N.T. Wright on the Background of 1 Timothy 2:12: A Female-Only Cult?

In my recent A few thoughts on why I chose the ESV over the NRSV, commenter John Radcliffe provides a link to a paper presented by N.T. Wright at a 2004 symposium titled Women’s Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis.

On 1 Timothy 2:12, the then bishop of Durham writes:

There are some signs in the letter that it was originally sent to Timothy while he was in Ephesus. And one of the main things we know about religion in Ephesus is that the main religion – the biggest Temple, the most famous shrine – was a female-only cult. The Temple of Artemis (that’s her Greek name; the Romans called her Diana) was a massive structure which dominated the area; and, as befitted worshippers of a female deity, the priests were all women. They ruled the show and kept the men in their place.

Now if you were writing a letter to someone in a small, new religious movement with a base in Ephesus, and wanted to say that because of the gospel of Jesus the old ways of organising male and female roles had to be rethought from top to bottom, with one feature of that being that the women were to be encouraged to study and learn and take a leadership role, you might well want to avoid giving the wrong impression. Was the apostle saying, people might wonder, that women should be trained up so that Christianity would gradually become a cult like that of Artemis, where women did the leading and kept the men in line? That, it seems to me, is what verse 12 is denying. The word I’ve translated ‘try to dictate to them’ is unusual, but seems to have the overtones of ‘being bossy’ or ‘seizing control’. Paul is saying, like Jesus in Luke 10, that women must have the space and leisure to study and learn in their own way, not in order that they may muscle in and take over the leadership as in the Artemis-cult, but so that men and women alike can develop whatever gifts of learning, teaching and leadership God is giving them. (read entire paper, bold added)

And then Wright seeks to correct the misreadings of verses 13-15: references to Adam and Eve, and women and childbearing.

Now if what Wright argues about this being situational (as Scott L recently argued here) because of the Temple of Artemis and its female-only cult, then this text of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is worth rethinking—especially for those of us who haven’t done so yet.

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133 Responses to N.T. Wright on the Background of 1 Timothy 2:12: A Female-Only Cult?

  1. ScottL says:

    Great quote and interesting paper. I hope to read through the N.T. Wright paper this week.

  2. Sue says:

    Here is the only other occurence of authentein for human behaviour that is not a fragment and is within several centuries of the NT,

    3 cent. AD) Hippolytus (d. AD 235) On the End of the World. De consummatione mundi, in Hippolyt’s kleinere exegetische und homiletische Schrften, ed. H. Achelis in De griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, 1.2 (Leipzig: Himrichs, 1897), 239-309.

    “Therefore, everyone will walk according to his won desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.”

    You can see that it refers to domination and cruelty. There is no evidence whatsoever that it meant to “lead in church.” It was a word with a negative connotation.

  3. I don’t find Wright convincing here. I think Fee’s comments in his NIBC commentary and a lecture he gave have been the most convincing on this passage to me.

  4. Rachel says:

    Really glad you are looking at this – I have found Wright’s work very useful and eye-opening on this matter. Particularly appropriate for us Anglican types thinking about our latest General Synod on Women Bishops.

    Rachel

  5. Bible Monkey says:

    A letter doesn’t always contain all the information, especially information party’s are already versed in. With the differences of Fee, Wright, Grudem and start throwing in others, and I’m confident in Fee and Wright over Grudem, it’s all the more reason for me personally not to cement a view from this portion of the text.

  6. TCR,

    I am with El Bryan Libre; I find Wright’s arguments on 1st Corinthians very confusing. He is talking about the “Middle Eastern” culture when it happened in a Graeco-Roman city? Cultural studies and assumptions considered, this is a very complex argument to make.

    • Rod, ElBryan,

      I agree with you both, Saul/Paul was always the Greco-Roman “Hebrew”. It is here that Wright’s works are almost non-existent sometimes, unless he wants to prove some of his presuppositions and ideas. Once again, a false trail!

    • T.C. R says:

      Sue,

      Yes, Wright does call for a retranslation of authenteiv – perhaps rightfully so (no pun intended).

      Bryan,

      Both the post and the quote from Wright’s article are about 1 Timothy 2, not 1 Corinthians.

      Rachel,

      As I wrestle with these matters, I continue to explore all sides on the issue. This is a good start.

      Rod,

      My post is preoccupied with Wright’s comments on the 1 Timothy 2 text, not 1 Corinthians.

  7. John Radcliffe says:

    TC

    I’m glad you at least found it interesting. As regards his take on 1Tim2, I’d have to say that I’m not entirely convinced either (although I’m sure that the key to the passage no doubt does lie in understanding the context into which Paul was writing). But then I’ve yet to find an interpretation that I believe is clearly right (no pun intended), although there are others that I think are clearly wrong.

    I do, however, like what F F Bruce has to say here (quoted from the article I linked to in the previous thread):

    “An appeal to first principles in our application of the New Testament might demand the recognition that when the Spirit, in his sovereign good pleasure, bestows varying gifts on individual believers, these gifts are intended to be exercised for the well-being of the whole church. If he manifestly withheld the gifts of teaching or leadership from Christian women, then we should accept that as evidence of his will (1 Cor. 12:11). But experience shows that he bestows these and other gifts, with ‘undistinguishing regard’, on men and women alike―not on all women, of course, nor yet on all men. That being so, it is unsatisfactory to rest with a halfway house in this issue of women’s ministry, where they are allowed to pray and prophesy, but not to teach or lead.”

    In this regard I’m reminded of the “Cornelius incident” where Peter says: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:15-17, TNIV)

    So in essence, I’ll go with that approach: If someone is clearly gifted for a task or ministry, then not only should the church permit them to exercise that ministry, it should actively encourage them. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that no-one in the church has the right to prevent or hinder them, and to do so could well be to “stand in God’s way”. As I see it, if my theology conflicts with what God is clearly doing, then I’d better revise my theology (which is what Peter was forced to do in this case). And just because there are things that are still unclear to me (such 1Tim2), I’m not thereby absolved from acting on the things that are clear.

    To me this “follow what God is doing” principle is not at all the same as Gamaliel’s much-lauded “let’s sit on the fence” idea (see Acts 5:33-40).

    • John,

      Much of your arguments here appear to be based upon Scriptures that were given in the transition of the O.T. ground to the New. Note, Acts 5 and the fate of Anaias and Sapphira. To my mind at least, the Book of Acts must be seen as a time of transition. Note, Acts 28:25-29. And as to 2 Timothy 2:8-15, note again, the “Therefore” in verse 8 which connects the verses 8-15, (“Likewise” verse 9) with the all that above (note too, verse 2..”so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (seriousness).” We cannot throw over St. Paul’s creational argument! (verse 2 ; verses 13-15)

  8. T.C. R says:

    John,

    It’s another effort of listening to what was supposedly going on in Ephesus. Somebody has got to be right and somebody has to be wrong (yeah, no pun intended).

    Fr. Robert,

    Give the Wright article a read on 1 Timothy 2 and th reference to creation.

  9. TC:
    I realize the quote and post are about 1 Timothy. Fee wrote a commentary on the “pastoral epistles” in the NIBC series. It was his first commentary. And the lecture I was referring to covered the passage in 1 Timothy.

    • T.C. R says:

      Fr. Robert,

      You’re correct. This too has been my own criticism of Wright. After all, his specialty is that of a historian.

      Bryan,

      My bad. I thought you were referring to his 1 Corinthian. I actually went back and read his notes in the NIBC. Yes, quite good!

