Re: 1 Timothy 2:12

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Oct 18 1999 - 11:33:32 EDT

<x-rich>There are two problematic points in this post that concern me: (1) the
interpretation of AUQENTEIN ANDROS as "act independently from (a/her)
man/husband" and (2) the interpretation of DIDASKEIN as functioning
somehow epexegetically to AUQENTEIN).

At 10:23 PM +0100 10/17/99, Michael Haggett wrote:

<excerpt>Michael Abernathy wrote

8:13 PM -0700 10/16/99,

|I would like some feedback on two questions concerning 1 Timothy




|2. Is the following translation viable?

|I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority independent
of her husband?


I think you have rightly grasped the two possible meanings of
AUQENTEIN, but I would doubt that you can have it BOTH ways at the same
time, I think you need to choose between "to exercise authority" and
"to be independent/autonomous". "One-off" NT words are always a little
problematic, even if we look at the ways non-Christians used it at the
same time or Christians came to use it later, it isn't conclusive proof
about the way Paul (or whoever it was, to cut that objection off!) used
it. Personally I would put some weight on the way the adjective
AUQAIRETOS is used in 2 Cor 8:17, and think that Paul is likely to be
talking of autonomy/independence rather than authority, for which
EXOUSIA is consistently used in the NT.


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? There are sufficient examples , even
if they be few,of AUQENTEIN with a genitive of the person over whom one
exercises authority, and such genitives are common with verbs of
exercising authority.

<excerpt>1. Is it probable that authentein gives the purpose for the
teaching which Paul forbids?

If I read your question correctly, Michael, I would say yes. Although
Carl says no:


|In terms of the grammar of the sentence, I would not say it's
probable: the |two infinitives are coordinated, which to me seems to
indicate that |"teaching" is not in itself deemed an instance of
exercising authority.

I completely agree that the two infinitives ARE co-ordinated, and
therefore that teaching, in itself, is not what Paul is prohibiting.
But I would say that the linkage is only to AUQENTEIN (whichever option
for you choose for it) NOT directly to men/husbands. So, to me, Paul
is prohibiting the teaching (either by women or not) of
autonomy/independence between the sexes, not the teaching of men by
women. The alternative, that Paul is saying:


"but I do not permit a woman/wife to:

a. teach


b. be autonomous of a man/husband"


doesn't seem to do justice to the phraseology. For what it's worth, my
translation would be:


"but as to teaching, I do not permit a wife to be independent from a
husband either" (the "either" referring back to the preceding verses,
not to the teaching)


This keeps the degree of ambiguity in the Greek between whether Paul
means women teaching autonomously, or the teaching (by anyone) of
autonomy/independence between the sexes.


Here's my second problem. Although you say that you agree the two
infinitives are coordinated, you evidently mean something different by
that from what I mean. I take both infinitives, DIDASKEIN and AUQENTEIN
ANDROS, as governed by OUK EPITREPW, I understand GUNAIKI as dative
with EPITREPW; I see the structure as elliptical so that the OUDE
repeats GUNAIKI EPITREPW to govern the second infinitive phrase,
AUQENTEIN ANDROS. If the ellipsis is filled in it would be:



That is to say: I understand the author to be saying: "I don't allow a
woman to teach, nor do I allow a woman/wife to exercise authority over
a man/her husband."

Now do I understand your argument rightly? It would be:



That is to say: you intend AUQENTEIN ANDROS/GUNAIKOS to be what the
author forbids a woman (as well as a man) to teach--and you understand
AUQENTEIN with the genitive as meaning "act independently of."

That is to say: you understand the author to be saying: "I don't allow
a woman to teach being independent of a husband, nor do I allow a man
to teach being independent of a wife."

I would not say this is absolutely impossible, but it seems to me that
the elliptical elements are way too many to allow the Greek text we
have before us to bear that extensive a sense. Moreover, I think that
were the 'content' of what is being taught, it would be more natural
for this infinitive AUQENTEIN to be enclosed in an article thus:

<excerpt>I think that the use or non-use of the article isn't a
decisive a factor in determining whether husband/wife or man/woman is
meant here. The definite article seems to me to be far too capricious
for that! Just figure it out from the context, but I'd go for
husband/wife personally ... or is that just me being capricious!


This latter part concerns me less. In view of what follows in 13-15 I
guess one could argue either way, that the reference to Adam and Eve in
13-14 points to marriage partners, although the curious shift from
singular SWQHSETAI (scil. hH GUNH) in the first clause of 15 to the
plural MEINWSIN (scil. hAI GUNAIKES) in the second clause of 15 seems
to point more toward the role of women in the faith generally rather
than of wives in particular.

As I said in an earlier post, I don't particularly like this text (1
Tim 2:11-15), but my liking or not liking it has nothing to do with
what I think the Greek actually means.



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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