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In Topic: Pope Joan (John English)

27 March 2020 - 08:37 PM

3. Although the story was attributed to some 10th and 11th century writers, it does not actually appear in the manuscripts of their work. This shows later writers were making things up.


No it doesn't.  That's a non sequitur.  

How do you know the story doesn't appear in the manuscripts of 10th and 11th century writers?  Are you sure the story wasn't in those mss. at all? in any form?  Can you prove your assertion?



The same is true of Marianus Scotus's Chronicle of the Popes, a text written in the 11th century. Some of its manuscripts contain a brief mention of a female pope named Johanna (the earliest source to attach to her the female form of the name), but all these manuscripts are later than Martin's work. Earlier manuscripts do not contain the legend.


Can you prove this from Scotus himself?  Also, are you aware of the importance of the earlier manuscripts of Scotus's chronicle, despite their alleged lack of any mention of Pope Joan?  Here's a hint:


When did Leo IV die?

When did Benedict III die?

How long was Benedict III pope?




The story is attributed by some to Anastasius Bibliothecarius in the 9th century, but the only manuscript of his work which contains it is unreliable, and in that manuscript the story only appears in a footnote added by a later writer after the 13th century.


Really?  What is the name of the only manuscript of his work which contains it?  Do you know?  Do you know who added the footnote?  Are you aware of the discrepancies in the various mss. of the Liber Pontificalis? Are you aware of the admission made by the Jesuit editors of the first printed edition of the Liber Pontificalis that they removed the account of Pope Joan not only from the printed edition of 1602, but from two of the original manuscripts in which the account of Pope Joan was to be found?  Are you aware of the complaints of the removal of Pope Joan made by the owner of those two original manuscripts which were lent to the Jesuits for the publication of the 1602 Liber Pontificalis?  Are you aware of the letter to Anastasius telling him to remove the account of Pope Joan from official documents?  Are you aware of the fact that Anastasius was papal librarian with easy access to Vatican mss.?




I said:  The majority of writers who relate the story are Papists themselves. Why would they blindly copy and uncritically quote sources (themselves!) that related a story injurious to the Papacy?


To which you replied:


.....partly because as historians they felt it was necessary to record what they believed was history, and partly because they didn't have robust fact checking procedures.


Your statement about "robust fact checking procedures" is laughable in light of the fact that neither you nor your sources seem to be aware of the facts surrounding the manipulation of the manuscripts used for the Liber Pontificalis (among other things).  When you say "they didn't have robust fact checking procedures," what do such procedures look like?




I said:  The Inquisitor Bernard Gui includes [the story of Pope Joan] in his History, after claiming to have discovered and corrected the errors of all the chronicles written by his predecessors.


You reply with:


This doesn't alter the facts I listed previously, which are overwhelming evidence for a legendary story.


More like overwhelming evidence for a legendary cover-up.  It is no coincidence that the mss of the liber Pontificalis all seem to get "confused" around the time of Benedict III.  What makes you think Guidonis was wrong when he said he corrected all the previous chronicles yet still included the story of Pope Joan in his history?  Further, what makes you think the Roman Catholic Church didn't engage in the attempted removal of any and all evidence of a female Pope? 




I can't search through the Chronicon of Polonus to prove what Polonus is saying, that would be submitting to the fallacy of self-quoting; 'It's true, and it's true because I say it's true'. What I need is an independent source to prove that a decree was made that 'Joan' not be listed in the official records of the popes. Is there any such source at all, anywhere? Again, where is the independent evidence for Polonus' claim? Where is this decree recorded?


Don’t be ridiculous.  I haven't made a fallacious argument.  I’m not asking you to search through Polonus so he can tell you what he’s saying is true.  I asked if you had searched through the Chronicon of Polonus because you asked: "Where's the evidence for this claim? Where is this decree recorded?"  It's pretty dumb to ask those questions when you've never considered looking at the work of the man who made the claims you're questioning!!!  I refer you again to the quote from James Dale: “To read a book before criticizing it [is] only a hamper to genius!”  


By the way, are you aware of the incredible differences between the 1245 edition of Polonus and that of 1277, wherein the former contains two consecutive and differing accounts of the life of Benedict III right after the life of Leo IV?




Most likely because people have simply never heard of him [Spanheim]. Is he supposed to be worth reading?


The fact that you have to ask that shows your lack of knowledge on this topic (much like the ignorance displayed by you in the Baptizo thread).  I would bet that your only “research” into Pope Joan was the quick search of Wikipedia you did when I made the OP.  Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of this topic is fully aware of Spanheim and his worth!




(A) Did [Spanheim] have any relevant qualifications? (B) Did he cross-check multiple independent reliable sources? © Does he list all his sources? (D) Does he differentiate between primary and secondary sources? (E) Does he provide any explanation for the complete lack of evidence for the existence of this legendary individual? (F) Is he a reliable source? (Alphabetical divisions mine - U68)


(A) Yes

(B) Yes

(C ) Yes

(D) Yes

(E) Yes

(F) Yes


By the way, I have nothing against someone asking questions, but it hasn't gone unnoticed that you seem to always deploy this twenty-questions-tactic in order to tarnish the testimony of witnesses with whom you are entirely unfamiliar!  You have done it with Spanheim.  You have done it with Polonus.  You have done it with Bower.  




Because it is incredibly unlikely that he even checked 500 chroniclers dating between the 9th and the 13th centuries, let alone found the same story in all of them.


"Incredibly unlikely?"  Says the guy who has never heard of Spanheim, much less studied his works!  You’re obviously not aware of just how many works on Pope Joan were written by Spanheim, nor in how many languages they were written, nor how often he was referenced by others in their own works on the issue.  




If he did, then why doesn't anyone else quote any of these many chroniclers?


They do.  You would know this had you put more time into studying the topic than the 5 minutes it took you to look up the wikipedia entry on Pope Joan.  I have nearly 100 works on the topic (including scanned images of original manuscripts), and my collection is still growing with each passing year.




Why instead do other writers simply point to the same three or four sources?


Perhaps because there has been a lot of "uncritical copying" going on by your modern sources who aren't willing to put in the leg time required to seriously investigate the issue? (Much like all the journals, magazines and newspapers that wrote reviews of Dale's work on Baptizo while admitting they had never read him!)  


