Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources

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9780195060676: Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources

Diakonia has been a key word for over forty years in talk about church and ministry and about the church in relation to the world. The word is used today to denote ministry as service to one's fellow beings, and figures prominently in theological writings and church declarations. It underlies the frequent claims that the ordained ministry has become elitist and exclusive. In this groundbreaking study, Collins shows that the current uses of the word arose from erroneous dictionary meanings propagated since the 1930s. He surveys one thousand years of ancient Greek literature, inscriptions, and papyri to provide new insight into what early Christians meant when they wrote about diakonia. Collins carefully rewrites the lexicon from ancient sources for the purpose of reinterpreting the earliest Christian sources on ministry. The results will challenge theologians and ecumenists to rethink the idea of ministry, to restructure attempts at renewal of the diaconate, and to redraw the profile of "the servant church."

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About the Author:

John N. Collins is retired Professor of Biblical Studies at Loreto Mandeville Hall in Melbourne.


"Now John N. Collins has challenged the nineteenth and early twentieth century definitions and has supplied us with a whole gamet of rich associations."--Distinctive Diacarate

"A significant contribution to the field of New Testament studies that is both solid and illuminating. It will clear the deck for new examinations of how the church needs to understand and order its ministry if it wishes to take the New Testament sources seriously."--John Koenig, General Theological Seminary

"Challenging and thought-provoking"--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Will be interesting for scholars of classical and early Christian writings who are concerned to trace the use of a particular word in a variety of contexts."--Theological Book Review

"Collins results are doubly important: both a convincing reading of the range of meanings of these words and a clear warning against an overzealous and premature attempt to make lexical study relevant. One will learn much...from the general results and particular observations."--Patristics

"A very full and thorough survey of texts drawn from pagan and rabbinic, as well as Christian literature that might throw light on what the early Christians really meant by diakonia and its derivatives....The author combines the virtue of detailed scholarship with a vision for the future....Students will be grateful for the author's solid and illuminating survey of the various meanings givenin New Testament times and just after to the term diakonia, and may be encouraged to apply these in the church today."--Theology

"This is a challenging book....Collins raises important questions about how we understand the diakon- words....Though it may alter some routinely accepted expositions of our time, Collins' scholarship could also enrich and expand current understandings and expectations of ministry."--Lutheran Partners

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Collins, John N.
Published by Oxford University Press (1990)
ISBN 10: 0195060679 ISBN 13: 9780195060676
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford University Press, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110195060679

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