“Women as Gossips and Busybodies: Another Look at 1 Timothy 5:13”

This is the title of my paper which has just been accepted for the Disputed Paulines Consultation at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November 2007.  The abstract of the paper is below and no doubt I shall be musing on this here as my thoughts develop.

Nearly all English translations translate the
flu&aroi kai\
in 1 Tim 5:13 as “gossips and
busybodies” (ESV, GNT, NAB, NIV, NKJV and NRSV, for example), and the
concluding phrase
ta_ mh_ de/onta
as some variation of “saying what they should not
say”.  This paper revisits the suggestion
by Spicq, Hanson, Kelly and others in their commentaries on this passage that the
former phrase has to do with working magic and the latter with the actual
formulae used.  I argue that the phrase
“gossips and busybodies” has, therefore, been consistently mistranslated and
that the apparent misogyny of this passage has to be seen in the context of
very real opposition arising from what the writer views as false teaching and
magical practices within the community.