DIAKONON in Romans 16:1

Polycarp66 at aol.com Polycarp66 at aol.com
Wed Mar 27 20:23:04 EST 2002

In a message dated 3/27/2002 6:42:01 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
aei_didaskomenos at hotmail.com writes:

> > Cindy Smith        I have further observed under the sun that
> > cms at dragon.com        The race is not won by the swift,
> > cms at 5sc.net        Nor the battle by the valiant;
> > cms at romancatholic.org    Nor is bread won by the wise,
> >             Nor wealth by the intelligent,
> > Me transmitte sursum,    Nor favor by the learned.
> >     Caledoni!        -- JPS Ecclesiastes 9:11
> DIAKONOS is obviously a feminine here, but it could be either a masculine
> or a feminine noun. There are certain cases in Greek where a noun's genre
> can only be defined either by the context or the article before it: hO, hH
> SYZYGOS (=husband), hO, hH PAIS (= child).
> ____________________
One slight addition here.  This is a second declension noun.  Most 2nd decl. 
nouns are masc.; however, the gender can only truly be determined by the 
article as Manolis has stated (as you know, gender as used in grammatical 
terms does not invariably indicate physical gender).  It is other indications 
here which in the absence of the definite article indicate that this is a 
female - viz. name and the use of ADELFHN.  I'm wondering whether DIAKONOS 
might be only exhibited in the 2nd decl. due to its being a terminus 
technicus.  It would not be unusual for a word to appear in both the 1st and 
2nd declensions as is evidenced by ADELFOS and ADELFH, but DIAKON- doesn't 
occur in the 1st decl.  

Since you seem interested in dealing with the role of women in the N.T. (and 
early church?), you might look at _When Women Were Priests_, by Karen Jo 
Torjesen - if you haven't already.  I can't say that I think too highly of 
it.  It has some interesting material; however, she fails to deal adequately 
with the question of the role of women in the catholic church as opposed to 
sects and to examine whether the failure of the catholic church to 
establish/maintain women in positions of authority was due to their 
prominence in the sects.  In fact, sometimes it is difficult to remember (or 
possibly to discern - it's been some time since I read this) whether the 
women she speaks of in positions of authority were in the catholic or 
sectarian tradition.

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