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In the NT the term carisma, besides meaning in a general way a gift or present of ca,rij, i.e., of divine grace Rom 5:15-16; 6:23; 1 Cor 7:7; 2 Cor 1:11; 1 Pet 4:10, acquired a more precise technical meaning in Rom 12:6 and 1 Cor 1214, where it came to designate the distinctive gifts of the Spirit to the Christian communities. Without going into details on the number and description of the charisms indicated by Paul for this, see Allo 320- 339, suffice it say that they, though all in the same way gifts of the Spirit, can be divided into two categories: truly extraordinary gifts, not corresponding to any precise hierarchical function in the community, such as speaking in tongues, working miracles and healing; and gifts enabling their recipients to govern, assist, teach etc. This distinction helps us understand the subsequent developments of Christian reflection on charisms. Texts relating to charisms in the Apostolic Fathers are few; like the apostles, they claimed to speak through the Holy Spirit 1 Clem. 63,2; Ign., Philad. 7,1. Ignatius wrote to the Christians of Smyrna that they lack no charism Smyrn., intr.. More interesting are the observations in the Shepherd of Hermas Mand. 11,7-9 and the Didache 11,7,12, where we start to see the problem of the distinction between true and false charisms, esp. with respect to prophecy.

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