Friday, September 25, 2009

Phoebe as defender

I notice that April has linked to Elizabeth McCabe's article on Phoebe, A Reexamination of Phoebe as a “Diakonos” and “Prostatis”: Exposing the Inaccuracies of English Translations I remember discussing McCabe's premise with Bruce Waltke. He was quite dismissive of the association between prostatis and proistemi. As one would expect.

However, I feel that it is worth pointing out that the masculine form of prostatis, which is prostates, was used in a prayer to Christ. Not only that, it was used alonside beothos, the Greek for ezer. In an earlier post, I wrote,

These two words βοηθος and πρστατης are used as titles for Christ alongside "saviour" and "high priest." Here is how the words were used in 1 Clement 36:1.

    Αυτη η οδος, αγαπητοι, εν η ευρομεν το σωτεριον ημων, Ιησουν Χρστον, τον αρχιερεα των προσφορων ημων, τον προστατην και βοηθον της ασθενειας ημων.

    This is the way, beloved, in which we found our salvation; even Jesus Christ, the high priest of our oblations, the champion and defender of our weakness. tr. Charles Hoole 1885

    This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our J. B. Lightfoot.
So here, in an old fashioned translation, we find that prostates, the word for Phoebe was translated “champion" and the word for Eve, boethos was “defender.”

I developed these ideas into an article which is posted here. Champion and defender: the other side of the word.


Kristen said...

I loved your article, Suzanne. It was marvelous.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting.

Some Orthodox prayers address Mary as Champion Defender, with the precedent being somewhere in the Old Testament (I'm assuming the Septuagint translation)- unfortunately, I did not note the scripture reference/s when I first came across this. The idea is that since she has "finished", reached the goal toward which Christians are heading, her prayers have great power -because of she is "in Christ", participating in union with God more than anyone else has so far, not only because of the physical tie to Jesus, but because of her constant "yes" to God.

I will do some research on ezer and see what I come up with.

Dana Ames

Shawna Atteberry said...

Thanks. I hadn't seen that prostatis could mean defender and champion. I've read and written on it being a patron and meaning Phoebe was a woman of means who gave money and entry to higher social circles to both Paul and the her church. I look forward to reading your article.