Re: Women in the Church

From: Phillip J. Long (
Date: Tue Aug 11 1998 - 13:26:24 EDT

On Tue, 11 Aug 1998 11:15:00 -0500, you wrote:

>I guess the question I have here is if OU modifies LALIEN. I thought it
>went with EPITREPETAI, thus it would read "women should not be permited"
>Where is the "should not"? It is indicative, not imperative or subjunctive.

I was following the NIV there, but the NIV is not alone in this
translation. The RSV and the NLT are the same, The KJV and the
ASV/NASB have "let your women keep silent...." Why might this be?

While the verb EPITREPETAI is indicative, it is also a passive.
Passives can be permissive/causitive, although that is rare and
usually limited to imperitives.

Another option is to take the indicative as a "potential indicative."
Verbs of obligation, wish, or desire followed by an infinitive will
have a "potential" meaning even when in the indicative. I am reading
from Daniel Wallace's grammar, page 451-452, see also Brooks and
Winbery 115ff.

A third option is to take this in an impersonal sense, "it is not
permitted for women to speak." (Fee, 706, Persbacher's Grammar)
This opens up an interesting interpretation since you have a passive
without an obvious agent. One might take the implied agent as God, or
as Paul, or as "the rules of the church", etc.

>There is a textual issue with I Cor 14:34. It is either "epitetraptai" ("it
>is allowed" in the perfect) or "epitepetai" ("is being allowed" in the
>present) to speak.

You are right, the TR (and therefore the Majority text) has perfect.
The textaul evidence is pretty thin for the perfect though.

>Both are indicative, but the latter suggests more
>strongly that this is a local, contemporary prohibition. If so, this might
>be an admonition to the women to submit to the ordinance, rather than an
>affirmation of the correctness of the ordinance.

Are you also aware that some take this command to be non-pauline,
Fee's commentary mentions this in some detail. Fee seems also to take
the "to speak" as refering to tongues, not all forms of speaking /
teaching, etc.

Thomas Schreiner examines the argument that epitrepw only relates to
specific situations in _Women in the Church_ (GR:Baker Books, 1995),
126. Ultimately he reject the idea that epitrepw can *only* be used
of specific situations.

Phillip J. Long
Asst. Prof. Bible & Greek
Grace Bible College

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