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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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In the Language of the Papyri

In the Language of the Papyri

(p.177) 9. In the Language of the Papyri

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

Paul provides the earliest and most ample evidence of our cognate words for “diakonia” among the first Christian writers, and the statements in which the words occur are made largely in the course of his controversy with Corinthian Christians about who could claim apostolic rights among them. This chapter discusses the importance that Paul attaches to the word “diakonia” in three passages of the two letters to the Corinthians, coming to a preliminary understanding of the word as “spokesman”. It also adds to the idea of spokesman an aspect of mediation that is seen to be used there to authenticate claims to apostleship. Related usage in Colossians and Ephesians is examined, along with Paul's designation of “The Apostolic Commission”, which leads into Luke's language about “Paul and the Twelve in Acts”. The chapter concludes by looking at other messengers and emissaries of heaven designated in these terms by Paul and other Christian writers.

Keywords:   Paul, diakonia, Christians, Corinthians, letters, spokesman, mediation, apostleship, emissaries, messengers

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