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DiakoniaRe-Interpreting the Ancient Sources$
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John N Collins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396027

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396027.001.0001

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(p.235) 13. Deacons

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

In the gospels, the cognates for the word “diakonia” under discussion mainly designate menial attendance of one kind or another. The parable of the royal marriage feast includes “table attendants”—like those at the village marriage feast—who are distinguished from the “slaves” sent to bring the guests. The parable of the judgment of the peoples uses the verb in the wider sense of personal attendance on a master, again a royal person. In parables in Luke, the verb occurs in the sense of table attendance on the part of a slave in regard to his master and on the part of a master returning from a marriage feast in regard to his slaves. In regard to Jesus, the verb occurs in the same sense when angels ministered to him, when Peter's mother-in-law ministered to him, and when the women ministered to him; in Martha's ministering to Jesus, the verb is used absolutely, the latter passage including also the statement that she was preoccupied with much “waiting”.

Keywords:   Jesus, gospels, diakonia, table attendants, slaves, parables, Luke, marriage feast, master

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