By the way, there is a lot your modern sources aren't telling you about those same three or four sources.




And even if there were 500 chroniclers read by Spanheim, how many of them were independent, as opposed to simply quoting what previous writers said?


Even if?  It sounds to me like you're arguing from two opposing positions.  First you argued Spanheim couldn't possibly have checked 500 chroniclers.  Now your argument is "even if he did?"  Continually questioning the integrity or truthfulness of past historians, clerics, librarians and various clergy who painstakingly conducted their work and ended up including the real-life Pontificate of Pope Joan in their writings does not bode well for your position, especially when you have no evidence to disprove her existence...other than your misinformed speculations.  


And why do you automatically make the assumption that the account of Pope Joan appearing in 500 chroniclers must mean those chroniclers all copied from one another?    Bias on your part?   




[Spanheim is] In French. Which I cannot read.


But that didn’t stop you from questioning his qualifications or the conclusions reached in his work, did it?  You did the same with Dale.  Why not find someone who can read French and help you translate parts of Spanheim’s work rather than dismissing his conclusions just because you don't believe in the existence of Pope Joan?  




I'm exposing your bias. With regard to this issue you only treat Catholic sources as reliable when they agree with what you already believe, and you automatically treat Protestant sources as reliable except where they disagree with what you believe.


Those are dumb comments which could easily be used against anyone on any topic where there are opposing factions that have a few of their members taking up the position of the other side; e.g., the mode and subjects of Baptism, the identity of the Antichrist, etc.!  


In fact, I could level the same charge at you when you say:  “A 16th century Catholic historian and a 17th century Protestant historian provided good evidence that the story was legendary, using similar analysis of the sources.”  What makes you trust the research of *that* Catholic and *that* Protestant over and above the Catholics and Protestants who have done similar research and come to the opposite conclusion?


And speaking of Blondel, I'll bet you aren't even aware of the letters he wrote (including one to his brother) about the story of Pope Joan having been removed from all but two copies of the first printed edition of the Liber Pontificalis, despite the story appearing in the original codices?  


I'm sure you are equally unaware of the work written in refutation of Blondel by Samuel Maresius (another Protestant)?  Others such as Spanheim (also a Protestant) specifically refute many of the arguments of Blondel in their works as well.  By the way, Maresius lists scores of chroniclers in his work in support of the existence of Pope Joan.  So which Protestant am I supposed to treat as reliable?  The one that agrees with you?  So much for your bias argument.


Strangely, Wikipedia doesn't even mention works by Protestants like Maresius and Spanheim in favor of the existence of Pope Joan on their individual wikipedia pages, though it mentions the work against the existence of Pope Joan by Blondel on his page.  I wonder why?




I'm afraid it's more challenging than that.

1. The story doesn't appear until the Chronica Universalis Mettensis of de Mailly in the 13th century. The female pope is not named, and details are scant; the event is placed in 1099 CE.
2. The names given aren't simply 'John, Joan, Johanna'; de Mailly gives no name, Stephen of Bourbon gives no name, Polonus gives no name, some manuscripts of Scotus give 'Johnanna' (but there is no reference to the legend in earlier manuscripts), the Chronicon of Adam of Usk gives the name 'Agnes', and other later sources give 'Joan'.
3. The earliest source (de Mailly), dates 'Joan' to the 13th century, but Polonus places the event in the 9th century.
4. De Mailly claims 'Joan' was memorialized by the Church with a four day 'fast of the female pope'. Polonus claims that the Church decreed that she was not to be recorded in the official list of popes. It is unlikely that the Church honored her with a feast while simultaneously decreeing she was not to be recorded. Where is the independent evidence for either of these claims?
5. Several versions of the story appear, with differences in name, timing, events, and the response of the Church. Is there any independent evidence for any of them?
6. The story was not used by anti-papists until the Reformers, despite numerous anti-papal individuals using every other weapon at their disposal.
7. There is no room in history for 'Joan' to have been pope between Leo IV and Benedict III in the 9th century as claimed by Polonus. Similarly, the date of 1099 CE given by de Mailly places 'Joan' either at the end of the reign of Urban II (ended 20 July 1099), or at the start of the reign of Paschal II (started 13 August 1099). The dates I'm using are those of the 2001 edition of the Annuario Pontificio, the modern record which is updated and corrected regularly using the work of professional historians. It's clear neither Polonus nor de Mailly even attempted to reconcile their claims with the historical record.


Your statement that “I’m afraid its more challenging than that” is exactly correct.  You clearly don’t know the half of it!  You’ve only parroted falsehoods from wikipedia and a dictionary.  I’ve actually been hunting down primary sources to see things for myself.  I will respond to your above 7 points first (my numbered responses match your points), which are actually quite simplistic in comparison to the questions I have for you afterward:



1.  The story appeared before DeMailly, but was erased or destroyed.  Documented admissions of removal by Jesuits and clear manipulations within various Vatican mss. support this assertion.


2.  Can you prove all of that first-hand from those sources?  You forgot to mention Anna (shortened from Johanna) and Gilberta.  Why do you suppose various sources came up with different names?


3.  Again, DeMailly isn't the earliest source.  He was wrong on the century, but not on the fact of her existence (the two can be mutually exclusive).


4.  You say DeMailly and Polonus said "X" and "Y," but can you show me where in their works they say "X" and "Y?"  If you can't, then obviously you haven't seen or studied their chronicles at all, which means you have no grounds for questioning what evidence they may or may not have had when they said "X" and "Y."  Or is it your contention that both DeMailly and Polonus were "making things up" and neither the four-day fast nor the decree to remove Joan from the Papal lists ever occurred?


5.  Absolutely.  Manipulated manuscripts, letters that were written to Pope Joan, and papal coins of her time all prove her existence.


6.  That's because until the Reformers what they deemed the prophetic significance of a female Pope had never been considered.


7.  I believe her pontificate was around 856-858 and came after Benedict III.  Papal coinage and letters support this assertion.  By the way, why didn't you use the Annuario from 2012, rather than that of 2001?  Just wondering why you would choose to use one that was already 11 years old when you made that post.




