Belleville, “Lexical Fallacies in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12”

Linda Belleville, “Lexical Fallacies in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12: BDAG in Light of Greek Literary and Nonliterary Usage,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 29.3 (2019): 317–41.

Abstract:
On the basis of the studies of George Knight (1984) and Leland Wilshire (1988) in NTS, the 2000 edition of BDAG eliminated “domineer over” as a meaning of the Greek word αὐθεντέω and substituted “assume a stance of independent authority,” thereby calling into question lexicons dating from AD 1st-century Harpocration and translations of 1 Tim 2:12 dating back to the Old Latin, which render the phrase οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός negatively as “nor to domineer over a man” or “nor to usurp authority over a man.” Indeed, examination of αὐθεντ- forms in Classical and Hellenistic literary and nonliterary materials shows that modern translations of αὐθεντεῖν as “to exercise authority” or “assume authority over” have no basis in the Greek of antiquity. Instead, “to murder” or “perpetrate a murder” surface exclusively in the literary materials, and “to domineer” or “to originate” appear without exception in the nonliterary materials.

This article follows two SBL presentations which discuss the same material: “What’s a Woman to Do? An Examination of authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 in Light of Hellenistic Non-Literary Materials” (presentation at SBL Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 20 November 2005) (abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=2392); “A Translation Fallacy in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12: BDAG in Light of Greco-Roman Literary and Non-Literary Usage,” (presentation at SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 21 November 2011) (abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=19093)

The article follows a good bit of work done by Belleville on this and related passages, both in her 2009 Cornerstone commentary contribution on the Pastorals, as well as the following (chronologically): “1 Timothy,” in The IVP Women’s Bible Commentary (ed. Catherine Clark Kroeger and Mary J. Evans; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002), 734‒747; “Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” Priscilla Papers 17.3 (2003): 3–11; “Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy (ed. Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004), 205–223; “Women in Ministry: An Egalitarian Perspective,” Pages 19‒104 in Two Views on Women in Ministry (ed. James R. Beck; 2nd edition; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005).

Abstracts for Ethics in Titus Conference

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in the “Ethics in Titus” conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The conference was hosted by the Research Center for Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity, which is ably led by Prof. Dr. Ruben Zimmermann. In leading this conference Prof. Zimmermann was joined by Dogara Manomi, who has just submitted his doctoral thesis on Titus under Prof. Zimmermann’s supervision. They both were excellent hosts for a stimulating conversation with papers, wonderful meals and even a tour of the city.

They have graciously allowed us to post here the abstracts from the papers of the conference. The papers are to be published in a forthcoming volume in the Context and Norms of New Testament Ethics series within WUNT (Mohr Siebeck).

Merz contra Winter

Among the many literary accomplishments of Bruce Winter, onetime warden of Tyndale House and presently professor emeritus at Queensland Theological College, is his engagement of the connection between the Pastorals and their Greco-Roman cultural context. Published works in this regard include:

“The ‘New’ Roman Wife and 1 Timothy 2:9–15: The Search for a Sitz im Leben.” Tyndale Bulletin 51.2 (2000): 285–94.

Providentia for the Widows of 1 Timothy 5.3–16.” Tyndale Bulletin 39 (1988): 83–99.

Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. [esp. pp. 97–169 on 1 Tim 2:9–15; 5:11–15; Titus 2:3–5]

“You Were What You Wore in Roman Law: Deciphering the Dress Codes of 1 Timothy 2:9–15.” SBL Forum, n.p. Online.

In Roman Wives, Roman Widows (see, e.g., this review for a general summary), Winter sets forth his understanding of the “new woman” in the Greco-Roman context of the NT, making application to Pauline passages such as 1 Tim 2:9-15 and 1 Tim 5:3-16. As a matter of definition, “The ‘new’ wife or widow in the late Roman Republic and early Empire was the one whose social life was reported to have been pursued at the expense of family responsibilities that included the complex running of households” (5). Winter lays out literary evidence from “(a) the views of contemporary writers covering the late Republic and the early second century A.D.; (b) those of the poets and playwrights; (c) and the legal moves of Augustus where he specifically legislates against this new phenomenon in the late Republican period and the early Empire” (22). He finds that this evidence supports “new mores” of the time which had implications for the social roles of women and “in some cases, endorsed [the ‘new woman’s] illicit sexual liaisons with younger, single men” (3). The “new woman” was characterized by provocative clothing and a loose lifestyle, in contrast with properly modest wives and widows.

