Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 13:30:51 -0600

On 3/28/96, tom atkinson wrote:

> Greetings!
> I am new to this list but am enjoying what I have read thus far. Very
> informative.
> I was wondering if anyone could provide me with a definition of the term
> PROSKNUEO-"worship." Specifically, I am wondering about the etymology of
> the word, how the word is used in the New Testament and what that entails
> for us today. I have done my own research of the term, but would like to
> hear fresh ideas from anyone on the list that could share it with me.
> One other thing. I had a professor who defines this word as "to be filled
> with emotions so overwhelming that it brings us to our knees in awe and
> adoration." What would you say to this definition.

PROS-KUNEW does fundamentally mean "go to ones knees before," "worship,"
even "grovel before," if you want to push those emotions and overtones of
groveling at the feet of an oriental despot--that's where the whole notion
comes from. So the fundamental notion is recognition of one's own humble
status in the presence of one whose superiority and authority one
acknowledges. Although it literally means "kneel before," therefore, it
seems to me that it is more metaphorical in usage to express the worshipful
stance of acknowledgement of one's own inadequacy and commitment to the
power and authority of the one before whom one acknowledges one's
helplessness and commitment.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR