Rearming the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb (kind of) – A Response to an Article from the Junia Project

This morning I read an article on the Junia Project’s website called “Defusing the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb”.  The article provides three steps for “cutting the wire” of arguments that use 1 Timothy 2:12 to exclude women from teaching or having leadership over men in the church.  In this post I want to offer a point-by-point response to the arguments that the author makes in this article.  The point of this post is not to show that women shouldn’t be able to teach or have authority over men in the church – that’s a totally different issue.  The point of this post is to show that the particular arguments used in this article should not be used to make the point the author is trying to make.  We’ll look at each point one at a time and see where the mistakes are made.

1. The Rendering of the Verb αὐθεντεῖv (authentein)

At the beginning of the article the author makes two points about how the verb αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) should be translated in 1 Timothy 2:12.  First, the author says that the verb αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) is not the normal word used for authority in the church in Paul.  On the basis of this the author concludes that Paul’s concern must be “something other than the legitimate use of authority”.  Rather than referring to exercising authority in general, the word should be understood to communicate the idea of “domineering” (cf. the translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 in the Vulgate).   The second point that the author wants to make about this verb is that it is used to form a hendiadys with the verb διδάσκειν (didaskein, “to teach”).  A hendiadys is a construction where two words are connected by a conjunction but one word is actually meant to modify the meaning of the other word.  So, according to the author, when these two verbs are combined it should be translated, “to teach in a domineering way”.

Let’s deal with these issues one at a time.  First, the fact that this isn’t Paul’s normal word for exercising authority in the church doesn’t mean that Paul’s concern must have been for something other than the legitimate exercise of authority.  If someone were to argue that point it would have to be based on (a) the usage of this word in other writers around the time of Paul and (b) the immediate context of 1 Timothy 2:12.  When you look at how αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) is used by other writers it is clear that it simply means “to have authority over someone else”.[1]  It doesn’t refer to the use of authority in a domineering way by itself: there would have to be something else in the context to make it clear that that was the case.

So the real question, then, is whether or not there is anything in the context of 1 Timothy 2:12 that would indicate that Paul is speaking about exercising authority in a domineering way.  The answer is that there is nothing in the immediate context that would indicate that this is the case.  In this context the verb simply means “to have authority over someone else”.  [For a discussion of Wilshire’s article on αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) see my entry here].

[Incidentally, the Vulgate’s translation of this passage does not support the idea that αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) means “to be domineering” in this context.  The Latin verb used here is dominor.  While it’s true that the English word “domineering” ultimately derives from this word, in Latin this word simply means “to have authority over someone else” in this context.]

Second, although this author is not the only one to suggest that διδάσκειν (didaskein, “to teach”) and αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) form a hendiadys, it is difficult to reconcile the resulting meaning with what Paul says right afterward.  In the second part of 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says that rather than teaching or exercising authority over men in the church, women should be silent (ἡσυχίᾳ) .  He is not simply forbidding teaching that’s domineering or even teaching that’s simply authoritative (the normal way of understanding the hendiadys in this verse) – he is forbidding all teaching.  The second part of the verse seems to preclude any possibility of teaching, whether domineering, authoritative, or otherwise.  Whether this was merely a temporary injunction based on the current situation in Ephesus or if it was Paul’s usual practice is another issue.  The point is that this second part of the verse strongly speaks against simply understanding αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) to only refer to a particular kind of teaching.

2. Singular vs. Plural

The author suggests the possibility that in 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul is only thinking of a particular woman rather than women in general based on the abrupt shift from the plural (“women”) in verses 9 to 10 to the singular (“woman”) in verses 11 to 15.

This is a very bizarre way of looking at the text.  There are two issues with this point.  First, if Paul were thinking about a particular woman, he probably would have used the definite article (“the”) in front of the word “woman”.  The fact that there is no article indicates that he is speaking about women in general.  And even if there were a definite article, Paul would have had to mention her earlier on in the letter for anyone to know who he was talking about.  As virtually every New Testament scholar would recognize, Paul’s use of the singular here without the definite article refers to women in general.

Second, regardless of what one thinks about Paul’s reasoning in the verses that follow (2:13-15), why on earth would he have to use that kind of argument to get one particular woman to be quiet?  That makes no sense at all; his reasoning is too general.  So it is completely misguided to think that Paul’s shift to the singular means that he is speaking about one particular woman.  Even to mention this as a serious possibility shows a lack of understanding of how the language works.

3. The Use of the Present Tense

The author suggests the possibility that because Paul uses the present tense of the verb ἐπιτρέπω (epitrepo – “to allow, permit”) that he actually means, “I am not currently permitting a woman to…”.

Again, there are two problems with this.  First, the author is reading way too much into Paul’s use of the present tense.  The present tense can’t be used to communicate that kind of meaning by itself – Paul would have had to use an adverb or an adverbial phrase to modify its meaning.  It may well be that this was only a temporary rule but this cannot be determined on the basis of the tense that Paul used.  Any standard Greek Syntax book would make that clear.

Second, if Paul really did mean “I am not currently permitting” this wreaks havoc on the author’s understanding of the verbs mentioned in point 1 above.  Did Paul really mean, “I am not currently permitting women to teach men in a domineering way” with the possibility that this might be allowed in the future?  She can’t have it both ways.

4. Permanent Restriction vs. Temporary Measure

The author argues that there is no evidence in the text to indicate that Paul was establishing a restriction that was meant for all time.  She appeals to contextual evidence (i.e. false teaching in Ephesus) to indicate that Paul’s instruction was related to false teaching.

Once again, there are a number of problems with the point the author is trying to make.  First, this understanding does not match up with her interpretation of διδάσκειν (didaskein, “to teach”) and αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) mentioned in point 1.  Is she saying that the command for women not to teach in a domineering way is not a permanent restriction?  Might that be permitted in the future?  If the problem is false teaching, why is Paul only concerned about their demeanor while teaching?  Again, the author can’t have it both ways.

Second, while the background of false teaching is definitely important, there is nothing in the immediate context that would indicate that this is why Paul formulated this rule.  If the present tense of ἐπιτρέπω (epitrepo – “to allow, permit”) can be used for anything it is to show that not permitting women to teach or to have authority over men was Paul’s usual practice (the customary present).  If he were laying down a specific directive for the church in Ephesus, Paul would have used the imperative – “Stop permitting a woman to teach or have authority over a man!” – not the present tense.  No doubt Paul had false teaching in mind when he was addressing this issue but the way he words things makes it seem as though he is appealing to his common practice rather than imposing something novel and merely temporary.

Third, there is a real hermeneutical issue with the way the author words her point (hermeneutics in the sense of figuring out how the text applies to our present situation).  If we need an explicit statement to indicate that Paul’s instructions were meant to be permanent, we would be in big trouble.  All of Paul’s letters were meant for particular situations.  Figuring out if and how a passage applies today is much more complicated than appealing to something like this (I hope I misunderstood her argument here).  It may well be that Paul’s restriction – even if this was his usual practice – does not apply to churches today.  But there are much better arguments that could be used than this one.

5. Doctrine Built on a Hapax Legomenon

According to the author, it is dangerous to build doctrine on a hapax legomenon (a word that only occurs once in a particular author’s writings).  The word that she is referring to, of course, is αὐθεντεῖv (authentein), which only occurs here in Paul.

There are two problems with this as it applies to 1 Timothy 2:12.  First, even though αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) only occurs once in Paul, the basic meaning is clear based on its usage in other writers from around the same time.  Scholars do this kind of comparative work all of the time, even with words that occur more than once in a particular corpus.  An author’s particular use of a word, of course, is determinative, but it goes without saying that how other authors use the word is relevant – especially if the usage is fairly standard.  And that seems to be the case with this word.

Second, even if the meaning of αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) were unclear, the meaning of the word διδάσκειν (didaskein, “to teach”) is perfectly clear.  Since it is unlikely that these verbs form a hendiadys, the prohibition against teaching would still be clear.  [Also, if the author thinks this word is so unclear, why argue earlier that it means “domineering?]

Third, I find it very unlikely that scholars who argue that 1 Timothy 2:12 is normative for the church today base their arguments strictly on this passage.  But that’s another issue.

6. Consistency With the Rest of the Passage

The author suggests that it is inconsistent to say that Paul’s instructions about women’s dress in 1 Timothy 2:9 is culturally relative while 1 Timothy 2:12 is applicable for all time.

I honestly don’t see how this is inconsistent, regardless of which position a person takes on 1 Timothy 2:12.  Paul makes it clear what his real concern in 1 Timothy 2:9 is – that women dress modestly, with decency and propriety.  Then he gives a number of examples of what he considers to be immodest: braided hair, wearing gold or pearls, and wearing expensive clothing.  A good argument could be made that the specifics are not the issue; the real issue is the principle.  It should be clear that 1 Timothy 2:12, regardless of where a person comes out on the issue, is a different kind of thing altogether. One could make the argument that Paul’s argument in 1 Timothy 2:12 is culturally conditioned and, therefore, not normative for the church today, but that is a much more complicated argument than arguing that the specifics in 1 Timothy 2:9 are culturally conditioned.  I hope that it’s clear that the charge of inconsistency in this case is overly simplistic.

7. Consistency With The Author’s Teaching Elsewhere

According to the author, if 1 Timothy 2:12 is a general prohibition about women teaching or having authority over men, it would be inconsistent with Paul’s teaching elsewhere.  For example, Romans 16 mentions women in leadership positions, 1 Corinthians 11 mentions women prophesying in the church, and 1 Timothy 2:1-10 (1 Corinthians 11 would have been better) implies that women were allowed to pray in public in the church, going against what Paul said about being silent.

Let’s start off with Romans 16.  There are two verses that are usually pointed to in order to support the argument that women were generally permitted to teach or have authority over men: Romans 16:1 and Romans 16:7.  Romans 16:1 refers to Phoebe as a deaconess.  Apparently she is the one who delivered Paul’s letter to the church in Rome.  There is nothing, however, in this designation to indicate that she taught publically in church services or that she had authority over men.  If the Apostolic Constitutions and the Didascalia (writings from the patristic period) are any indication, the primary role of deaconesses was to serve other women.  They would assist in female baptisms, hand out aid from the church to poor women, and serve other women in church meetings (see John McGuckin’s A-Z of Patristic Theology).  Of course things could have been different for deaconesses in the New Testament but it seems unlikely.

I agree that Romans 16:8 speaks about a female apostle (whatever that term means here).  But there are two issues that need to be made clear.  First, the word “apostle” isn’t being used in the same sense as “the Twelve”.  That’s not because Junia is a woman – the same holds true for Barnabas being called an apostle.  Paul makes a clear distinction between the Twelve and other people who are called apostles.  Second, even if Junia was an apostle in the same sense as Barnabas or even Paul (more of a missionary designation), it would still have to be argued that her exercise of this office involved teaching and having authority over men.  It seems more likely that Junia would have ministered to other women in contexts where it would have been inappropriate for a male “apostle”.  The burden of proof is heavily on the side of the person taking up the contrary position.  So Romans 16 doesn’t really seem to be a problem.

What about 1 Corinthians 11, where it speaks about women prophesying in the church?  I would argue quite strongly that both in the Old and New Testaments there is a clear distinction between teaching and prophesying.  The difference between teaching and prophesying is that prophecy comes directly from God without any intermediary while teaching doesn’t.  When someone prophesies, they are receiving a message directly from God; when someone teaches they are basing their message on scripture.  In the Old Testament, only men (specifically priests and Levites) could teach; but there are several examples of female prophets.  We may think that this is a fine distinction that shouldn’t really matter but that’s the way things are presented in the Old Testament.  Something similar seems to be the case in the New Testament.  This makes sense based on what can be seen in the New Testament and based on the fact that a good percentage of early Christians were Jewish.  So Paul seems to have been okay with women prophesying while men are present but he does not permit women to teach (assuming 1 Timothy 2:12 reflects Paul’s normal practice).

As for women praying in the church, this doesn’t seem very relevant for 1 Timothy 2:12.  1 Timothy 2:12 is about women teaching in the church so when Paul says that they are to be silent he must be talking about silence with respect to teaching men.

8. Consistency With Jesus’s Teaching

The final point that the author makes is that Jesus never limited women’s roles to a secondary position in the church even when he had the chance to do so.  If 1 Timothy 2:12 was a general prohibition of women teaching or having authority over men in the church, Paul would be going against the pattern that Jesus established.

While it’s true that women play an extremely important role in the ministry of Jesus (they supported him financially, they didn’t abandon Jesus when he was being crucified, and they were the first ones to witness to the resurrection), the plain fact is that Jesus chose twelve male apostles even when he had the opportunity to choose female apostles.  This is not to say that this definitively establishes a pattern for how things should be for all times and all places – but it does mean that there is no contradiction between 1 Timothy 2:12 and Jesus’s teaching.

Conclusion

Again, my point is not to argue that women should not be allowed to teach or have authority over men in the church today – my point is that these are not the best arguments to do that.  Whenever we’re trying to argue a point from the biblical text, we need to make sure that we don’t skew the evidence to favour the position that we hold to, regardless of what position that is.  That’s one reason why I respect Krister Stendahl so much.  Krister Stendahl was one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century.  He was also influential in the movement to allow women’s ordination in the Church of Sweeden, but he did not do this at the expense of exegetical integrity (see the discussion in James Barr’s, The Concept of Biblical Theology and Stendahl’s own writings).  His conclusion was that Paul did forbid women to teach or have authority over men as a general rule.  For him, that’s simply where the evidence from the New Testament pointed him.  But, in the end, he did conclude that, given the cultural situation today, women should be allowed to be ordained today.  His commitment to understanding what the text actually says, regardless of what he might have wanted the text to say, is a good example for all of us to follow, regardless of which side of the fence we land on when it comes to the role of women in the church today.


