Re: off-list question on I Tim. 2:12

Date: Mon Aug 18 1997 - 00:57:33 EDT


In a message dated 97-08-17 07:03:56 EDT, you write:

<< Sorry for the delay in responding. I've been in transit Friday and
 Saturday, on my return from the Blue Ridge to St. Louis.>>

No problem at all. I appreciate your help.

I am grateful for the confirmation of my observations.

< >I'm writing you off-line because the last thing that I want to do is to
< >another combative thread over the gender issue. But I would very much
< >appreciate your response.
<I quite understand your motivation. Respondents on-list will be governed by
< their views on the gender-issue--or many of them will, if they hold a view
< like Paul's Dixon's against feminine authority, let that view sway them
< even on a matter of style and diction. You will recall the absurdities of
< Paul's insistence that ANQRWPOS is, in many instances, gender-exclusive in
< reference to a male. Jonathan and I carried on with that thread off-list
< with him and we were convinced that he is more reasonable generally than he
< appeared in that thread but couldn't be pushed beyond his presuppositions
< to consider the facts "objectively." Ben Crick is a much more careful and
< thoughtful scholar, but I'm amazed at the extent to which he supposes that
< his own conservative views on gospel criticism are generally prevalent.

Objectivity in this issue is at a premium. It is particularly disturbing to
see men who embrace a conservative view on the authority of women with such
enthusiasm. With all of the teaching of servanthood in the Bible and taking
the last place, I would wish for some honest concern about accepting an
exclusive claim on positions of supposed power.

< For my part, I'm inclined to believe that the earlier parts of the NT
< are fundamentally egalitarian on gender issues but that patriarchal and
< hierarchic values come to be dominant in parts belonging to the later part
< of the first century. But I too am probably heavily influenced by my
< presuppositions.

At least it is clear to me also that the earlier parts are egalitarian. I am
opting for the view that the passages used to support the patriarchal and
hierarchic views are so cryptic and include so many intrepretive problems,
that we are missing critical information. I don't have a major problem with
women being temporarily limited to accommodate a patriarchial culture during
the first century, but the evidence does seem to indicate that women were, in
fact, doing the things that appear to be restricted. And their activity was
more consistent with the main flow of the doctrine and practice of the early
church--leadership and the speaking ministries were charismatically

If DIDASKEIN is absolute, on the one hand it looks like it supports a
patriarchal position which is more restrictive that is common today. On the
other hand, it throws into sharp relief the problem of applying the supposed
rule without caution. Clearly, women had some sort of teaching ministry with
other women and children (let alone Priscilla and Apollos).
< So take this for no more than it's worth--what I think about your question;
< but I woldn't argue this question in terms other than probability: I just
< don't think one can formulate a fully convincing argument along the lines
< of your correspondent's, and for that reason I'm inclined to think that the
< usual view of this passage is more probable. >>

Thank you very much. As always, I appreciate your informed replies.

Cindy Westfall
Denver Seminary

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