Re: 1 Cor 14:34 -- LALEIN (offlist)

From: Mark Markham (
Date: Tue Sep 14 1999 - 10:47:03 EDT

Dear Carl,

I admire your honesty in explaining your position. I respect your Greek but
(as you knew I would) take issue with your theology. It must be a tightrope
walk to embrace the diametric sides as you do. I am not sure I could
compromise arguments to adopt such a position, but I am sure you believe you
have reasons. I will not debate unless that premise causes an oversight of a
legit Greek understanding-- just as I do with others with various views on
the list. Truth can stand examination. At least we have identified
ourselves for future frame of reference, eh? :-)

I agree with you entirely that, " We're just going to have to
disagree on this one as well as whatever else we may disagree on." You know
the premise that I and a few others hold.

Thanks for the comments and keep up the good input on this list. I enjoy the


Mark Markham
Heidelberg, Germany

----- Original Message -----
From: Carl W. Conrad <>
To: Mark Markham <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 3:15 PM
Subject: Re: 1 Cor 14:34 -- LALEIN (offlist)

> At 1:33 PM +0200 9/14/99, Mark Markham wrote:
> >Carl,
> >
> >What I see here is like I proposed last week-- speak as in prophecy or
> >tongues etc. It is consistent with Paul's writings to Timothy not to
> >women to teach or usurp authority from the man. He seems to state it is
> >a matter of custom but one or arranged order rank or authority. Why is
> >a such problem to be honest with the text here in 1 Cor 14:34? And later
> >this chapter he claims these were the commandments of the Lord. Not
> >traditions, customs etc. The Greek poses no problem here. Could the
> >be reading things into the text?
> Dear Mark,
> Let me respond with the text of a message I wrote yesterday in response to
> another off-list message to me making assertions somewhat similar to what
> you're making (I don't want to cite that person's message without asking
> permission, but I don't think I need to cite it: essentially the claim was
> that Paul is uniformly consistent throughout the Pauline corpus on issues
> generally and certainly on this issue of the status and authority of women
> in the church. What this comes down to ultimately is a question of one's
> hermeneutics: how one reads the Biblical text and how one goes about
> seeking to understand how it bears on the issues of one's own time. The
> person who wrote me was utterly convinced, as apparently you are, that
> there's no other way to read the Biblical text than to see women as
> excluded from any leadership role in the church; I am NOT convinced at all
> that one must read the Biblical text that way. While I don't expect that
> you'll agree with me, I would like to make clear to you the assumptions
> from which I am approaching the text--so here's what I wrote yesterday in
> response to the assertion in question:
> >I stand tried, convicted, and condemned (in the eyes of those who are
> >confident that Paul is absolutely consistent in all that he ever wrote or
> >said) of supposing, NOT that Paul contradicts himself within the corpus
> >unquestionably authentic letters, BUT that he occasionally addresses
> >from different perspectives in such a way as to APPEAR to be talking or
> >writing inconsistently. On the other hand, I don't think it will come as
> >shock to you to learn that I don't share some of the major assumptions of
> >your hermeneutic.
> >
> >So far as 1 Cor 14:34 is concerned, I feel quite sufficiently chastened
> >both Carlton Winbery and Edward Hobbs as to the unlikelihood of LALEIN
> >there meaning "chatter." I never did mean to affirm it positively so much
> >as to suggest that it might be worth considering whether LALEIN didn't
> >still hold some of that sense in Hellenistic Greek, whereas I am now
> >perfectly satisfied that, even if it DID still hold some of that sense,
> >that sense doesn't really come to play in this passage.
> >
> >But some more heretical perspective: I don't really believe that the
> >pastoral epistles are Pauline, but I admit that 2 Timothy sets forth the
> >strongest statements in the entire NT against women assuming any
> >authoritative status within the church. I'm not saying either that the
> >pastoral epistles are not canonical, but I have assumed, ever since I
> >it imperative to come to terms with a consistent stance toward scriptural
> >authority, that Biblical texts do not all weigh equally in the balance
> >where there is a question to be resolved by Biblical authority; that is
> >say, it is necessary to settle upon a "canon of the canon"--to decide the
> >relative weight of scriptural teaching on any matter where there is not a
> >clear preponderance or uniform teaching on a matter, such as, in
> >particular, the place of women in the congregation and the authority
> >structure of the church. I think that every institution, denomination and
> >sect within Christendom operates by such a "canon of the canon" whether
> >not they are fully aware of it--which is why I think one OUGHT to be
> >honestly aware of the criterion one is employing to weigh the relative
> >weight of scriptural authorities--anyone who asserts that all Biblical
> >documents and texts are equi-valent is, in my judgment, under a delusion;
> >think there are different traditions that weight bodies of Biblical texts
> >differently. I think some traditions give far MORE weight to the OT than
> >they ought when there is clear evidence of a distinct NT teaching; I also
> >think that some interpreters weight the Pauline letters as holding more
> >authority than the evidence in the gospels for the teaching and
> >stances toward other human beings, whereas I personally feel that the
> >evidence about Jesus deserves far more authoritative status. That is
> >precisely why I am not much impressed by some of the argumentation in 2
> >Timothy about women in the church--I just don't think it's consistent
> >what Jesus said and did (I also don't think it's consistent with such
> >as the brief mention of the Elder Junia in Rom 16:7). What I DO find in
> >Pauline corpus to be consistent with what I understand to be the teaching
> >and practice of Jesus and to be about as authoritative a stance as any in
> >all the Pauline corpus is Gal 3:28 in its context. I frankly don't
> >that there is any justification whatsoever, in the light of that text,
> >relegation of women in the church to a subordinate status of any sort.
> >
> >Is Paul really consistent on this matter? I'm not altogether sure that he
> >is; he may have been, as Edward Hobbs says, a misogynist. I wouldn't go
> >far as that; what I think more likely is that Paul occasionally was
> >more by his traditional ethnic biases than by his theological principles
> >and that there are passages within the Pauline corpus that are clearly to
> >be weighted more authoritatively than others (e.g., where he offers an
> >opinion about what to do that he states clearly is his own and admits
> >he has no dominical saying to back up his view--in such instances I don't
> >think he is claiming overriding authority).
> >
> >I think that's quite enough. I don't doubt that what I'm saying here is
> >removed from where you stand on these same issues; I just wanted,
> >relatively briefly, to answer you enough to show that, wrongheadedly or
> >not, I do not have to accuse Paul of deliberate inconsistency and I also
> >not have to accept your view that Paul's teaching on the issue of women
> >the congregation or in positions of authority in the church is
> >crystal-clear and unmistakably consistent. We're just going to have to
> >disagree on this one as well as whatever else we may disagree on.
> Best regards, cwc
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics/Washington University
> One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
> Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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