[1] See especially the detailed analysis in George W. Knight III, “ΑΥΘΕΝΤΕΩ in Reference to Women,” NTS 30 (1984): 143-157.  See also Leland Edward Wilshire, “The TLG Computer and Further Reference to ΑΥΘΕΝΤΕΩ in 1 Timothy 2:12,” NTS 34 (1988): 120-134.  The evidence that Wilshire presents is vast and, in my opinion, ultimately supports the position being presented here.  Wilshire argues at the end that the use of this word doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the church offices in 1 Timothy 3.  However, this argument – which is extremely brief and somewhat incomplete – is not really based on the study that makes up the bulk of the argument.  He does make mention of the fact that αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) is not the normal word used for authority but doesn’t really come to a conclusion on what the significance of that might be.  It is important, though, to be careful how one uses the lexical information in Wilshire’s study.  It is important to note that the evidence listed in Wilshire’s study where the word has negative connotations (“murderer”, etc.) are from a related noun, not the verb itself, which is extremely important.  And even if the verb could be used to mean something like this, which it doesn’t, it would be illegitimate to suggest that it has violent connotations simply because in some writers it is used to refer to murder (which it doesn’t, of course).  The author of the article on the Junia Project and several others make this mistake in the comment section of the article.  She lists negative meanings from Wilshire’s article, not noting that they come from the noun, not the verb, and suggests that these all need to be taken into account when trying to understand 1 Timothy 2:12.  This is a classic example of illegitimate totality transfer.  It is not good enough to simply cite a scholarly article; the article itself needs to be understood properly and the information in the article needs to be used properly.

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127 thoughts on “Rearming the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb (kind of) – A Response to an Article from the Junia Project

  1. With regard to Paul’s anarthrous use of woman in vs. 12, I think the point egalitarians are trying to make is that, when Paul uses the articular in vs. 14, it is anaphoric and therefore the antecedent is the woman in vs. 12. Thus, meaning that Paul has a specific woman in mind rather than women in general. I disagree with this syntactical understanding, but it’s not impossible. Contextually, though, it seems unlikely.

    Plus. we need to be careful because anarthrous nouns can function in a definite sense. Just because it is anarthrous does not mean it is indefinite. For instance, anarthrous head noun-genitive noun constructions can have either a definite-definite relationship, an indefinite-indefinite relationship, or a combination of the two (Apollonius’ Corollary).

    • Allen

      1. You’re right. It is extremely unlikely that this would be the case. So unlikely that it is virtually impossible in this case unless Paul is a very sloppy writer. But I did use the word “probably” to cover the possibility of the unlikely. Besides, like I said, it is difficult to see why Paul would appeal to creation to tell one woman to be quiet.

      2. Anarthrous nouns can definitely carry a definite sense under certain circumstances. My point was that this is clearly not the case here.

      • Right, I just wanted to emphasize that the grammar allows this, but context is probably the stronger argument here rather than grammar. But, just making sure we don’t presume the argument is invalid, when there is the chance it could be true.

      • I think it’s a big mistake to say that something is possible simply because the grammar would allow it (under very specific circumstances) without taking into consideration the specifics of the case. That’s a bit too mechanical a way of looking at language. It would be like if I said, “That girl is the bomb” and someone said, “We have to consider the possibility that she actually is a bomb – that is, a suicide bomber – because the grammar would allow it.” It may lie within the possibilities grammatically but the context so constrains the possible meanings that it’s not even worth mentioning as a possibility. In 1 Timothy 2:12 it’s not simply that context is stronger than grammar in this case – it’s that context always has to be taken into consideration when dealing with grammar. The specific circumstances of 1 Timothy 2:12, both grammatical (are there any other instances in Paul where γυνη or ανδρος refer to a specific person when there is no article and no specific person was mentioned earlier) and contextual (the fact that Paul was speaking of women generically just before this, the fact that no specific woman was mentioned earlier, and the fact that ανδρος also doesn’t have the definite article here – causing the same problems that γυνη has), make the possibility of γυναικι referring to one specific person so remote that there is no reason to say that it is even possible or that it could be true. Hope that makes sense.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. I enjoyed reading them. I would say that I think you have misread Wilshire’s article. As an egalitarian, Wilshire argues (in my mind persuasively) that authentein carries a negative connotation in all of the pre-patristic references. He states this in his article, and he has stated to me personally when I was in his classes (many years ago). Moreover, I’m glad you bring James Barr into the conversation, because I believe what many complementarians are doing in their treatment of authentein is exactly what Barr criticizes in his “Semantics of Biblical Language.” Specifically Barr criticizes those who confuse a diachronic analysis of language with a synchronic analysis. Not understanding the difference leads many people to read meanings into words that are anachronistic, such as reading the patristic meaning of authentein into its usage by Paul in 1 Tim 2.

    • Hi Tim. Thanks for the comment. I think, though, that you may have misunderstood what I was saying about Wilshire’s article. My point wasn’t that Wilshire would agree with my overall point, whether in this particular article or otherwise. My point was that the actual data that he presents in the article supports what I was saying. If you look at his article carefully you’ll notice that most – if not all – of the negative examples that he gives are not from the verb authentein but from a related noun. The actual usage of the verb authentein itself is very consistent and his article proves this. So although Wilshire would disagree with what I was saying, I don’t think that his conclusions actually follow from the data. He hasn’t demonstrated that the negative meanings of the related noun have anything to do with the usage of the verb itself. I’m hoping to write something about this in more detail tomorrow if I can find some time. Thanks again for the comment. Oh, and James Barr is my favourite writer!

    • Tim, have you had a chance to reread Wilshire’s article? If you look at it carefully you’ll see that his comments about patristic and pre-patristic meanings really only applies to the noun authentes. In several places, Wilshire’s wording is very misleading, making the reader think that he is speaking about the verb when he is actually thinking about the noun. My fear, though, is that most people who follow the Junia Project website will never get that information or that their bias is so strong that they will simply dismiss it. I don’t know the author of the Junia Project post personally but I suspect that she will never add a statement clarifying what the evidence about authentein actually means so that her readers won’t get the wrong impression, even if she does think that the meaning of the noun is relevant for the meaning of the verb. As Christians and as academics we need to be totally up front with how we present our information, even if it might end up hurting our case. And if we present information that is misleading or incorrect, we need to make sure that it gets corrected. We need to be more concerned with presenting our information accurately than with winning an argument.

  3. “There are two problems with this as it applies to 1 Timothy 2:12. First, even though αὐθεντεῖv (authentein) only occurs once in Paul, the basic meaning is clear based on its usage in other writers from around the same time. Scholars do this kind of comparative work all of the time, even with words that occur more than once in a particular corpus. An author’s particular use of a word, of course, is determinative, but it goes without saying that how other authors use the word is relevant – especially if the usage is fairly standard. And that seems to be the case with this word.”

    Can you provide any evidence as to other writer’s usage of the verb at the time?

    • Philodemus (1st Century BCE) – “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (αὐθεντοθσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men.” Translation by H. H. Hubbel, ‘The Rhetorica of Philodemus,’ Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 23 (1920), 306. Quoted in Knight’s article (“ΑΥΘΕΝΤΕΩ in Reference to Women in 1 Timothy 2:12” NTS 30 (1984).

      Papyrus 1208 (27/26 BCE) – “I exercised authority (αὐθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of the full fare, within the hour.” Translation by John R. Werner in a private letter to Knight. Quoted in Knight’s article.

      Ptolemy (2nd Century CE) – “If Saturn alone is ruler of the soul and has authority over (αὐθεντησας) Mercury and the moon, if he has a dignified position with reference to the universe and the angels….” Translated by Robbins (Loeb) edition quoted in Knight’s article. I have modified the words in italics. Robbins translated αὐθεντησας as “dominates” but the context doesn’t suggest what the word “dominate” might suggest for most people today.

      There are other later examples, of course, where the verb has the same meaning and only one very late example where it means “to murder” (though reference is being made to an earlier writer).

      Leland Wilshire’s article is often presented as a much fuller study than Knight’s because of the database that he used. However, if you look at the evidence that Wilshire provides, the citations that he gives are virtually all for a cognate noun, not for the verb itself. He doesn’t demonstrate in the article why the meaning of the noun has any significance for the use of the verb in 1 Timothy 2:12.

      But, like I said in the post that comes after this one, even if the verb could mean “to murder”, it is irrelevant because it definitely doesn’t mean “to murder” in 1 Timothy 2:12. Some people suggest that if the verb did mean “to murder” in some contexts that it must colour the meaning of the verb in all contexts. But, like I noted, this is a classic example of illegitimate totality transfer.

      So even though we don’t have any examples of the verb being used in the exact same decade that 1 Timothy 2:12 was written (which I don’t think is necessary), these examples – two that come before 1 Timothy 2:12 and one that comes afterward) plus all later usage (with one exception) point to the meaning “to exercise authority over”.

  4. 1. Philodemus.

    I have written about it here, and you can read the copy of the fragment and the paraphrase. The fragment itself is lost.

    http://powerscourt.blogspot.ca/2007/09/authority-part-3-fragment-and.html

    As you can see the fragment was reconstructed and does not have a “translation” per se, but only a paraphrase. The actual phrase involved is fragmentary and reconstructed to say “sun authent[ou]sin an[axin].” This was paraphrased as “powerful princes.” The phrase those in authority reflects a passage a few lines later down.

    In the preface of the book The Rhetorica of Philodemus, Hubbell writes that

    “he is far from positive that the correct rendering has in all cases been attained. … It would perhaps be more exact to call it a paraphrase than a translation. While it has been possible in general to translate almost literally, there are many passages where the papyrus is so fragmentary that nothing more than an approximation is possible, and the gaps must in some cases be filled entirely by conjecture. At times it has seemed best to condense some of the more prolix paragraphs.”

    2. BGU 1208

    Kostenberger,

    BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.” For full Greek texts and translations, see Baldwin, “Appendix 2” in Women in the Church, 275–76. (in the PDF page 13)

    (This translation – I exercised authority over him – was created for the study itself.)

    In EFBT, on page 680, at the end of a lengthly footnote on BGU 1208, Grudem writes,

    “However, the meaning of “compel” does seem appropriate.”

    Grudem concedes the meaning “to compel.”

    After some time Kostenberger finally rephrased his opinion,

    On his blog, Biblical Foundations, in this post, 1 Timothy 2:12—Once More, 06-16-06, Kostenberger writes:

    “the likelihood was suggested that “exercise authority” (Grk. authentein) carries a neutral or positive connotation, but owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.”

    Kostenberger has given up on using these two examples as evidence, as he should.

    Two other uses have been put forward. One is in the field of astronomy and refers to the control of some planets over others. Another use is the mastery of an art or skill by a person.

    There are no examples of authentein as authority being used in a positive way by one human being over another.

    I engaged in an email discussion with Al Wolters on this, and he replied:

    “I’ve puzzled long and hard over authentew in BGU 1208 and in the Philodemus fragment. Although most of the lexicographical authorities seem to give it the meaning “have authority over” in those contexts, I don’t think anyone can really be sure. Most people … are too sure about their conclusions in this regard. I do think it’s quite well established that authentes and its cognates often have to do with mastery and authority.”

    Personally, I don’t think we have any evidence that supports a positive use for the word authentein. The mastery of one person over another is not attractive. The examples you provide are not supportive of a positive connotation.

    Here is a post of mine on the topic which was recommended reading at the Junia Project.

    http://powerscourt.blogspot.ca/2008/05/lcms-report-on-authentein.html

    Jerome can also be used aas evidence. He translated authentein as dominor and the meaning of this is “to be lord and master, to have dominion, bear rule domineer” in the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary. 1 Peter 5:3, also dominor, suggests that this is not the way to lead in church. I don’t think the word authentein can ever be used to refer to leading or pastoring a church.

      • Hey Mark, do you write a follow up about this somewhere? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

      • Hi Simon. I never did end up writing anything in response to that comment. I’m finishing up my doctoral dissertation right now so everything else is on hold for the moment. I found the discussion to be pretty time consuming and wouldn’t want to reopen it until I had a bit more time. Thanks for taking the time to read.

  5. Here is a fuller citation from Grudem on BCU 1208,

    Regarding the one occurence meaning compel, page 677 and 680, in EFBT,

    Translation by John R. Werner, Wycliffe Bible Translators, letter as quoted by George W. Knight III. …

    “I exercised authority over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.”

    In the footnotes at the bottom of the same page,

    “The translation of the text is disputed … Preisigke … lists this under “herr sein, fest auftreten’ (to master, to act confidently) Liddell, Scott, Jones lists this under “to have full power or authority over.” R. B. Payne, implies that the translation of Paul D. Peterson is superior: “when I had prevailed upon him to provide,.” Of Payne’s arguments the last is the most important – the use of προς. Payne writes that this use is “denoting a hostile or friendly relationship-a) hostile against, with after verbs of disputing, etc. …. This passage is about a hostile relationship; his action is called “insolence” in the text. None of the other uses of προς in the over three columns devoted to it in BAG seem to fit the text.” It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne’s argument. For all extant uses of verbal αυθεντεω that are transitive in the Greek-nearly all are followed by a genitive noun, only twice by an accusative noun, once by the preposition περι, once by the preposition εις, and here alone by the preposition προς. However, the meaning of “compel” does seem appropriate.”

    It is interesting to note that Erasmus also suggested “compel.” He added the Latin cogere in his notes on 1 Tim. 2:12. I don’t think he was supportive of women in leadership, but he just gave an honest rendering of the word.

  6. The idea that διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός is a hendiadys ought to be rejected as total fantasy. Basically, hendiadys in Greek is only accepted to occur with two nouns (or other substantives) in close proximity, and joined by καί or τε. Here’s a scholarly discussion: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3myvzj5H9WVaVliZzJ5YkI1aDg/edit – which does accept hendiadys with verbs, but there is no mention of negative conjunctions.