Winter’s work has been widely engaged. It plays a significant role, for instance, in Towner’s NICNT commentary on the Pastorals. It has not been, however, uncontroversial. To that end, I point our readership to a just-published, and rather severe, critique: Annette Merz, “‘New’ Woman? Bruce W. Winters These und ihre Rezeption in der exegetischen Diskussion kritisch beleuchtet [Bruce W. Winter’s thesis and its reception in the exegetical discussion critically examined],” in Frauen im antiken Judentum und frühen Christentum (ed. Jörg Frey and Nicole Rupschus; WUNT 2/489; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019), 209-34. Merz has posted a teaser on Academia, providing her faculty email address (a.b.merz@pthu.nl) for readers to obtain a copy of the entire essay.

In her lengthy discussion, Merz contends that Winter reads the ancient evidence too uncritically; appropriates modern historians too selectively and feminist scholarship too rarely; and unduly expands a limited phenomenon of antiquity beyond historically verifiable chronological and geographical bounds. She considers his overall thesis “dubious” (“dubiose,” p. 231), indeed, an “evangelical research-myth” (“ein evangelikaler Forschungsmythos,” p. 234).

My purpose in noting Winter’s and Merz’s work here is not to evaluate either, but simply to highlight the discussion. If students of the Pastorals are leaning heavily on Winter’s work in some particular project or if Winter’s thesis undergirds their understanding of the letters to any great extent, they will at least want to be aware of Merz’s substantial critique.

Recent Work on the Pastoral Epistles

I am aware of four books related to the Pastorals that have just come out, and thought it would be useful to mention them here.

First is the new volume on the PE in the Baylor Handbook series. The series as a whole has been very well done so I look forward to seeing this PE volume by Larry Perkins.

 

 

Second, is this new edition of Aquinas’s commentaries on the PE, Michael G Sirilla, The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press. 2017).

I have only glanced at it so far. Here is the table of contents:

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Theology of the Episcopacy in the Writings
  3. St. Thomas’s Lectures on the Pastoral Epistles
  4. Lectures on 1 Timothy: Ut gubernet populum
  5. Lectures on 2 Timothy: Ut pro populo subdito patiatur
  6. Lectures on Titus: Ut malos coerceat
  7. Conclusion

 

This will be fascinating in terms of the history of interpretation.

Third, Baylor has also published a new monograph on the Pastorals, Civilized Piety: The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire by T. Christopher Hoklotubbe. Here is the table of contents for this book:

Introduction: The Politics of Piety in the Pastoral Epistles

  1. Piety in Caesar’s House
  2. Piety in God’s House
  3. Honoring Piety in the City
  4. Honoring Piety in the Ekklēsia
  5. The Mystery of Philosophical Piety
  6. The Mystery of Pastoral Piety

Conclusion: A Pious and Civilized Christian in the Roman Empire

 

Fourth, the Pastorals are dealt within this interesting new book, Paul as Pastor, edited by Brian S. Rosner, Andrew S. Malone, and Trevor J. Burke (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2018). The PE are dealt with by Bob Yarbrough in chapter 11 (which can be viewed at Amazon)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. The Household Setting of Paul’s Pastoral Practice and its Biblical and Jewish Roots — Brian S. Rosner, Ridley College, Australia
    2. Paul as Pastor in Acts: Modelling and Teaching Perseverance in the Faith – Alan J. Thompson, Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Australia
    3. Paul as Pastor in Romans: Theological Foundations – Colin G. Kruse, Melbourne School of Theology, Australia
    4. Paul’s Pastoral Sensitivity in 1 Corinthians – Matthew R. Malcolm, Trinity Theological College, Australia
    5. Paul as Pastor in 2 Corinthians – Paul W. Barnett, Macquarie University, Australia
    6. Pastoring with a Big Stick: Paul as Pastor in Galatians – Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Australia and John Anthony Dunne, St. Andrew’s University, UK
    7. Paul and Pastors in Ephesians: The Pastor as Teacher – Peter Orr, Moore Theological College, Australia
    8. Paul and Pastors in Philippians: When Staff teams Disagree – Sarah Harris, Carey Baptist College, New Zealand
    9. Paul as Pastor in Colossians? – Andrew S. Malone, Ridley College, Australia
    10. Mother, Father, Infant, Orphan, Brother: Paul’s Variegated Pastoral Strategy Towards His Thessalonian Church-Family – Trevor J. Burke, Cambridge Theological Federation, UK
    11. Paul as Working Pastor: Exposing an Open Ethical Secret – Robert W. Yarbrough, Covenant Theological Seminary, USA
    12. The Pastoral Offices in the Pastoral Epistles and the Church of England’s First Ordinal – Tim Patrick, Bible College SA, Australia
    13. Augustine of Hippo on Paul as Pastor – Andrew M. Bain, Queensland Theological College, Australia
    14. ‘He Followed Paul’ Whitefield’s Voice: Heroic, Apostolic, Prophetic – Rhys S. Bezzant, Ridley College, Australia

