Re: Women in the Church

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Wed Aug 19 1998 - 01:21:07 EDT

At 20:02 98/08/16 EDT, Paul S. Dixon wrote, in response to an enquiry from
Ted Mann about 1 Cor 11:5:

>Check out my website for an answer to your question. Read the article
>there entitled, "Negative Inference Fallacies: Mt 19:9, Acts 2:38 and
>1 Cor 11:5."
>In summary, there is a conflict between 1 Cor 11:5 and 1 Cor 14:34-45,
>only if one assumes the negation of 1 Cor 11:5. As you well know,
>the negation of a conditional is not a valid inference. "If A, then
>B" does not imply "if not A, then not B." 1 Cor 11:5 says, "she who
>prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head."
>This does not imply, as most usually erroneously infer, the negation:
>she who prays or prophesies with her head covered does not shame her
>Sincerely in Christ,

>Paul S. Dixon

Paul, it is indeed true that the valid negation of a statement cannot be
drawn by turning it the other way round. But this does not mean that that
second statement is then false - only that it does not automatically and
logically follow from the previous statement. This is important to realize.

This means, as you point out, that the statement in 1 Cor 11:5 does not
necessarily mean that "she who prays or prophesies with her head covered
does not shame her head". True, indeed. But the fact that such an
implication cannot validly be drawn from a reversal of the first statement
DOES NOT MEAN that that second statement is therefore necessarily false. It
only means that you cannot establish it on the basis of the first
statement. That second statement may be absolutely true - but you would
have to establish it on other grounds.

In any case, it is fair to say that in 1 Cor 11:5 Paul is dealing with the
situation where a woman IS engaging in prayer and prophesying. The question
of the relationship of this and what Paul says in 1 Cor 14:34-35 about a
woman being silent in the assembly is a substantial issue, one upon which a
great deal of ink has been spilt (or computer printer toner used up), and
which of course goes outside the guidelines of b-greek, because it does not
just turn on questions of the Greek text.

To mention, however, one facet of this which DOES turn upon the question of
Greek meanings: there is no conflict between these two passages you mention
if one takes LALEIN (twice occurring in 1 Cor 14:34-35) to have its normal
meaning of "converse, chat chatter", and accepts that THIS is what Paul is
forbidding, instead of reading into LALEIN ideas of "preach" or "teach" in
the assembly - for which meaning there are numerous other Greek words, and
which Paul is not discussing in 1 Cor 14:34-35 and which he is certainly
not forbidding in his comments there.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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