Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The Greek word πρεσβύτερος (“presbyter”) means literally “elder.” In the entire Greek text of the Old Testament, this word appears either in its narrow technical sense or with reference to the 70 elders of Israel (Num 11:16–25). In the New Testament “presbyters” are instituted by Paul (Paul [Apostle]) and Barnabas during their first apostolic journey to take care of the churches they…

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Adamiak, Stanisław, “Priest/Presbyter”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2019

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