Now I have some questions of my own.  I'm afraid it's more complicated than you even know:


a. Are you aware of the discrepancies in the numbering of the Popes in various editions of Platina, particularly after the Jesuit Panvinio started editing them after Platina's death? 


b. Are you aware of the discrepancies concerning Benedict III’s life in the mss. of the Liber Pontificalis, which has led some to believe his pontificate was artificially extended or that he never existed but was put in Pope Joan’s place to hide her pontificate?  


c. Are you aware of the 20 missing pages (201-220) from the Liber Pontificalis of Duchesne?  


d. Are you aware of the 11th century Vatican ms. 5140 ending the life of Leo IV abruptly in the middle of a word(!) and leaving 2/3 of the rest of the page empty?  


e. Are you aware of the same Vatican ms. 5140 having the life of an unnamed pope on the next page where the name of Benedictus was written in the left margin in red ink, but was later crossed out and replaced with the name Nicolaus at the top of the page instead, but not before the first two lines on the page had been completely removed?   


f. Are you aware that when the name of Nicolaus was written in place of Benedictus at the top of Vatican ms. 5140 that the letter “L” is in a darker color and in a different script?  


g. Are you aware of the strange manipulations that one finds in the Vatican mss. 3764, 3762, and 5516 concerning the lives of Leo IV, Benedict III, and Nicolas I?  (ms. 3762 is the one used for the lives of the Popes today, which is remarkable because it's not the oldest!)


h. Are you aware of the fact that the death of Leo IV wasn’t set at 855 until the 16th century (it was only found in the margin of the first printed edition of the Liber Pontificalis in 1602), the original mss. being completely silent on the Life of Leo IV after 853 as well as not giving the year of his death at all?  


i. Are you aware of the letter to Pope Joan from Lupus of Ferriers?  


j. Are you aware of the numismatic evidence discovered that proves there was a Pope John (Joan) in the 850s (distinct and different from the Pope John of the 870s)?  


k. Are you aware of the chronicle of Botho where he reports the crowning of Louis II by a Pope John in 856, who couldn't have been the Pope John from the 870s?  


l. Are you aware of the testimony of the Madgeburg Centuries showing that a Pope John had received AEthelwulf of Wessex between 855-856, which couldn't have been the Pope John from the 870s? 


m. Are you aware of Harleian ms. 3901 giving two distinct lives of Benedict III immediately after Leo IV, and how that relates to ms. 5140?


n. Are you aware of the several different ways in which Anastasius "signed" his name, which makes it very easy to date his writings to various people, including Popes?  


o. Are you aware of the 9th century Vatican ms. 5516, like the 11th century ms. 5140, abruptly ending the life of Leo IV (this time in the middle of the page), and a different scribe finishing Leo IV's life 50 years later to fill in the empty space on the page? 



All of this is just the tip of the iceberg.  You need to dive deeper than wikipedia.

In Topic: "Baptizo"

14 May 2019 - 09:27 AM

Yes, your name and writings were brought up by fortigurn, so let’s start with an accurate account of events here.

Regarding the representation of you and your writing, your own words were provided. Let the readers interpret your words for themselves and let them make up their own minds.

As for your last sentence, were I also to invoke God’s name before I reply to you, and if I am successful at posting my reply, are you implying that God wills that one of us spread truths and the other spread falsehoods simultaneously concerning the meaning of Baptizo?  

And instead of posting here to tell us that you’re going to be posting here, just do it. No need for the suspenseful build-up to your entrance.


By the way, please tell me how you are defining "infraction."

In Topic: "Baptizo"

13 April 2019 - 06:17 PM

“Modern lexicons, modern archaeological studies on early Christian baptism, modern scholarly commentators on early Christian practices, modern Bible scholars, a host of independent witnesses. And on the other hand, we have Dale.”





Not only do we have Dale, but we also have a slew of others, which you would surely know had your research been as thorough as you would have me (and your readers) believe!  We have men like Boice, Hutchings, Berkhof,1 Thorn,2 Day, Beecher,3 Wilson, as well as Ambrose, Cyril, Origen, Didymus, Hilary, Jerome and other Patrists.


James Montgomery Boice says:


The Greeks used the word baptizo from about 400 B.C. to the second century after Christ. In their writings baptizo always points to a change having taken place or, as we might properly say, to a change of identity by any means. Thus, to give a few examples, it can refer to a change having taken place by immersing an object in a liquid, as in dyeing cloth, by drinking too much wine and thus getting drunk, by overexertion, and by other causes.4



Samuel Hutchings says:


In fact, anything liquid or solid, material or immaterial, which is able powerfully to affect a person, is capable of baptizing him in the Greek sense of the word.5



Clinton Day says:


Baptidso does indeed cling tenaciously to a governing idea or fact; modalists say it is mode, in this work it is proved to be influence - in the classics, hurtful influence, such as the loss of ships, the downing of animals and men, the bestializing of men by alcoholics, the ill-effect of drugs, the death-dealing work of the word, the injury resulting from over- much study, labor, sensual pleasure, greed, cruelty, war, grief, affliction, sin and death. In the Bible it is influence both benign and divine - the influence of God’s Spirit upon the dispositions of men while conforming them into the image of Christ.6



Ironically, we also have the owner of the b-greek forum! Remember his response to me via e-mail? Observe:


“I'm an immersion guy, but I think there probably is a good argument that the fundamental meaning of the word in the New Testament is more closely related to ceremonial washing [read: the effect or thing done] than to immersion. [read: mode](emphasis mine)


"One particular utensil mentioned in some manuscripts of Mark's Gospel, and which has caused confusion among ancient copyists and modern scholars alike, is the mention of the immersion of 'beds' or, better, 'dining couches' (Mk. 7.4). The confusion is typically over the impossibility of the given interpreter imagining people to have done such things and it has even been known for scholars to claim Mark invented the practice. However, it is quite clear that certain practices were discussed in rabbinic literature as in the following passages:
[If] one immersed the bed/dining courch therein, even though its legs sink down into thick mud - it is clean, because the water touched them before [the mud did]. (m. Miqw. 7.7)
He who unties the bed/dining couch to immerse it... (m. Kelim 191.)"
James G. Crossley, The New Testament and Jewish Law: A Guide for the Perplexed (A&C Black, 2010), 59.




