Re: DIAKONOS - etymology

From: Daniel Ria–o (
Date: Thu Aug 06 1998 - 10:39:59 EDT

        It is not clear whether ** dia/konos ** is a deverbative from **
diakone/w ** , or (more probably) diakone/w comes from the agent name **
dia/konos ** and from it is formed ** diakone/w ** . The most plausible
hypothesis (cf. Chantraine "Dict. Etymol." and "DGE" s.v. ** dia/konos **
) considers ** dia/konos ** (with long alpha) coming from a verbal thema
*ken- that we can find in Gr. ** e)gkone/w ** ("be quick and active) an
micenean "ka-si-ko-no" a name that designates a particular occupation (see
the Diccionario Mic'enico Espan^ol). The long vowel in "dia-" is not easy
to explain. The relation with ** ko/nis ** is most improbable.
        The ** dia/nonos ** entry in vol. 5 of the "DGE" enlarges
considerably the same entry in LS&J. The "RBLG" quotes 8 works dealing with
the word ** dia/konos ** plus 6 more on ** diakoni/a ** , that I can
type if you feel you can need it.

>In a work I am reviewing I ran across the following statement; "It is
>interesting to note that the word DIAKONIA, etymologically, means
>'through the dust.'" Of all the works which I have been able to check,
>TDNT, BAG ( I have an older ed,), LSJ, only Thayer addresses the
>question of etymology. This 19th century work has "by no means, as
>was formerly thought, a compound of DIA and KONIS so as to mean prop.
>'raising dust by hastening'." I have been assuming that what I am
>dealing with is a persistent false notion, handed on as a sort of "urban
>legend." I would like to point that out in my review in an attempt to
>block the perpetuation of the false notion.
> My question is this. LSJ in it's entry on DIAKONEW has,
>"DIA_KON-EW. Does that indicate a compound of DIA & KONEW? and if so,
>does that mean that there may be something to the etymology which I have
>assumed was flawed.
>Thanks for any help
>Rev. John M. Moe
>St. John's Lutheran Church, Rich Valley
>B-Greek home page:
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Daniel Ria–o Rufilanchas
c. Santa Engracia 52, 7 dcha.
28010-Madrid, Espa–a

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