Re: 1 Timothy 2:11

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 12:19:37 EDT

At 11:10 AM -0500 10/15/99, Michael Steinman wrote:
>1 Timothy 2:11-12 reads as follows in the King James Version:
>Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a
>woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
>I was advised by an acquaintance that this passage is not translated
>properly from the original Greek. She bases her view on the grammatical
>rule the an infinitive must take an accusitive object. She states that
>"women" (GUNAIKI)is not in the accustive form so the infinitive "to teach"
>(DIDASKEIN)cannot refer to woman. Another source, who I feel is much more
>knowledgable of the language, explains that(GUNAIKI) is the object of the
>verb "to allow (suffer)" (EPITREPW)and this verb always takes a dative
>object. As a result GUNAIKI could not be in the accusitive. He advised
>that the KJV translation is correct. My investigation to date supports the
>latter view, however, I would appreciate any further clarification.

The relevant Greek text of 1 Tim 2:12 is DIDASKEIN DE GUNAIKI OUK EPITREPW
..., wherein indeed the dative form GUNAIKI must be the direct complement
of EPITREPW (which verb does require a dative rather than an accusative)
and the infinitive DIDASKEIN must go along with OUK EPITREPW GUNAIKI. The
upshot is, regardless of whatever else one may want to say or not say about
this portion of the verse, the KJV rendering of it as "I suffer not a woman
to teach ..." is accurate enough in 17th century English, but I think most
modern translators would change "suffer" to "allow" or "permit."

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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