προστατις


"For indeed she became a presiding officer (προστατις) over many, and over me also."Romans 16:2

“προστατις, prostates, ‘presiding officer’, ‘leader and protector’. B.J. Brooten, Women Leaders in Ancient Synaogogues, Chico, 1982, p. 151, translates as ‘presiding officer’, ‘leader and protector’. B.J. Brooten, Women Leaders in Ancient Synagogues, Chico, 1982, p. 151, translates as ‘presiding officer’. See also M. Boucher, ‘Women and Priestly Ministry: The New Testament Evidence,” CBQ 41, 608-13. The προστατις, prostatis, referred to a person of the front-rank, the chief of a body of people; in general, a ruler, someone who stands in front of the people and protects them. It was also a term which referred to those who gave protection to people who did not have civil rights. The KJV and RSV incorrectly render προστατις, prostatis, as ‘helped’, the NIV as ‘(she has been) a great help’, the NEV as ‘good friend’. Of course, until recently many translators did not believe that a woman could be leading (senior) minister and so they translated not what they saw before them, but what they thought should be there. Vine writes, ‘That her ministry did not take the form of preaching or teaching, it is safe to assume.’ (op.cit., p. 383.) On commenting on Paul’s use of προστατις, prostatis, Vine does note that the word was ‘evidently chosen instead of another which might have been easily used’ (ibid., p. 384) but adds that the use must be ‘metaphorical’. (ibid., p 384) However, there is no example of metaphorical use in all extant Greek writings.

The word prostatis used here for a woman caused some discomfort as early as the 9th c., and it was altered in some inferior manuscripts to parastasis, ‘one who stands by / assistant’, perhaps under the influence of the (Latin) Vulgate which incorrectly translated prostatis as the Latin adstitit, ‘one who stands by / assistant’. Yet the word prostatis was used for women no less than it was for men. The 4th c. woman Tullia, a Chief City Official, was described as prostatis. She was a woman of wealth, and was said to have spent her wealth bountifully on the city. (I.Eph. IV.1063) Far earlier, in Macedonia, postatis  was the name for the senior civic official beside the kind. (N.G.L. Hammond, Journal of Hellenic Studies 105 (1985) 156-60.) In Macedonia after Alexander’s death, Krateros was entrusted with the prostatis of the kingship while the king, Arriodos, was abroad. (Ibid., 158.) When the office of prostatis eventually lapsed, the high honors associated with it lived on in the use of its title, prostasia. (Ibid., 159-160) This was demonstrated as late as 1985. The term prostatis was a status-laden and denoted position / office."

Go back to Women in Ministry

 

Footnotes above are taken from The Source: With Extensive Notes on Greek Word Meaning, p. 277. Copyright © 2004 by Ann Nyland. Used by permission of Smith and Stirling Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

 
Make a Free Website with Yola.