει τὶ ποιησουσιν οἱ βαπτιζομενοι ὑπερ των νεκρων; εἰ ὡλως νεκροι οὐκ ἐγειρονται; τὶ και βαπτιζονται ὑπερ των νεκρων;

Ἐπει - This is a conjunction, literally meaning thereon. Its translation depends on the context! Greek sentences nearly always begin with a word linking them to the preceding sentences and so they do not carry the weight that they would in English.
τὶ - what or why. Here it means 'what'.
ποιησουσιν - future tense of 'they do' ie 'they will do'
οἱ - article 'the' (plural)
βαπτιζομενοι - plural passive participle of baptise. With the article it means 'those who are baptised'. Literally the 'being baptised ones'
ὑπερ - this is a preposition and its meaning is determined by the case of the following noun. In this instance, the case is genitive and ὑπερ means 'on behalf of'. If the case had been accusative it would have meant 'above'.
των - article 'the' (genitive case, plural)
νεκρων - dead ones (genitive case, plural)
; - this is a Greek question mark.

So far 'What will those who are baptised on behalf of the dead do?'

εἰ - if
ὡλως - wholly

νεκροι - dead ones (nominative case, plural)
οὐκ - not
ἐγειρονται - passive of they raise ie 'they are raised'
; - question mark

this part - if, wholly, dead (people) are not  raised?

τὶ - why
και - and
βαπτιζονται - they are baptised
ὑπερ - on behalf of
των - the (genitive case, plural)
νεκρων - dead ones (genitive case, plural)
; - ?

this part - and why are they baptised on behalf of the dead?

Thus the complete text - 'What will those who are baptised on behalf of the dead do? If, in whole, dead are not  raised? And why are they baptised on behalf of the dead?'

The discussion on the forum is as to whether the text could not be translated as 'above the dead', because people were often buried below houses and churches. This is tempting as regards meaning, but I can't see it being justified from the Greek.

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