Pre Christian Baptism

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A_Wild_Boar

Puritan Board Freshman
I just am curious. What types of baptisms existed before Christianity? What was the baptism John administered? The one Jesus recieved? Is there any references out there as to the types used? and how one recieved them? And of course I have to mention it. Did they dunk infants in those sdame types of Baptisms? if the Baptism from John included infants, then it would be very convincing for me to see the paedo side. That is of course the Baptism method of John ie the same one Jesus went through is the same manner as ours.

PS I know Johns Baptism was from God, but was it a Judiac type. One that Jesus would not have a problem with.

[Edited on 3-5-2004 by A_Wild_Boar]
 

Guest

Puritan Board Freshman
Long before Christianity the Eleusinians instituted the ritual of baptism as part of initiation into the mystery. The initiates were required to undergo a preparatory purification; they marched in a procession to the sea and washed their sins away by baptism. The Roman historian Livy (64/59 BCE to 17 CE) mentions that ceremonial washing preceded initiation into the mysteries of Dionysus. Through baptism they secured glorious immortality in the afterlife. Their message was "new life grows out of every grave."

For the Eleusinians being born again and securing forgiveness of sins by submersion in water was a mystery. Baptism symbolized the purification of the soul. Tertullian wrote, "... in the Apollinarian and Eleusinian rites they are baptized, and they imagine that the result of this baptism is rebirth and the remission of the penalties of sins ..."

The mystery religion ritual of baptism was adopted first by the Essenes and then by the Christians. The Essenes borrowed the ritual of baptizing either from the Eleusinians or the Pythagoreans. During their initiation they made a covenant with God, which included baptizing and repentance. The Manual of Discipline (a.k.a. Rule of the Community) required sincere repentance before baptism and entering the covenant. (1QS 5:13-14) "Those [candidates] will not enter into the water [of baptism] ... for they are not purified except they repent from their wickedness." The Manual describes the procedure of entering the covenant. (1QS 3:8-9, 12 ) "... through the submission of his soul to all God's ordinances ... he may purify himself with the water-for-impurity and sanctify himself with rippling water ... this will become for him a covenant of eternal Communion [with God]."

Ritual purification with water was part of early Judaism. For the most part it involved ceremonially washing the hands, while in a few instances it required washing the whole body. It was done to remove uncleanness after touching something unclean, such as a corpse. There are distinct differences between the Hebrew rituals and the Essene rituals of baptism. The Hebrews washed their bodies whereas the Essenes practiced total immersion. The Damascus Document forbade baptism in bodies of water insufficient for immersion. The Hebrews did not perform such ritual for those who entered Judaism whereas the Essenes did. Sometime during the first century CE proselyte baptism was introduce to Judaism.

The Essenes and John the Baptist practiced baptism before the early Christians. John was in many ways was an Essene. He lived like the Essenes of Qumran and preached similarly. Mark indicates that he did not baptize "in the name of Jesus Christ." John was not a Christian, yet Mark implies that the sins of his converts were forgiven. (Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission [forgiveness] of sins. (KJV) Josephus, too, wrote that John the Baptist urged the Jews to baptize for the remission of sins and the purification of the soul. Baptism for the forgiveness of sins was an established practice before Jesus. The early Christians borrowed baptism from John the Baptist.

Like the mystery followers, early Christians conducted baptizing at the time of initiation. Peter ordered baptizing as soon as they repented. (Acts 2:38) Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ... (KJV)

Christianity was a continuation of pre-existing beliefs. As we will further examine, it was created by the fusion of Judaic and Greek beliefs. Such syncretism was common during that era. Religions were put together using elements of other religions. All mystery religions shared common beliefs. People were not offended by such inter-borrowing. The mystery religions were not competing with one another. They got along harmoniously. People belonged to several mystery religions simultaneously. Only Christianity prohibited its converts from belonging to other religions. This was not a problem in the beginning. However, when Christians grew in numbers (in the second century CE) the other religions became offended by Christianity's competitiveness and its lack of sharing. As a result, they started persecuting the Christians.


From Andrew Benson's book The Origins of Christianity and the Bible.


I do not agree with everything he says but there is some interesting history there.

[Edited on 3-5-2004 by Visigoth]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:dcfd8313e8][i:dcfd8313e8]Originally posted by Visigoth[/i:dcfd8313e8]
The Essenes and John the Baptist practiced baptism before the early Christians. John was in many ways was an Essene. He lived like the Essenes of Qumran and preached similarly. Mark indicates that he did not baptize "in the name of Jesus Christ." John was not a Christian, yet Mark implies that the sins of his converts were forgiven. (Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission [forgiveness] of sins. (KJV) Josephus, too, wrote that John the Baptist urged the Jews to baptize for the remission of sins and the purification of the soul. Baptism for the forgiveness of sins was an established practice before Jesus. The early Christians borrowed baptism from John the Baptist. [/quote:dcfd8313e8]
This is simply false. Machen refuted these arguments connecting Christianity to the mystery religions in his book The Origin of Paul's Religion. Christianity and John did not borrow baptism from the mystery religions. Baptism was instituted by God. The Mystery religions ideas of "rebirth" was equivalent to our own time's new age philophies of our "spirits returning to the earth" nonsense or perhaps reincarnation. There is no parallel to John's or Christ's baptism. The author of this article is most likely a theological liberal.
 

