Skip to content

not overruling the man

September 5, 2011

Theophrastus has introduced a discussion of 1 Tim. 2:12 already, so I thought I would take up this passage with a post rather than just a comment.

I am not too worried about how to translate 1 Tim. 2:12, but fall back on the Vulgate in this case. It has the advantage of being a translation backed by tradition, not always a bad thing. Oh, and not motivated by feminism either,

Docere autem mulierem non permitto, neque dominari in virum: sed esse in silentio.

But to teach I permit not unto a woman, nor to have dominion over the man, but to be in silence.   Douay Rheims 1610.

Jerome has used dominari in two other contexts so we have some idea what he meant by it. Here is 1 Peter 5:3 and Gen. 3:16,

neque ut dominantes in cleris, sed forma facti gregis ex animo.

neither as “overruling” the Clergie, but made examples of the flock from the hart.  DR 1582

et sub viri potestate eris, et ipse dominabitur tui.

thou shalt be under thy husband’s power and he shall have dominion over thee. DR 1609

It is hard not to suppose that the translators of the Douay-Rheims regarded “to have dominion” as a positive thing, and “overruling” as a negative thing. (I won’t suggest a feminist agenda for these translators.) A man could have dominion over a woman, but not the reverse. However, the “Clergie” is not to be overruled!

Just think what it would be like if 1 Tim. 2:12 had said that the woman was not to “overrule” the man. And should a man overrule a woman? What did they think on that score? The clergy is not to be overruled by the bishops (?), in spite of their relative positions, so why should a man overrule a woman?

I am becoming a little curious as to who translated the Douay-Rheims, and how they were able to suggest that the clergy should not be overruled. What was the power dynamic that this translation was intended to challenge or reinforce? I’d be interested in any ideas on this account.

My citations are from the facsimile version of the Douay Rheims, accessed through the Look Higher website, under “Historic Bibles (graphic.) One of the constants in my blogging has been, and will continue to be, to rediscover historic Bible translations and understand them within their  context. And one of the benefits of group blogging is accountability, making sure that one’s references are reliable. That’s where the facsimile Bibles come in handy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2011 11:10 pm

    The 1582 Rheims Bible (primarily translated by Gregory Martin) includes detailed notes — here are the notes to 1 Peter 5:3, which pretty much speak for themselves:

    Ouerruling. Not superiority, preeminence, souerainty, or rule on the one side, nor obedience, subiection, and inferiority on the other side, be forebidden in the Clergie: but tyrannie, pride, and ambitious domination be forbidden, and humility, meekenes, moderation are commended in Ecclesiastical Officers. the Greeke vvord here of ruling or ouerruling, being the same that our Sauiour vseth in the Gospel of the tyrannical rule of secular Heathen Princes, saying to his Apostles, that it shal not be so among them: according as here the prince of the Apostles teacheth his brethren the Ecclesiastical rulers. [Subnote: Not Superioritie but tyrannie and lordlines is forbidden in the Clergie.] [Subnote: katakurieuontes. Mat. 20. v. 25.]

    The Clergie. Some of the English nevv translations turne it corruptly, Parishes: others, heritages: both, to auoid the most knovven, true, and common vvord in al Christian languages, to vvit, Clergie, a vvord, by vse of al antiquity, & agreably to the holy Scriptures, made proper to the Spiritualty or Clergie. though in an other more vulgar acception it may agree to al Christs chosen heritage, as vvel of lay people as Priests. vvhich the Protestants had rather folovv, because they vvill haue no difference betvvene the laity & the Clergie. [Subnote: Heret. translation.] [Subnote: The name of Clergie and Clerke.] But the holy fathers far othervvise euen from the beginning. Vvhereof see S. Cyprian ep. 4. 5. 6. &c. And S. Hierom ep. 2 to Nepotianus c. 5. vvhere he interpreteth this vvord. Therfore (saith he) Clericus, that is, a Clergie man, vvhich serueth the Church of Christ, let him first interprete his name, and the signification of the name being declared, let him endeuour to be that vvhich he is called. If kleros (Clerus) in Greeke, be called in Latin, Sors, therfore are they called Clerici, that is, Clergie men, because they are of the lot of our Lord, or because our Lord him self is the lot or portion of Clergie men &c.

    Vvhich calling no doubt vvas taken out of the holy Scriptures. Numer. 18. and Deutero. 18. vvhere God is called the inheritance, lot, and portion of the Priests and Leuites: and novv vvhen men be made of the Clergie, they say, Dominus pars hæreditatis meæ. [Subnote: kleronomia kleros. meris.] that is, Our Lord is the portion of mine inheritance. but specially out of the nevv Testament, Act. 1, 17. 25. and 8, 21. Vvhere the lot or office of the Ecclesiastical ministerie is called by this vvord kleros, Clerus. [Subnote: Priests crownes.] See in Venerable Bede the causes vvhy this holy state being seuered by name from the Laity, doth vveare also a crovvne on their head for distinction. Lib. 5. hist. Angl. c. 22.

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    September 5, 2011 11:41 pm

    So superiority and inferiority are acceptable, no suprise there, but just the same, “tyrannie, pride, and ambitious domination be forbidden.” Thanks!


  1. Paul : Wright :: Thucydides: Woodruff « BLT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: