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  1. Don Johnson permalink
    June 8, 2015 3:32 am

    “Say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so.”

  2. June 13, 2015 1:14 pm

    Much insight can often be found in the LXX.


  3. November 3, 2019 4:20 am

    So. You are suggesting that the second clause in 1 Timothy 2:12 means that “a woman ought not to be a killer or murderer of a man” but be in stillness. I think that such counsel could be assumed among first century Christians without saying. Certainly, the application of such an interpretation is not only redundant, it is also incongruous within the context.

    While I don’t subscribe to the CBMW perspective on relations between the sexes, and that the translation of the Greek is imperfect in all English translations (very precociously arrogant of me), it would be useful to honestly and scrupulously check out all Greek texts on the matter, not just the ones you think support your pre-existing position. My own suggestion is Euripides, The Suppliants, line 442, in which the use of the term αὐθέντας is most similar and parallel although not talking relations between the sexes. (

    Considering that there is another Greek term, which is more often used both in the Greek New Testament and other extant non-biblical Greek literature, namely exousia; authentein references a specific kind of authority, namely that which is authored by the person’s own arm or authority, rather than one being which is delegated by the ecclesiastical leadership.

    A church which is not willing to delegate such authority to a woman is a dangerous church, especially considering the scandals that are occurring at the present time. The victims of such scandals have no one of their own gender in the ecclesiastical organization who may empathize (rather than merely sympathize) and advocate on their behalf (re: Karen Hinkley, The Villiage Church of Matt Chandler).

    Intellectual integrity is of far greater virtue and value than which side a person is on with regard to any controversial issue. Without it, one is “like the blind, we feel our way along the wall, groping like those without eyes. We stumble at midday as in the twilight; among the vigorous we are like the dead.” (Isaiah 59:10)

  4. November 3, 2019 6:34 am

    Johnny, The “suggestion” is the one made by the blogging “bobandhelga” and by Leland E. Wilshire, whom is quoted. And most importantly, it’s what we read in not just the LXX but also the writings contemporary with and slightly after the NT.

    Thanks for bringing in Euripides, and the one instance in all of the extant plays by Euripides where the Greek phrase in question is used. I’d suggest we all read this in its context, and would encourage a look at how various English translators have rendered it. Rosanna Warren’s Englishing in verse brings out the violence. Nonetheless, you make a good point not to leave out our looking at all the texts written that employ the term. It’s great advice, and I think at the least we see ambiguity; and what emerges from our homework is the fact that the preponderance of uses of the word show that the writers of it meant it to convey violence or one sort or another.

    One lesson for us all might be to tolerate ambiguities. Ironically Aristotle used “pure Greek” ambiguously when advising his elite male-only disciples to avoid ambiguities. That’s a bit of an aside, but it’s also a segue back into the other word you suggest we should consider around notions of “authority.” It’s not always as it seems however:

    The Greek word that can be used for authoritarian acts is one that is also used for liberal deeds:


    English translators of the “Politics” of Aristotle at page 1319a all prefer to go with the latter use when rendering this caution to men living in a democracy:

    ἡ γὰρ ἐξουσία τοῦ πράττειν ὅ τι ἐθέλῃ τις οὐ δύναται φυλάττειν τὸ ἐν ἑκάστῳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων φαῦλον

    “for where absolute freedom is allowed, there is nothing to restrain the evil which is inherent in every man” (Benjamin Jowett)

    “for liberty to do whatever one likes cannot guard against the evil that is in every man’s character” (Harris Rackham)

    “Freedom to do exactly what one likes cannot do anything to keep in check that element of badness which exists in each and all of us” (Thomas Alan Sinclair)

    Since you’re seeming to direct your comment to me, the author of the blog post, pointing to things authored by others, let me confess my own position – whether or not it’s a “pre-existing position” as you put it. I notice you imply that from such a position I may have a lack of integrity, perhaps a lack of honesty. Well, perhaps. My own position is extremely biased, deeply so, perhaps unconsciously. And so in that sense, you might call it “pre-existing.” I do so very much appreciate this view by one Bible translator. Please let me quote her at length on the point of my issue here:

    I approach the question of sexist language in scripture as a feminist Christian drawing on a particular Protestant understanding of Scripture and on a faith that I would characterize as liberal evangelical. I have chosen to accept this heritage, in critical appreciation, as a faith tradition that has prepared me for, and I believe, compelled me to my present understanding. . . . The aim of the Bible translator, in my view, should be to enable a modern audience to overhear an ancient conversation, rather than to hear itself addressed directly. . . . It is not the translator’s duty to make her audience accept the author’s message, or even identify themselves with the ancient audience, except in the sense that any literary work invites identification with its subjects. I am not certain that the translator is even obliged to make the modern reader understand what is overheard. Much of an ancient work may remain enigmatic and uncomprehended because the experience and thought world of the ancient audience is foreign (as we recognized when we encounter such terms or usages as firmament, leprous houses, teraphim, or bride price).
    –Phyllis A. Bird, “Translating Sexist Language as a Theological and Cultural Problem,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review 42 (1988), pages 89, 91-92.

    What is lodged in my own unconsciousness, perhaps, and what is too often incongruous with what comes out in my writing and my speaking as if that’s more conscious is the notion that the male writers of the NT were caught up in a system of male supremacy. Thus it shouldn’t surprise me, or anybody if you’d allow me to believe that, when a Bible text sounds sexist. Nonetheless, and this is my own take away from Bird, I’m most responsible reading this far out as somebody the text is written “for” or “to”; but rather as somebody eavesdropping, overhearing, listening in to. I get the implications of an “authoritative” text, like, say, the Bible, or the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution of the United States. There are personal connections to me and mine, here and now. But I like reading a plurality of perspectives and find that the notion of ambiguities and especially the tolerance of them is helpful. I do hope this helps you some, somewhat knowing where I stand, whether with “pre-existing” views, as if these must remain fixed somehow, or not.

    Finally, since you get us thinking about Pastor Chandler’s inactions and silences surely you’re thinking about not only Ms. Hinkley but other victims of the violations that have occured at the Village Church. (


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