    I think it is probably the case that where two terms are in fact joined to express a single concept, as in σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα (flesh and blood) in Galatians, καί is retained in the Greek just as ‘and’ is retained in English. We don’t say: ‘I did not confer with flesh or blood’; and the Greeks didn’t say οὐ προσανεθέμην σαρκὶ οὐδὲ αἵματι. That would mean ‘I did not confer with flesh or with blood’.

    οὐδέ is basically οὐ plus δέ, as almost all the grammars and lexicons observe. Like δέ it adds something new. It doesn’t combine, it adds. It’s very simple, especially in its role as here as a coordinating conjunction, joining two terms of the same type (the two infinitive or infinitive phrases).

    I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man..

    There is legitimate discussion over what exact nuance to place on αὐθεντεῖν, but you still have the prohibition of women teaching in the holy church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Andrew

  7. Regarding αὐθεντέω, I see little strength in any argument based upon it being an unusual word. The Pastoral Epistles are full of hapax legomena, words that are used only once in the New Testament.

    I think it is important to be cognisant with the argument that there are two different etymologies for αὐθέντης. Here is Moulton and Milligan on αὐθεντέω: ‘The history of this word has been satisfactorily cleared up by P. Kretschmer in Glotta iii (1912), p. 289 ff. He shows that αύθέντης “murderer” is by hap’ology for αὐτοθέντης from θείνω, while αὐθέντης “master” (as in literary MGr) is from αὐτ-ἕντης (cf. συνέντης συνεργος in Heyschius, root ‘sen’ “acomplish” ἀνύω).’ Here is Kretschmer for the benefit of those who know German (which I don’t) – it would be good to have a translation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3myvzj5H9WVNFhVYmZxV0xCLUU/edit?usp=sharing

    An early occurrence which hasn’t been mentioned here is in Aristonicus Alexandrinus, ‘De Signis Iliadis’ 9.694. Wolters discusses it in his Semantic Study of αὐθέντης.., and says that the expression ὁ αὐθεντῶν τοῦ λόγου has the sense ‘speaker’ as in the German ‘Wortfuhrer’. Aristonicus is distinguishing the one doing the speaking (Achilles) from the one who reported what was spoken (see Wolters n.70).

    Andrew

    • I think interest in the cognate word authentes is now diminished and most people, including Wolters, with whom I have discussed this by email, agrees. The fact is that nobody can come up with a use of the verb authentew contemporary with the NT used with a positive connotation, when refering to the power of one person over another. It is usually negative, meaning to force or control someone or something.

      • Your ‘usually negative’ seems to suggest a larger sample than actually exists. So far as I know we have 1) The Philodemus fragment; 2) BGU 1208; 3) Aristonicus; 4) 1 Tim 2.12; 5) Ptolemy Tetrabiblos; 6) The Moeris Lexicon entry; 7) P. Tebt. 276.28; 8) Origen’s interesting citation of 1 Tim 2.12 in his commentary on 1 Corinthians 14. After this, one hits a lot of occurrences in Chrysostom and others of the same period, but these seem to me to be of less value. If you are going to cite one of these, you should probably cite a sample of the others to put it into context. The above list is from Wolters but I have searched in the TLG myself to check and there is nothing else there. I have looked at all of them except the Tebtunis Papyrus – which I have just found in the catalogue of my local library, so will have a look at it shortly. So far I would describe them as neither positive nor negative, but neutral, so to speak. Here’s the first one:

        1) The Philodemus fragment with the expression σὺν αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν ἄν[αξιν] which the editor (Sudhaus) has put in quotation marks (and the characters between the square brackets being added, also by the editor, where they were not legible in the orginal). As you have pointed out elsewhere Knight seems to have been over-hasty in claiming that this participial noun phrase (if such it is) corresponds to ‘those in authority’ in Hubbell’s paraphrase. In Wilshire’s NTS article (The TLG computer.. Jan 88) p.134, he offers a translation by Jay Shanor, which renders it as ‘with authorized rulers’. αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν looks like an active present tense participle, so it is not clear to me how it could mean ‘authorized’. ἄναξιν is the dative plural of ἄναξ a ‘lord, master’ – so it looks more like ‘ruling lords’ or somesuch to me. I don’t understand Kroeger’s suggestion, cited by Wolters, that it should read αὐθένταισιν, which Wolters says is an Old Attic dative plural of αὐθέντης. How could one have two nouns together like that?

        Andrew

      • Suzanne, in response to:

        ‘I think interest in the cognate word authentes is now diminished and most people, including Wolters, with whom I have discussed this by email, agrees.’

        I understand that Wolters stands by everything he wrote about this in his Semantic Study, thus including:

        ‘αὐθεντέω is clearly a denominative
        verb, related to αὐθέντης as ἐπιστατέω
        is related to ἐπιστάτης, or δεσποτέω
        to δεσπότης. It thus originally means
        ‘to be an αὐθέντης’. Like the other de-
        rivatives of this noun, the denominative
        verb is dependent for its meaning on
        αὐθέντης ‘master’.’

        Moulton (the papyri expert) and Howard, in their New Testament Grammar (p.278) say that αὐθεντέω derives from αὐθέντης and means ‘be master of, govern’. I think Chantraine said the same, and others, so there is quite a weight of scholarship in favour of it.

        Andrew

      • To clear the air, I admire Wolter’s work and would never fault it. We have a common interest in philology. But, I question the relevance of certain information. Philodemus is not terribly relevant but is used by some to establish that authentew refers to legitimate or assigned authority rather than raw power.

        As an aside, I once heard Bruce Waltke rant against someone trying to allocate leadership to Phoebe, just because the word prostatis is derived from proistemi, the word “to lead.” I have heard respected exegetes support etymology or reject it based on how best to exclude women from leadership. BTW, I like Waltke and Wolters, but respectfully disagree with them.

        I agree with the basic meaning of “be the master of’ but I disagree that this is applied with a positive connotation to Christians. We should not try to control or compel them.

      • ‘I agree with the basic meaning of “be the master of’ but I disagree that this is applied with a positive connotation to Christians.’

        OK, well you might agree that there are good masters and bad masters – so it’s not inherently positive or negative – see the αὐθέντης in the Shepherd of Hermas, for example – I think you might say that Jesus is the Master of His church, and be OK with that – but then say that that’s not the relationship that the elders of a church should have with the rest of the body.

        I have a lot of sympathy with that position, although I think 1 Peter 5 has to be balanced with Hebrews 13.17 – Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες – ‘Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.’ I am inclined to think that αὐθεντέω and ἡγέομαι are not so far apart that one could say that one is permitted and the other not – see Origen’s connection between the two (I agree with you that he is not paraphrasing 1 Tim 2.12, but he does seem to make a connection..)

        Andrew

      • Gehorcht euren Lehrern und folgt ihnen; denn sie wachen über eure Seelen, als die da Rechenschaft dafür geben sollen; auf daß sie das mit Freuden tun und nicht mit Seufzen; denn das ist euch nicht gut. Luther

        17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. kJV

        Quite a difference in these two translations. I beg off under
        Luther’s cover. I don’t believe we should have masters or rulers. I respect a government that is technically at least, responsible to the people. To be powerless under another human being, because you believe you ought to submit, is tyranny, as End of the World describes.

        Hegeomai, meaning lead, has a broader meaning. I don’t have access to Origin’s use of the two words. Could you post it.

      • Hebrews 13.17 – Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες

        The funny thing is that I put your German into Google translate and it came up: ‘Obey your leaders and submit to them’ – I was expecting something like ‘hearken to those who lead you and follow them’ – which it looked like, but I only have a tiny bit of German. So from the Greek.. one could certainly soften it quite a lot to say:

        ‘yield to those who lead you and give way to them’. I am happy with that..

        Andrew

      • Origen on 1 Corinthians 14:

        ὅτε ἐλάλησε Μαριὰμ ἡ προφῆτις ἄρχουσα ἦν τινων γυναικῶν· αἰσχρὸν γὰρ γυναικὶ λαλεῖν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, καὶ διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω ἁπλῶς ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός. Καὶ ἄλλοθεν δὲ τοῦτο παραστήσω, εἰ καὶ ἐκεῖνο ἀσφαλέστερον εἴρηται περὶ τοῦ μὴ τὴν γυναῖκα ἡγεμόνα γίνεσθαι τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ ἀνδρός·

        which is something like:

        ‘When Miriam the prophetess spoke, she was leading certain women. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in the assembly, and clearly ‘I do not permit a woman to teach, nor even [Gryson: and even less] to exercise authority over a man. And I will demonstrate this from elsewhere, since that has been spoken more securely about the woman not becoming leader of the man in word.’

        For the passage and some translations of different extracts from it see:

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3myvzj5H9WVOEc5ZkxFanhtdWM/edit?usp=sharing

        Andrew

    • Regarding the word being a hapax, the problem is that many words used once in the NT, are used broadly in other Greek literature so we know very well what they mean. Authentew is used very rarely at the time of the NT, in two fragments that have not been translated, and in reference to astronomy, or to mastery of a skill, or to slave owners having power over their slaves. It was not used for church leadership. Chrysostom used it to say men must not tyrannize their wives, and Jerome translated it as dominari, which you can see he also used in 1 Peter 5:3.

      No man either should ever authentew anyone else. Absolute control and sovereignty belongs only to God.

      I wouldn’t go the etymological route, but depend on usage.

      • Andrew,

        The Philodemus fragment which I have also looked at in facsimile seems to refer to powerful or sovereign lords. It could be reconstructed as either authentes or a participle of authentew. The noun authentes can also be used as an adjective, if you check. It is really a bit tenuous to hang the fate of women on this fragment, when we don’t even know for sure what the word was.

        BGU12 About this fragment, Grudem writes,

        “The translation of this text is disputed. G. W. Knight, 145, gives Werner’s translation here. … P. B. Payne … implies that the translation of D. Peterson is superior, “When I had prevailed upon him to provide, … This passage is about a hostile relationship, his action is called ‘insolence’ in the text.” It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne’s argument. … However, the meaning of “compel” does seem appropriate. (page 680)” EFBT

        The Ptolemy citation is astronomy, the rule of inanimate objects, I don’t know P. Tebt. 276.28; 8) and don’t have time today to look it up but would be interested in seeing it.

        Wolters has more recent article on authentew, his latest attempt to prove a positive connotation, but admits that it is the mastery of a skill by an artisan. Its in the ETS December 2011 issue. I don’t have access to it right now. Wolters sent me a copy but it is lost somewhere on my hard drive. Anyway, it is clearly not about a person having authority over another person.

        There is also a use in the 2nd or 3rd century, Hippolytus, On the End of the World 7.

        “Wherefore all shall walk after their own will. And the children will lay hands on their parents. The wife will give up her own husband to death, and the husband will bring his own wife to judgment like a criminal. Masters will “authentew” their servants savagely, and servants will assume an unruly demeanour toward their masters.

        These are all of them negative or marginally neutral but none of them call to mind church leadership in any way.

      • In reply to: ‘The Philodemus fragment which I have also looked at in facsimile seems to refer to powerful or sovereign lords. It could be reconstructed as either authentes or a participle of authentew. The noun authentes can also be used as an adjective, if you check.’

        On a point of clarification, when you say that σὺν αὐθεντ[ ]σιν ἄν[αξιν] seems to refer to powerful or sovereign lords, are you reading it as [αι] – ie adjectivally – or as [ου] ie as a participle. I know a phrase of this sort occurs in Hubbell, but I don’t think that can be a direct translation of the phrase. You seem to be mixing the two – translating adjectivally, but not with the adjectival meaning – which seems to be to do kinship, and associated with murder.

        If anyone can translate this sentence from Euripides Fragment 645 (Nauck), that would be a help re the adjectival meaning:

        συγγνώμονάς τοι τοὺς θεοὺς εἶναι δόκει,
        ὅταν τις ὅρκῳ θάνατον ἐκφυγεῖν θέλῃ
        ἢ δεσμὸν ἢ βίαια πολεμίων κακά,
        ἢ παισὶν αὐθένταισι κοινωνῇ δόμων.

        Wilshire has ‘sharing the house with murdered children’ for the last clause. Is this on the right lines?

        In defence of spending time on this text, I think all 8 pieces of data on the earlier uses of αὐθεντέω are worth examining, because they help to build up a picture of the word, its lexical or semantic range, and any underlying idea or meaning. None of them are directly transferable to 1 Tim 2.12 – if anything I would be most interested in cases where it takes a genitive.

        Andrew

      • I took it from the summary by Hubbell which I had linked to on my post some years ago. I sent you that a link to that post. It’s a fragment afterall. I think it is a participle. It could easily be related to murder in another etymologically related word. I don’t really see this as relevant to 1Tim.

        I think these are overlengthy side routes to a daily issue for women. Women should not have to be able to reconstruct fragments to be treated as equals to men.

      • In reply to ‘I don’t know P. Tebt. 276.28; 8) and don’t have time today to look it up but would be interested in seeing it.’

        I have posted the text and a scan of the relevant pages at http://womeninthechurch.co.uk/%CE%B1%E1%BD%90%CE%B8%CE%B5%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%AD%CF%89-resources/.

        [ἐὰν δὲ] ὁ τοῦ Ἄρεως τρίγωνος τούτῳ φανῇ [καὶ τ]ῷ τοῦ Κρόνου εὐδαιμονίαν με[γά]λην [ἀποτελεῖ] καὶ περίκτησιν ἕξει καὶ [α]ὐθεντή[σει ? . . . . .] ε ἀσχολίαν.

        ‘If Mars appear in a triangular relation to Jupiter and Saturn, this causes great happiness, and he will make acquisitions and . . .’ [Grenfell and Hunt, p. 31. They do not translate [α]ὐθεντή[σει (?). ἀσχολία means ‘occupation, business, engagement.. later, office, function, BGU 1202.3 (i B.C.)’ [entry in Liddell and Scott].