 

Lastly, I have also just received a copy of a recent article, “The Rhetorical Strategy of 1 Timothy,” by Tim O’Donnell published in Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 79:3 (July 2017): 455-475. I look forward to reading this soon.

 

These are encouraging signs for work on these important letters.

Papers from ETS Group Published in Journal

img_3602We had a great session at the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS last week with four strong papers. I was pleased to announce in our session that the latest issue of the Southeastern Theological Review has been released and is devoted to the Pastoral Epistles. Most of the articles came from papers previously presented in our study group. Editor, Ben Merkle, has done a wonderful job bringing these together. Here are the contents:

“Kinship, Christian Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus,” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Divergent, Insurgent or Allegiant? 1 Timothy 5:1-2 and the Nature of God’s Household,” Gregory A. Couser

“Paul’s Family of God: What Familial Language in the Pastorals Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Church,” Gregory J. Stiekes

“Πιστος ὁ λόγος: An Alternative Analysis,” L. Timothy Swinson

“Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus: A Literature Review (2009-2015),” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Interview with Ray Van Neste of Union University”

Several of the papers deal with the household and family language of the Pastorals, and I found them particularly helpful. Tim Swinson challenges the typical way of understanding Paul’s use of the phrase “πιστoς ὁ λόγος.” If you’ve been reading this site, you are already aware of Bumgardner’s bibliographic grasp, and his literature review here is quite helpful.

I had the privilege of doing an interview on how the Pastoral Epistles discussing how they have impacted my life, noting some ongoing work and pointing to various ways the church needs the Pastorals specifically today.

Southeastern posts the full journal free online, so I expect it will appear at their website soon.

Update: This issue is now available online. I have also linked the first reference to the journal above to this issue. The website provides a link to the full issue as well as to specific articles.

 

Pastoral Epistles ETS Study Group, Next Week

If you are coming to ETS next week in San Antonio, I hope you will join us for our study group on the Pastorals. We have a great line up of papers again this year as you can see from the schedule below. I have included the room, date, time, speakers and titles. Jermo Van Nes will not be able to join us, but he has sent me his paper and I will read it in his stead.

SESSION INFORMATION
11/16/2016

8:30 AM-11:40 AM
Hyatt — Bowie C

Moderator
Ray Van Neste, Union University

8:30 AM—9:10 AM
Ardel Caneday, University of Northwestern- St. Paul
“Save Yourself and the People Who Hear You: An Authentic Pauline Exhortation”

9:20 AM—10:00 AM
Jermo Van Nes, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit
“Motif-Semantic Differences in Paul? A Question to Advocates of the Pastorals’ Plural Authorship”

10:10 AM—10:50 AM
Andreas Köstenberger, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“An Investigation of the Mission Motif in the Letters to Timothy and Titus with Implications for Pauline Authorship”

11:00 AM—11:40 AM
Gordon Franz, Christian Information Ministries
“The Archaeological Background to the Epistle of Titus and the First-Century church on the Island of Crete”

New Monograph, Wealth in Ancient Ephesus

Earlier this year I saw advertisements for this new monograph on 1 Timothy by Gary Hoag, Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy: Fresh Insights from Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus published by Eisenbrauns. I have kept my eye on it but have not yet obtained a copy. So, I was quite interested to see this review of the book by Lucy Peppiat, and thought our readers would like to know of the review as well.

I will hope soon to provide our own review of the book.

The Pastorals at the 2015 ETS Annual Meeting

The Pastoral Epistles were given significant attention at this year’s Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. First, we had an excellent session in the Pastoral Epistles Group.