In case you haven’t figured this out yet, I do not accept your premise that baptizo means “immerse,” nor do I accept your premise that its Hebrew counterpart means “immerse.” Hence, when you cite scholars that use the word “immerse" for baptizo as evidence that Jews “immersed” their couches, you - and they - are completely begging the question. And the existence of mikvahs in no way proves that people or furniture were immersed in them. That’s a non sequitur.




"7:4 Baptisontai     Although it can be argued that the less familiar word (rantisontai) was replaced by the more familiar one (baptisontai), it is far more likely that Alexandrian copyists, either wishing to keep baptidsein for the Christian rite, or, more probably, taking ap agoras as involving a partitive construction, introduced rantisontai [sprinkle] as more appropriate to express the meaning, “except they sprinkle [what is] from the market place, they do not eat [it].”"      Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 80.    
This information is readily available.





As is the following:


“We have seen that learned Greeks in Constantine's day translated bapto by rantidzo - Mark vii. 4. The two oldest manuscript Bibles in the world to- day, [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus] over fifteen hundred and fifty years old, do. Euthymius, a learned Greek father of the fourth century, translates baptidzo by rantidzo, to sprinkle. Seven other ancient copies do so. The reason they all render that one place - Mark vii. 4 - thus, is, it was an added and superstitious Jewish baptism, always performed simply by sprinkling, no other way at all, and hence they, in transcribing, did what oft copyists did, translate the word into what expressed it exactly. They did not even like to recognize that under the name of the word for their solemn ordinance, and hence they tell us exactly what the daily Jewish baptism was - sprinkling.”7




Dale says:



Whether this be accepted as the better reading or not, it shows that the copyist saw no difficulty in a baptism being effected by sprinkling.8



And Ditzler settles the matter:



“Every Jew baptized himself from once to two, three, four times a day in Christ's day (Mark vii, 3, 4; Luke xi, 38), with facts detailed in the laver argument. Did they all go to Jordan to find water enough for their baptism? We see in the laver argument that all Jews baptized daily, and baptized their furniture and their beds every day. When we are told of big cisterns twenty-two feet deep, sixteen or seventeen feet wide, that families had against the three, four, or five months of drouth every season, and that they could immerse in them, we again refer you to Leviticus xi, 30-36; Numbers xix, 22; xxxi, 23; Leviticus xv entire, etc. as an utter refutation of that. And in the face of those facts would a man, his wife, their six, eight, ten children, and often six, eight, ten servants, male and female, daily immerse in the cistern and daily immerse their beds in it, then use the water for drinking, for cooking, and the like. Immersion theories require this.”9



While we’re on the topic of rantizo, observe the following:


“Another passage has presented serious difficulty in the way of immersionists: ''And he was clothed with a vesture dipped (btbammenon) in blood."


The idea is that of a warrior whose garments have been, in the conflict, sprinkled or stained with the blood of his enemies. It is a remarkable fact, that Origen, the most learned of the Greek fathers, citing this passage almost verbatim, has the word errantismenon, sprinkled, instead of bebammerum.


It is a fact of even greater importance, (and it is stated by Dr. Gale,) that the Syriac and AEthiopic versions, "which for their antiquity," says Dr. Gale, " must be thought almost as valuable and authentic as the original itself, being made from primitive copies, in or very near the times of the apostles," translated the word bapto here by a word signifying to sprinkle. The Latin Vulgate also has it aspersa, sprinkled, with blood. There are but two ways of accounting for these facts, viz :


1st. By supposing that the word rantizo was the true reading, and that the text was afterwards corrupted by inserting the word bapto, and, therefore, Origen quoted it thus, and the authors of those versions gave a corresponding translation.


2. By admitting that Origen and those translators understood the Word bapto, in this passage, as meaning to sprinkle.


The first supposition is adopted by Dr. Gale and Mr. Campbell; but there is not one particle of evidence in support of it. It is not pretended that a single copy of the Greek Testament, ancient or modern, has the reading which these gentlemen have imagined. It may be noted as an evidence of the burning zeal of some of the leading advocates of immersion, that they have been willing to alter the word of God, in order to sustain their peculiar views! Mr. Carson, however, could not venture on a step so desperate. After noticing Dr. Gale's reasons for believing the text corrupted, he says: "These reasons, however, do not, in the least, bring the common reading into suspicion in my mind, and I will never adopt a reading to serve a purpose."


It is evident, then, that Origen and the translators of the Syriac, the AEthiopic and Vulgate versions, did believe that in this passage bapto means to sprinkle. And they, let it be noted, lived in an age when, if we are to believe the advocates of immersion, all Christians were decided immersionists. Besides, they lived when the Greek was a living language, which they were accustomed to read and hear constantly.”10

In my previously linked article you will find evidence for Old Testament washings and purifications using immersion; you can start with Naaman.




Sure. First, the appearance of “dipping” as an English translation of baptizo is the very thing under dispute, therefore your citation of that verse is a circular argument.  Second, dipping and immersion are antonyms.  Third, the Itala and the Vulgate translate tabal in 2 ki 5:14 as “wash,” as does Luther - whom immersionists love to cite in their favor.  Fourth, see Lev. 14 for the Biblical exposition of how Naaman’s washing was accomplished.  Fifth, all through the OT, ritual washings and purifications took place via sprinkling and pouring. In stark contrast to that, the word “immerse” is nowhere to be found in all of Scripture, nor do we find “plunge” having anything to do with scriptural baptism!









When I asked how baptizo ought to be translated, your reply was:



“As far as the washing described in the New Testament is concerned, ‘immerse’."



Now you’re telling me:



“the Christian ritual [of baptism]...is described using words which were used of Old Testament washings and purification which took place by immersion.”



So it appears to be your contention that baptizo has always meant immerse, ever since the word came into being!


Immerse in the classics.

Immerse in the OT.

Immerse in the LXX.

Immerse in the NT.

Such a contention is so easily disproven that I can no longer believe that you’ve done any serious study on this issue at all.

“That's not what I said. I am asking you what needs to be explained.”



Explain how 3000 were immersed in one day (see Ditzler’s excellent comments), and where the jailer was immersed.

I haven't, it's in German. I trust Ferguson's report of it.