        Since ἕξει is future, the reconstruction looks reasonable, and it looks pretty certain that ἀσχολίαν is the accusative object of [α]ὐθεντή[σει . Probably best to go with the later meaning of ἀσχολία, that is, ‘office, function’, as in the papyrus (18 BC papyri.info), but one would have to study it out to be sure.

        Andrew

  8. Andrew,

    The Philodemus fragment which I have also looked at in facsimile seems to refer to powerful or sovereign lords. It could be reconstructed as either authentes or a participle of authentew. The noun authentes can also be used as an adjective, if you check. It is really a bit tenuous to hang the fate of women on this fragment, when we don’t even know for sure what the word was.

    BGU12 About this fragment, Grudem writes,

    “The translation of this text is disputed. G. W. Knight, 145, gives Werner’s translation here. … P. B. Payne … implies that the translation of D. Peterson is superior, “When I had prevailed upon him to provide, … This passage is about a hostile relationship, his action is called ‘insolence’ in the text.” It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne’s argument. … However, the meaning of “compel” does seem appropriate. (page 680)” EFBT

    The Ptolemy citation is astronomy, the rule of inanimate objects, I don’t know P. Tebt. 276.28; 8) and don’t have time today to look it up but would be interested in seeing it.

    Wolters has more recent article on authentew, his latest attempt to prove a positive connotation, but admits that it is the mastery of a skill by an artisan. Its in the ETS December 2011 issue. I don’t have access to it right now. Wolters sent me a copy but it is lost somewhere on my hard drive. Anyway, it is clearly not about a person having authority over another person.

    There is also a use in the 2nd or 3rd century, Hippolytus, On the End of the World 7.

    “Wherefore all shall walk after their own will. And the children will lay hands on their parents. The wife will give up her own husband to death, and the husband will bring his own wife to judgment like a criminal. Masters will “authentew” their servants savagely, and servants will assume an unruly demeanour toward their masters.

    These are all of them negative or marginally neutral but none of them call to mind church leadership in any way.

    I think I didn’t log in properly for this comment to display.

    • In reply to: ‘There is also a use in the 2nd or 3rd century, Hippolytus, On the End of the World 7.’

      I thought this was generally considered to be pseudo-Hippolytus, ie spurious. Do you have a reason to think it genuine, or of early date?

      Andrew

      • In looking at usage, I wasn’t concerned about who the actual author was, just at how the word was used. But if you think End of the World has a late date, then that leaves us with Philodemus, BGU 1208 and some astronomical treatise. This is what the meaning of authentew is based on. As a woman, I was more than a little shocked when I read these fragments and thought of how this verse in 1Tim. has limited women.

        A couple of centuries later, authentew definitely included tyranny and control in its usage.

  9. Okay, I have just read the relevant parts of Wolters 2006 article but I think I have dealt with most of the examples. Authentew is not a positive word but deals with mastery and control, to compel someone, to be a law unto oneself, as in autodikein.

    Look at 1 Peter 5:2, or what Jesus said about worldly rulers. Christian leaders are not to rule, but lead by example. Jerome translated mashal in Gen 3:16, katakurieuw in 1 Peter 5:2 and authentew, all as dominari, something less than ideal, and not very nice.

  10. Hi Suzanne, In response to your:

    ‘The Philodemus fragment which I have also looked at in facsimile seems to refer to powerful or sovereign lords. It could be reconstructed as either authentes or a participle of authentew. The noun authentes can also be used as an adjective, if you check. It is really a bit tenuous to hang the fate of women on this fragment, when we don’t even know for sure what the word was.’

    I am inclined to agree that one can’t hang too much on this text. My thought was to take one at a time, and do it in detail, until everything that is relevant is covered and each can make up his or her own mind on the basis of the evidence.

    Thanks for pointing out that αὐθέντης can serve as an adjective. In the two occurrences listed in Liddell and Scott, it is modifying a word for death or murder, and seems to mean ‘of one’s own kin’ or somesuch. So I don’t think there is any basis for suggesting that it could mean ‘powerful’ or ‘sovereign’ as an adjective.

    Wilshire gives an argument that there may be two quotes from Euripides in the Philodemus Fragment. Apparently αὐθένταισι appears in Euripides Fragment 645: ἢ παισὶν αὐθένταισι κοινωνῇ δόμων. Wilshire gives the meaning as ‘sharing the house with murdered children’. I don’t know if he is right – that would make αὐθένταισι mean murdered – which would give us ‘murdered lords’ in Philodemus!

    Here’s the fragment: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3myvzj5H9WVNVN5UWo1dUtDNlU/edit?usp=sharing

    Andrew

  11. In response to: ‘Jerome translated mashal in Gen 3:16, katakurieuw in 1 Peter 5:2 and authentew, all as dominari, something less than ideal, and not very nice.’

    Jerome also used dominor to translate rule of an ideal sort – eg ‘sed dominabitur Dominus’ – ‘(but) the LORD shall rule over you’ [Judges 8.23] – so I don’t think this argument is valid.

    And by the way משׁל isn’t bad in itself either – it seems to occur first in Genesis 1.18 of the sun and moon ruling over the day and over the night. In Genesis 24.2 it is used of Abraham’s servant having charge of all that he had; and it is used of Joseph governing Egypt (Gen 45.26); and of God’s rule over Israel in Judges 8.23 as above.

    Andrew

    • Andrew,

      I think I articulated this before. Authentew is sovereign rule. It is suitable for God over humans, a person over objects, and astronomical bodies. A king or emperor may rule in this way but God does not necessarily approve of this kind of rule.

      It is not suitable among Christians. An elder is not an emperor. No, i would not like to see this in the church, as the behavior of man or woman. Jesus said this in the gospels and Peter said it in 5:2. Luther described authority as “on behalf of” and not as “rule over.” Authentew does not mean “delegated and approved authority” it means “raw power.”

      Chrysostom said a man should never be a despot and tyrannize (authentew) his wife.

      • 23But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” Judges 8:23

        This says it all. It is a very bad thing to have a human rule over you. Such rule is a consequence and cause of sin, as we see in Gen. 3:16. But sinful humans asked for hierarchy. They wanted a king.

      • In reply to: ‘It is a very bad thing to have a human rule over you.’

        Romans 13.1,3-4: ‘Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. .. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.’

        God has given us rulers for our good, not for evil.

        Andrew

      • I have lots of Jewish friends whose parents were Holocaust survivors. I know several women, including myself, who have been in violent relationships in marriage or with their fathers, etc. Authority can very well be evil, very evil. It can be a legitimate cause for fear. Suffering under an evil authority is ubiquitous.

        This, i think, is the crux of our difference. How do you take a beating, frequent beatings, and say that authority is good. Who can live like that for a lifetime? Should we immolate ourselves, sacrifice our lives, live in a hellish situation, just because this verse says authority is good? Do we think the Jews were evil? Do we believe the routinely beaten wife was naughty? Do we think Africans die of starvation because they deserve it?

      • Dear Suzanne, I am sorry you have been violently treated by a man or men. That is very evil, and I know it is very common. No, I don’t believe that a woman has to stay in that situation – I read ἐὰν δὲ καὶ χωρισθῇ – ‘but even if she does separate herself’ – in 1 Corinthians 7.11 – as making provision for this sort of awful situation. For the record, I also believe that the laws we have concerning violence to the person must apply just as much in the home as on the street.

        Andrew

      • I do not believe that headship makes a man violent, but it does reinforce someone who already has that tendency, it also brainwashes women into believing that with submission, good behaviour and prayers, God will turn things around. She lives with this as well as avoiding the violence unleashed if she does get help, the shame of divorce, etc. Etc.

        If a woman submits she has just taught the abusive husband that tantrums and violence are an effective way to get what he wants and the situation escalates. To teach that women are supposed to submit in ways God does not require of a man is setting up a very dangerous situation for some couples. It can be a recipe for disaster. Much to pay for therapy for the children too. But the church does not offer to pay for therapy for trauma experienced due to the fact that they preach submission of women and never preach on what to do if your life is in danger.

        I have now completely left the complementarian milieu and feel enormous relief and am slowly moving towards having a normal life.

  12. Andrew,

    I do want to make a few general comments after reading your blog. You certainly have done a lot of research!

    First, Tim Keller and James Hurley have been quite convincing that “not to teach nor to exercise authority” means “not to have teaching authority.” I think complementarians are quite used to interpreting it this way. This is used by egalitarins and complementarians indiscriminately. Personally I feel that the meaning really depends on the meaning of authentew.

    Second, you say that all translations have “exercise authority.” I am not sure what you mean by this since the Vulgate had dominor, translated as “have lordship over” by Wycliff and Luther, and the Douay Version 1582 or thereabouts had “to have dominion over.” This is defined as sovereign control. Not something we have today, and much rebelled against by Americans.

    The Geneva Bible, Bishops Bible and the King James had “to usurp” authority. To suggest that this word meant normal leadership is very recent. For Erasmus usurpare meant grab, seize, take, and use. Naturally “use” does not seem so negative to us now but it probably was negative at the time. Erasmus said that the meaning was close to the Latin cogere, which means to compel.

    These men probably thought that women had no right ot authority and could not legitimately be given authority, but only had it because they grabbed it. The author of 1 Tim. most surely had interaction with women who rejected child-bearing and the social roles that went along.

    Other women in the NT may very well have been leaders, Phoebe, Lydia, Nympha, Chloe, etc. But I suspect that certain conditions helped them out. They may have been widows, independent business women, have inherited wealth or some such thing, and as older women with wealth and independence were certainly the heads of their household, and thus circumstantially able to be church leaders.

    I hope this helps somewhat. I am concerned that some people want to turn 1 Tim. 2:12 into the gospel instead of Luke 22 where Christ says that seeking power over should be so among those who follow him. We should seek the lower place not the higher. As a woman, I have only tried once to teach men Greek but as none of them had ever studied a langiage before and I was inexperienced at the time, it did not work out. Personally I have only ever sought out the equality and rights that were necessary to support my children, send them to college and pay for their therapy after leaving a conxervative environment. I do not seek to have lorship over men, but I would like, in my dreams, to be treated as an equal.

    • 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

      26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

      Luke 22

    • Thanks, Suzanne. First of all, I try to be careful with facts so am a bit alarmed if I said somewhere that ‘all translations have “exercise authority.”’. Did I really say that on my wife and I’s blog – or somewhere else? Where exactly was it? Andrew

    • In reply to: ‘First, Tim Keller and James Hurley have been quite convincing that “not to teach nor to exercise authority” means “not to have teaching authority.” I think complementarians are quite used to interpreting it this way. This is used by egalitarins and complementarians indiscriminately.’

      Yes, that to me is the main problem that we face with 1 Tim 2.12 – that both camps have lost the ability to read the text in a normal way. Why should οὐδέ function in a previously unknown way in 1 Timothy 2.12, when in the other 100,000 odd cases in the TLG it functions as an additive negative connective? It’s especially straightforward when it is coordinating two terms of the same type as here – ie two infinitives/infinitive phrases. This was my first stab at explaining it, as you may have seen: http://womeninthechurch.co.uk/2014/02/07/meaning-%CE%BF%E1%BD%90%CE%B4%CE%AD-1-timothy-212-2/. Then there’s a thread here with participation by others who know Greek better than me; apart from me, all the ones who have given an opinion are egalitarian on this issue, but all agree that there are two distinct prohibitions: http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=60810. See for example the first post on the thread by Mark Lightman.

      Andrew

      • I don’t disagree with you and Andreas Kostenberger has written extensively on this. But what difference does it make. It still says that women must not control or coerce men. Its still negative because nobody in 10 years has ever shown me an occurrence that was positive.

      • Now I have read your links and I want to affirm that I do believe KJV is closest to the original. So why bother analysing oude? We don’t want usurpers in the church, men or women. I have read through Lancelot Andrews sermons and he considered a “usurper” to be a traitor against the throne and punishable by death. He was the general editor of the KJV. I don’t think you can redeem a “smelly” 🙂 verb like authentew and pretend it means exousia.

      • With reference to: ‘But what difference does it make.’ and ‘So why bother analysing oude?’

        Hi Suzanne, οὐδέ shouldn’t need analyzing; as you know it’s a simple additive connective, meaning ‘and not’, ‘nor’. But then the idea was put around that there is only one idea in 1 Timothy 2.12a-b, so that instead of:

        I do not permit a woman to teach nor to αὐθεντειν a man

        We have either:

        I do not permit a woman to teach in an authoritative way (tendency amongst complementarians)

        or:

        I do not permit a woman to teach in a domineering way (some egalitarians)

        The first effectively prevents women from participating in at least some pulpit teaching ministry (eg Romans, beginning to end, etc); the second doesn’t, because when did you ever hear anyone say after a sermon – ‘wow, that was rather domineering’, wasn’t it?

        I don’t agree with Kostenberger that there is any ‘syntactical rule’ that οὐδέ has to join either two terms that are ‘positive in themselves’, or two negative terms. That would be a semantic rule, not a syntactical one, as far as I can see. οὐδέ can join just about any negative to a previous negative – except when there’s a strong contrast, in which case it’s αλλ ου. And in fact there can be an element of contrast, that’s in the nature of δέ, that it tends to introduce something new and distinct, so οὐδέ handles that easily. Ellicott suggests translating with ‘nor yet’, when the two terms don’t run together so easily. In fact, interestingly, he uses ‘nor yet’ for this scripture.

        But I do agree with Kostenberger in part, because the two terms – and in 1 Tim 2.12 the important third term as well – need to cohere reasonably well. ‘I don’t like apples or oranges, but I do like bananas’ makes more sense than ‘I don’t like apples or reggae music, but I do like bananas’, but there’s nothing at all wrong with the latter syntactically.

