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Question
Maria,
May I ask a professional opinion on a Biblical translation? In 1st Corinthians 15:29, Paul is asking a question of the Corinthian church leaders. In this question I believe the word "dead", used the first and third time to be a metaphor for the spiritually dead, and the middle "dead" to be a metaphor for Jesus Christ. In this verse the words "do, baptize and baptize" all have inflections that compare to no other in the New Testament. Thayer's lexicon gives me some insight as to the meaning of "do", but with no reason. (I should say with no reason that I can understand.)
I am searching for the most accurate translation as to Paul's meaning. This is my present translation removing the metaphors. "Is it not foolish to baptize if Christ has not risen? Why do we baptize?"
Is this an accurate translation?

Answer
Hello,

I'm sorry, but theological disputations are not my area of expertise and therefore I can only tell you the correct translation of the ancient Greek text that we read in 1st Corinthians 15:29, where Paul says: Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν; where the Greek semicolon corresponds to the English question mark.

So, here’s the translation:

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized because of the dead (i.e. because of those who have died)? If the dead do not come back to life at all, why then are they baptized because of them (i.e. the dead) ?”.

Note that:

Ἐπεὶ =otherwise

τί =what

ποιήσουσιν = will they do

οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι = who are baptized

ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; =because of the dead?

εἰ =if

ὅλως =at all

νεκροὶ = the dead

οὐκ ἐγείρονται = do not come back to life

τί = why

καὶ βαπτίζονται =then are they baptized

ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν; =because of them?


Any theological exegesis  lies outside my field of expertise.


To conclude, “Is it not foolish to baptize if Christ has not risen? Why do we baptize?" is not an accurate translation at all.

Best,

Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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