Why did you ask: “Have your read the major studies of early Christian baptism by Lothar Heiser (1986),” if you yourself didn’t actually read it? By asking me if I’ve read Heiser’s study, you not only implied that you yourself had read it, but you made the claim to have read it outright!


Here’s what you said:

“Have your read the major studies of early Christian baptism by Lothar Heiser (1986), Sandford La Sor (1987), Jean‐Charles Picard (1989), Malka Ben Pachat (1989), and Everett Ferguson (2009)? I have. Perhaps you should too.” (bolding mine)




Anyone who has been involved in even a cursory amount of debating on the internet has seen this sort of tactic before. Trusting Ferguson’s report of Heiser’s study is not reading Heiser’s study - it’s reading Ferguson’s report of Heiser’s study. Big difference. How do you know Ferguson is reporting Heiser accurately? Or aren’t you interested in any sort of verification, so long as it helps your case? If I’ve learned one thing in the many years that I’ve been studying this issue, it’s that immersionists are rarely trustworthy when it comes to reporting what others have written. You continually send me here and there to read “studies” and “investigations” that you yourself have never seen, much less read!


Let’s review:


1)  You claim to have examined the lexicons I asked about, and more, yet were completely unaware of the fact that they gave sprinkle and pour as NT meanings of baptizo.


2)  You asked if I had read a puritan board member’s review of James Dale, when you, yourself, have never even seen it.


3)  You claim to have read the “major” study of Lothar Heiser, when you actually have not.


I could add more examples, but my point should be crystal clear to the reader: You like to fabricate a level of knowledge that you’ve never attained. Which begs the obvious: how is the reader to determine what they can believe from your writings? How is one to determine which “facts” posited by you are derived from an actual reading and studying of material you claim to have read and studied?


​“That's because it's an immersion in each case.”




Submersion with an immediate withdrawal is called dipping.
Immersion is a complete sinking without a withdrawal.
A “partial immersion” is an oxymoron.
Going into the water without being completely submerged is called wading. (See Stern, who seems to have anticipated me.11)


While we’re at it, please give me your definitions of the following words:









1 Systematic Theology, pp. 628-630

2 Modern Immersion, pg. 104 and 207

3 Import of Baptizo, pp. 10, 11

Foundations of the Christian Faith: A Comprehensive & Readable Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986. Print. Pg. 598.

The Mode of Christian Baptism, pg. 186

Baptizing, Biblical and Classical, pp. 210-211 

Ditzler, The Great Carrolton Debate, pg. 377 

Johannic Baptism, pg. 93

9 Baptism, pg. 28

10 Rice, Baptism, pp. 82-83

11 The Meaning and Power of Baptism, pp. 144-145. see his explanation of Polybius and Strabo.

In Topic: "Baptizo"

11 April 2019 - 10:24 PM

“I cited [Phil from the Puritan Board] because he's from a denomination which has historically supported the same view of Dale.”





Phil joined the Puritan board in September of 2010. He started that topic on his review of Dale only 2 months later, in November of the same year. Though at that time he may have been a member of the PCA, he was already in transition to becoming a baptist. In one of his posts in that thread he even states:




“Some time back I amended my profile to reflect the fact that I have questions regarding both the proper subjects and mode of baptism.”



And in another thread, when asked why he lists the WCF as his Confessional subscription in his profile when his views on baptism run contrary to it, he said:




“That’s certainly a fair question, and merits an answer. In short, because, all things considered, I believe it is the single best summary of the biblical faith out there. In the various matters where it differs with the LBC, baptism excepted, I usually find that I actually agree more with the formulations given in the WCF.”



In still another thread, entitled: Does the Word "Baptizo" Require Immersion? Phil responds to the OP with the following:



Some years ago I conducted a comprehensive grammatical-historical study on this subject, which included a detailed section on the 3 NT references you mentioned in the OP.”



According to Phil himself, he has been studying the issue for some 10 years. I would venture to guess that his baptist leanings go at least that far back. Which means he was already a Baptist in thought, if not in practice, when he joined the Puritan Board!

Further, this is what he told me in an e-mail:



“I was attending a PCA church in SD during the time I worked on and posted the review. I’ve [sic] have always thought that a straightforward and unprejudiced reading of the NT shows baptizo to convey the idea of immersion.”



So, contrary to what you have claimed, Phil has never held the same view as Dale, even when he was in “a denomination which has historically supported the same view of Dale.”


“That makes him an unbiased source.”



Actually he is biased, especially if his views while in a denomination that has historically held the same views as Dale run contrary to the views of the denomination that has historically held the same views as Dale. An unbiased source is one that has no dog in the fight, like Gibbon’s uncanny and unwitting verification of prophetic fulfillment found within the pages of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. An infidel who specializes in classic Greek literature would qualify as an unbiased source. Phil has had a dog in the fight from the start. All along he was a Baptist trapped in a Presbyterian’s body. To call him unbiased is to redefine the word completely. You might as well look toward the Southern cross for the North star,1 as Dale would say!


Furthermore, there is no such thing as an unbiased Christian. If they were sprinkled or poured upon when baptized, that is what they deem scriptural because that is what they know. If they were immersed when baptized, that is what they deem scriptural because that is what they know. What baptized Christian believes he was not baptized by the correct scriptural mode? Do not confuse someone’s disloyalty to the denomination to which they belong with a lack of bias on their part.



“Didn't your read the entire thread? There's more than that single post, and there's more than that single thread.”





Oh yes. I read that entire thread and many, many others. Obviously you haven’t though. If you had, you wouldn’t have claimed Phil was an unbiased source. In fact, had you read all the threads that I have, you would never have dropped Phil’s name as a witness in the first place! Taking just a sample from the thread to which you refer, Phil says:



It is also important to realize that the corresponding Hebrew verb is tabal, for which every resource I have seen gives the primary meaning of "to dip."



This is false information, which shows one of two things to be true:

  1. Phil hasn’t seen too many resources,

  2. Phil purposely ignored information that proves him wrong.


Phil cites Jacob Ditzler in his review of Dale, yet Ditzler absolutely proves Phil wrong with regard to the meaning of tabal! Ditzler goes into great depth showing from 25 lexicons that dip is NOT the primary meaning of tabal (moisten is the first meaning in each of them), and that immerse, in fact, is a derivative meaning of tabal (as is the case with it as a meaning for baptizo).


