Kidson, “Fasting, Bodily Care, and the Widows of 1 Timothy 5:3–15”

Lyn Kidson, whose dissertation on 1 Timothy 1 is forthcoming in WUNT as Persuading Shipwrecked Men: Rhetorical Strategies in 1 Timothy, has produced an article on the widows of 1 Timothy 5:

Lyn Kidson, “Fasting, Bodily Care, and the Widows of 1 Timothy 5:3–15.” Early Christianity 11.2 (2020): 191–205. (Mohr Siebeck)

Here’s the abstract: “In his essay, “Medical Imagery in the Pastoral Epistles,” Abraham Malherbe argued that medical terminology was a conventional polemic used to describe the opponents of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. His identification of this medical schema is the starting point in this article to explore the relationship between the opponents’ commands not to marry and to abstain from foods (1 Tim 4: 2–3)  with “Paul’s” instruction to younger “widows” to marry in 1 Timothy 5: 3–15. This exploration will begin by noting that the writer’s purpose in 1 Timothy is to dissuade certain men and women from teaching the other instruction (1 Tim 1: 3–4), which is the command not to marry. It will then consider the link between fasting and sexual continence in the texts of the contemporary physicians, early Christian writers, and Philo of Alexandria, and make the case that the other instruction is about controlling the desire for marriage through diet. However, it will be demonstrated that contemporary physicians were skeptical about women maintaining control of their sexual desires because of the weakness of their bodies. This suggests that the rhetorical scheme used against the opponents is not only conventional, but is a rhetorical play against the medical advice given by the ascetics in their efforts to comply with the command not to marry.”

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