  10. Sue says:

    I do not propose an interpretation of 1 Tim. 2. However, I would like to point out that the different egalitarian interpretations go along with the lexical meaning of the word authenteo.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that autenteo meant what complemnetarians say that it meant. The notion that it meant “to exercise authority” came about from Erasmus work on the word in his Latin translation. I have seen it but cannot locate the work at the moment. However, his notes said

    usere autoritatem
    usurpare auoritatem
    cogere

    This means that he put down the range of meaning that he thought the word could have

    – use authority
    – usurp authority
    – coerce

    However, subsequent research indicates that there is no use of the word with a positive connotation. So we are back with the interpretation in the Vulgate, dominari, which was a negative in terms of church leadership.

    I do not see any basis at all for the complementarian interpretation. It needs to be ruled out once and for all. It is not in the running.

    What really ticks me off is that the ESV Study Bible actually misquotes Baldwin’s study on authenteo. When will people stop lying to women? When will they stop lying?

    • T.C. R says:

      Sue,

      For sometime now, I’ve actually agreed with egalitarians understanding of authenteiv.

      Don’t worry about me defending the ESV or its Study Bible. Because I won’t. 😉

      • Sue says:

        Then the problem is that wives are put under the authority of husbands who have a false understanding of the Bible, but one which they have learned in church. This is why the system is so damaging to women.

  11. Sue says:

    Dominari was also negative in terms of personal relations too. It was the same word used for what the husband will do as a consequence of the fall, in Gen. 3:16.

    Perhaps 1 Tim. 2 is saying to women, “you seem to think that woman came first, and gave birth to man, (ie the cult of Artemis) and so you have the right to dominate over a man; but in fact, man came first and you do not have the right to dominate over a man.”

    But this does not say that a man has the right to dominate a woman. This is what happened as a consequence of the fall.

    In fact, several times in the NT it is clearly said that to “lord it over” someone else is not Christ’s way.

  12. John Radcliffe says:

    Robert,

    I’d agree that Acts is transitional, but transitional to what? Of course, if we’re right in considering it transitional, then what comes after has to be different to what went before (one example being the integration of Jew and Gentile into the one “body” in Christ, as the passage I referred to in Acts 10-11 shows).

    I’m afraid I don’t follow your reference to the “Therefore” in 1Tim 2:8. As I read it, Paul says in v7 that he has been appointed to speak, as it were, on Christ’s behalf: so what he goes on to say carries that weight. So, personally, I’d be wary of seeing a contrast (as some do) between what he says “as an apostle” and how, in v12, he says, “But I do not permit”, as though the “I” means it’s just Paul’s own take on things.

    But the problem I have with v12, “I do not permit a woman to teach”, if we lift it out of its context, is that it simply says too much. Nearly all would limit it to teaching carried out in a church context, and despite the following “man” being in the wrong case to be the object of “teach” (Genitive rather than Accusative or Dative), most take it to apply to teaching adult males (or rather, to not teaching them).

    So as I see it, everyone is doing some contextualisation; they just differ in how much, and in what they see as the defining context into which Paul is writing. Undoubtedly he is combating some error(s) or malpractice(s) in this section, but I’m far from clear just what these were.

    Then we have to ask what the verb in the following clause means (TNIV “or to assume authority over a man”). I’d be inclined to agree with those who see it referring to “usurping” authority (as KJV puts it) that the person doesn’t rightly have. But then, of course, no-one in the church, man or woman, should do that. So if that understanding of the force of the verb is correct, then it’s not a case of Paul stopping women doing something that only men should do. And when we’ve considered just what “be quiet” (TNIV) means, there are still got another three verses to go!

    So to be blunt, I don’t yet see much light at the end of this particular interpretational tunnel as things stand at the moment.

    In that case, one important question is what do we do in the meantime? Do we have the right to use passages like these, which we don’t fully understand, to stop other Christians from exercising their gifts or abilities? Rightly or wrongly, when it comes to the crunch, I’d rather risk letting people use what turn out in the final analysis to have been natural abilities rather than specific God-given gifts, rather than risk stopping people using what are God-given gifts after all. As Jesus said: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” So if someone’s ministry bears fruit, I’d be very wary of concluding their gifts were spurious.

    Of course your judgement, and that of others, may well differ as to which way the scales balance in such things.

    The point for me is that I don’t want to be someone who, like Peter in Acts 10, insists on telling God what he should or should not consider acceptable. My guess is God knows better than I do.

    • John,

      Of course transitional to the N.T., but this takes the process of God’s Salvation History. And the Book of Acts is only partial to this. We need the whole or full N.T. revelation.

      As to 1 Tim. 2:8, perhaps it is more like verse 9, “similarly”. Men have their roles and duties in God’s salvation history, wherefore also women. We can see that what Paul says has merit and contrast in his appointment as an Apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles (1 Tim. 2:7). And this is most specific to “God our Savior” (verse 3) and God’s One mediatoral-Mediator, in the “Man” (human person) of “Christ Jesus, himself”, (verse 5). It is the Salvation History again of God In Christ!

      And from this follows the duties of both men and women, in their respective creational roles. This seems to be the reality again of St. Paul’s calling in the apostolic office, “First of all, then I urge.. – or I urge Therefore, etc.” (2:1, etc.)

      I seek to speak simply for any readers, and not engage in Greek texual language itself. It is exegesis and interpretation I seek, simply!

      If you or others have a NET Bible? You might want to check the notes there.

      • Sue says:

        “I seek to speak simply for any readers, and not engage in Greek texual language itself. It is exegesis and interpretation I seek, simply!”

        Are you saying that it really doesn’t matter what the Greek word means?

  13. Sue,

    No of course not! But, one does not really need to be a Greek student to understand and enjoy their N.T. and Bible. And seeking to discover St. Paul’s full historical backdrop, is always a parcel reality. We simply cannot know fully. So we must look at the Text itself, and also look for the spiritual/theological meaning. The loss today of the devotional reality of the Text of God’s word is immense! One rarely sees this on the blogs too, it is thought to be somewhat less academic. But this is hardly true!

  14. Sue says:

    Robert,

    When you say the “Text itself” do you mean the English text, and do you mean a certain English version? As you know, there is great variation regarding the translation of authentein. I don’t really know what you mean by the text itself.

    • Sue,

      Yes, I am speaking of the English Text alone. Do you not read the Bible for spiritual and devotional reality, as well as your textual study? I hope so certainly. Remember, I am a pastor. I know you don’t like us male pastor types, but this is just as real and important as the academic, i.e. reading the Biblical Text.

      As to the English translation, as I have said, my preference is the NASB Up Date. (But I have almost all the English Bible Translations..the good and the bad! lol) For the most part, just getting people to read their Bible is so important! The Biblical literacy is sadly way down, since my time. But also as I have said, I have noted in my life at least, that people that have read their KJV/NKJV, are usually much more biblically literate. So when they move along into other translations they seem to fair well. Also I give the NKJV for people seeking to learn English (second language). I have seen several that have simply come to Christ reading the NKJV also. The cadence and beauty, etc. And yes even younger people.

    • Sue says:

      i.As to 2 Tim. 2:2, “anthropos” – it can be generic, to both men & women. But the context can mean men here also. As the translation of the newer HCSB …

      But men have guessed from the context. Men made this decision to veil the word of God from women. I don’t approve of hiding what God said from the readers of the Bible.

