© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/156853610X521098 Novum Testamentum 53 (2011) 183-199 brill.nl/nt Romans 16:2, προστάτις / προστάτης , and the Application of Reciprocal Relationships to New Testament Texts Erlend D. MacGillivray Aberdeen Abstract This article re-examines the meaning of the title προστάτις given to Phoebe in Rom 16:2— commonly understood in contemporary scholarship as presenting Phoebe as Paul’s patron. This position is challenged with reference to recent studies which argue for broadening our understanding of ancient reciprocity beyond the definitions of a patron—client relation- ship, and also by re-evaluating the semantic range of προστάτις / προστάτης . It argues that we should see Phoebe and Paul’s relationship as working within a general reciprocity dynamic of benefaction, rather than within the specific relationship of the patron-client relationship. Keywords Patronage; Reciprocity; Benefaction; Phoebe I. Overview The translation of προστάτις used to describe Phoebe in Rom 16:2: “I ask you to welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with any help she may need from you, for she has been a προστάτις to many people, including me,” has been the subject of much discussion and debate. Until the 1950s/60s, Phoebe’s position
Novum Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: Phoebe; Benefaction; Reciprocity; Patronage
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