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The author is attempting to explain how the many varied interpretations of I Cor 15:29 of the past have less than plausible explanations.
The author readily admits that the verse in context is vexing given that evidence is extremely sparse for vicarious baptism and cannot find precedence in the bible nor in the historical records.
However, the author did fail to mention there are ancient historical records which certainly should be considered such as the following:
The Shepherd of Hermas was written between A.D. 100 and 150, and was greatly prized by the ancient Christians. "The writing called the Shepherd of Hermas," says Bible scholar and early church historian Albert C. Sundberg, "was highly regarded in the early church in both East and West". Sundberg continues, "Irenaeus cited it with approval; Clement of Alexandria regarded it as divinely spoken and by revelation." Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria were both prominent, respected theologians in the early church. Other ancient Christians also believed the text to be inspired. The Shepherd of Hermas was not seriously questioned until the fourth century; and even then, it was viewed by some noted theologians of that period as "profitable." Significantly, the Shepherd of Hermas was included in one of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus. In Similitude 9, we read that the righteous dead who had died without baptism received "the seal," i.e., baptism, as a result of "the apostles and teachers" being baptized "with" them. Hermas doesn't understand why the apostles and teachers were baptized again.Read more ›
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Mormons see this book as supporting thier view, I don't why some of the acedemic books sell for hundreds of dollars. If you are interested in this view of Baptism of the Dead, there are many free papers written with the same information and used copies cost much less.