    • Sue says:

      Lost my comment further up the thread. I see that you mean that a translator can make the scripture mean whatever he thinks it means from the context. This, in fact, veils what God actually said from the readers.

  15. Sue says:

    So then we can agree that authentein may very well mean “to usurp authority” as in the KJV. Then we must think about the plain meaning of that.

  16. Pingback: Galatians 3.28 with N.T. Wright and Philo – Neither ‘Male and Female’ | The Church of Jesus Christ

  17. asphaleia says:

    Wow, Dr. Wright can spin with the best of ’em. He polishes off the old Ephesus cult canard and presents it pretty well. The key to the evaluation of his paper, I suggest, is actually toward the beginning:

    “And in my own church the main problem about finding ways towards male/female equality in ministry comes, not so much from within the Evangelical right…”

    “Likewise, to use the word ‘complementary’ and its cognates to denote a position which says that not only are men and women different but that those differences mean that women cannot exercise ministry, or some kinds of ministry, within the church, is I think a shame; as I shall suggest, I think the word ‘complementary’ is too good and important a word to let that side of the argument have it all to themselves.”

    Wow, now that’s “fair and balanced…” I have to admit, he’s being up front in admitting an agenda. The remainder of the paper are some specific “ways” to do this.
    He also includes an anecdote, not atypical of Egalitarian rhetoric, injecting an emotional component in the discussion:

    “…and a woman near the front exploded in anger…”

    And he backs it up with inflammatory language:

    “The whole passage seems to be saying that women are second-class citizens at every level.”

    This does nothing to alleviate my growing suspicion that while either side could be motivated by an extraneous agenda, it is obligatory for Egalitarianism. Maybe this is a wrong perception. (The immoderate and irate response I am likely to get from this comment will, I am afraid, only add to that (mis)perception.) But otherwise I am at a loss to explain the preference for Rube Goldberg style exegesis over the elegance and simplicity that indicate an interpretation is probably correct. That sort of thing is usually a red flag that exegesis as finding the author’s meaning is not really job one.

    Still among all the ways available to evade apostolic teaching, Wright’s is about as good as any.

    And TC, sorry but my OCD’s kicking in: Why do you write “authenteiv” with an n for the first nu and a v for the second?

    • T.C. R says:

      Marv,

      Thanks for highlighting the fact that N.T. Wright is actually upfront with his agenda, and this is evident in his paper. But it’s an egalitarian at it.

      Oh, authenteiv! Just something unconsciously done. 😀

    • Sue says:

      Asphaleia,

      Could you provide some lexical evidence that authentein has anything to do with church leadership, or can be used with a positive connotation. This has not yet been done. Thank,

      Sue

      • Sue,

        You might want to check out the NET Bible note on this text?

      • Sue says:

        “According to BDAG 150 s.v. αὐθεντέω this Greek verb means “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to” (cf. JB “tell a man what to do”).”

        Exactly. No one should do this.

      • But it has to be in context Sue. That is the point of the NET Bible note.

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        I understand what you are saying about context but I don’t see it mentioned in the NET Bible notes Could you copy and paste for me. Thanks. I seem to have missed it.

        The difficulty with context, however, is that studies have shown that a second language learner has a 50-50 chance of guessing the meaning correctly from context.

        Another problem with guessing from context is that the word has to mean one of the possible meanings of a word.

        For example, what if I said that it is such a hot day that I am going to sit in the …….. you might easily guess that the blank represents “shade” but actually I am going to sit in the sun because I need more vitamin D.

      • Sue says:

        So you cannot actually make “sunlight” mean “shade” no matter what you think of the context.

        That is just the same with authentein. You cannot make “control” or “independent action” mean “church government, no matter what.

      • Sue,

        You can pull it up on-line, at bible.org, and then the Text itself. And exegesis in the historical grammatical will help us with context. We simply must have it!

      • asphaleia says:

        Hi, Sue,

        Well you and I both know authentein is a hapax. So there are no other Biblical uses. The most extensive study I am aware of is the Baldwin study. Certainly, you know this one. I haven’t looked it over in a number of years, but as I recall it showed a range of meanings that don’t quite align with your statement: “There is no evidence whatsoever that autenteo meant what complemnetarians say that it meant.”

        Hmmm. Now whether it is used there by Paul in reference to church leadership, I guess I’d have to say being in a Pastoral epistle in the first place and paired with didaskein in the second place, it’s most reasonable that Paul was at least including authority in the church.

        I do have a pretty good idea what didaskein means, BTW, and this is someting that Paul prohibits here.

        I don’t guess we’re going to rehash the whole issue here on this comment stream of T.C.’s excellent blog.

        I also note that Dr. Wright pulls the wholly dubious “source” idea for kephale.

      • Sue says:

        Authentein is a hapax only in terms of its use in the NT. There are other occurrences. Unfortunately the two which Baldwin classifies as “to have authority” do not indicate this at all.

        Case number one is in Philodemus, which is a reconstructed fragment which appears to have some cognate of the word authenteo in it. In the paraphrased summary of this fragment, the words “those in authority” occur. There is no indication that these two are in any way associated. In fact, the cognate of authenteo occurs at the beginning of the fragment, and the phrase “those in authority” occurs near the end of the summary. There is no translation and there are not enough words in the fragment for anyone to make a translation. This example is no indication that authentein meant “to exercise authority.”

        Case number 2 is BGU 1208 and Wayne Grudem has already stated that it appears to mean “to compel.”

        If you go into a later century there is this example,

        “Therefore, everyone will walk according to his own desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.”

        I would be very interested in any other examples, but in extensive emails with Al Wolters and Dan Wallace, no other evidence has been suggested. I do not believe that it exists.

        Didaskein can also have a negative meaning, as it does in Titus 1.

        In the Vulgate authentein was translated by the word dominari, which is the same as the word used in 1 Peter 5:3,

        “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

        I would be interested in any argument you have to support your view that it refers to church leadership. I have not in the many discussions that I have had, heard one argument that the word has can actually have this meaning.

        Kephale is a similar situation. In spite of everything, there is only one person who was ever called the kephale over a group of his own people and that is Jephthah. It is an oddity of translation, but it remains the only piece of evidence that kehpale can mean leader in Greek.

        You may cite anything at all to support your views as I am always interested in finding out if there is something that I have not read yet.

      • asphaleia says:

        Sue, of course I mean it is a hapax in terms of the NT. That should be clear from my context.

        Baldwin lists 80 something examples. You seem to have an issue with two of them. Still this word seems to exercise you, and you have doubtless seen the data more recently than I.

        Didaskein does not have a negative meaning in Tit. 1:11. Paul is saying something negative about some people who are teaching things they should not teach. That in no way makes “teaching” a negative thing. “Lying,” for example is a term with a negative sense. “Telling lies” is another way of putting it. This doesn’t give “telling” a negative sense though.

      • Sue says:

        Baldwin lists 80 something examples. You seem to have an issue with two of them. Still this word seems to exercise you, and you have doubtless seen the data more recently than I.

        If you have any evidence at all that authentein means “to exercise authority” you are most welcome to provide it. The Baldwin study is what I would call a “hoax.”

        Didaskein does not have a negative meaning in Tit. 1:11. Paul is saying something negative about some people who are teaching things they should not teach. That in no way makes “teaching” a negative thing.

        I am not too sure about that, as it can be very negative to indoctrinate someone into something that is wrong. But I do know that there is no way to make authentein into a positive thing. No one can even provide one example of such a use.

