From: Ben Crick (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Jun 28 1997 - 12:54:49 EDT
Dear fellow Graecists,
Unfortunately this subject is clouded by the Women's Ordination lobby
which has split the Church of England and other denominations. Such
discussion is not germane to b-greek. I offer the following:
Apostleship in the N.T. is an office instituted by Christ himself when he
"sent out" his disciples on a mission: TOUTOUS TOUS DWDEKA APESTEILEN hO
IHSOUS, ktl. (Matthew 10:5, reported speech). In direct speech it is even
more telling: hUPAGATE: *IDOU APOSTELLW hUMAS* hWS ARNAS EN MESWi LUKWN
(Luke 10:3); "I 'apostle' you".
That it was a special office, and not just a vocabulary commonplace, is
indicated in the debriefing after the mission: hOTE APESTEILA hUMAS ATER
BALLANTIOU KAI PURAS KAI hUPODHMATWN, MH TINOS hUSTERHSATE?, ktl (Luke 22:35)
NAI! So we see that the "commission" as an APOSTOLOS included the provision
of all the necessary gifts and graces: KAI OUS MEN EQETO hO QEOS EN THi
EKKLHSIAi PRWTON APOSTOLOUS, ktl (1 Corinthians 12:28); KAI AUTOS EDWKEN TOUS
MEN APOSTOLOUS, ktl (Ephesians 4:11).
Apostles are lumped together by Jesus with the O.T. prophets: DIA TOUTO KAI
hH SOFIA TOU QEOU EIPEN, APOSTELW EIS AUTOUS PROFHTAS KAI APOSTOLOUS KAI EX
AUTWN APOKTENOUSIN KAI DIWXOUSIN, ktl (Luke 11:49). This chimes in with
Paul's statement EPOIKODOMHQENTES EPI TWi QEMELIWi TWN APOSTOLWN KAI
PROFHTWN, ktl (Ephesians 2:20). So therefore all the N.T. writers qualified
as APOSTOLOI. Clement and Barnabas and Hermas and Ignatius and other worthy
early Christian authors' writings were rigidly excluded from the canon of
the N.T. Paul however qualified as a late witness of the resurrection
because of his Damascus Raod experience. ESCATON DE PANTWN hWSPEREI TWi
EKTRWMATI WFQH KAMOI. EGW GAR EIMI hO ELACISTOS TWN APOSTOLWN, ktl
(1 Corinthians 15:8-9).
The list of qualifications for apostleship is given when a replacement had
to be found for the traitor Judas: DEI OUN TWN SUNELQONTWN hHMIN ANDRWN EN
PANTI CRONWi hWi EISHLQEN KAI EXHLQEN EF hHMAS hO KURIOS IHSOUS, ARXAMENOS
APO TOU BAPTISMATOS IWANNOU hEWS THS hHMERAS hHS ANELHMFQH AF hHMWN, MARTURA
THS ANASTASEWS AUTOU SUN hHMIN GENESQAI hENA TOUTWN (Acts 1:22-23).
From this we see that genuine full-ranking Apostles are those who
companied with Jesus from His baptism by John right up to the crucifixion
and resurrection of Jesus. [Peter James and John were special: they had been
EPOPTAI GENHQENTES THS EKEINOU MEGALEIOTHTOS (2 Peter 1:16) at the
Transfiguration.] Moreover, they had to be "men", ANDRWN.
The word APOSTOLOS occurs once in the LXX in 3 Kings 14:6, where it
translates the Hebrew /We'anochiy shaluwach/ "and I am sent" from root
/ShaLaCh/, to send. Unfortunately, the LXX copyists omitted 3 Kings
(=1 Kings) 14:1-20, and we only have it preserved in the Alexandrine MSS,
Vatican copy, after 3 Kings 12:24; so it's not in my Benton. A /Shaliach/
is an ambassador or a King's Messenger; not just an ordinary postman or
runner. Would that be a DIAKONOS, a "dusty runner" ?
In addition to the Scripture-writing, resurrection eyewitness, ex-Disciple
"Apostles" MAQETAI, there are some supernumary "apostolic figures"; namely
James the brother of our Lord, and Barnabas the companion of Paul. Some
think that all the "Seventy [two]" of Luke 10:1ff qualified as Apostles,
not just the Twelve, hOI DWDEKA. The "Twelve" included Cephas (obviously)
but not James (not of Zebedee), 1 Corinthians 15:5, 7). Barnabas is an
apostle: AKOUSANTES DE hOI APOSTOLOI BARNABAS KAI PAULOS, ktl (Acts 14:14).
I take leave to doubt that Andronicus and Junia were Apostles, any more
than Aquila and Priscilla were Apostles (I take them to be husband and
wife). After their one and only brief mention in Romans 16:7, they, like
Matthias in Acts 1:23-26, are never ever heard of again.
DIAKONOS is a gender-hermaphrodite word which does not exhibit a separate
feminine form "DIAKONA"; whereas PRESBUTEROS does exhibit a female form
PRESBUTERA. EPISKOPOS is a masculine noun, exhibiting no feminine variant.
So the conclusion is irresistible: a DIAKONOS may be female, and was indeed
(Phoebe of Cenchrea, Romans 16:1); but PRESBUTEROI/EPISKOPOI do not include
the female of the species, IMHO. The APOSTOLOI were a unique group, with
no modern "successors"; all the eyewitnesses of the Resurrection have long
gone to their reward. They have left their written depositions behind them.
I'll leave it at that: hO GEGRAPTAI GEGRAPTAI...
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA Bristol, 1963 (hons in Theology) <firstname.lastname@example.org> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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