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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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A Question of Diplomacy

A Question of Diplomacy

(p.169) 8. A Question of Diplomacy

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

Papyri of the century or two either side of the first century of the Christian era turn out to be a disappointment if we approach them thinking they will provide down-to-earth illustrations of how our cognate words for “diakonia” fitted into the everyday language of Greeks or come up with valuable sidelights on literary usage. BGU 597 is one of only two private letters attesting the common noun, and for its meaning there H. Lietzman suggested “cowherd”, although he was aware that such a meaning was out of character with uses of the word in literature and epigraphy. There is no mistaking that the common noun is being used as a personal name when it appears as part of the conventional formula for double names. The fact that the word was also current as a personal name means that it would easily settle as a kind of nickname. This chapter also examines the document mentioning a city called Panopolis, a major center within the Thebaid of Upper Egypt.

Keywords:   Panopolis, diakonia, papyri, private letters, personal name, nickname, Greeks

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