        Either you have lexical evidence for authentein meaning “to exercise proper authority” or you don’t. If you don’t, then you join with Dan Wallace, Don Carson, and Andreas Kostenberger in making claims for something for which there is no evidence.

      • Sue says:

        I am sure you don’t use the higher critical apparatus, but you follow much of that conclusion. That is simply were the modern, postmodern church is today! And sadly so many of the theological bloggers are affected by it, also. Note the difference between evidential and presuppostional apologetics, it has even bled over into historical theology (N.T. Wright, etc.), and again the mass of today’s theology.

        My point is that no one will interact with me on the lexical analysis of words. Although that is not the only important feature, it is very frustrating that nobody at all wants to refer to the dictionary meaning of the word, or how the word is used in antiquity. I keep drawing a blank. Nobody wants to be a student of the word.

      • Sue,

        Since “authentein” is used only once in Scripture (1 Tim. 2:12), we must first seek to see the context there, before we look at how it is used in antiquity. And here it is interesting that the NRSV, as well as the new HCSB, translate it simply “authority”.

      • Sue says:

        Since “authentein” is used only once in Scripture (1 Tim. 2:12), we must first seek to see the context there, before we look at how it is used in antiquity. And here it is interesting that the NRSV, as well as the new HCSB, translate it simply “authority”.

        If a word means something quite different in the Bible from what it means elsewhere, then the Bible is not really written in Greek at all, but just a language that looks like Greek but means something quite different. In this case, human interpretation is everything. It is humans who provide this special new meaning. So what you are proposing is a religion invented by men.

        But if God spoke in a language that already existed, then there is some way for people to understand it without priests inventing meaning as they go along. I prefer to go with the way a word is used in antiquity. There may be an additional sense, in the NT, but not a contrary sense to the word. Once again, we seem to be discussing a Humpty Dumpty religion.

        `And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’

        `I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said.

        Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

        `But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.

        `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

        `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

        `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’

      • Sue,

        You might want to check out the Intro. to the newer Holman Christian Standard Bible, and perhaps write to them to get their take on why they translated “authentein”, authority in 1 Tim. 2:12?

        As it appears with St. Paul he took his Apostolic authority very seriously, (2 Cor. 10:8 ; 13:10). And I think he preceded Humpty Dumpty! I hope you don’t see Paul as M.C.?

        Note, I have taken some time to respond to you on this.

      • Sue says:

        M.C???

        I think it would be a good question of all the Bibles, but I already know the answer. “Context.” They think that they know from context.

        I asked Dr. Packer why the ESV has “men” in 2 Tim. 2:2 and he said that they thought it meant “men.” I am tired of what men think. Women need to live outside of what men think. I am too old for what men think, but I mourn for those women left inside a “what men think” kind of life.

      • Sue,

        That was male chauvinist. As to 2 Tim. 2:2, “anthropos” – it can be generic, to both men & women. But the context can mean men here also. As the translation of the newer HCSB. But here it does not exclude women from teaching, but per 1 Tim. 2:12, etc., not to men alone, or in “authority”, etc.

  18. Sue says:

    Robert,

    I simply am not seeing what you see. You know how it is with the internet. So I really cannot comment on what you are looking at because I don’t know what it is.

    There is no way that any kind of exegesis can make a word mean something quite different from the range of possible meanings of a word. There is such a thing as eisigesis, the reading into the text of a meaning that is not there. If ordinary lexical methods say that a word has a particular range of meaning, then the standard exegesis must go with that. God does not talk in convuluted riddles. Or is he really Humpty Dumpty?

    • Sue,

      Question…Can we read a good literal translation of the Bible, like the NASB, and find and see God’s word & will? You make it like sound translation is worthless, and the average Christian cannot know the mind and things of God. This is simply just not true in my opinion, some of the greatest Christians simply read their Bible in translation, and nothing more!

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        Can we read the King James version and understand that? Why stray further from our roots? We have this in common.

        I have asked you before what the plain meaning of “usurp authority” is and whether it is proper church leadership but I do not remember a response.

        I am also very interested in what you are seeing in the NET Bible notes, that I do not see. I look forward to a response from you. Thank you.

        Sue

  19. I don’t think “source” is an invalid meaning for kephale if it was a live metaphor in Paul’s usage. Of course context would be the key to deciding that. Fee makes that argument.

    • asphaleia says:

      Those who propose “source” for kephale don’t do so because of a live metaphor idea. It was dragged in because it seems to have been used for one extremity of a river. The mouth, actually, not the source, if I recall. Anyway, we may call the beginning section of a river source, and let’s say Greek calls this same thing kephale, what can we say?
      1. Source may be an appropriate translation in English, but
      2. That in no way means kephale has the meaning “source.”

      It’s a complete fallacy.

      • Sue says:

        Kephale as “source” did have some support in the ancient literature. Here is Cyril of Alexandria,

        Therefore of our race he become first kephale, which is arche, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as kephale, which is arche, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our arche, which is kephale, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a kephale, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because kephale means arche, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the kephale of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as kephale the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a kephale accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.

        In this discussion, kephale is made to be a synonym of arche, which has as one of its meanings “source.” You can see that the necessary meaning of kephale was “kinship.” For many early Christian writers, they emphasized the meaning of “origin/beginning” as Adam was the beginning of the human race, and unity.

        The meaning of “source” for kephale is not a “fallacy” but it is in fact, one possible way of interpreting the word.

        If you wish to state something is a fallacy, then you must be prepared to back up what you say.

        I often say that certain teachings on Greek words are “hoaxes,” but this usually comes after I have written 20 posts on the word, read all the studies, done my own research in Greek epigrapha and interacted by email with the top scholars on the continent. If they cannot answer my questions, as happens routinely, then I call the teaching a “hoax.” But I am prepared to back up my statement with evidence.

        I consider the meaning of 1 Cor. 11:3 to be as follows,

        Christ is of the same nature as God, and woman is of the same nature as man, and man is now of the same nature as Christ (since Christ has become human.)

  20. Sue says:

    I would have to say that kephale must be a live metaphor, since there is really no other option. It was not the normal word for leader, and would have been a bit chaotic if it were since it was a technical term in the Greek army for a small raiding party. One could hardly confuse that with the general without a kafuffle.

  21. Sue,

    I don’t think “anything” I could say, or bring from the Holy Scripture could make a dent in your presuppositions about (really against) Scripture. If you want to identity with the feminist and gay positions, that is your right of course, but it is certainly not Historic nor Biblical Christianity. And if you also want to identity with Ann Rice, you might want to read 1 John 2: 19. The Historic Church and Body of Christ, really does matter.. and God has always had His people and witness. (2 Tim. 2: 19-26)

    You have my prayers,

    Fr. Robert +

    • Sue says:

      Robert,

      I think what you are admitting in your last comment is that you have know knowledge of what the word authentein meant in the NT. For me, it is not enough to say that the word of God is inspired. It is also necessary to know what it means. There is no need for me to accept what someone else says that it means if there is no evidence at all to support that.

      But I think we both know that you are unaware of evidence to support your views. Then it is important to reflect on whether these unsupported views are beneficial.

      You also seem unaware of the great good brought about by so called feminist attitudes. Women first went to university in the 19th century in order to become medical doctors to serve their less fortunate sisters, to tend to the needs of women in childbirth. They had to break the gender barriers. Through feminism women became educated, were able to earn a living, come in off the streets, support their own children, own property and vote. Would you deny women these rights.

