Re: SIGATW in 1 Cor 14:34

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Tue Jul 08 1997 - 00:16:15 EDT

Jonathan, Charles:

It just occurred to me in my last response that I did not respond to some
of the things you said particularly. So, I do so now. Please pardon.

>I think one of the big problems we're having here is that formal logic
>leaves no room for what is implied, but not formally stated. It
>ignores a significant portion of what the speaker or writer meant to
>say. Paul Grice's "Logic and Conversation" gives good examples to
> illustrate this. Consider this example from the essay, which is
> included in the book "Studies in the Way of Words":
>A. I am out of gas
>B. There is a gas station around the corner
>We can assume that speaker B believes that the gas station is open,
>that they do sell gasoline, etc., even though none of this could be
>formally proven from the above statements. In fact, if we fail to
>this, we miss the whole point of what speaker B said. Similarly, if Paul
> tells women what to wear when they pray or prophesy so that they
> do not shame their head, we can assume that Paul thinks that it
> makes a difference, and is not just giving fashion advice, telling
> women what to wear while shaming their heads.

The problem with doing this, however, is that it becomes conjecture. We
have to assume things that may or may not be true. That's fine, as long
as we understand that it is an assumption, and not an inference. In this
case, then, we may want to introduce the discussion of probability. But,
we err if we draw conclusions dogmatically. This can have dire
consequences, especially if the conclusions drawn are used to determine
the interpretation of other scripture.

This is exactly what some have done with the 1 Cor 11:5 / 1 Cor 14:34-35
scenario. I have seen many times where 1 Cor 14:34-35 is interpreted in
line with the assumption that the negative inference of 11:5 is valid.
So, if the negative inference is not true, then the interpretations of
two passages have been flawed.

We must be content with what scripture says, and what it logically

>The relationship between formal propositional logic and natural
>language discourse is quite difficult, and I doubt that we really
> have the expertise or bandwidth to discuss it in this forum. But
> I think that it is important to realize that (1) most of the
> content of *any* natural language communication is not in
> the form of logical propositions; (2) if we
>don't grasp anything that isn't explicitly stated, we often miss the
> whole point; (3) the reason most of us learned Greek is to grasp
> the richness of the original in all its ambiguity, subtlety, and
> implications.

I disagree. Logical thought is essential to our language. WIthout it
there would be no hope for effective communication and all would be
chaos. Certainly with the inspired text we would be in serious trouble
if we had to guess or figure out what the author was implying, apart from
the rules of logic.

Secondly (2), can you give me an example in scripture where something is
not explicitly stated, but the "whole point" is found otherwise and apart
from logic?

Thirdly (3), the reason I learned Greek was so I could study scripture as
it was written originally and so I could better exegete and interpret
scripture "in all its ambiguity, subtletly, and implications." But, this
does not mean that the Greek language violates the rules of logic (I
challenge you to show me where it does), or that its meaning is somehow
mystically communicated.

Paul Dixon

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:21 EDT