“I didn't provide his entire study because I don't have it;”





If you don't have his study, and haven't read it, then why did you tell me to look at it in the first place? And by what criteria have you deemed it worth reading at all when you’ve never seen it? This isn’t the first time you’ve sent me to a source that you yourself haven’t even read. In fact, this is becoming such a common problem with you that I’ve decided to just assume you haven’t read any author or work which you cite.

​“Why not ask him for it?”




Well now, Jon, I attempted to do just that. And do you know what I discovered? The blog to which you hyperlinked me is owned by a completely different Phil Derksen! Rather than googling his name and linking me to the first Phil Derksen that popped up, perhaps you should have looked for him via the church he attends? That’s how I found him. I e-mailed the church listed in his signature at the Puritan Board, they passed my note along to him, and he contacted me. Simple. I have to wonder if your many inaccuracies in just dealing with Phil D. and his review of Dale might be multiplied seven-fold in other articles you’ve written? If you don’t have the time to be thorough, you shouldn’t be writing articles and responding to my OP.


In any event, I now have Phil’s 105-page study. It is well written and very thorough. I’ve discovered several problems with it though, like the fact that he devotes 1/5 of his treatise to citations from Conant in an effort to refute Dale, when a lot of Dale’s arguments were a direct response to Conant to begin with! Notable is the fact that Conant never wrote a response to Dale’s work on Baptizo, yet Phil is using the citations from Conant (33 of them on 18 pages!) in precisely that manner, which is putting the cart before the horse. This is just some of the misrepresentation found within Phil’s review of Dale.


Phil selectively quotes a number of Protestants and lexicons who say baptizo primarily signifies immerse, while omitting any mention of the fact that they either allowed for — or practiced — sprinkling and/or pouring.


Here is what another member of the puritan board had to say about Phil’s misrepresentation of the lexicons:



“I think you have arrived at your conclusions by illegitimate means, and that is enough to give me pause before I trust your ability to fairly represent the lexicons.


“If I look up the dictionary definition of a word I will find a number of different meanings supported by a variety of contexts. It would be naive to quote one of those meanings as if it were the only meaning of the word. The onus would be upon me to discover which particular meaning obtains in a specific context in which the word is used. To speak of "the word's primary meaning" when the specific context of a religious ceremony is being discussed would demonstrate a basic ignorance of the way lexicons and dictionaries are supposed to be used.”




And regarding Phil’s misuse of Witsius, this same Puritan Board member says:



“It is what you haven't said that has created the false impression. The author says (a) and qualifies (b); you represent him as saying (a) and omit his qualification. You have misrepresented what he has said.”



I’ve gone through many of Phil’s witnesses, searched out their original writings, and have discovered, like that Puritan Board member above, that the majority of them say sprinkling and pouring are perfectly acceptable modes of baptizing! Some of Phil’s very own lexical authorities, such as Scapula and Schleusner, also define baptizo with pour or sprinkle, as I pointed out earlier. Incomplete citation of so-called witnesses is common practice among immersionists. You are guilty of the same, as I have shown above with Parkhurst, and as I will demonstrate farther down. As William Mackay has well said:



“If, as we have seen, the Word of God gives no countenance to the dipping anti-Pedobaptist theory, we will naturally expect that the advocates of that theory in their support of it, will have recourse very much to the opinions of men. And such we find is the case. The "stock in trade" of most Baptist writers consists of quotations from Pedobaptist writers. And what we have chiefly to complain of is that these quotations are wrenched from their original connection, and invariably misrepresent the views of their authors. No honest man can believe the Baptist theory, and yet preach and practise infant baptism and baptism by affusion. But these writers are acknowledged to be honest men, and all the world knows that they preached and practised Pedobaptism by affusion or sprinkling. They did not therefore believe the Baptist theory, and they are misrepresented when quoted as doing so. The misquotations and perversions of fact and history, found in some Baptist books are a disgrace to our common Christianity. To expose them all would require volumes.”2




Another Puritan board member, when shown a similar list of “witnesses,” rightly asks:



“If all of these fellows thought that the mode was strictly by immersion, why did they not all adhere to it?”



Further demonstrating why the above Puritan Board members are a little suspicious of Phil’s study, is the fact that he cites Father’s like Origen as a witness for immersion. Specifically, he cites Origen regarding the Red Sea baptism during the Exodus as follows:



Origen (c.185–254; theologian from Alexandria, Egypt): What the Jews supposed to be a crossing of the Sea, Paul calls a baptism [baptismum]...He calls this “baptism in Moses consummated in the cloud and in the sea,” that you also who are baptized [baptizaris] in Christ, in water [in aqua] and the Holy Spirit, might know that the Egyptians [spiritual evils] are following you and wish to recall you to their service.


...These attempt to follow, but you descend into the water [descendis in aquam] and come out unimpaired, the filth of sins having been washed away. You ascend [ascendis] “a new man” prepared to “sing a new song.” But the Egyptians who follow you are drowned [demurgentur] in the abyss.




What Phil doesn’t cite from Origen is more telling than what he did cite.  Origen’s explanation of the baptism by the Jordan (2 Kings 2), the baptism into Joshua (Josh 3), as well as the baptism of the altar (1 kings 18) gives one quite a different impression as to Origen’s idea of what constituted a baptism.3  In neither of those passages does Origen expound anything resembling an immersion, yet the above citation from Phil is supposed to lead one to believe that Origen was an immersionist for no reason but because he uses the words descendis and ascendis! Phil does the same thing with citations from Basil and Gregory.



For more of Phil’s misrepresentations, here is a sampling of what he had to offer from a few Protestant witnesses:




Francis Turretin (1623–87; Swiss Reformed): The word “baptism” is of Greek origin, derived from the verb bapto, which means “to dip” and “to imbue”; baptizein, “to dip in” and “to immerse.”


Hermann Witsius (1636–1708; Dutch Reformed): It cannot be denied but the native signification of baptein and baptizein is to plunge or dip.


Martin Luther (1483–1546; Father of the Reformation): The second part of baptism is the sign...which is that immersion in water from which it derives its name, for the Greek baptizo means “I immerse,” and baptisma means “immersion.”


