Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Word "Pope" in The First Century

This is the follow up to my previous post: The Word "Pope" in the Second Century. It has come to my attention that the Greek word sheds some very interesting light on this discussion.

First, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Greek word closely associated with the Latin word "papa" (from which we derive the word "Pope") is "pappas" or "papas". Neither of which appear in the New Testament. I was disheartened at first, hoping to find some Scriptural paradigms for the use of the word which the Church at Gaul used to address Pope Eleutherius.

Thanks to this awesome link though, (thank you for the hat tip Mike Aquilina), I discovered that the word Eusebius records for us is "pater" not "papas"! That's Strong's #3962 if you have a Lexicon handy. Now listen to what Thayer's Lexicon says of the word:

“the author of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself”
As used in Romans 4:11-12,16, 1 Maccabees 2:54. Reminds me of:
"The college or body of bishops, however, has authority together with the Pope as its head. The Pope is the foundation of unity, of bishops as well as of the Faithful; so that supreme authority can be exercised by the college of bishops only in union with the Pope and with his consent." - Constitution of the Church, Vatican II
Or, another applicable definition from Thayer's is of the word as used of the Sanhedrin:
“whose prerogative it was, by virtue of the wisdom and experience in which they excelled, to take charge of the interest of others” .
As used in Acts 7:2, 22:1.

Now we have some more linguistic connotation of what and how the word was used in their time and culture.

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