Re: authentein

From: John Barach (
Date: Mon Oct 18 1999 - 20:08:37 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote:

> "There's my first problem. The usage of AUQAIRETOS
> as "of his own choice" in 2 Corinthians 8:17 is
> perfectly intelligible, but I don't see how it bears
> upon the sense of AUQENTEIN in 1 Tim 2:12. Are there
> any other instances of AUQENTEIN in the sense "act
> independently" with an ablatival genitive of the one
> of whom one acts independently in Christian or
> non-Christian Greek?"

H. Scott Baldwin cites all the known instances of AUQENTEIN in ancient
Greek literature in his appendix to Andreas J. Kšstenberger, Thomas R.
Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin, eds. Women in the Church: A Fresh
Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995).

Looking through the instances where he (and the lexicons) thinks
AUQENTEIN has the sense of "to act independently," I can't see any with
a genitive of the one of whom one acts independently. In cases where
the word is used for "flouting the authority of" someone, it seems to
take the accusative. The genitive does seem to be used often (though I
haven't read every instance) for "exercising authority *over*" someone.

For those who are interested, here's an outline of the book:

1. A Foreign World: Ephesus in the First Century (S. M. Baugh)
2. A Certain Kind of Letter: The Genre of 1 Timothy (T. David Gordon)
3. A Difficult Word: AUQENTEW in 1 Timothy 2:12 (H. Scott Baldwin)
4. A Complex Sentence Structure in 1 Timothy 2:12 (Andreas J.
5. An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue with Scholarship
(Thomas R. Schreiner)
6. The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Robert W. Yarbrough)
7. The New Testament Against Itself: 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the
"Breakthrough" of Galatians 3:28 (Harold O. J. Brown)

Appendix 1: History of the Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 (Daniel
Appendix 2: AUQENTEW in Ancient Greek Literature (H. Scott Baldwin)

The grammatical and lexical argument of the book can be summarized as
follows: AUQENTEW in 1 Tim. 2:12 means "to have or exercise
authority." The syntactical structure of 1 Tim. 2:12 indicates that
teaching and authority are a "conceptual pair." "Teaching" is a
positive concept, and the structure of the sentence compels us to take
"having or exercising authority" in a positive sense, as well. Hence
AUQENTEIN here does not mean "to flout or usurp authority." "[I]t is
the *right* teaching and *right* exercise of authority of women over men
that Paul forbids" (210). Furthermore, the two infinitives do not refer
to the same activity; there are two different injunctions here (133).

Hope this helps!


John Barach (403) 317-1950
Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church (URCNA)
113 Stafford Blvd. N.
Lethbridge, AB
T1H 6E3

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