      One of the great benefits of feminism in the last 30 years, is the increase in breast feeding and improved care of the infant.

      • asphaleia says:

        Feminism has led to increased breast feeding?

      • Sue,

        I have simply chosen not to engage with you on this subject, at least to your points, fully. It would not be a diaologue I am afraid. As you are fully on an agenda of your own. I have noted too that most of the male bloggers have been very kind to you also. I hope I have myself. We all can see that you have been hurt by someone and something. I guess you will have to wait till the Bema-Seat, to see what the Lord has to say?

        As to females and women verses “feminism”, I think there is a big historical difference. My female Irish family, both living and with the Lord, would chuckle I believe at what you say about “breast feeding”. Many of the Irish women have been at that well before “feminism”!

        Again, keep reading the Biblical Text Itself, for there is the living, breathing…Word of God! (2 Tim. 3:16)

        “Intelligence can never penetrate the mystery, but it, and it alone, can judge of the suitability of the words which express it. For this task it needs to be keener, more precise, more exact and more exacting than for any other.” (Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, page 118)

        Yours,

      • Sue says:

        I have simply chosen not to engage with you on this subject, at least to your points, fully. It would not be a diaologue I am afraid.

        Funny thing that this always happens to me when I ask people why they believe what they do, and if they have any evidcnce for what they are saying.

        As you are fully on an agenda of your own.

        The truth!

        I have noted too that most of the male bloggers have been very kind to you also.

        Many are, but a blogger lied about me a while back and it seriously affected my online presence. I withdrew from being the main blogger on the Better Bibles blog. I withdrew from being a “biblioblogger” at least in my own mind, I did not feel that I wanted to be part of a group which links positively to a group like CBMW who deprive women of basic human rights.

        I hope I have myself.

        You are very civil, Robert.

        We all can see that you have been hurt by someone and something.

        And that “something” is being promoted constantly by Christians. It is time for it to end.

        As to females and women verses “feminism”, I think there is a big historical difference. My female Irish family, both living and with the Lord, would chuckle I believe at what you say about “breast feeding”. Many of the Irish women have been at that well before “feminism”!

        Women have been breast feeding forever, but there was a statistical low point in the industrial revolution. Are you aware also of the low point in the 1950’s? Have you followed the trends in breast feeding?

        “Intelligence can never penetrate the mystery, but it, and it alone, can judge of the suitability of the words which express it. For this task it needs to be keener, more precise, more exact and more exacting than for any other.” (Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, page 118)

        A beautiful quote from one of my favourite authors. That is why I am amazed that no one wants to know the actual meaning of the word authentein. How sad that people would rather remain in ignorance.

      • Dear Sue,

        If we look at “authenteo, Gk.”, it is simply used once in Holy Scripture, and that is here in 1 Tim. 2:12.

        My point from the NET Bible, was the context and use within that, in verses 2:10-15. Women are called to the position of a creational subordinate, but this is nothing inferior, as a place of being in God’s order creationally. It is here that St. Paul says, “For this reason a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1 Cor. 11:10) Note the NET Bible note, for this verse in 1 Corinthians.

        Sorry, but I don’t have the Greek apparatus for my computer.

    • Sue says:

      The lowest point in breast feeding and infant survival was during the industrial revolution, when women were working 10- 12 hour days, and other women were in debtors prison, and some children in orphanages. Infant survival was abysmal and the education and training of women, equal rights for women, the right to work in other venues that in labour and the streets was opened up by Christian feminists.

      But in our century, the 1950’s was a low point in breast feeding and it has been on the rise ever since. Feminism is about women making the right decision for their children, it is about not letting men, who know little about the female body, be the final decision-makers for women. In the 1950’s the predominance of medical doctors were still men, giving male centred advice. Women, fighting for women’s rights, turned many attitudes towards bearing and caring for infants around.

    • Sue says:

      Christian feminism of the 19th century was about getting women off the streets, out of prison and the poorhouse, and out of the mills and factories, and into employment that would make it possible to survive.

  22. Pingback: Week in Review: 07.30.10 | Near Emmaus

  23. Sue says:

    Robert,

    I am so sorry. I misunderstood and thought that you were referring to an additional note on authenteo in the NET Bible notes!

    Now I see that you are referring to the general context, as NT Wright also does, but he sees it differently.

    You know, the NET Bible notes have always seemed to me to be a particularly cruel vehicle for lowering women,

    “The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man, though it has no specific soteriological import (but it certainly would have to do with the outworking of redemption).”

    Clearly, subordinate is being in the inferior position. Women, while not inferior themselves, must be made to occupy the inferior position to work out their salvation.

    • Sue,

      I wish you could have known and seen my greatgram! (Died when I was 15) She was a wee Scot-Irish woman, but oh what a little package she was, a “fireball” of Christian discipleship and tough love! And she knew the Holy Scripture, she could quote whole chapters, and even parts of Darby’s Bible translation. But she would never have thought of herself as inferior or diminished as a woman, even within ‘the Brethren”. She talked openly too about “Brethren” weakness and failure. She was not enamored with men or Brethrenism at all, though she out lived two husbands. And ended her life in fellowship with the Open Brethren, that she so loved also. Though she had been a ‘Kelly Brethren’ for many years before. And yes, I had/have seen both groups myself.

      BTW, I was born in Dublin in late Oct. 1949. Premature (7th month), I weighed 3lbs, 4 oz. My father was in England at the time, so she named me with my mother, Robert Kelly! lol Yes, you know where my middle name came from, Mr. Willam Kelly of ‘the Brethren’.

      So you cannot sell me your theological position about women. Though I know the history of the whole Church toward women has often been a sad one. It is simply but profoundly, the nature of the pilgrim church in a sinful, broken and fallen world.

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        I have the same heritage that you do, my great grandparents joining the Brethren after hearing John Darby speak at Goderich in Ontario in the 1860’s.

        And no, neither do I know of any Brethren women who think of themselves as inferior to men. My persistent question is why women have been obliged to occupy the inferior position, and why they have to be forced into it at the will of a husband, if they have not abased themselves sufficiently for his liking.

        As you write yourself,

        “Though I know the history of the whole Church toward women has often been a sad one. It is simply but profoundly, the nature of the pilgrim church in a sinful, broken and fallen world.”

        Clearly what you are saying is that you know the church abuses women and that is just the way it is. Nothing can be done to alleviate the burden of men’s sins on women.That is hardly a pastor’s response but if that is all that Christianity means for women – just hold your breath until you die – I already received that message some time ago.

      • Sue,

        I did not say that the Church was in some knowing position of evil against women. That is your conclusion. But that the Church has certainly failed often with women, but it has not been some position of male hatred exclusively. I also don’t believe that. But in reality, if any group has helped Christian women, it has been the life and so-called institution of the Christian Church, certainly.

        Again, now you have many places, and theological positions that are certainly feminist. You should go there, like the liberal Anglicans now in Canada, etc. I am sure you can find there what you believe and desire. And you need to quit this tortuous path of male hatred, in my opinion, and perhaps find some therapy, and the ability to forgive! I really pray and hope this for you!

  24. Sue says:

    Robert,

    Let us review this conversation.

    I respond to this post by asking if anyone can provide evidence that authenteo means “to have authority.”

    You do not provide evidence, but appeal to the Engish text.

    I then agree happily that we can refer to a text of your chosing, the King James Version.

