From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 07:15:07 EST

At 12:11 AM -0500 11/29/99, Michael Sigurd Olszta wrote:
>"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:
>> I really don't think there's any question of the EKKLHSIA here being used in
>> the older Greek sense of "assembly" of commons where the business of the
>> community was voted upon.
>OK. That is how I would naturally read the passage based upon the context and
>definition of EKKLHSIA. Now, I need to address another question and this may
>revert back to the hUMWN of verse 34 which, as you correctly point out is in
>the textus receptus I have in front of me:
>Does the word ADELPHOIS as in 1:10,11,26, 2:1, 3:1, 4:6, 6:5,8, 7:24, 8:12,
>9:5, 10:1, 11:2,33, 14:6,20,26,31, 15:6,50,58, 16:11,12,15,20 in 1 Corinthians
>and many places elsewhere throughout Paul's epistles refer to the men AND
>or just the men? For myself, if I wrote a letter to a church of men and women
>and wanted it equally addressed to both, I would use "brothers and sisters" to
>indicate that I was speaking to both. Perhaps Greek can use ADELPHOIS as
>pertaining to both "men and women" and this is the question I have. But
>assuming that hUMWN in verse 33 is correct, it would seem impossible for Paul
>to be saying to both men and women:

Greek DOES tend to use a generic masculine form, particularly a plural, to
refer to both males and females of that category, and this is the more
common understanding of ADELFOI when it is referring to members of the
believing community. This has not deterred those who choose to believe that
women could not have been full participating members of the believing
community from interpreting ADELFOI as having an exclusive male reference.
This is, I think, one of numerous instances wherein one's personal
faith-convictions are likely to impact how one understands what is a
potential ambiguity in the Greek.

>Liddell, Scott, Jones give the following definition of brother and sister with
>a cited reference:
>ADELPHOI - brother and sister, Eur. El. 536;
>ADELPHOIN (I assume) is in the dual person above? If it is, is this the
>that it is understood as "brother and sister"? If such is the case, then
>not Paul's near 100% usage of the term ADELPHOIS (not ADELPHOIN) in his
>epistles make the reader to understand by Greek structure that he indeed was
>writing to TOIS ADELPHOIS (the brothers), not TAIS ADELPHAIS (the sisters)?

No, the dual in this instance must mean 'two siblings' rather than refer to
twi genders. And I would say that the Euripidean usage, while not
conclusive for how another MUST be using ADELFOS, indicates clearly enough
that the word CAN be used for both genders in the dual or plural, and that
therefore there is sufficient reason to believe that ADELFOI in the GNT
letters CAN refer and probably DOES refer to believers of both genders.
Although it is evident that there are different interpretations of Gal
3:28, that would seem to be an indication that Paul certainly recognizes
that baptism makes human beings of all different categories brothers and
sisters of Christ.

The reading hUMWN in verse 34 really is suspect, inasmuch as it is found in
very few MSS and not the earliest or best, but even if it is right, there
is more reason for it to refer to hAI GUNAIKES (i.e. hAI GUNAIKES hUMWN)
than to EKKLHSIAIS (i.e. hUMWN EN TAIS EKKLHSIAIS). And hUMWN is itself
common gender, certainly not exclusively masculine.

All this is to say that, whatever one makes of these exclusive directions
regarding behavior of women, there is really no good reason for assuming
that the letters are addressed solely to the males of the congregation. You
might even note in the closing chapters of Pauline letters (e.g.
Philippians, Romans), there are greetings and admonitions addressed to both
men and women in the congregation.

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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