John Calvin (1509–64; French-Swiss Reformed): ...It is evident the term “baptize” means to immerse, and that this was the form used in the primitive church.


Theodore Beza (1519–1605; French/Swiss Reformed): Christ commanded us to be baptized, by which word it is certain immersion is signified.4



Here is the full context of what Turretin said:



"Baptism (says Turretin De Bapt.) is a word of Greek origin, derived from bapto, to tinge, to imbue, and from baptizo, to dye, to immerse. Plutarch (on Superstition) says, baptize yourself in the sea, that is, plunge yourself in the sea; and in his life of Theseus he quotes the Sibylline verse concerning the city of Athens, which more fitly represents the church—' Thou mayest be baptized, O bladder, but it is not permitted to thee to go under the water.' Hence it means more than lightly to float upon the surface, and less than to be overwhelmed or submerged.! But because anything is-usually merged and wet, in order that it may be washed, and those who are immersed are generally washed, it happens that the Hebrew word, which the Seventy render baptize, 2 Kings v. 15, is equivalent to the word rendered wash in the same passage.



"Likewise with the Greeks baptize is used, tropically, to signify washing. (Mark vii. 4.) 'The Jews, when they come from the market, except they wash (baptize) they eat not.' In the same sense must we understand the washing of cups, pitchers and couches, customary with the Jews; also ' the divers baptisms' commanded in the Jewish ritual, and referred to in Heb. ix. 10; and the superstitious washings received by tradition from the elders. On account of these washings, Justin calls the Pharisees Baptists. The sect of which Epiphanius speaks, as insisting on being washed every day, expecting thereby to be purified from all sin, was called Every-day- Baptists. From this double signification of plunging and washing, two other metaphoric meanings are derived. The first, is that which puts baptism for afflictions. * * * * The second, is the application of the term to the miraculous effusion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because they are poured out upon the soul, to imbue and purify it. (Matt. iii. 11, Acts i. 5, Tit. iii. 5.) This manner of speaking is taken from the Old Testament, where the communications of the Spirit are shadowed forth by the pouring out of water. (Isa. xliv. 3, Joel ii. 28.) * * *


"Baptism, viewed as a ceremony, consists in washing, which is done by water, (1 Pet. iii. 21,) either by sprinkling or immersion. * * * As sprinkling is by no means repugnant to the institution of Christ, so it can be shown by examples that the apostolic and primitive church practised it." [He here very justly distinguishes between the apostolic and the primitive church.] The examples which he adduces are as follows: "Where there was a great multitude of believers, as when in one day three thousand were baptized, it is hardly possible to doubt that sprinkling was practised, rather than immersion, which could not have been administered in so short a time.


"Sprinkling too must have been practised when the rite was administered in private houses, where it is highly unreasonable to suppose that water was provided convenient for immersion, particularly in those cases in which they were called to perform the ceremony on sudden and unexpected occasions. In the primitive church, baptism was administered to the sick, on their beds, and of course not by immersion."


"The reasons in favor of sprinkling, are,—1. The words baptism and baptize are used to designate not immersion only, but also sprinkling. (Mark vii. 4, Luke xi. 38.) 2. The thing signified by baptism is designated by sprinkling. (1 Pet. i. 2, Heb. x. 22.) 3. Sprinkling answers all the purposes of analogy, the essence of baptism consisting not in the quantity of water, but in the use of that element itself. 4. Under the Old Testament, there were various washings and sprinklings, both of water and blood, and upon these Christ had his eye in the institution of baptism; whence the blood of Christ, which is the thing signified, is called the blood of sprinkling. (Heb. xii. 24.) 5. Sprinkling is far more suitable to health, which is liable to be injured by immersion, in cold climates, especially in the case of tender infants. It also spares the sense of modesty. The ancients felt the difficulty arising from the exposure of the whole naked body, and appointed deaconesses to disrobe the women."5




There is absolutely no explanation as to why all of the above by Turretin was omitted by Phil. What conclusion are we to draw other than that such an omission is a purposeful misleading of the reader in order to further Phil’s own agenda? Did he do the same thing with Witsius? Let’s find out. Here is Witsius, from his Body of Divinity:



“2dly, It cannot be denied, but the native signification of the words, Baptein and Baptizein, is to plunge or dip;




“6thly, But then we are not to imagine, that immersion is so necessary to baptism, as that it cannot be duly performed by pouring water all over, or by aspersion; for, both the method of pouring, and that of aspersion, are not without arguments for them. 1st, Though we find the apostles dipped, it does not follow they always observed this method. It is more probable, the three thousand who were baptized in one day, Acts ii. 41, had the water poured or sprinkled on them, rather than that they were dipped. For it is not likely, that men who were so much employed in preaching as the apostles were, could have leisure for so tedious an immersion of so many thousands. Nor is it probable, that Cornelius, Lydia, and the jailer, who were baptized in private houses with their families, had baptistries at hand in which they could be plunged all over. Instances of pouring the water over persons are brought from antiquity by Vossius, Disput. 1. de Baptis. Th. 9. which Joshua Arndius, without mentioning Vossius, has inserted in the same order in his Lexicon Antiquitat. Ecclesiast. p. 66. 2dly, Though Baptizein, properly signifies to plunge or dip, yet it is also more generally used for any washing, as Luke xi. 38. Well therefore says Dominicus a Soto, Distinct. 3. Quest. un Art. 7: “In baptism there is something essential, as the washing, according to Eph. v. 26, where the aposle calls baptism, ‘the washing of water, something accidental, namely, the washing in this or the other manner.” .3dly, The thing signified by baptism is explained both in the Old and New Testament by the terms of pouring water over, and of aspersion: concerning pouring water over, see Isa. xliv. 3: concerning aspersion, Isa. lii. 15; Ezek. xxxvi. 25; Heb. xii. 24; 1 Peter i. 2. ‘I deny not, that in these quotations, there is an allusion to the Levitical sprinklings; yet from them it appears, that the application of the blood and Spirit of Christ which believers of the New Testament enjoy, is properly shadowed forth by the rite of aspersion. To this the apostle leads us in express terms, Heb. ix. 13, 14: “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works?””6




Notice how much we glean from Witsius when we don't stop at the oft-quoted single sentence relied upon by immersionists, but actually read a little further. If when you baptizo something you immerse it, then Witsius is not an ally to the immersionist cause.


