Re: Let the Women be silent

From: Bruce Terry (
Date: Tue Sep 19 1995 - 19:06:40 EDT

On Mon 18 Sep 1995, Marty Brownfield wrote:

>I take it then that you consider verse 33b to be taken with what
>follows (with RSV and NIV), rather than with verse 33a (following
>the verse divisions and some modern commentators). I have heard the
>argument that since some MSS (D F G and some latin texts) place
>vv. 34-35 after verse 40 but do NOT take verse 33b with them that
>that argues for interpreting v. 33b with v. 33a.
>I think it makes more sense the way you present it above, but does
>the textual evidence on vv. 34f have any bearing on this?

Certainly it has a bearing. It says that the scribes of these "Western" MSS,
as well as the translators of the KJV, NASV, and NKJV did not see any problem
with saying, "God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the
churches of the saints." Personally, I'm not sure what adding that phrase in
33b does for this. Did the Corinthians think that God was a God of confusion
in some churches? IMHO, the absolute statement about the character of God is
a lot stronger than one that ties His character to the churches. I note in
passing that WH try to solve this problem by putting 32 and 33a in parentheses
and having the phrase modify verse 31, a solution that I do not find
satisfactory. I might be driven to that if Paul never began sentences with
hWS, but he does, in 4:18 and 10:15 in this letter. So, yes, I do agree with
the translators of the ASV, RSV, NEB, JB, TEV, NIV, and NAB and editors of the
NA/UBS Greek text that this section starts with 33b.

As for the shift of verses 34 and 35 to the end of the chapter in several
"Western" witnesses, I have to admit that I don't put a lot of stock in this
as being significant. The text is stable in p46, all Alexandrian, all
Byzantine, and a number of "Western" witnesses. If one is to jump every time
"Western" witnesses vary from the usual text, we would be doing a jig. I just
don't trust a variation that could well have been introduced in the fourth or
fifth century in a tradition that introduces many variations.

On Mon, 18 Sep 95, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

>I find this chiastic structure interesting from the perspective that
>some, without MS evidence, have argued that 14:34 is an interpolation.
>Your analysis would seem to show the verse to be more integral -- no
>less problematic -- but clearly integral. Then again, I want to argue
>that 1 Cor 11:2-4, at least, is a quote of the Corinthians, since
>I'm convinced Paul is arguing for the very opposite of what he is
>accused of teaching here.

Actually there is MS evidence here, for as Ed Hobbs has noted in a separate
post, an unstable text is sometimes evidence of interpolation; however, as I
have noted above, the evidence is too little, too late to be convincing.

Would I be tarred and feathered if I should suggest that these verses are
often seen as an interpolation in an effort to save Paul (to say nothing of
God) from falling victim to being politically incorrect in the 20th century?

I agree, with many scholars, that 11:2 is picking up the language of the
Corinthians' letter. I doubt that this use continues into verse 3 because of
the QELW DE hUMAS EIDENAI: first person verb, adversative conjunction, second
person object. Paul is now presenting his teaching to the Corinthians.

On Tue, 19 Sep 1995, Dennis <> wrote to me off-list (but the point
is well-taken and deserves to be addressed on-list):

>But 36 says to me that he is disagreeing with the above as he does in the
>other quotes he disagrees with in 6 and 7.
>I think he is saying the women can speak because the Word of God did not come
>from you (the men) alone.

The difference is that in 6:12, 13 and 7:1, Paul follows the apparent
quotation from the Corinthians' letter with an adversative conjunction, either
ALLA or DE. In 14:36 he uses the alternative conjunction H. The pattern is
that one of the following three things is true:
1. let the women keep silent in the assembly
2. *or* the word of God came out from the Corinthians
3. *or* the word of God came only to the Corinthians

Paul's use of the rhetorical questions in 2 and 3 shows that he does not think
these two options are true.

I really doubt that Paul uses hUMEIS in any of its forms to refer only to men.
Besides, that has consequences for political correctness that I wouldn't touch
with a ten-foot pole.

Bruce Terry E-MAIL:
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769

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