    You do not respond.

    I ask for any kind of defense of your position at all.

    You respond by an ad hominem attack on my relationship with my son, my father, and my brothers. You have no right to place yourself between family members and denigrate the most sacred ties we have on earth. Why would a minister of the word speak to someone like this? What comment have I ever made on your personality?

    Why is it that when I ask for evidence for authenteo, I all too frequently receive a personal attack? There is much to ponder there.

  25. Sue says:

    Robert,

    Let us review this conversation.

    I respond to this post by asking if anyone can provide evidence that authenteo means “to have authority.”

    You do not provide evidence, but appeal to the Engish text.

    I then agree happily that we can refer to a text of your chosing, the King James Version.

    You do not respond.

    I ask for any kind of defense of your position at all.

    You respond by an ad hominem attack on my relationship with my son, my father, and my brothers. You have no right to place yourself between family members and denigrate the most sacred ties we have on earth. Why would a minister of the word speak to someone like this? What comment have I ever made on your personality?

    Why is it that when I ask for evidence for authenteo, I all too frequently receive a personal attack? There is much to ponder here.

    • Sue,

      I don’t know what you read, by me that attacks you personally at all? Just some pastoral advice to seek some theraphy? (a personal but again pastoral opinion) But, lets stop this, please!

      I wish you peace,

      Sincerely In Christ,
      Fr. Robert +

  26. Sue says:

    You made an innappropriate comment, Robert. You have no reason to resort to the usual putdown of women like me as a “manhater.” I don’t know why you would do that. I am really bowled over by the fact that you would speak to me like that. You don’t know anything at all about my personal relations. I am more than shocked.

  27. Sue says:

    No one can provide any evidence at all for translating authenteo as “to have authority” and you think I need therapy because I will not accept this translation without evidence!!

  28. Sue says:

    Should I throw in a personal memory. How about the fact that in front of a rather large crowd recently, my son stood up and said, “First, I want to thank my mother, the only person in my life who never let me down….”

    Don’t tread on my sacred territory – my children!!

    Last year some blogger lied about my dad …. whom he had never met – just when I was at my dad’s funeral.

    Please end this trash!!@!

  29. Sue says:

    I have had online dialogue with Wayne Grudem and Andreas Kostenberger and extensive emails with Dan Wallace and Al Wolters. Some of them just wander off and give up, but others have remarked on my “tone!”

    Would any of them provide evidence? Not at all. I have been insulted as a result of asking this question so many times I can’t remember it all.

    • It proves that they have authoritarian personalities, Suzanne. I see it in BOTH men and women. If you ask a critical question or inquire into a topic in which certain persons are not willing to answer, they will shut off, throw insults at you, or, as I have experienced, cry and play victim. Authoritarian personalities do not like critical questions because they see that as a challenge to their so-called “infallibility” on one issue or another.

      • Sue says:

        Rod,

        I absolutely agree that a man or a woman can respond with an attack when they do not have the answer. It is always best to stay within the borders of an academic argument. But I often stray myself.

      • Bring on the critical questions with me? Then one must be ready to hear my critical insight and study. We must remember too, none of us are infallible, but the Text of Scripture. But, sometimes I evade this with certain personalites. Should not we all? I think so!

  30. Sue says:

    I regret, Robert, for speaking out so harshly. No doubt you meant well, and were not aware of the effect it has when someone intrudes into family relations in this way.

    Forgive me. You are so often very gracious, but some words were, I feel, not appropriate in this context.

  31. Sue,

    I said nothing personal, as to your family. But, I do feel you have some real anger issues with the classic or traditional biblical position of male leadership. But that’s my opinion, take it or leave it? So I was speaking as a priest & pastor to that issue. Tough love, okay? Can you allow me that as a shepherd?

    The question of the lexicon and “authenteo” , can go in different directions, however? And as TC says, perhaps there is no evidence one way or the other?

  32. Sue says:

    Can you allow me that as a shepherd?

    It is not appropriate, Robert.

  33. Sue says:

    I wonder why TC does not consider Hippolytus to be evidence,

    3 cent. AD) Hippolytus (d. AD 235) On the End of the World. De consummatione mundi, in Hippolyt’s kleinere exegetische und homiletische Schrften, ed. H. Achelis in De griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, 1.2 (Leipzig: Himrichs, 1897), 239-309.

    “Therefore, everyone will walk according to his won desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.”

    • Sue,

      Since “authentein” is used but once in the whole of the NT, it seems the context is of great importance. Often we cannot find the meaning in just the etymology of a word. For example, E.W. Bullinger notes that the word is used in the Old Greek, as a self-murderer. One acting by his own authority. Indeed the context in 1 Tim, 2:12 is very important.

      • Sue says:

        Do we have any evidence at all that it can mean to lead?

      • Sue says:

        There are two problems here.

        First, we know the word can have a negative meaning, to have power and use it in a negative way.

        Second, we have no examples of it being used to lead in a positive way.

        Third, context may help us choose between two possible meanings of a word, but it is not normally used to discover new meanings of a word.

        Fourth, it is quite possible to read this as N. T. Wright does, and understand that women “ruled the show and kept the men in their place.” This is by far the most straightforward reading of the text.

      • Sue says:

        I guess I am curious as to why you would reject a plain reading of the text.

    • Sue,

      I would simply reject Tom Wright’s history here, often very poor. And his is just a supposition here also. But, if you feel drawn by this, that is yours to do so, simply.

      You did not say anything to my quoting of Paul’s text in 1 Cor. 11: 10, in this context?

      • Sue says:

        At least, Wright’s interpretation is possible. What would you suggest as a possible interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:12 given the lexical information that we have?

        1 Cor. 11:10 later.

      • Myself, I like the simple text of the NKJV here: “And I do not permit a women to teach or have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” (1 Tim. 2:12) But we simply must note the next text too: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (verse 13) Women are not to be in the position of “authority” or pastoral leadership over men. I don’t see it as a negative here. But a creational role and order of God. This is as St. Paul says, not for women to “teach” men or “man”. It is the pastoral office or labor.

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        You were the one who proposed the King James Bible as an English text that we could use to have a dialogue, but now you have rejected it.

        Are you aware of any other occurences in ancient Greek literature where authentein means “pastoral office or labour” or to rule in a positive way?

      • Sue,

        I have not rejected the KJV at all, I have just seen the translation of the NKJV better here. Note the NRSV is almost the same on this verse. As I also see the literal Greek here.

        Since “authentein” is used only once in the biblical NT Text itself. We must look at the context closely, and not just the idea of etymology. I am working on looking outside the Text itself. I will finish later, and let you know what I see fully there. But I still don’t think that will effect what I see in the context. And Wright’s few is simply a false trial to me. Just like so much of his historical guesses. Of course this is my opinion as to NT.

      • Sue says:

        You are correct that the NRSV is the same in this passage. But, in fact, there was no new evidence which said that the word meant “to exercise authority” rather than to “usurp authority.”

        I have studied the evidence and have reviewed the 80 examples of the Baldwin study. It turns out that the one example which seemed to support the notion of “to have authority” best, was in fact, an innaccurate reconstruction of a fragment, now lost in any case.

        Now, if you read Köstenberger’s assessment, and I have discussed this on my blog, there is no lexical evidence at all.

        (But, in fact, we do have evidence that the word was negative and I have provided this example twice. It was a word associated with cruelty.)