“Meanwhile, why haven't you provided me with Dale's personal diary”





Here is yet another instance in which you write as if you actually know something about the subject, when the facts show the opposite to be the case. Dale didn’t have a personal diary, according to his biographer (Roberts, A Memorial, pg. iii.). Coincidentally, your Puritan witness cites Roberts a number of times in the study that you didn’t read.


How credible do you think your “research” really is at this point, when time and again you have egg on your face?





Judaic Baptism, pg. 341 

Mackay, Immersion and Immersionists, pp. 81-82 

Judaic Baptism, pp. 317-342; Ditzler, Baptism, pp. 273-277 
4 Phil Derksen, A Contrastive Survey of James Dale’s Theory of Baptizo and Baptism, pp. 4-5 
Towne, Baptismal Question, pp. 89-92. See Turretin, Elenctic Theology, vol. 3, pp. 422-425 
The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man, vol 2, pp. 425-26.


In Topic: "Baptizo"

10 April 2019 - 08:38 PM

“Still happy with Parkhurst?”




Golly gee Jon, do you think for one minute that I didn't know what you were going to find in Parkhurst?  I'm curious as to why you didn't provide me anything from the other lexicons I asked you about?  Why did you single out Parkhurst?


And let’s look at what you provided more closely. Aside from the fact that you obviously couldn’t be bothered with editing the text you copy/pasted from Google books (definition of baptisma), Baptists and others have been misusing this lexicon (and others) since its publication.


1) Notice it says “But in the NT it occurs not strictly in this sense...”


2) “to wash with water in token of purification from sin, and from spiritual pollution” rules out immersion absolutely, if you’re familiar at all with the OT sprinklings and pourings that were done for ritual purification.


3) Parkhurst defines baptizomai as “to wash oneself, be washed, wash.” The example he gives immediately after of how this washing occurred is question begging.


4) The claim that the LXX uses baptizomai for “washing oneself by immersion” is the very point under contention; hence, a circular argument.



And now for the main reason I asked you about Parkhurst in the first place: why did you not cite point V. under Baptidzo? Surely you saw it when you jumped from point III. under ‘Baptidzo' to point I. under ‘Baptisma?’ It was right in between them, and impossible to miss. Here, let me do it for you:



“V. In a figurative sense, To baptize with the Holy Ghost. "It denotes the miraculous effusion (READ: pouring) of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles and other believers, as well on account of the abundance of his gifts (for anciently the water was copiously poured on those who were baptized, or they themselves were plunged therein) as of the virtue and efficacy of the Holy Spirit, who like living water refresheth, washeth away pollutions, cleanseth, &c.” Stockius. Mat, iii. 11. Mark i. 8. Luke iii. 16. John i. 33. Acts i. 5. xi. 16 1 Cor. xii 13.”1



Why wasn’t that information provided by you, Jon? Is this not a demonstration of how the “word for baptism was used in the New Testament?” Why did you ignore it?


“Anyway, what's the point of these archaic sources?”



To demonstrate two things:



1. the suppression of modern lexicons with regard to sprinkle and pour being NT meanings of baptizo, as is found in earlier lexicons.

2. the misinformation perpetuated by immersionists, such as yourself.



Likewise, you asked me earlier to substantiate my claim regarding your citation of certain lexicons, the use of which, I said, demonstrates one of two things:



- You're purposely quoting only the portion that helps your case, or

- The lexicons you cite have suppressed evidence found in earlier lexicons.



My claims have now been substantiated.

“I'm only dismissing [Dale’s] research which is demonstrably unsubstantiated by evidence”



Do you even know what you’re talking about? Dale demonstrates every bit of his research with evidence!





“Of course I haven't. What's the point? I don't need to read 18th-19th century sectarian works by people who didn't have access to a tenth of the currently available Greek corpus, and who were free to conduct their research without the constraints of scholarly standards of accuracy, and who could just make up whatever they wanted.”




This isn’t the first time you've completely contradicted something you said previously. You can’t claim to have both examined and not examined all the earlier lexicons. I pointed this out above. Plainly put, your research into this topic is completely suspect and untrustworthy.


Furthermore, earlier lexicons provide the same information as modern lexicons. In some cases, the earlier ones provide much more information than the modern ones! So where exactly do the modern lexicons make use of a greek corpus that’s ten times larger than that which was available to the earlier lexicons? Please list examples.



Oh, and observe the following:



“The sources from which we gain our knowledge are, in the first place, the afore-mentioned non-literary evidences (papyri, ostraca, inscriptions). But in addition to these there are a number of authors who were more or less able to avoid the spell of antiquarianism which we know as ‘Atticism’ (Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Plutarch, Epictetus, Artemidorus, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Vettius Valens, et al.). The representatives of Jewish Hellenism are especially important for the investigation of our literature because of the close similarity in the content of their works; included here are Philo, Josephus, the Epistle of Aristeas, and, above all, the Septuagint, which not only contains original Greek words of the late period but also uses the contemporary tongue even when it translates. Ancient Christian writings, too, outside the scope of our literature, like the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and old legends, are valuable as witnesses of the colloquial common speech. Finally, the contribution of medieval and modern Greek is not to be neglected, because the Koine finds in them its lineal descendants (cp. G. N. Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik [1892]; A. Thumb, Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache [1895; 2d ed., 1910]; A. N. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar [1897]).”2



Notice the years of the works to which BDAG refers us: 1892, 1895, 1897.  What century are those works from, Jon? Did they have access to “a tenth of the currently available Greek corpus” when they direct our attention to published grammars from 1892, 1895, and 1897?


I said that what you deem irrelevant material in Dale could very well shed light on certain aspects of the debate over the meaning of baptizo. To which you said:

 “Great, show me.”



You admit to not having read all 4 volumes of Dale cover to cover, yet you demand to be shown where, amongst all 4 volumes, Dale may have written something that is profitable and may shed light on the discussion? Are you serious, Jon? Who in their right mind would suggest there is nothing profitable to the discussion of a topic written by a man whose 4 volume work is being almost completely ignored?




1 Parkhurst, A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, pg. 107 

2 Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature 2000: Introduction. Print.