Re: Semantic range of PROSKUNEW

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Jun 25 1998 - 11:12:17 EDT

At 07:04 AM 6/25/98 -0700, Edgar Foster wrote:

>I understand Jonathan to be saying that PROSKUNEW is only given to a
>superior, a deified king, a lord, a god, and cannot serve as a sign of
>respect between two friends. I disagree.

Can you give me some examples of PROSKUNEW being used as a sign of respect
between two friends during the New Testament era? I've heard this assertion
several times, but I haven't seen an example of it yet. To me, prostating
oneself and kissing someone's feet is not a gesture of equality.

>You must also remember that
>the primary person we are discussing here is Jesus. What is the
>PROSKUNEW rendered to Jesus in the Bible? I am arguing that the
>PROSKUNEW given to Jesus was not religious (i.e., it was not
>worshipful). I think that Jonathan has different thoughts here.

Jonathan doesn't know whether this was religious worship or not yet, or
whether it might have been religious worship in some passages but not in
others. He is currently still convinced that PROSKUNEW is only given to a
superior, a deified king, a lord, a god, etc.

Seriously, I just started exploring this issue when it came up on the list,
and it's barely been a day, so I'm still trying to figure it out for
myself. I don't think I've said anything one way or another about whether
Jesus is worshiped as God in passages using the term PROSKUNEW.

You may "think that Jonathan has different thoughts" because you know a
little about my theology, that I believe in the deity of Christ. However,
that doesn't mean that PROSKUNEW means to worship as a God. We have to
explore the meaning of the word carefully in context to see what it means,
no matter how inconvenient that may be for my theology or anyone else's.
Once you know what the words mean and what the passages say, you can use
them to construct a theology. Going the other way is disastrous - using any
theology to prescribe what a word may mean is inherently procrustrean and


Jonathan Robie

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