Baptism Essay Research Paper Nick HillReligion4700A Sacred

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Baptism Essay, Research Paper Nick Hill Religion 4/7/00 A Sacred Bath, Baptism For hundreds of years baptism has been a large part of many different religions. Although throughout history, and throughout many religions, the practice might have differed, but the meaning and the symbolism has remained relatively the same. The word baptism came from the Greek noun baptiona, meaning, ?the dipping or washing.? Less commonly used, baptiomo?s, stemmed from the verb baptw, meaning, ?to dip or immerse.? This act of washing or immersion started with the Greeks and was later practiced by other religions. Religions such as those in the Pagan world, the Attis and Mathra cults, the Arians, the Babylonians, Egyptian cults, the cult of Cybele, the Mithraic cult, and Christian religions

practiced what can be refereed to as the sacred bath, the enlightenment, or the rebirth. Many of the pre-Christian religions understood cleansing and verification in a magical sense, rather than in a moral, or spiritual sense. As baptism evolved through the centuries, it went through many changes and through many different interpretations of how baptism should take place and when in a lifetime the baptism should take place. One thing remains the same though, baptism is a sacred act and has been practiced throughout time. Baptism received its beginning in the Greek world. That thought of immorality associated with baptism was what created this practice. We have proof of baptism through records of old. According to the Cretan funeral tablets, baptism was associated with the spring

of Mnemasyne (memory) (Eliade 59). A bath in the sanctuary of Traphomias procured for the initiate a blessed immorality even while in the world. Also in the Greek world there was a bath in the sea in which the initiation?s rites of the great Eleusinian mysteries began was simply a physical purification, and it was accompanied by the sacrifice of a piglet (Eliade 59). The Greek world practiced this ritual of immersion and sacrifice as a way of becoming immortal and god like, and as a result, other religions in many places followed. Different places produced different practice and also set some different tradition. In Babylon, according to the Tablets of Maklu, water was important in the cult of Enki, lord of Eridu. In Egypt, the (Book of Going Forth by Day (17)) contains a

treatise on the baptism of the newborn to cleanse them of impurities or blemishes in the womb. Also in Egypt there was an idea of regeneration through water and some other groups Egypt practiced baptism through the soaking of ones self from the blood of a bull. In the area around the Nile, the Nile?s cold water was thought to have regenerative powers, used to baptize the dead in a ritual based on the Osiris myth. Baptism of the dead can also be found in the Mandaeans and a similar rite on the Orphic Tablets. In Israel and in the area around Jordan the baptism ritual took shape through submersion into water. As location and belief held tradition and spiritual rituals, different groups arose, and baptismal traditions began to take shape. From the Greek practices of baptism

followers of the goddess Cotyto, became known baptai, (?the baptized ones?). Also following Greek period came the Pagan world and their traditions. The Pagan world used the waters of the Ganges in India, the Euphrates in Babylonia, and the Nile in Egypt for their sacred baths. This group, also know as the Hellenistic mystery cult, believed that divine water possessed a real power of transformation. The genostic with baptism ?knows why he has come into existence while others don?t know why or whence they are born? (Corpus Hermeticum 1:4.4). Other Egyptian cults also saw the idea of regeneration through water. The bath of the cult of Isie was most likely intended to represent symbolically the initiate?s death to the life of this world. . In the Attis, and Mithra cults, and also in