A_Wild_Boar

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks, certainly interesting. I think I will delve into this for a few days.

So far I found this

"
Judaism

The liturgical use of water was common in the Jewish world. The Law of Moses required ablutions (washings) on the part of priests following certain sacrifices and on certain individuals who were unclean because of an infectious disease (Num. 19:1-22; Lev 14,15, 16:24-28). The natural method of cleansing the body by washing and bathing in water was always customary in Israel. The washing of their clothes was an important means of sanctification imposed on the Israelites even before the law was given a Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:10). The use of water for cleansing was used symbolically as well in such passages as Eze 36:25 where God says, "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities . . ." We do not believe that the practice of baptism for the remission of sins as taught in the New Testament was based in any way on the Old Testament, however the Old Testament washings with or in water that were for the purpose of physical cleansing can be seen as a type or shadow of New Testament baptism, which is for the purpose of spiritual cleansing (1 Peter 3:21).

Toward the beginning of the Christian era, the Jews adopted (as a custom unrelated to Divine guidance) the custom of baptizing proselytes seven days after their circumcision. A series of specific interrogations made it possible to judge the real intentions of the candidate who wished to adopt the Jewish religion. After submitting to these interrogations, he was circumcised and later baptized before witnesses. In the baptism, he was immersed naked in a pool of flowing water; when he rose from the pool, he was a true son of Israel. After their baptism, new converts were allowed access to the sacrifices in the Temple.
"


Sources
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Baker Book House. 1960. Vol. Pg. 440-44, 449-44-50.
The Encyclopedia of Religion. McMillan. 1987. Vol 2. Pg 59-61. The Jewish Encyclopedia. KTAV Pub. House Inc. Vol. II. Pg 499-450.
 

Guest

Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:3e0ccc5713]
This is simply false. Machen refuted these arguments connecting Christianity to the mystery religions in his book The Origin of Paul's Religion.
[/quote:3e0ccc5713]

I will have to get that book. Sounds good. All I have been able to find is the type of stuff I quoted above. . . . .

Thank you for the recommendation.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Actually, the pagan religions did have a "baptism" process of sorts. For instance some of the Greek cults baptized their people by pouring bulls' blood on the heads of the individual.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
[quote:09add3fd59][i:09add3fd59]Originally posted by Paul manata[/i:09add3fd59]
[quote:09add3fd59]
For instance some of the Greek cults baptized their people by pouring bulls' blood on the heads of the individual.
[/quote:09add3fd59]

didn't these Greeks know the [i:09add3fd59]meaning[/i:09add3fd59] of the word ment "immerse?" [/quote:09add3fd59]

I know... and that is why I don't buy the argument that because the word lexically means "immerse" that the practice must be by immersion. What too many baptists fail to realize is that the word was used in the vernacular to emphasize the effect, not the process. (Thus, it was used in the dyeing process... but the emphasis was not on the cloth being submerged in dye, but rather the effect of the dye on the cloth.)
Anyway, I hear you, man! :saint:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:b37940952f][i:b37940952f]Originally posted by Visigoth[/i:b37940952f]
[quote:b37940952f]
This is simply false. Machen refuted these arguments connecting Christianity to the mystery religions in his book The Origin of Paul's Religion.
[/quote:b37940952f]

I will have to get that book. Sounds good. All I have been able to find is the type of stuff I quoted above. . . . .

Thank you for the recommendation. [/quote:b37940952f]
It's an excellent study though a little dry at times. You will find it refreshing compared to the liberal nonsense that's out there now'days. But Machen focuses more on the themes of resurrection and rebirth than upon baptism specifically.

[Edited on 3-6-2004 by puritansailor]
 

A_Wild_Boar

Puritan Board Freshman
I was wondering more along the lines of Judaic Baptisms of the time. Jesus was baptized and certainly did not need to repent and receive forgiveness. But He did so to fulfill all righteousness. If that is the case what did He mean by that. Certainly He would not be fulfilling any righteousness by taking part in a pagan baptism. Obviously the Jews of the time were no strangers to Baptism. Jesus was obedient even in Baptism. But what exactly did the Judaic Baptisms consist of? Even the Pharisees attended in hopes to get that outward appearance of righteousness. John rebuked them accordingly.

So what I am trying to do is find out the valid Baptism of the day, one that was righteous with God. How did they do it, what was a requirement if any. Really just on a learning expedition here, not to push a credo view.

(Well not yet) just kidding

[Edited on 3-5-2004 by A_Wild_Boar]
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
May I suggest Randy Booth's book (he's a former Southern Baptist minister) entitled "Children of the Promise". His tapes by the same title deal with the baptism of John, etc. It should answer your questions. You may obtain the book or tapes at www.cmfnow.com
God seems to be employing these tapes to change many lives!
 
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