[b-greek] Re: 1 Tim. 2:12, meaning of AUQENTEIN

From: B. Ward Powers (bwpowers@eagles.com.au)
Date: Sun Aug 13 2000 - 11:17:35 EDT

<x-flowed>At 06:25 AM 000813 -0500, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote, first citing my
previous post to the list:

> >The New RSV translation informs the reader in its footnotes to 1 Timothy
> >2:11-12 that the Greek can be translated alternatively as "I permit no wife
> >to teach or have authority over her husband". For reasons of context in 1
> >Timothy 2 and the 1 Peter 3 parallel, this is far and away the preferred
> >translation.
>It is a possible reading of the verse, but the traditional understanding of
>a church setting is far more likely. Paul does not have the authority to
>forbid a wife to teach her husband. But that is what Paul would be
>forbidding in 1 Tim 2:12 according to the above view. There are many other
>contextual indicators opposed to the above translation.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard

May I respectfully suggest to Harold Holmyard that he is begging the
question, affirming as fact that which is to be established.

1. He states that the traditional understanding of the verse is more
likely. If it is more likely because it IS traditional, i.e. if we are
simply to accept what is traditional, then (apart from reading our
predecessors to ascertain what tradition says) we can all shut up shop on
New Testament scholarship. But if Harold's preferred understanding ("a
church setting") is to be accepted because it is in fact the one more
likely, then he needs to address the task of showing this to be so: and
then whether this view is traditional or no is secondary.

2. Harold asserts that a church setting [for the passage] is more likely.
As this list is a forum on Biblical Greek it is not appropriate here for me
to give a detailed answer to this. Any who would like to read such a
detailed answer to this viewpoint will find it on pages 33 to 57 of my book
"The Ministry of Women in the Church" (SPCK Australia, 1996, ISBN
1-876106-05-0, $US20). A brief answer is: the Greek here is ambiguous, as
GUNH can be understood as "woman" or "wife", and ANHR as "man" or
"husband"; and in situations of such ambiguity in the Greek one needs to
take very full and careful account of context. There is nothing within 1
Timothy 2:8-15E which indicates a church setting. The praying by men of
verse 8 is as appropriate for men in their role as head of a household as
within a church context: note especially the expression EN PANTI TOPWi.
Women get dressed at home, not in church (verses 9-10). The rationale which
Paul gives for verses 11-12 is Adam and Eve (verses 13-14) - they were a
married couple not a church. Women gave birth to their children in their
homes, not in the context of a church service (verse 15). If "a church
setting" is to be found in the context of verse 12 it is because it has
been first of all read into it. The passage does not contain it.

3. Harold asserts that Paul lacks the authority to forbid a wife to teach
her husband. Yet (presumably, on Harold's understanding of it being a
church setting) Paul has the authority to forbid ALL women from teaching
ALL men. He can do the greater forbidding, but not the lesser. This is a
bold and courageous assertion. I wonder how it could be supported.

4. Finally, Harold says that there are "many other contextual indicators
opposed to the above translation" i.e., of GUNH and ANHR here as wife and
husband. As these are not pointed out, I do not know what Harold has in
mind and in consequence I am unable to answer this assertion. However,
there are seven significant points of similarity with what Paul says here
(2:8-15E) about GUNH and ANHR and what Peter says about the people to whom
these same Greek words refer in 1 Peter 3:1-7. In the latter passage, as I
pointed out in my previous post, these words are translated as "wife" and
"husband". What are the "other contextual indicators" in 1 Timothy 2:8-15E
which mean that, to the contrary, the right translation in this passage is
"woman" and "man"? Or, Harold, would you say that that is also the correct
translation in 1 Peter 3?

5. The GUNH referred to in this passage is (in verse 11) to be in "full
submission" to the ANHR. The only person to whom a woman is ever required
to be in submission in NT teaching is to the husband with whom she is "one
flesh", and that is because he is the "head" of this one-flesh
relationship, and is to love his wife, and treat his wife as his own flesh,
a part of his own body (Ephesians 5:22-33E). The one always and only ever
goes with the other. The idea that a woman is to be in submission to males
other than her husband, who do not owe her the commitment outlined by Paul
in Ephesians 5, is a monstrous idea and is foisted upon the NT, not taught
by it.

I realize that opinions differ in relation to this passage. (Otherwise we
would hardly be spending time on it, trying to come to an understanding of
its meaning.) With full recognition of these other viewpoints, and aware
indeed of the possibility that I can be the one who is mistaken here, I
respectfully submit my interpretation of the Greek of verses 11 and 12. But
I would hold that it is not sufficient to assert that my understanding is
incorrect. To demolish my case it is necessary to address each of my
arguments and show how they are invalid or in error.

Then I will be persuaded to amend my views, and will publicly do so.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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