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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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The Mediatorial Role of Paul as Minister/Diakonos

The Mediatorial Role of Paul as Minister/Diakonos

(p.101) 6 The Mediatorial Role of Paul as Minister/Diakonos
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

The frequency of diakon- terms in 2 Corinthians 3–6 and 10–13 has often puzzled commentators. Only by interpreting them within the context of ancient Greek usage do we register their semantic value and rhetorical force. Dieter Georgi’s instancing of Cynic usage (1964) exposed the inadequacy of conventional readings, while a comprehensive semantic study (Collins 1990) revealed the terms’ rhetorical impact in Paul’s apologia for his apostleship. While the common Greek sense of message enriches our understanding of Paul’s discourse, the terms are so intimately knit into his argumentation as to demand a closer assessment. Neo-Platonist dissertations exhibit the terms’ capacity to express notions of mediation, a semantic feature revealing the process Paul attributes to apostolic activity. That the usage also aligns the terms with interchanges between upper and nether worlds adds further semantic value to Paul’s account of his delivery of the word of the gospel.

Keywords:   diakon- terms, apostle, Corinthians, intermediary, go-between

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