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DiakoniaRe-Interpreting the Ancient Sources$
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John N Collins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396027

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396027.001.0001

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Word

Word

Chapter:
(p.96) 5. Word
Source:
Diakonia
Author(s):

John N. Collins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396027.003.0006

In a much more confined ambit—and with fewer stories to tell, although with one or two longish ones, beginning with an alluring tale about Hermes—we now move into the field of “deed”, where we encounter usage about agents and their activities. Star-crossed lovers are the stuff of the ancient Greek novel. Heliodorus was only half-way through his Ethiopian romance when Theagenes, his clean Greek boy, concluded from a truly bitter experience that the gods would never allow him to be united with his chaste Charicleia. We have had occasion to emphasize that the word group associated with “diakonia” sits easily in talk about the kind of communication that ancients conceived of as going on with the other world whether by way of message, entreaty, or the transient thrill of love. In such contexts, as in the passage from Heliodorus discussed in the preceding section, the notion of mediation at times suggests itself.

Keywords:   Hermes, deed, agents, Heliodorus, communication, mediation, love, diakonia

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