        Andrew

  13. I may have misunderstood but here is what you say using the phrase “all translations.”

    http://womeninthechurch.co.uk/2014/02/18/philip-payne-οὐδέ-galatians-1-vv-16-17/

    “As I showed in my previous post on the subject, οὐδέ serves, when employed after a previous negative, to add another one. According to the lexicons it means ‘and not, nor’. So in 1 Timothy 2:12, we have:

    διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω (I do not permit a woman to teach)

    οὐδέ (nor)

    αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός (to exercise authority over a man)..

    as all the translations have it.”

    Now I perceive that maybe you were referring to the translation of oude an not to exercize authority. I have read the literature on oude, but it is a case of both sides against the middle. Complementarians like Tim and Kathy Keller and many, many more complementarians use the expression “teaching authority.”

    Somewhere on your cite you should reveal that there are two different views on authentein and you have freely chosen on interpretation. I believe it is something like a hapax, and doctrine should not be built on such difficult readings. We don’t believe that every woman has to have a baby. We should not believe that no woman should ever teach a man.

    • ‘Now I perceive that maybe you were referring to the translation of oude and not to exercize authority.’

      Thanks a lot for pointing out the potential ambiguity. I’ve changed it. Andrew

  14. I think oude is a sideshow to distract from the unsuitability of the verb authentew. Not a domineering sermon but a sermon given by a woman when a man had already been assigned to the task. But much of the world was evangelized and taught by single Christian women. They ere not usurping anyone.

    In Northern BC, Monica Storrs travelled on horseback from farm to farm and ,church to church in the absence of any male clergy. When a town could afford a male clergy she was turned away and attendance dropped. Then came the caravanners, two women, one trained in mechanics and another in preaching, crossing rough roads in the north.

    Later Berenice Gerard, an orphan, saved at a crusade run by two women became a preacher herself and preaching all over NA, and Europe, she founded 200 churches. She came back to Vancouver as a pastor, TV Bible teacher, and town councillor. In 2000 she was recognized in the press as the most influential religious personality in the 20th century in BC.

    There would be generations of the unchurched without women.

    In Israel also, the greatest Bible teacher and exegete, professor, distance educator and radio Bible Teacher of the 20th century was Nahama Leibovitz.
    These women were all conservative and orthodox in their beliefs.

    It is important to realize that nations havr honoured women as the most influntial Christian preachers, among both men and women. The reputation and approval of society is important in church leadership. We recognize that when a church leader misbehaves. What a shame. But people are impressed by the dogged comitment of faithful women. Look at Annie Graham
    Lotz, much disrespected by some men in the church but otherwise of a good reputation.

    Women are called not “to have dominion over men” but to work in cooperation with men, or to go where men will not go, or at least, have not gone.

    • The first thing is to establish what the text says. I don’t think it’s right to try to establish the meaning of a Greek text from segments of church history. We need to face what Paul actually said, and deal with it, and repent if our current practice is not in line with the word of God.

      With regard to the wonderful women of God who have served him fruitfully over the centuries in many different capacities, and evident blessing on their ministries in many cases, I have written something about this here: http://womeninthechurch.co.uk/2014/01/28/but-what-about/. I differ from Grudem and Piper on this, I think, in at least one respect, that I see no objection to public evangelistic preaching by women. I think the prohibition on teaching refers to the church – see 1 Tim 3.15: ‘that you know how to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God’.

      Blessings, Andrew

      • I was responding to some things your wife wrote on the your site, the narrowness of the path for woman, etc. I too was raised Brethren. Brethren women can go to t he jungle and translate the Bible but when they come home they can’t desecrate the sanctuary with their voice. They can preach outside but not inside. If a woman speaks in a mixed adult group the men may walk away. Or turn their backs.

        I too am interested in the text but you display little interest in the meaning of authentew. I read all the commentaries on your site, and notice they say it means to have lordship or dominion. They soften it a little from usurp without clear evidence. But is that how one Christian is to treat another? What about Luke 22.

        On the meaning of usurp, look at the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes on usurp? 96 sermons, book 4 a sermon on the Gowries.

        http://books.google.ca/books?id=4qcmAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=Usurped&f=false

        Search for usurping, usurpers, usurped, to get the idea.

        Have lordship over or usurp, neither are appropriate for church leaders.

      • I am very interested in the meaning of αὐθεντέω indeed, but am working on a response to Payne’s οὐδέ paper, so can only spend a little time on it. I have in mind to go through the 8 pieces of early-ish evidence for the verb, one by one. I have asked for help at B-Greek on the παισιν αυθενταισιν text on B-Greek, but haven’t had a response as yet.

        I’ll pass that on to Alison. Thanks for taking an interest in what we have to say.

        Let’s have a look at the Aristonicus one, which I have the impression you take little account of:

        ‘(694.) ὅτι ἐξ ἄλλων τόπων ἐστὶν ὁ στίχος· νῦν γὰρ οὐχ
        ἁρμόζει· τότε γὰρ εἴωθεν ἐπιφωνεῖσθαι, ὅταν ὁ αὐθεντῶν
        τοῦ λόγου καταπληκτικά τινα προενέγκηται.

        Here αὐθεντέω takes the genitive of a thing, and is not negative. It seems to mean something like ‘carrying out’, but perhaps with the thought of ‘having responsibility for’ in there as well.

        Andrew

  15. I found my notes from 2008 and they have the same 8 occurrences for authentein as you have. Here is what I jotted down for Aristonicus.

    3) Aristonicus Alexandrinus – Wolters suggests “doer” and “speaker.” Belleville offers “author” and Baldwin to “instigate.”

    My concern is that this reflects the relationship between the speaker or author and the word, but not a relationship between one person and another person or set of people. I asked Wolters to provide just one occurrence of authentew in the first 4 centuries that was for one person over another and was positive and he couldn’t.

    I now see why you are interested in oude. Of course, it is be technically interesting, but for me it wasn’t an issue, one way or the other, nor have I read Payne’s book.

    For me, I have now left complementarianism forever. I spent many years single and eventually remarried to a man who had never heard of headship and we could not be happier or more peaceful. But I have great sympathy for those caught up in it. It was, in spite of the abuse, extremely difficult for me to leave. I felt it was my fault for sinning and not being submissive enough. But finally, with great difficulty, i realized it was all wrong and left. But it is not so easy for a woman to go to the police. The minister never preaches sermons on that – only on submission. It felt like I was brainwashed to stay and pray, but all for no benefit, no improvement in the circumstances. And finally I realized that submission is not the answer, action is. It was like turning on a light in a dark room, a brilliant conversion experience to reality. So now, I have only a technical interest. I did enjoy reading your commentary excerpts.

      • Hi Suzanne, sorry again about your awful experience. Do you have any evidence for a link between belief in male headship and violence in the home? I came across an article in CBMW News, citing research which suggested the opposite to be the case. I did read the paper [Dutton – Patriarchy and Wife Assault: The ecological fallacy – google brings it up], and as I remember it did give evidence in that direction (against a link), if hardly conclusive, as one would expect in the nature of the case. With all respect, I don’t think it’s right or fair to say that belief in the biblical doctrine of male headship is a source of evil. The devil can twist anything to evil, can he not?

        How do you think the connection occurs? Presumably a husband could say to his wife – you must do what I say, because the bible says so – and then say well if you don’t I am going to force you to, with violence if necessary. But there is no biblical basis whatever for the husband to force his wife to submit to him. It’s entirely voluntary on the part of the wife. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church – and He keeps on loving us even when we don’t obey Him as we should.

        Andrew

      • I have fallen behind. But first I read Dutton 20 years ago when he was going through abuse himself by a woman and his career was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt elsewhere. So he has good cause to complain. As for the article you refer to –

        1. “Hence, patriarchy does not elicit violence against women in any direct fashion. Rather, it provides the values and attitudes that personality-disordered men can exploit to justify their abuse of women. This distinction is an important one: it explains why the majority of men remain non-violent and how they differ in at least one essential and non-tautological aspect from violent men.”

        I agree. Patriarchy will not make a non-violent man violent. Patriarchy reinforces the violence that does exist by giving men a sense of entitlement to have their own way. It teaches that they can make the decisions. But most of all, Christian patriarchy teaches the submission of women,
        -that women should not seek divorce for anything other than adultery
        -that prayer and faith can make a violent man non-violent, never give up hope
        -that wives provoke violence by lack of submission and submitting will reduce violence
        – in addition, many women are not financially equipped to leave
        -they fear social exclusion for themselves and their children
        -they don’t want the minister to tell them they are weak and foolish for staying, fear of this is what kept them quiet in the first place
        -being a victim of violence is a complex situation
        – submitting certainly increases the by teacher the abuse that the violence was useful and got submission.

        2. “Also, many men who have been convicted of wife assault do not generally feel that what they did was acceptable. (Dutton, 1986; Dutton & Hemphill, 1992). Instead they feel guilty, deny and minimize the violence, and try to exculpate themselves in the manner of one whose actions are unacceptable to oneself. The sociological view of violence as normal would lead us to expect the opposite: that no guilt and evasion would follow from “normal” behavior.”

        Who cares what they think. It is how they behave that is worrisome.

        3. This one blows my mind.

        “While 25% of men may approve of slapping a wife, fewer may approve of punching or kicking a wife and still fewer may approve of beating or battering a wife.”

        An open handed slap can knock a woman on the ground
        A man can stand in the doorway and not let you out.
        He can break the lock on the bathroom door.
        He can rant, steal keys, wallet, etc.
        His superior strength and canniness can enable him to not leave bruises in visible places, and not cause hospital visits. But nonetheless he can establish absolute control and fear with slaps and threats.

        A perfectly gentle and nice complementarian may never display any of this violent behaviour. I am quite aware of that. But the books that tell a woman to submit, to never divorce, to pray their husband out of violence, those books should be removed from circulation, because of the severe harm experienced by some women.

        If only women could teach men something about the slavery of submission, and how terrible it feels, but women must be silent in the church. Women can teach women, that’s okay. And non-believers. And street people. And non western Europeans, but not men like the men who write to enforce the silencing of women. As you see, I was truly brought up Brethren, and when I was young it seemed to me a gentle religion, and gave my mother a role at the head of the table at home and my father the role of church leader and elder. But now the man is to rule in the church and home. That is too much for me.

      • “– submitting certainly increases the by teacher the abuse that the violence was useful and got submission.”

        Spell check got me on this. It should be –

        – submitting certainly increases the by teaching the abuser that the violence was useful and got submission.

        Violence is rewarded and reinforced by submission.

      • It seems to me that violent men are just as likely, if not more so, to be violent in an egalitarian household as in one where the husband is the head of the home and his wife submits to him according to the bible, in the making of decisions etc. God’s order will tend to bring blessing and peace, will it not?

        Yes, I tend to think that the best response to violence in the home is first to get out of the situation. This may involve Christian families being willing to take the victim into their home and care for them, and this should be encouraged, even though it may be costly.

        Andrew

      • “God’s order will tend to bring blessing and peace, will it not?”

        Not that I have ever seen!

        It is well known that in patriarchal states in the US, the wife killing is much higher. In all of the East, women are more vulnerable. Patriarchy does not protect women in non-Christian environments and I don’t find the stats much different among Christians. The difference in the west is that civic law protects women now, in the last few years from wife beating and marital rape. But it wasn’t always so.

        In my experience and with many women I know, the submission of a wife in an even slightly abusive situation, spins out of control. “God’s order” as you put it encourages the violent man rather than the opposite.

        It is not at all pleasant to live in someone else’s home as a failed submissive wife. It is the low life all around. I was able to work full time as a teacher, and support my kids. THe whole thing is humiliating, and the lifetime of violence is sickening. I know women who are regularly battered until they get Alzheimers, which makes things worse because the elderly and disabled are also very vulnerable to abuse.

        I don’t know any men who would put up with someone else making personal decisions for them about exiting and entering the house, voting, taking care of the children, what time to leave for work, what books to not read, basically just interfere every second that they are in a bad mood. Even if not hit, it is a very miserable life, and on top of that, to never experience fulfilment, having to turn down offers to enter a Ph. D. program, always having your own interests cut off.

        I cannot think of one thing about this life that is blessed or peaceful.

        It is true that egalitarian men can be abusive but the wives are in better shape to make their own decisions, to earn a living, to not have to live in somebody else’s basement as the “poor divorcée.”

        My egalitarian marriage now is completely peaceful, and blessed, and a real testimony that one can find peace and happiness in the later years of ones life, when when there is not so much time left. People come over to us, in cafés and say that we look so “cute and happy” as if older people can’t have that! We are a real witness to happiness and peace in marriage.

        Anyway, among the complementarian leaders I know, there are some alcoholic wives, wives who won’t attend church with their husband. Wives who run the Sunday School, never attend a sermon, and who are the ultimate bosses in the home while the husband plays video games. I have seen the inside and it is no better than among any other random couples.

        I was in a summer theology program not long ago with a couple of complementarian theologians and one quite well known egalitarian theologian. Only the egalitarian wife was there, always watching her husband, as she was worried about his health, and everyone knows that they are in a very happy marriage. YOu can see it. No one ever comes up to me and tells me that some complementarian couple are in a happy marriage. I am sure some of them must be but nobody has ever remarked on that to me. It doesn’t stand out as noticeable.

      • In reply to: ‘It is well known that in patriarchal states in the US, the wife killing is much higher. In all of the East, women are more vulnerable. Patriarchy does not protect women in non-Christian environments and I don’t find the stats much different among Christians.’

        This is what Dutton says:

        Dutton, p.171: ‘If feminist analysis is correct, we should expect greater violence directed toward women in more patriarchal cultures. However, this prediction is not supported. Sorenson and Telles (1991), for example, found that a Mexican-born Hispanic sample (n = 705) reported wife assault rates that were about half the rate reported by a sample (n = 1,149) of non-Hispanic whites, despite Hispanic cultures being generally more patriarchal than American culture (Davis, 1992).’

