Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baptizing the dead?

The question of the Mormon practice of proxy baptism of the dead came up in response to 1 Corinthians 15:29 at the chapter retreat on Saturday. Below follows Marilyn Wilde's excellent commentary after looking into the Greek.

Q: Is St. Paul is giving evidence for the Mormon practice of baptism by proxy for the dead when he says: “Otherwise, what will people accomplish by having themselves baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them?” (1 Cor 15:29)

A: The Greek does not say that people are baptized in the place of the dead -- it says they are baptized for the sake of Old Man Death. The preposition used is "Hypo" which literally means "under" like Hypodermic -- under the skin. When it takes an abstract noun in the genitive case -- the case used in this instance it personifies the abstract noun. If Paul had meant what Joseph Smith said he meant, he would have used the preposition "hyper" which literally means over, i.e. hyperactive; and one of its many figurative meanings is "instead of" or "in the place of."

Marilyn Wylde, Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter


  1. That clarifies it nicely. Thanks.

  2. This short papal statement on the efficacy of the baptism of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" addresses the issue of baptism by Mormon folks: