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Diakonia StudiesCritical Issues in Ministry$
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John N. Collins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367573.001.0001

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From διακονία to Diakonia Today: Historical Aspects of Interpretation

From διακονία to Diakonia Today: Historical Aspects of Interpretation

(p.3) 1 From διακονία to Diakonia Today: Historical Aspects of Interpretation
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

Since Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526, churches have experienced the impact of translation upon the diaconate. The diaconate of charity recognized by sixteenth-century Reformers failed to flourish until the emergence in the 1840s of a renewed emphasis upon diakonia as loving service. Although this did not accord with specialist linguistic comment, diaconal pastoral practice inspired the development of a specifically Christian lexicography of diakonia, culminating in twentieth-century churchwide social services designated by the German neologism Diakonie. This semantic shift also effected a broadening of the concept of ministry itself as churchwide and deriving from baptismal charisms. The 1990 semantic study Diakonia (Collins) claimed the new servant model rested upon a misunderstanding of diakonia. Recognized as a correction in 2000, and supported by further semantic studies, the Collins re-interpretation encourages new thinking about diaconate and ministry.

Keywords:   diakonia, Diakonie, ministry, deacon, diaconate, servant model, semantic

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