        In my view, having studied the evidence, there is no chance at all that the word can have a positive connotation, and you have seen Bullinger’s entry.

        But suppose even then that we do not know. Suppose that the case is 50 – 50 , suppose that in fact, women have been restricted from certain role because of a 50 – 50 guess. What an unkindness it has been, that men through their own selfish desire have convinced women that there teaching service will not be accepted by them.

        It is no wonder that in the 19th century, twice as many women as men went into foreign missions and preached the gospel elsewhere, where no Christian men were restricting their service.

        By clicking on my name you can read the post on my blog which cites Andreas Köstenberger on this.

      • Sue,

        When you speak of the word used here as a negative, this again implies something that is not really in the context, even if the word does mean some aspect to overt authority. For as I. Howard Marshall suggests, the context is about the nature and place of both Adam and Eve, and as I maintain in the creational reality. We simply cannot take the word out of the context. Note both the NRSV and the NKJV on the verse, agree. And, as I have said, we must look at other biblical texts of Paul here, like 1 Cor. 13:10, etc.

      • Typo, *make that as I had said, 1 Cor. 11:10

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        The historical context is that in many religions woman came first, and man is dependent on woman. This is a natural conclusion that one can come to from viewing the birth process. Woman is central to the family and gives life.

        But then the argument goes that if Adam was created first, woman does not have the right to dominate man because she did not come first afterall.

        So I argue that this is the context. I have evidence that the word can mean “dominate” and others have no evidence that it can mean “pastoral leadership.”

        Why not go with the evidence?

      • We also must look at other places where Paul talks about “authority” in general. Like 2 Cor. 13:10 (10:8, etc.) Yes, a different greek word. We must also see the use of “Exousia”. It is here we must also see the verse of St. Paul’s in 1 Cor. 11:10, “authority”. Here it is creational jurisdiction, i.e. a sign of the Lord’s authority itself over the Church. It is right order in the judicial sense.

      • Sue,

        Our last posts crossed. I still have not heard your thoughts on 1 Cor. 11:1o?

        We disagree about “evidence” here! Note, again the NRSV/NKJV on 1 Tim. 2:12. I am also seeking the overall NT “authority”. And not just 1 Tim. 2:12 by itself.

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        I am surprised that you cite a translation as “evidence.” You are simply pitting the NKJV and other Bibles in this tradition with the KJV.

        As far as translations go, there are three traditions.

        The first is that authentein means – to have dominion, to dominate, to be the lord and master of someone. The Vulgate and Luther’s Bible are in this tradition. The Douay Rheims 1610 also.

        The second is that authentein means – to usurp authority, and comes from Erasmus Latin translation. This is in the KJV and also in Calvin’s commentary and Latin translation and French Bibles of this tradition. (assumer authorité)

        The third is – to have or exercise authority and comes from the notes in Erasmus Latin translation, where he mentioned uti (usare)

        All translators of the Reformation were exposed to Erasmus’ Latin translation since the Greek text was never published without it, although it was revised over time.

        But Erasmus also mentioned cogere – to compel or force. That is more in line with ancient Greek usage.

        In any case, current research does not support the notion that the word has a positive connotation.

        I am happy to discuss 1 Cor. 11:10 with you in a further comment.

      • Sue,

        Thanks for the information. But in the end the context, and also the contexual place of all of St. Paul’s teaching on authority and the creational, and too the judicial. Must be brought to bear. (1 Tim. 3:15)

        I have gone with the English translations here, so as to help those people who don’t know, or are put off or confused by the Greek Word study itself. So they can follow and know the Biblical teaching here.

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        I understand why you have gone with the English translation, and that is why I have been so careful to outline the three different translation traditions. We have to understand that translations are definitive of what God has spoken, but they represent human tradition. If I choose the KJV tradition over the later translations, are you going to say that I am wrong? No, I don’t think so. Women are very attached to the KJV and many would like to keep that as their primary translation.

        1 Tim. 3:15. How should a woman behave in the house of God? With respect and listen to the preacher.

      • Sue says:

        I meant to say that translations are NOT definitive and are only human tradition.

      • God simply but profoundly uses the human element in the giving of His Word. Right Tradition is never a negative or bad thing. (2 Thess. 3:6 / 2 Tim. 3:15-17, etc. note 4:2-4) That is also why we must be so careful in Bible Translation. I think here we would both agree?

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        God may use human tradition. But to put men in authority over women, to assign authority on the basis of gender, puts gender over morality.

        What do we see? Keil and Delitsch said that woman was “diseased with lust.” They placed the greater lust on woman. Such misplaced blame has lead us to where we are today, with over half of evangelical men watching pornography regularly and then exericising authority over their wives.

        The authority of the male over the female is a pit of unfathomable evil, from human trafficking, to violence and death in the home. It is the greatest evil on earth. How many women rape men?

        How can God visit such hell on women by putting them under a male?

        I believe that God did no such thing, but that men have been the interpreters of the scriptures from the beginning and have visited on women their own desire for power. Men have not treated women as sisters, but as subjects and subordinates.

      • In the Salvation History of God, Christ became the Last Adam, “Man”…”the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5..again 2 Timothy). Also note Gal. 1:4.

        In the end, we have nothing but God the Father: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 23-24)

        Got to run, blessings (see Psalm 50 , my A.M. personal reading)

      • Sue says:

        I learned Greek as a teenager, and I am fully aware that women are anthropos, every bit as much as men are. Christ became anthropos.

        Are you saying that because Christ came as a man, a man has authority over a woman? Where does Christ teach this? Are women to be subject to violence and indignity because Christ came as a man?

        What did Christ say?

        “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

        Who will take the men who have offended women and hang a millstone about their neck?

      • Sue,

        Also in Christ’s “Anthropos” is the Incarnation, God & Man. I was speaking also to the Jewish nature of Christ. He as the Last Adam: “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers..” etc. (Rom.15:8)

        And “Man” or Adam, was created in the image of God: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but for the man.” (1 Cor. 11: 7-9) Again, creational.. and note verse 10 again!

      • Sue says:

        And “Man” or Adam, was created in the image of God: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but for the man.” (1 Cor. 11: 7-9) Again, creational.. and note verse 10 again!

        Are women not in the image of God?? Are women not fully human? Does a woman lack humanity if she is not subject to a man?

        Don’t Paul and Christ deny this, that it is not in being married nor in bearing a child that women follow Christ, but in obeying his command to preach the gospel?

        Gen. 1:27

        So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

        Isn’t that the human race? Didn’t God create both man and woman in the image of God?

        1 Cor. 11:9

        Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

        But I have the impression that you take a few verses out of context and cite them and then claim that woman has a “creational role.”

        And I agree that woman has a creational role as mother of all living. I do not agree that just because a woman sacrifices her body in childbirth she is condemned by God to be subordinate to a man.

      • Sue,

        I did not take these verses out of context, but quoted those that gave the gist or essence of the textual argument. Certainly I believe in the reality of 1 Cor. 11:11&12, but that is not the major focus in that section.

        I have spent some time with you over this. I am still in my position, and you are still in yours.

        Best,
        Yours

      • Sue says:

        I did not take these verses out of context, but quoted those that gave the gist or essence of the textual argument. Certainly I believe in the reality of 1 Cor. 11:11&12, but that is not the major focus in that section.

        You are imposing an interpretation onto to the text, every bit as much as NT Wright does.

