Re: SIGATW in 1 Cor 14:34

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Jun 27 1997 - 13:51:57 EDT

At 12:57 PM 6/27/97 EDT, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>On Fri, 27 Jun 1997 11:04:21 -0400 Jonathan Robie
><> writes:
>>At 08:21 AM 6/27/97 -0500, Troy de Jongh wrote:
>>>Theresa J List, Dcs writes:
>>>> Anyhow, there were most certainly women prophetesses,
>>>> like Anna, for example who SPOKE (LALEIN! Look it up!) in
>>>> the temple! So, women are not to speak (LALEIN, 1 Co 14:34)
>>>> in the assembly, but, of course, Anna did this with God's
>>>> sanction. Or, 1 Cor. 11:5, a mere few hundred words
>>>> before the injunction against speaking in 1 co 14, where
>>>> women are to prophesy with their heads covered. I refuse to
>>>> believe that either God or Paul are schizofrenic, erego I know
>>>> there is some way to understand these as not contradictory.
>We should be careful here. Only if we infer the negation of 1 Cor 11:5
>is there a necessary conflict with 1 Cor 14:34-35. Negations, of course,
>are not valid inferences ("If A, then B" does not imply "If not A, then
>not B").

In a formal syllogism, you would be correct, but that's really not the form
of literature that we have here. Besides, I don't think that the Greek says
"if a woman prays...then" in a logical sense, as you seem to imply.

>Likewise, in 1 Cor 11:5, "if a woman prays or prophesies with her
>head uncovered, then she shames her head" does not imply,
>"if a woman prays or prophesies with her head covered, then she
>does not shame her head." This logical misinference is usually
>assumed. Then, this inference often becomes the determining
>factor in the interpretation of 1 Cor 14:34-35. See my article,
>"Negative Inference Fallacies: Mt 19:9, Acts 2:38, and 1 Cor 11:5"
>( for more.

But look at the Greek in 1 Cor 11:4-5:


I *think* that this *assumes* that both men and women pray and prophesy, and
if the man does so with his head covered, he disgraces his head, but if a
woman does so with her head uncovered, she disgraces her head. As the NASB
puts it:

1Cor 11:4 (NASB) Every man who has [something] on his head while praying or
prophesying, disgraces his head.
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying,
disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved.

In your paper, I think you come to the wrong conclusion because you didn't
set up a syllogism that corresponds to the premises of the text. This,
incidentally, is the hardest part of applying formal logic. Remember story
problems in algebra? If you got the problem set up correctly, solving it
was easy. The same thing applies to formal logic - setting up a system that
really reflects the problem you are trying to solve is much harder than
solving the system once you have done so. I think your paper would be
strengthened, incidentally, by actually setting up the syllogisms and
showing how they correspond to the original text.

Now I may be misinterpreting or overinterpreting the Greek here, and if so,
I hope someone will correct me, but it sure looks that way to me. I've been
equally sure about things that were wrong, though - being sure and being
right aren't always the same thing...


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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