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Denny Burk corrects Tom Wright: not his best moment

November 25, 2012

Denny Burk is taking on himself to criticize Tom Wright on the topic of 1 TIm. 2:12. In order to maintain that Wright is wrong, Denny has to prevent people from knowing that there is no evidence for authentein meaning “to lead in church” or to have authority in a positive sense. It is now 6 years since I asked this question on the internet, and many people used to claim that they would email Andreas Kostenberger and get back to me with an answer, but nobody has done that.

I have had long email exchanges with Al Wolters and Dan Wallace on this topic. Nothing of substance in those exchanges. In view of the lack of evidence for the meaning of authentein, I vote that Denny Burk stop saying some of the things he does about Wright.

Below are three examples of the use of authentein, one centuries after the NT, one is a vague fragment, and one a non-existant fragment. Yes, I think Wright is correct in saying,

The other lie to nail is that people who “believe in the Bible” or who “take it literally” will oppose women’s ordination. Rubbish. Yes, I Timothy ii is usually taken as refusing to allow women to teach men. But serious scholars disagree on the actual meaning, as the key Greek words occur nowhere else. That, in any case, is not where to start.

“Therefore, everyone will walk according to his won desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.” 3 cent. AD) Hippolytus (d. AD 235) On the End of the World. De consummatione mundi, in Hippolyt’s kleinere exegetische und homiletische Schrften, ed. H. Achelis in De griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, 1.2 (Leipzig: Himrichs, 1897), 239-309.

Can authentein mean “to lead in church?” – lots of discussion in this post

BGU 1208 in this fragment the meaning is to “force” or “compel” someone with whom one is having a disagreement.

Philodemus Fragment  – it is difficult to tell if authentein occurred in this fragment, or what it meant if it did occur here, or if this fragment ever existed, since we only have a recent copy

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2012 8:30 pm

    I don’t think there is much beyond smoke and mirrors. I’ve read The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Kostenberger and it is mainly him missing the point and assuming what he is trying to prove. In any case the Anglican church already has women teaching and acting in positions of authority. Over and done with. So I’m not sure how Denny’s point is relevant one way or another.

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    November 25, 2012 9:01 pm

    CD – host, they just lost the vote to have female bishops, so it is not over and done with. Yes, I agree that Kostenberger often misses the point, but he is at least a little more honest in the detail, admitting that there is no lexical evidence for authentein.

  3. November 25, 2012 9:28 pm

    My point is that there are quite openly women teaching and quite openly women in positions of authority. Up or down Denny doesn’t get what he wants regarding 1Tim 2:12. Right now the Anglicans have sexism but not complementarianism. So at this point it is just unprincipled sexism. Moreover: The bishops approved the change by 44 to 3, and the clergy by 148 to 45. laity, 132 to 74, six votes fewer than the two-thirds needed. Obviously I’d rather it passed but that’s not a terrible outcome.

    I think the bigger problem is groups like Church of the Nazarene which have had female ministers for 100 years but where the laity are de-facto but not de-jure turning against female ministers and thus dropping their numbers massively in practice.

  4. November 26, 2012 4:35 pm


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