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Romans 16:2, προσττις/προσττης, and the Application of Reciprocal Relationships to New Testament Texts

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This article re-examines the meaning of the title προσττις 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 relationship, and also by re-evaluating the semantic range of προσττις/προσττης. 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.


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