        I haven’t read other studies. It’s very hard to tell otherwise, ie apart from scientific studies with the proper methods to avoid bias one way or the other. How does one know what goes on within the four walls of individual homes? I had a very kind and gentle and atheist father who never raised his voice against any of us, let alone his hands.

        I like what C S Lewis had to say about male headship in marriage: http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/apologetics/mere-christianity/Mere-Christianity.pdf pp.52-53.

        Andrew

    • Re: Aristonicus – ὁ αὐθεντῶν τοῦ λόγου. You said: ‘My concern is that this reflects the relationship between the speaker or author and the word, but not a relationship between one person and another person or set of people.’

      I think you are making a mistake in trying to go direct to 1 Timothy 2.12. None of the cases correspond exactly to that text. BGU 1208 has προς with the accusative. There isn’t anything else with a person. It’s better to build up a picture of the range of the verb first from all the evidence, and only then come to the text.

      The Aristonicus text shows us that there is not necessarily anything bad inherent in the word – he wasn’t abusing or domineering or usurping authority over the word. It is also interesting that it seems to have a very similar meaning to ἡγέομαι in Acts 14.12:

      ἐκάλουν τε τὸν Βαρναβᾶν Δία, τὸν δὲ Παῦλον Ἑρμῆν, ἐπειδὴ αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου.

      ‘And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was [c]the chief speaker.’ [NASB note; lit. ‘the leader of the speaking’] – or even more literally, he was the one leading the speaking. This is almost the same sense as in Aristonicus: Achilles was the one doing the speaking.

      Concerning BGU 1208:

      κἀμοῦ(*) αὐθεντηκότος πρὸς αὐτὸν περιποιῆσαι Καλατύτει τῶι ναυτικῶι ἐπὶ τῷ αὐτῶι φόρωι ἐν τῆι ὥραι ἐπεχώρησεν.

      1) The author uses the word of himself, what he did, so it’s unlikely to be really bad.
      2) The other man ‘yielded, gave way’. ἐπιχωρέω
      3) Without a translation of the whole piece, it’s hard to give an opinion. Payne says he assumed authority over another man’s slave, and was writing to the owner to apologise for doing so. Baldwin says he was the landowner and so already had the requisite authority.

      Andrew

  16. I certainly read and understood all the previous evidence before reading Aristonicus, as I remember it.

    ‘And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was [c]the chief speaker.’ [NASB note; lit. ‘the leader of the speaking’] – or even more literally, he was the one leading the speaking. This is almost the same sense as in Aristonicus: Achilles was the one doing the speaking.

    I disagree with this. The speaker of the word is the performer of his speech and it does not reveal his relationship to other people.

    Another example by Wolters, he recently wrote an article on it, says that a man, a slave, was the master in skill. “One who is superior to others in his trade, yet earns nothing.” The article is in ETS 2011, December

    To be the master of a trade, is like the way I try to master sudoku, or Greek verb tenses, or some other activity. But it does not mean that just because someone else can master Sudoku better than me, they master me, or control me. They simply outrate me in some way that does not affect my own participation in the game.

    It is appropriate for God to control people, for the earth to control the moon, for the moon to control the night, for any of us to control an activity, for a slave owner to control his slaves, or an employer to coerce the resolution of a bad deal. But it is not okay for one Christian to control another, as is clearly stated in Luke 22.

    • ‘Another example by Wolters, he recently wrote an article on it, says that a man, a slave, was the master in skill. “One who is superior to others in his trade, yet earns nothing.” ‘

      This also backs up one point I was making from Aristonicus, since here also αὐθεντέω does not mean ‘usurp authority’, nor ‘domineer over’. Naturally, it can’t be transferred directly to a case where a person is the object of the verb, rather than a trade.

      Andrew

      • Here I would say that authentew means “master” or “control.” Not a nice way for one Christian to think of another.

      • I have dug up Wolter’s new (2011 JETS 54.4) article on the instance in the Methodus Mystica which you mention. (google Wolters early parallel) It is listed as Cat. Cod. Astr. Gr. VIII I, p.177 in BDAG etc. Knight thought it was 15th century, which is why it was missed. Looks like it is a genuine early case, so far as I can see. It is an astrological text, about the influence on the planets on people. 7 types are described – here starting from no. 5.

        .. ἐὰν δὲ ἐν ὁρίοις Ἄρεως, σημαίνει ἀπὸ πυρὸς ἢ σιδήρου ἐργαζόμενον· ἐὰν δὲ ἐν ὁρίοις Κρόνου, ἀπὸ κλοπῆς ἢ παρύγρων φροντιστήν, ἀγαθοποιῶν δὲ τετραγωνιζόντων, τὸν τοὐτων αὐθεντοῦντα ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ καὶ μηδὲν κτώμενον.

        I have changed πάντων back to τούτων. I agree with Wolters that it is a mistake to change it. So then we have, adjusting Schmidt’s translation in accordance with the correction of the text:

        ‘.. and if it is in the bounds of Ares, it signifies one who works with fire or iron; and if in the bounds of Kronos, a fence or one who takes care of seaside business; but when benefics are squaring, one (who is master of) [αὐθεντοῦντα] these (τούτων) in an art but gains nothing.’

        Wolters has to be right that τούτων has to be the other types of men just mentioned who come under the other forms of astrological influence – and in particular the other three who are also craftsmen (two of them) or other business/tradesmen (the fence). The sense isn’t that easy, which is no doubt why the editor changed the text.

        I also think Wolters is probably right that the meaning is that the seventh man is better than (‘master of’) the others in skill, but isn’t prospering.

        He is not usurping authority over them, nor is he domineering over them, since they are in different occupations and there is no reason to think they would be interacting at all. Apparently, he is better than them at what he does. Clearly, this meaning can’t be transferred directly to 1 Timothy 2.12 – ‘I do not permit a woman to better at her trade than a man is at his trade’. But the text helps to build up a picture of the word. I am still inclined to stay fairly close to a denominative sense: be, act, or perhaps become the master of something or someone.

        Andrew

      • Since Wolters speculates he is a slave, and is the master in trade superior to others over whom he has no authority, it cannot be said to demonstrate ‘exercise authority over.”

      • ‘Since Wolters speculates he is a slave, and is the master in trade superior to others over whom he has no authority, it cannot be said to demonstrate ‘exercise authority over.”’ Agreed, except in so far as it might provide backing for ‘be master of’, and ‘be master of’, in a different context, might be quite close to ‘exercise authority over’.

        Andrew

      • ‘In response to your Sept. 22 comment on Wolters, who do you think the slave is the master of. I have lost your train of thought.’

        As I understand it, the man in the seventh category is master of the men in the 4th-6th categories, in skill. I think this is Wolter’s suggestion. He expresses it as: “the one who is superior to these [that is, the foregoing workers] in his occupation, and yet earns nothing.” [p.679] I don’t think he is quite suggesting that αὐθεντέω can mean ‘be superior to’. It’s like saying ‘he’s my master at chess’ – which is pretty much the same as saying that he is better than me at it.

        Andrew

      • Hi Simon,

        I don’t think so; it’s quite uncertain what the exact meaning is here – more difficult than 1 Timothy 2.12, where the meaning is fairly obvious because of the reference to the woman being ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ in the previous verse – and because the natural denominative meaning from αὐθέντης makes perfect sense. But do you?

        Andrew

  17. “This also backs up one point I was making from Aristonicus, since here also αὐθεντέω does not mean ‘usurp authority’, nor ‘domineer over’. Naturally, it can’t be transferred directly to a case where a person is the object of the verb, rather than a trade.”

    Yes, I agree that the two examples are similar but I am personally not in favour of treating people like things, and I would not respect a religion like that. Slaves were treated as things, and often enough employees, but Christians are not to do that.

    I feel sad that you don’t see the dilemma women have been in and their powerlessness when church doctrine tells them to be obedient to their husbands, who may be wonderful, and maybe not. Maybe they are just selfish and unobservant. So a women loses that chance to experience a normal life, just for that.

    • I just want to add that you seem like a very thoughtful scholar and attentive to detail. I find your comments are always observant and adding to my knowledge of some citations.

      But all in all, I see the examples leading in a direction which treats the object of the verb as a thing, as an object, not of love, but of control and I don’t think of that as giving positive testimony to Christ.

      I think egalitarian couples do not actually experience difficulty in decision making, we certainly don’t. and this is a positive testimony to love and cooperation, a good testimony for the church.

      • In reply to: ‘I just want to add that you seem like a very thoughtful scholar and attentive to detail. I find your comments are always observant and adding to my knowledge of some citations.

        But all in all, I see the examples leading in a direction which treats the object of the verb as a thing, as an object, not of love, but of control and I don’t think of that as giving positive testimony to Christ.’

        Thank you for the kind words. But then you say that the examples don’t give a positive testimony to Christ, which is unkind, because all I am doing is going through the examples there are. I am not even selecting them out of a larger sample – these are the only ones there are!!

        As I said before, I am first trying to find out what the word αὐθεντέω means. When all the information is in, then one can try to determine what αὐθεντεῖν means in context in 1 Timothy 2.12.

        Andrew

      • Yes, there are many reasons a wife will not leave. She has not been taught that she may have to be the provider and head of her household, and be ostracized by her friends, asked to reconcile, either hide or be at risk from escalating behaviour by her abuser, and so on. Women are not overall weak, but victimized wives are in a very difficult position. They must recognize the wrongness of submission to a sinful husband, and all husbands are somewhat sinful. Most women never leave. I have never once heard a sermon for wives on how to escape physical abuse.

        I used to think that a woman would not go to her pastor, or should not unless there would be a police escort for her to get away. I have read exhortations for wronged wives to confront their abuser – what a crazy idea. Abused women gave a set of rules, never ever walk around the house without house keys and cellphone, do not stand near the top of the stairs. Try to not be alone in the house with him. If the kids are out, you need to be out yourself. Have a credit card and enough money to get a flight out of town. Those are the priorities in life.

        I asked our minister’s wife for a book on abuse “for a friend” and she said that she had none because there were no abused wives in our church, even though there were a thousand people attending. This problem was never mentioned, only the problem of wives disrespecting their husbands. Anyway my husband explained to me in detail what would happen if I ever talked to our pastor in private. Reconstructive surgery would be required.

        I really don’t think you understand what it means to live like this. You spend so much time in Greek (well so do I) but never think of women as people like you who want the same basic human rights and freedoms.

        No it is not easy to get an indoctrinated woman to go to the police, and start out on a single life. But who indoctrinated her?

      • In reply to ‘They must recognize the wrongness of submission to a sinful husband, and all husbands are somewhat sinful.’

        Suzanne, that sounds like you don’t believe that wives should submit to their husbands (since none are without sin). But they bible says they must, in everything, does it not?

        Andrew

      • The Bible also says slaves are to obey their masters, and subjects their monarchs. But the British govt. Promised freedom and swampland, as it turned out, to slaves if they joined the British against the American rebels. And the American rebels founded their nation, so they say, on biblical principles, while defying their monarch.

        These are strong precedents for masters, kings, and husbands can be kind or cruel at a whim.

    • ‘I feel sad that you don’t see the dilemma women have been in and their powerlessness when church doctrine tells them to be obedient to their husbands, who may be wonderful, and maybe not. Maybe they are just selfish and unobservant. So a women loses that chance to experience a normal life, just for that.’

      First of all, I don’t see it as church doctrine so much as bible doctrine. The scriptures seem clear to me on this. I don’t know why you think I see or don’t see the difficulties women face when married to an evil or ungodly man. I am an evangelical in the sense that I submit myself to the authority of scripture. I see 1 Peter 3 as giving wise counsel for women in these situations. I don’t think a woman has to stay in the home if she is being hit by her husband. I think he should be arrested and punished.

      Andrew

      • But the church does not teach a woman how to leave. It is very complicated. The violence is escalated at this point. He will chase her down. It is psychologically very difficult to live a life of submission, never being responsible for your own decisions and then one day, take on, earning, seeking an apt. A completely new social life, facing family. If the wife leaves, most people blame her, no matter what.

        1 Peter tells a slave to stay even if he is beaten for doing what is right, he is like Christ on the cross. An abused woman is like Christ on the cross but nobody will take her down from that cross.

        An abusive husband does not look like an evil or ungodly man. He goes to church, Bible study, he is part of a church committee, he volunteers for things and is a professional in the community. He provides for his family and does not drink or gamble. When the wife leaves, his friends get together with him to pray for the wife to reconcile. The wife has to leave her church, and she is blamed for taking the kids away from their loving father. The wife goes into hiding like a criminal. Just the way it often goes.

      • In the case we are most familiar with, the wife has told more than one pastor about the abuse she is suffering but sworn them to secrecy about it, so it’s difficult for them to act. I am inclined to think that perhaps more could be done in this case, but it certainly isn’t easy.

        Andrew

  18. As I said before, I am first trying to find out what the word αὐθεντέω means. When all the information is in, then one can try to determine what αὐθεντεῖν means in context in 1 Timothy 2.12.

    I read all these articles and studied the examples through email with Wolters and other scholars, but they never had a definitive answer. Women can’t shut down their agency on spec. Wondering if in some future century more facts will come to light.

    • In the context of 1 Timothy 2.12, there are strong pointers to which part of the possible range of meaning for αὐθεντέω is most appropriate. It seems to be something opposite to the injunction to submission in verse 11; and it is allied with a prohibition on teaching in verse 12. There remains no reasonable doubt about what sort of meaning it must have. As for the exact nuance, I am happy to continue going through the various cases we have one by one.

      Andrew

  19. I was not aware that we had established the possible range for authentew. If we have “no doubt” then you must know and have evidence for your conclusion. We can of course continue with the occurrences of authentew, and then summarize. That would be fine with me.

    Suzanne

    • In reply to: ‘If we have “no doubt” then you must know and have evidence for your conclusion.’

