Re: proskuneo

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Jun 07 1999 - 13:08:32 EDT

At 09:43 PM 6/6/99 -0500, Linda Gray wrote:
>Now, I'm not a scholar in Greek, so I'm goin to pick yall's brains for a
>while. Here is my question: Could not the word "proskuneo" which is
>commonly translated as "worship" also mean "obesiance"?

I have to confess that "obeisance" is not a word I use very often, and one
of the biggest problems we had in discussing this the last time around was
sorting out what "worship" and "obeisance" mean. Looking at the English
words, rather than the Greek, I see that there is a word, "homage", which
combines the two concepts: homage means either (1) a ceremony in which one
acknowledges himself to be the vassal of a lord, or (2) an expression of
high regard, often involving pay or tribute. Meaning (1) is closely related
to the meaning of "obeisance". Meaning (2) is more closely related to the
meaning of "worship". The two concepts are closely linked in many
traditions, including the biblical tradition, and I think that PROSKUNEW
does marry the two, involving both unreserved obedience and worship.


P.S. Webster definitions follow, courtesy of:

Main Entry: homáage
Pronunciation: 'Š-mij, 'hŠ-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French hommage, from homme man, vassal,
from Latin homin-, homo human being; akin to Old English guma human being,
Latin humus earth -- more at HUMBLE
Date: 14th century
1 a : a feudal ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself the vassal of a
lord b : the relationship between a feudal lord and his vassal c : an act
done or payment made in meeting the obligations of vassalage
2 a : expression of high regard : RESPECT -- often used with pay b :
something that shows respect or attests to the worth or influence of
another : TRIBUTE <his long life filled with international homages to his
unique musical talent -- People>
synonym see HONOR


Main Entry: obeiásance
Pronunciation: O-'bE-s&n(t)s, &-, -'bA-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English obeisaunce obedience, obeisance, from Middle
French obeissance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey
Date: 14th century
1 : a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission : BOW
- obeiásant /-s&nt/ adjective
- obeiásantály adverb


Main Entry: 1woráship
Pronunciation: 'w&r-sh&p
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a
divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth
worthy, worth + -scipe -ship
Date: before 12th century
1 chiefly British : a person of importance -- used as a title for various
officials (as magistrates and some mayors)
2 : reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act
of expressing such reverence
3 : a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
4 : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of
esteem <worship of the dollar>

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