New Testament

Diaconia

DIACONIA A term of Greek origin with multiple meanings. The original sense of diaconia in classical and Hellenistic Greek was “service.” In later Greek, diaconia practically always denoted religious service of one kind or another, or bodies that had to do with such services. In later Greek texts from Egypt and in Coptic texts, we …

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Deaconess

DEACONESS A woman in charge of the sick and the poor of her own sex. In the early church, deaconesses were recognized as a distinct order of women who were vowed to perpetual chastity. They were, nevertheless, allowed to perform only certain duties in the care of women, and no sacerdotal services in the church. …

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Egerton Gospel

EGERTON GOSPEL The most important of the papyrus fragments of apocryphal gospels because of its early date, its extent, and the character of the text; acquired by the British Library in 1934. It consists of two leaves of a papyrus codex together with a small fragment. Both leaves are incomplete, but in many lines, the …

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Epigraphy

EPIGRAPHY Definition and time span Epigraphy is the study of INSCRIPTIONS, texts that are destined for long-term visual display in public space, more rarely in the private sphere. As a discipline, it sits in between archaeology and philology. Coptic epigraphy is taken here in a broad sense to comprise the study of Christian inscriptions from …

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Abstinence

ABSTINENCE Refraining from eating some or all kinds of food. Abstinence differs from orthodox fasting in that abstinence is not subject to the rules governing fasting. The practice, originally a form of penitence, dates from the Old Testament (Lv. 11), where elaborate prohibitionary rules were prescribed. These were later abrogated in the New Testament, but …

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Abbot

ABBOT. In the ancient monastic sources (APOPHTHEGMATA PATRUM, HISTORIA MONACHORUM IN AEGYPTO, PALLADIUS Historia Lausiaca, etc.), the name of a monk is generally preceded by the Greek word abbas or abba, the cognate of the Coptic apa (Sahidic) or abba (Bohairic), the Arabic aba or anba. This is clearly the Aramaic and Syriac ab in …

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