      I learned Greek with a retired liberal Anglican minister. He thought it was entirely obvious what Paul was saying in 1 Timothy 2.11-12, and he didn’t like it and didn’t believe the church was required to follow the apostolic instructions. On the interesting discussion on the Philodemus text at http://ww.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=62287&sid=08feb81ec32876fcbebb8ae7521504c9, ‘mwh’, who is Professor Emeritus of Classics (and a papyrologist by the way) at a top-notch university in the US, suggested (24th Sep) ‘exercising authority’ for the likely meaning in Philodemus, and then said:

      ‘But there can’t be much doubt that by Philodemus’ time αυθεντεῖν could mean “exercise authority” or the like. .. Anyhow, I incline to the simpler reading, which .. gives αυθεντεῖν (if in fact this is the verb) the same meaning it self-evidently has in Paul.’

      Note the ‘self-evidently’. He himself hasn’t got much time for Paul, I gather, from something else he said (unless I misunderstood him). But it is obvious to him what Paul is saying.

      Meanwhile, I would be glad to discuss the various cases. I just found out about the Herculaneum papyri – amazing story.

      Andrew

      • I think your friend misread the summary of the Philodemus fragment. The normal translation is considered to be “powerful lords.” Revisit that one. His dislike for Paul may have affected his assumption. Reread the summary by Hubbel and refresh you memory. What do you think is the English for “sun authentousin anaxin” or do you wish to emend the reconstruction.

        http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2007/09/authority-part-3-fragment-and.html

        I think peoples eyes just blur at the square brackets and they glom onto a phrase near the end of Hubell’s paraphrase. Classics profs sometimes refuse altogether to translate 1 Timothy because of other grammatical and logical irregularities.

        Demonstrate to me the connection between “sun authentousin anaxin” or its emendment, and “exercizing authority” in the paraphrase, and why we should want a Homeric style of leadership anyway. How many brave girls and women lay down their necks peacefully for their nations honour. Let’s celebrate that.

      • There are, in fact, many things in the Bible we do follow or believe, and some we reconstruct and others we ignore.

        1 obey rulers because they are for your good – many are not
        2 be glad when as a slave you are punished for doing a good thing – in this you imitate Christ’s suffering in the cross
        3 being anointed with oil with prayers if faith will heal you
        4 praying for an abusive husband will change him
        5 hold all your goods in common
        6 handle snakes, interpret for those who speak in tongues, raise people from the dead
        7 everyone, not only men, are to be providers, if able

        Why ask women to live a life of self blame, doubt, submissiveness, anxiety, waiting and hoping for someting better, all of this because men persistently seek to reinforce relations which give them privileges in the matter of self-will. Men seek to be first, this is against the scripture. Women seek to be responsible, to provide, to make wise decisions for their children, to exercize very normal human rights, and are made to stumble at every turn by men. Let men equally submit, let it be mutual, the seeking of peace and of each others happiness. If the wife wants equal say in finances it may be because she cares to protect her family, not because she is in rebellion against “order.”

      • In reply to ‘There are, in fact, many things in the Bible we do follow or believe, and some we reconstruct and others we ignore.’ and your list of seven matters which you seem to suggest we tend to ignore/disagree with.

        1) Obey rulers etc. There are biblical precedents for not obeying rulers when they tell us to disobey the laws of God. Daniel praying (ch.6) comes to mind, and the apostles preaching (Acts 4.18-20, 5.40-42). It seems to me that this must cover all similar cases – eg when your employer tells you to tell a lie, or again, if your husband tells you to tell a lie, or forbids you to attend the assembly of the saints – (Hebrews 10.26).

        2) ‘ be glad when as a slave you are punished for doing a good thing’. I haven’t found ‘be glad’, but πασχοντες ὑπομενεῖτε – ‘while suffering, endure’. [1 Peter 2.20]

        3) ‘being anointed with oil with prayers if [sic. of?] faith will heal you’. I believe that.

        4) ‘praying for an abusive husband will change him’. I am not sure this is in the bible. Were you thinking of 1 Peter 3.1-2? Claim the promises of God. But leave if you are being hit, I would say, and keep praying for him. If he has abandoned the marriage covenant and taken another woman, I believe you are free.

        5) ‘hold all your goods in common’. This isn’t in the bible as a command. It occurred in the glorious early days of the church. May it come again.

        6) ‘handle snakes, interpret for those who speak in tongues, raise people from the dead’ Yes to all three, but obviously one is not to go looking for snakes to handle.

        7) ‘everyone, not only men, are to be providers, if able’. [1 Timothy 5.8] There seem to be two exhortations to the younger women to a) rule their household (1 Timothy 5.14 – obviously this wouldn’t include ruling their husband) b) to work at home (οἰκουργός), or possibly keepers of the house (οἰκουρός) [Titus 2.5]. Phoebe certainly didn’t stay at home, and neither did the women with Jesus, nor others who might be mentioned.

        Andrew

      • 1 Peter 2:20

        “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”

        Or “this is commendable.”

        We no longer believe it is commendable to remain silent and suffer abuse, but they did then – sometimes. However, Paul drew attention to his Roman citizenship. Are women more like slaves or citizens?

        You can’t think that a wife goes along with verbal abuse, submitting and then out of the blue comes physical abuse, and she knows now is the time to pack. As she leaves, this is statistically the most dangerous and violent time in the relationship. She needs to learn assertiveness long before she is abused.

        And, out of curiosity, what illness were you cured of?

  20. Hi Suzanne, there’s definitely no connection between „σὺν αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν ἄν[αξιν]“ and Hubbell’s ‘the one in authority’. That was a blunder, and it’s surprising that it should still be in Kostenberger and Schreiner’s Women in the Church 2nd ed. mwh certainly wasn’t getting his ‘”exercise authority” or the like’ from there.

    Still working on the Philodemus text. Perhaps the central question about the phrase is: is it a quotation? In favour is ἄν[αξιν], which is Homeric in style, and the fact that it fits and scans as the second part of a hexameter (apparently it was normal to have the break (the caesura) one syllable before the half-way point, so σὺν would fit as that final syllable, and the rest as the three final feet).

    [„δει]νοῖς ἔρωσι το[ξ]ευομένων“ has to be a reference to ἡ γὰρ τυραννὶς πάντοθεν τοξεύεται δεινοῖς ἔρωσιν [Euripides Fr 850] – for rule/despotic rule is aimed at with strong desires or lusts.

    So it would make sense if ‘those who are being aimed at with strong desires’ are rulers/despotic rulers.

    Here is the text again, as Sudhaus has it:

    Ἀλλ` εἰ δε[ῖ τἀληθῆ κα[ὶ γι]νόμενα [λέγειν, οἱ ῥ[ήτ]ορες καὶ μ[εγάλα βλάπτ[ουσι] πολλοὺς [καὶ μεγάλους καὶ περὶ τῶν [„δει]νοῖς ἔρωσι το[ξ]ευομένων“ πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιφαν[εστάτους ἐκάστοτε διαμάχονται

    ‘But to tell the truth and the actualities, the rhetoricians also do great harm to man great men, and (with reference to Eurides’ saying ἡ γὰρ τυραννὶς πάντοθεν τοξεύεται δεινοῖς ἔρωσιν – tyranny/rule is aimed at from every side with strong desires – which I now paraphrase as ‘those who are aimed at with strong desires’) they always fight against the most eminent, ..’

    καὶ „σὺν αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν ἄν[αξιν]“ ὑπὲρ τῶν ὁμοίων ὡσ[αύτως.

    In Wilshire, 1988, p. 134, there is a translation by Jay Shanor which reads:

    ‘But if one is to speak the truth, the rhetoricians do greatly harm many (and) great men, and they do contend earnestly both with distinguished personages – concerning those things (ambitions) which are “aimed at with strong desires” – and also “with authorized rulers” – to similar ends.’

    There’s a couple of things wrong here, although it is a good attempt to translate the text. It can’t be ‘authorised’, which would surely be passive, I think. And I don’t think it is ambitions that are being aimed at – the strong desires are the ambitions, one could say. The targets are the rulers themselves.

    An interesting further point is that mwh doubted that σὺν can mean the ‘with’ of our ‘contend with’ or ‘fight with’, which we can say when we are fighting against somebody. If he is right, which makes sense to me, then perhaps the rhetoricians are fighting with – ie on the same side as – the αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν ἄν[αξιν] – which would make them the bad guys along with the rhetoricians.

    If it’s a quote and old, then it can hardly be αὐθεντέω, and if it is αὐθένταισιν and old it has to mean ‘murderers’ or somesuch. Which I can now see is possible, if they are on the opposite side to the μεγάλους and the ἐπιφαν[εστάτους.

    Andrew

    • At one point I did take this up with K on a blog. Then later read this –

      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2008/07/30/interview-with-andreas-j-kstenberger-on/

      K. was asked,

      “3. So, then, in the case of 1 Tim 2:12, is the word study method by itself inconclusive?”

      And he answered,

      “Yes, I believe that’s right. The fact that lexical study in this case, owing to the limited data, of necessity remains inconclusive leads naturally to the next chapter in the book, where I consider the sentence structure of 1 Tim 2:12.”

      He backed off from what he wrote in his book. He doesn’t want to present ambiguous data in personal interviews. But he continued,

      ” Specifically, I proceed from the known to the unknown. The first word linked by the Greek coordinating conjunction oude (“or”) is the word “teach,” didaskein, which is frequently used in the Pastoral Epistles and virtually always has a positive connotation, referring to the instruction of the congregation by the pastors and elders of the church (e.g. 1 Tim 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2).”

      Everyone knows there are occurrences in the pastorals of a negative connotation for didaskein.

      Anyway, it’s a total toss up, fun like doing a crossword, but not a worthy way to restrict women and keep them within their “boundaries” as K would have it. He said he had a great holiday in the Canadian wilderness near where I lived at the time. Freedom for men and fences for women. Pies for men and crumbs for women.

      • Andreas Kostenberger: ‘the word “teach,” didaskein, which is frequently used in the Pastoral Epistles and virtually always has a positive connotation,’

        Suzanne: ‘Everyone knows there are occurrences in the pastorals of a negative connotation for didaskein.’

        It seems to me that Kostenberger has caused much confusion by his attempt to prove a ‘syntactical rule’ about positive/positive or negative. οὐδέ can join just about anything syntactically – although αλλ ου is used when there is a sharp disjunction between one term and the next.

        He seems to have set off a whole pointless debate about whether διδάσκειν is ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. That’s the wrong question. The real question is: what does διδάσκειν mean? It means the same as ‘teach’ in English: that is, to communicate and impart knowledge, understanding and skills. In the context of church life, it’s teaching church and bible doctrine.

        Does anybody think that ‘I do not permit a woman to teach’ is ambiguous in English? Everybody knows what it means. It means the same in Greek, to all intents and purposes. Then one can legitimately point out that the older women are to be teachers of good things in Titus 2.3 – whereupon it is immediately explained by Paul that (ἵνα, usually expressing purpose, as here) they may train the younger women to love their husbands etc. It is easy to draw a distinction between personal instruction to young women in Christian living and, say, expounding Romans in the assembly, is it not?

        Andrew

      • Perhaps, but women aren’t made that way. Women are just as capable a s men are in exegesis and model behaviour to young women as a matter of course. To deprive women of teaching in the assembly deprive s all women of teaching from a woman,s perspective, unless they go to additional, women,s only meetings. In this economy not all have time for this. Women are overall seriously disadvantaged by the way this one verse is interpreted. Men do not treat women as equals, do not love them a s they love themselves,do not respect the way God ha s created women, with equal intellect and equal reasoning capacity.

        For the Reformation translators, many understood this as the way a woman related to her husband, not to teaching in the assembly. No two theologians exegete this passage alike but all agree on the subordinate role of women.

        Do you really think God created women just to have people around for men to treat as inferiors? This breaks my heart. No one can make make subordination in a love relationship palatable. Subordination deranges all intimacy and companionship unless it ids only for a time, till the child grows up to be a true equal. But women are not allowed to grow up, to take on adulthood.

        Anyway this is sidetracking the issue. They are a myriad of ways to exegete this verse, and for many Bible critics, it is the most important verse in a translation. This shows that men care more for the humiliation of women than they care for their own relationship with God or with mission or with any other passage in the Bible. A man preoccupied with his own position over women is seeking how to put himself first and so he will be seated last.

        This is how I see it. Happily I have seen many of my brothers move from the Brethren standard to a muted but respectful practical egalitarianism. I have seen that in their hearts they do respect women and join in secular events where their sisters and daughters are the recognized experts. They don’t pretend that a much lauded scholar of international relations is to be silent about doctrine, especially if she also has degrees in theology. But the women sometimes choose silence on doctrine because the male culture of doctrinal argumentation in the Brethren, and subsequent excommunications, created in us, pain, recoil and withdrawal. Pain for women, and pain for men also.

      • Hi Suzanne, I think the first thing is to be clear what this scripture says – I am referring to the first clause of 1 Timothy 2.12, which is as clear as clear can be. If we can agree on that, then we have made progress. The reason I am focussing on it is because it seems to me that of all the instructions given to the church by the Lord through His apostles, it is, so far as I can see, the only one that is deliberately and flagrantly disobeyed by the vast majority of the charismatic/pentecostal/and similar churches here in the UK. We have the example of Adam and Eve in the garden to warn us of the consequences of deliberate disobedience. And Hebrews 10.26 – if we sin wilfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

        Andrew

      • Yes, I see your point but then all of England fell when it fought against its monarch. All runaway slaves regardless of their scars, are without sanctification. And those who submitted to the leadership of a rogue pastor have lived a life of futility, but sanctified futility.

        Authority finds its source in the word, not people. It is from God. Does God give greater wisdom to a teenage boy than his grandmother? That’s what the brethren thought.

        There is so much pain and abuse, real suffering, when people, women and children included do not stand up to rogue treatment. These are my concerns.

