Study Group Relationship Judaism Christianity

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Diakonia and the Diaconate in Early Christianity

Prof. dr. Bart J. Koet

Dr. Arnold Smeets

John N. Collins’ seminal work Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources (New York, 1990) provided the impulse for new research into the role and relevance of deacons and deaconesses in the developing Christian Church. Deacons and deaconesses are not just responsible for caritas. Theyfulfil an important role in the network of Christian communities and as assistent-leaders.
An next step in this new research was a conference organized by the Pontifical Patristic Institute Augustinianum and the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. The proceedings are published in V. Grossi, B.J. Koet, P.J.J. van Geest, (eds), Diakonia, diaconiae, diaconato: Semantica e Storia nei Padri della chiese (Rome, 2010).

The Tilburg School of Catholic Theology participates in the international and ecumenical congresses organized since 2014 by the School of Theology (University of Eastern Finland). These conferences focus on relevant aspects in study of diakonia, deacons and deaconesses in Late Antique Christianity.

The proceedings of the last conference are published in Bart J. Koet, Esko Ryökäs, Edwina Murphy (eds), Deacons and Diakonia in Early Christianity: the First Two Centuries (Tübingen, 2018).

In 2022 a second volume on deacons and diakonia in Early Christianity is scheduled.

In 2020 and 2021 TST facilitated/s zoom-sessions on  What did deacons do?, organized by Arnold Smeets. 


Prof. dr. Bart J. Koet works on Jerome and Augustin. See Research Portal.

Dr. Arnold Smeets works on Gregory the Great as deacon of Rome. See Research Portal.

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