        I do not expect you to change your position, but you must see that my position is just as possible as yours, and that women who have lived a life of being subject to the sin of a male, feel betrayed when they find out that it was all for nothing.

        The degradation of a female has no hidden glory. It is what it is.

      • Sue,
        Just a quick note, but the Texts of the NASB (both the older -1960, and the Update, 95), and the HCSB (Holman), are the same as the NRSV, and the NKJV, on 1 Tim. 2:12. I only used the NKJV in our past discussion, for the purpose of clarity, and the readers in general. (Personally, I read my Greek NT every morning, for devotion.)

      • Sue says:

        Robert,

        You can certainly demonstrate that there are more individual translations which use “to have.exercise auithority” than translations which do not.

        But is that any way to solve this issue. I can cite the Vulgate, D-R. 1610, Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, KJV, Geneva, Bishop’s and so on.

        It is no surprise to me that in the 19th century, the translation “to have authority” came into popularity, but there is no additional evidence that came to light in this century related to the word authentein.

        I will ask you an honest question. You have admitted that men have done women wrong over the centuries. How do you know for 100% that the translation of this word as “to have authority” without evidence, – how do you know that this is not one more wrong done unto women by men?

        This is a question that I cannot answer. I do not know that it was intended by God that women should not share in church leadership.

        I have the testimony of Junia, Chloe, Nympha, Deborah, Hulda, and the elect lady, as well as the witness of many Christian queens, that God does honour the leadership of women.

        I honestly believe that men are in error in this regard. This is what I have come to believe after many long discussions with renowned scholars and exegetes.

      • Sue,

        If Christ wanted to change the social & theological structure of Judaism, He would have done so. But he chose male Apostles, simply. He did treat women with great grace and dignity, and he allowed them to approach him certainly. But, he did not come to change the Jewish social and creational order. Note, again Rom. 15:8 / Gal. 4:4.

        And if we see and read the whole context of 1 Tim. 2:8-15, with the Apostle Paul’s other writings as to the positions of men and women (1 Cor. 11:2-16, Eph. 5:22-33, etc.). Note the translation of the HCSB, here.. it becomes very plain in reality.

        But best to you, and the peace of Christ, always,
        Fr. Robert

      • Sue says:

        I see that interest has waned in researching the meaning of the word authentein.

        Christ did not change the social structure of his time directly, but he taught that we should treat others as we would be treated.

        But now we have churches where women have been leaders and we have seen leaders reverse this trend. The status of women has been reduced. I do not remember Christ doing that even once. I do not remember that he put women back in the “woman’s place.” I think rather the reverse.

        I do not remember Christ telling women they would work out their salvation in giving birth to children or in being submissive to their husbands, but otherwise.

        I do not remember Christ saying that the husband was the ruler of the wife. This is the indignity of the teaching today, that women are stripped of basic human dignities by the words spoken in the pulpit.

      • Sue,

        You must have a horrid time with St. Paul? You cannot explain away his writings and teachings, save thru higher (so-called) biblical criticism, or historical guesses! You must know I am a conservative. So we are in very different worlds! You may have noted? I don’t get along with many of the male theolog’s either. There is almost a fault-line running thru our differences! And I am politically conservative also!

        So we are never going to agree! But we must try to give each other some place of respect, though we so disagree. Sound fair? I have tried to be “fair & balanced”. But always within my presuppositions.

      • Sue says:

        You must have a horrid time with St. Paul? You cannot explain away his writings and teachings, save thru higher (so-called) biblical criticism, or historical guesses!

        Lots of people have looked down their noses at me because I like to use a lexicon, but no one has ever accused me of higher criticism! LOL

        So we are never going to agree! But we must try to give each other some place of respect, though we so disagree. Sound fair? I have tried to be “fair & balanced”. But always within my presuppositions.

        Yes, we both remain within our presuppositions. Mine have shifted, of course, and now I no longer hold that women must be treated as those who function in a subordinate manner. Can I respect those who do not treat woman as humans who function as equals? I really don’t know. Its a tough one, for sure.

      • Sue,

        I am sure you don’t use the higher critical apparatus, but you follow much of that conclusion. That is simply were the modern, postmodern church is today! And sadly so many of the theological bloggers are affected by it, also. Note the difference between evidential and presuppostional apologetics, it has even bled over into historical theology (N.T. Wright, etc.), and again the mass of today’s theology.

  34. Sue says:

    It is very hard to even recreate the sequence of posts on a threaded comment section as this is, but let us end the day in peace. You are forgiven, Robert.

    • Sue says:

      With regard to 1 Cor. 11:10, I see two possibilities. The first is quite simply that a woman has authority on her head. That is, her own authority – she must decide what she wears on her head, but she must honour her husband in this. I suggest that this means she must dress as a matron, and wear a stole or covering.

      The veil was not a symbol of submission, but it was a symbol of status as a citizen and married woman. Only girls and slaves would normally go without a veil. A woman with a place in society, a place of wealth and power, would definitely wear a covering of some sort over her head. She would hardly go uncovered and appear to be a slave, prostitute or single woman.

      • Sue says:

        I acknowledge that exousia can mean “symbol of authority” and that the word was used for a crown, to signify that someone was a ruler, or that a woman was married to a ruler.

        When a woman wore an “exousia” on her head, a crown to denote that she was mother of, or married to, a ruler, this was not a symbol that she was under the authority of her husband or her son, but that she was the consort of her husband or son.

        This crown was a symbol, not of submission but of her special status in the empire in relation to others. The others, those who wore no crown, were subjects.

        The exousia, or crown, is always a symbol of either power or special status that the wearer has. It is not a symbol of subjection. Crowns were not handed out to subjects to denote their subjection.

      • Sue,

        Interesting! But I would not agree with how you parse and form the evidence and history. Your postion here appears to lack the exegetical. Noting you said nothing about what was said, “because of angels” (1 Cor. 11:10, note also Eph. 3:10).

      • Sue says:

        I shall be very enlightened if can tell me straight out what the angels are doing here!

        When you say that I lack the exegetical, you mean that I do not tie the whole into the central concept of the subordination of women. I no longer share your preconception, the notion that you have that women are subject to men.

        I don’t see how it can be proven from any one passage that women should not be leaders in the Christian community.

      • If you cannot “see” the context of the women’s veil, as a sign and cover to the Lord’s power and authority, for/torward the angels (1 Cor. 11:10 / Eph. 3:10). And the Lord’s authority and proper jurisdiction in a creational way and order. Then I am baffled myself? Indeed the whole section of 1 Cor. 11:2 (note “traditions”) thru verse 16, apply to the Lord’s order – power & authority in the Church.

    • Sue says:

      Okay,

      I am baffled. Are you saying that the Lord has authority over a woman, but not over a man?

      Or are you simply saying that the covering is a sign of the authority that God gives women to speak in church?

  35. Sue says:

    And Luther and the KJV once again are accurate in simply translating that a woman has “power on her head.”

  36. Perhaps we should say a word or two about the nature of the Canon and Canonicity. The Greek term kanon meant originally a “measuring rod” and then, in a derived sense, a “rule” or “norm”. The Fathers used the word “canon” for the “rule of faith,” and the canon of Scripture was regarded as the written rule of faith. And ultimately the canon of Scripture came to mean what we understand by it today, the collection of divinely-inspired books received by the Church and recognized by her as the infallible rule of faith and morals in virtue of their divine origin.

  37. Pingback: Acts 9.2 as an indicator that women were leaders in the early Church | The Church of Jesus Christ

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