        Who ever obeys the most repeated scripture in the bible – love the one who is your companion, neighbour and fellow human being as yourself. I have met few Christian men who treat women as they would be treated. Everyone has a large garbage can for these scriptures.

        But in all honesty,didaskein can be negative, it can be false teaching by women who are dominating in some area. I have also known Christian men who never raise their hands in prayer, fight over doctrine all their lives, men with long hair who wear hats to preach, like Calvin. Some who remain single, some who marry, some men who are supported by women.

        Those who major in the diminishment of women must face up to their own role eventually. All around the world women are tortured by patriarchy. Do we pray for child brides to submit, or to escape their daily rape, violence, ultimate body ripping pregnancy, and being thrown into the street for having a fistula. We need women preaching against these things, and I doubt men will do it.

        Catherine Booth got Parliament to raise the age of consent to at least 14, so mere babies could not be used in the sex trade. She was a preaching woman. Women fought against the slave trade, against raping and flogging.

        Do you want to not stand against these evils. Is it worse for you to hear a woman preach, than to become aware and contribute to the fight against violence against women?

        I must leave this discussion if we have finished with authentein. It brings me too much pain. I try not to be aware of how some men want to silence women, especially the victims of violence.

      • Dear Suzanne, Thank you for the conversation. Regarding your ‘didaskein can be negative, it can be false teaching by women who are dominating in some area.’:

        Sure, but a prohibition on teaching covers both, does it not? If there is a sign in the library saying ‘No Talking’, and some people are talking, and when the librarian rebukes them, they say ‘oh, we thought it was just talking about negative things that was disallowed’, they would either be displaying a basic lack of comprehension of the English language, or would be pretending not to understand when in fact they did.

        I am not trying to silence women, I am endeavouring to call God’s people back to obedience to the Master in this crucial area. Disobedience brings a curse, causes disorder, and brings disaster sooner or later.

        Andrew

      • I think for women the disaster has already happened. Women are trying to emerge from the disaster of silence and subordination. But i see that you have lost interest in authentein and that was the focus of our conversation, so i will thank you for that exchange and accept our disagreement on the fundamentals. I want women to be those who are in touch with God and able to make decisions about their own life. You want men to make decisions for women. Its a basic split not likely to be resolved.

      • In reply to: ‘I think for women the disaster has already happened. Women are trying to emerge from the disaster of silence and subordination.’

        Do you think Paul was part of the disaster, as it were? Do you think that what he wrote was wise or unwise, right or wrong?

        Andrew

      • We disagree on what he wrote. He also wrote Cor. 7 where the Greek word for authority is actually used and says husbands and wives have equal authority.

        We are not on the same wavelength now that the meaning of authentein has been dropped. Watch the movie The Duchess 2007? to see what rights wealthy women had in England. Not much!

        Think of preacher Catherine Booth, preaching against the prostitution of little girls. Would you have silenced her? I think so.

        I would like to say goodbye. I haven’t any more to say on the topic.

      • In reply to: ‘We disagree on what he wrote.’

        But I don’t think we do disagree on the meaning of διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω. I think you know that Paul was not permitting women to teach – it can’t mean anything else, can it?

        Andrew

  21. This is a lot of fun, and I like how you elaborate. But at one time it would have caused me stress, and I might have wondered if I should accept unilateral submission, and become a hermit, the only way I could have lived with it, as the desert mothers did, in robes disguising their sex, living alone in caves in silent meditation and near starvation.

    But now I see that I do not need to argue the role of women until all protestants return to the “one church,” until all refugees and slaves are given back to their native countries for punishment and martyrdom, and until all Americans become subject to her royal majesty. When men have demonstrated that they follow the Bible in good faith, then they may take up the matter of women, but not before.

  22. Back to oude. Obviously I do think authentew has a negative connotation, along with Erasmus. Probably it meant for him “I do not permit a woman to take over control nor teach.” What would a woman teach? Its pretty obvious – that woman is the father of man, as anyone can physically observe, and that fertility rites would save a woman from death in childbearing? What could be more important than that. But Paul doesn’t want the cult of Diana in church. Its pretty clear to me.

    But would Paul tell a woman who was brining to light a common practice of child prostitution to sit down and be quiet and tell her husband at night. Traditionally male preachers did not deal with these things. Do we abandon girls and woman who are inhumanly treated? That is the impression I get.

    What would you have done with Catherine Booth? Silence her. What about the Quaker women who addresses US parliament on behalf of slaves? Would you have silenced them? I have the impression that these things are of no concern to you because you never respond.

    i answer your questions but you don’t answer most of mine. I wonder why? I can answer all the questions you ask on this verse but you do not answer mine, so it is not in my interest to continue.

    • In reply to: ‘Back to oude. Obviously I do think authentew has a negative connotation, along with Erasmus. Probably it meant for him “I do not permit a woman to take over control nor teach.” What would a woman teach? Its pretty obvious – that woman is the father of man, as anyone can physically observe, and that fertility rites would save a woman from death in childbearing? What could be more important than that. But Paul doesn’t want the cult of Diana in church. Its pretty clear to me.’

      I don’t know what οὐδέ has to do with the meaning of the first clause. οὐδέ adds something further or new. See Winer etc. or simply consider the lexical definitions: ‘and not’, ‘nor’.

      I don’t know why you reverse the order of the sentence to “I do not permit a woman to take over control nor teach.” If if were that way around, perhaps it would be slightly easier to make a case that αὐθεντεῖν was influencing the way the prohibition of teaching was perceived by the reader. But it’s not that way round, is it?

      Most importantly, you seem to be saying that Paul was prohibiting the teaching of certain things. That was my point with regard to the ‘No Talking’ sign in the library. It doesn’t mean just no talking about certain things, does it?

      As I said before, I am not necessarily against women preaching the gospel in public. How much less would I be against women campaigning against the evils of child prostitution. I don’t think the gathering of the holy assembly is the place for this type of campaigning over public policy – the assembly is for the worship of God first of all, but it is also the place for preaching against sin, and for teaching the importance of the right involvement of Christians in good works, as the scripture teaches. There can certainly be meetings of other types organised within the church community. We can go forth from the assembly to preach the gospel to lost sinners, and to do good works in the power of His Name. I do think that campaigns against evil may be birthed in the corporate prayer of the saints – these are the best ones, that are inspired and brought to life by the Spirit of God. I see that Lord Shaftesbury campaigned against the prostitution of girls as well as the virtual enslavement of young boys in perilous occupations (http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1801-1900/lord-shaftesbury-friend-of-the-poor-11630562.html).

      Andrew

      • Yes, an old friend of mine wrote a biography of the seventh earl. To desugnate those matters which we need women to preach about to street preaching or extra time puts restraints on women that men don’t have. Its aways about fences, boundaries, tone, averting the eyes, not offending, that is the life of a woman, but if there is martyrdom to be had, women suffered on an equal footing to men.

        Women in their bodies bear the greatest example of sacrificing their life for the family to provide the next generation. Woman can say “with this blood, I give you humam life.” Women need to be treated as equally respectd as men, not as objects under male control. The woman will never have the same authority to create opnions if she is always told to tske the subordinate place.

        “I do not allow women to teach or take over control.” I was tired. Obviously this is circumstantial. Paul gives his own words. We don’t always agree that Paul’s words have universal application. Is it wrong to marry for love or only because one can’t contain oneself? We would think it very wrong if a man said “I need to avoid fornication, so will you marry me.”

        Do we believe that widows are happier if they never remarry. Certainly the reformers disregarded that opnion of Paul and so do we. I find many are very selective about how they read Paul.

        We all have some sort of tunnel vision, but majoring in the subordination of your “neighbour” – wife, mother, sister, friend, your fellow human being – does not seem to be a way to demonstrate how to love your neighbour as yourself.

        I wish you luck in your article, and I regret I can’t articulate better the range of meaning involved. But women should not have to be restrained by scripture that cannot be made unambiguous after 2000 years.

      • In reply to “I do not allow women to teach or take over control.”

        διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός,

        As Ellicott and others pointed out, διδάσκειν is emphatic because of its position. William Kelly (1913) likewise referred to its emphatic place and rendered it as ‘But to teach I permit not a woman nor to exercise authority over a man, ..’. I have put the relevant extract from nine mainly nineteenth century commentators on 1 Timothy (Bengel, Ellicott, Alford, Fairbairn, Huther, Humphreys, Bernard, Kelly, Brown) online at http://womeninthechurch.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/Commentary-on-1-Timothy-2-vv-11-to-15-pre-1918.pdf. I think it is safe to say that most if not all would have learnt Greek from their schooldays, and had a certain advantage over most present day scholars in terms of intuitive understanding of a text.

        It is obvious (contrary to Grudem, Kostenberger, Moo, Schreiner et al) that ἀνδρός is not the object of διδάσκειν. So far as I know this was never even mentioned as a possibility until a debate between Moo and Payne, early 80’s. Payne said that Moo was saying that ἀνδρός was the object of διδάσκειν (which actually I don’t think he was), and then Moo replied as if he had been, and defended it on very weak grounds, using Acts 8.21 (rather bizarrely) as a precedent.

        So then, with your meaning of αὐθεντέω, we would have ‘I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to take control over a man,..’. But what would this mean? Would it be in the church setting, or the home setting? If the latter, how could Paul not permit it? And how could a woman take control over a man in a church setting? What would that look like? And how could Paul not permit it?

        Andrew

      • Yes, lots of possibilities, not usurp the man’s role in church, not to take charge, not to teach anyone at all, not to have lordship over your husband, and so on. While men argue this, women have to live. It would save men a great deal of time and they could have more time to help the downtrodden, if there were no women at all.

        Perhaps God created this verse to keep men from doing anything useful, and women too. I am no longer interested in tracking what every Christian male on earth thinks about this verse. Most men let women preach as long as the don’t do it with authority. Clearly authentein is a negative word so none of them use this verse properly but rather “power” or “coersion.”

        According to them a woman may not prophesy or speak in public, but under the law women could be judges, prophets, and elders of cites. Did Christ come to bind women? I think that is their message.

        I need time to not dwell on men who desire the subordination of women. There is no verse which says “meditate and produce many papers to subordinate your sister and your spouse.” That’s not in my Bible so I must take a break from this conversation.

        Thanks for your interesting contributions.,

      • In response to: ‘Yes, lots of possibilities’. I was trying different possibilities to see if I could make ‘usurp authority’ or ‘take over control’ fit the context. But if it means ‘exercise authority’, or perhaps ‘be master of’, then it fits perfectly and gives a clear sense. The only question that remains is whether we submit to God’s word or rebel against it.

        Andrew

      • Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:3

        The scriptures say no leader should be as a master or lord over others.

        I am enjoying a Canadian Thanksgiving of great contentment with my family and a celebration of equality without rebellion and have no further desire to discuss mastership of whatever sort.

  23. In reply to: ‘The scriptures say no leader should be as a master or lord over others.’

    I agree with that, but have I said that a leader should do that? The New Testament hardly speaks of ‘leaders’ at all, but of elders to govern the church. I suppose you are saying that if you translate 1 Timothy 2.12 as, say:

    I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to rule over a man..

    the second clause does not in itself exclude her from serving as an elder, who would be exercising authority but without ruling or lording over others. But there remain the obstacles that:

    a) an overseer is to be husband of one wife
    b) an overseer is to be apt to teach, which a woman is not permitted to do in the church
    c) the man is the head of the woman
    d) if she is married, how does her submission to her husband in everything tally with her role in the church?

    and so on.

    Moreover, Paul has just said that a woman should be learning in all submission. Does anyone seriously think that an elder can ‘be learning in all submission’?

    Andrew

    • Andrew,

      I have understood this conversation to be an academic discussion of authentein, and that interested me. Not 1 Tim. 3 or 1 Cor. 11, not now. I like to discuss the language, the academic detail, you focus on any text which might possibly subordinate women, that is your interest, not mine.

      I submit to my husband in everything he wishes but it is a fully and completely reciprocal relationship. He does likewise. If a man can be a leader and be in a relationship of reciprocal submission to his wife, then a woman can be a leader also.

      We celebrated our wedding anniversary this past weekend, and the speeches addressed to us made it clear, we have a marriage which is a model of married love, we have a lovely home, he has a great career, and I write, and am recently retired. There is no room in our home for male headship over woman. Our marriage is a testimony to God, as is.

      I don’t feel it necessary to respond to your other questions. Let your married love and contentment be a testimony to others, rather than some state of wifely subordination, which can create anxiety and restlessness – not a great testimony to God’s love.

      Christians should be known for their love, not for their unilateral submission of women.

      • In response to: ‘I have understood this conversation to be an academic discussion of authentein, and that interested me. Not 1 Tim. 3 or 1 Cor. 11, not now. I like to discuss the language, the academic detail, you focus on any text which might possibly subordinate women, that is your interest, not mine.’

        I was indeed discussing the meaning of αὐθεντεῖν, and was arguing for a meaning that is consistent with other scriptures.

        Andrew

  24. Sorry for the delay. Very quickly, ‘husband of one wife’, what else? For myself, I think it means husband of one wife now, rather than excluding a man who has been married more than once. Personally, I take the view that this means what it says and that overseers should be married. Apostles, prophets, evangelists and perhaps also those men who have a dedicated teaching ministry (without being elders/overseers) do not have to be married, so far as I can see.

    Andrew

    • So elders cannot truly imitate Christ, they must be married and he was not. An elder, must by your definition be married. Well, that puts women in the same basket as elders, but not in the same basket as Christ and Paul. So sad to see so many obscure texts restrict the ministry of women and single men.

      The Bible becomes a piece of plasticine, fought over by this group and that, and used to restrict those who are other than the ones holding the “right” of translation. Why not focus on the unambiguous texts that teach reciprocity and mutuality? Why not think of texts that nourish and encourage rather than those that restrict and narrow, that cause depression?

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