Chuck Bumgardner began our session with a paper titled, “Kinship, Fictive Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus.” Bumgardner compared what these letters say about family relationships and relationships within the body of Christ (Bumgardner used the phrase “fictive kinship” because it is the standard phrase used to refer to social relationships which are seen or described as familial though there is no blood relation ). He argued that Paul’s use of such language in the PE is not incompatible with his use of it in his other letters, and it does not necessarily indicate that the church is moving from an egalitarian stage to a hierarchical one. His paper also provided an initial sounding of the intersection between Christian family and social family roles in the PE, suggesting that Paul navigates such intersections with a missionary concern for outsiders.

Dillon Thornton was snowed in and, therefore, unable to attend. However, he emailed me his paper, and I was able to read it. The paper,“’Saying What They Should Not Say’: Reassessing the Gravity of the Problem of the Younger Widows (1 Tim 5:9-16),” argued that the younger widows were aligned with the false teachers. Paul’s instruction left them three possibilities: 1) to remain with the false teachers and thus under judgment, 2) to marry unbelievers, thus parting ways with the false teachers (who forbid marriage), and still remaining under judgment, or 3) to remarry in the faith, thus parting ways with the false teachers and realigning with the Pauline church. This answers some of the knotty issues of this passage and gives more attention to many of the specifics than I have seen elsewhere.

Greg Couser’s paper, “The Church as Family: The Nature of the Household of God in 1 Timothy,” argued that the relationships within the church are not merely “fictive” but are in fact more real than blood relations, as Jesus himself said (Matt 12:46-49). Couser provided a robust argument that the ethics of 1 Timothy are not based in cultural accommodation but in the gospel itself. This is a crucial point for understanding the PE since their ethics are so often dismissed or overturned because they are seen as culturally bound.

​Peter Walker closed the session with his paper,  “1 Timothy & Titus Relocated: Reimagining the Connections.”​ Walker argued for placing the PE within the framework of the book of Acts. He has made this argument in print previously, but in this paper he discussed implications of this view including connections between these letters and 1-2 Corinthians and Romans. He also argued this would remove several common critiques of the PE. While, in the end, I was not convinced, Walker made many good challenging points which helped me think more clearly about the dating of the letters.

In addition to our session, several other papers related to the Pastorals were presented. Thanks to Chuck Bumgardner for gathering this list.

Bryan Blazosky (Central Baptist Theological Seminary) “Why 1 Timothy 1:8-11 Ought to be Used in Paul and the Law Studies”

Christopher R. Bruno (Cedarville University) “One God, One People, One Mediator: The Use of the One God Formula in the Disputed Pauline Epistles”

Jamin Hübner (John Witherspoon College) “The Evolution of Complementarian Exegesis” (This is equivalent to Jamin Hübner, “The Evolution of Complementarian Exegesis,” Priscilla Papers 29/1 (Winter 2015), 11-13.

Chris S. Stevens (McMaster Divinity College) “Titus in P32 and Sinaiticus: Textual Reliability and Scribal Design”

Gregory J. Stiekes (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) “Paul’s Family of God: What Familial Language in the Pastorals Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Church”

Also, the book this panel discussed had a chapter on the PE:

Panel Discussion: Review of Margaret Y. MacDonald, The Power of Children: The Construction of Christian Families in the Greco-Roman World

Reviewers: Lynn Cohick (Wheaton College); E. Randolph Richards (Palm Beach Atlantic University); Karelynne Ayayo (Palm Beach Atlantic University); F. Alan Tomlinson (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Response Margaret Y. MacDonald

 

Keener on Acts & The Pastorals

In the third volume of Craig Keener’s massive Acts commentary, he has a long excursus on the relationship between Acts and the Pastorals (pp. 3023-3026). Probably the most significant part of the excursus is the thorough chart listing the itineraries (people, places and events) of the Pastorals, Acts and the earlier Pauline letters side by side. This is very helpful. In the end, Keener is convinced of a second imprisonment for Paul which is described in 2 Timothy- the traditional explanation.

2015 ETS Session on the Pastoral Epistles

The draft of the program for the annual meeting of ETS has just been released. Here is the program for our Pastoral Epistles group. I hope a number of you will join us.

Wednesday 8:30 AM-11:40 AM
PASTORAL EPISTLES
Marriage & Family in the Pastorals
Hilton — 208

Moderator: Ray Van Neste (Union University)
8:30 AM—9:10 AM

Chuck Bumgardner (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Kinship, Fictive Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus

9:20 AM—10:00 AM
Dillon Thornton (University of Otago)
“Saying What They Should Not Say”: Reassessing the Gravity of the Problem of the Younger
Widows (1 Tim 5:9-16)

10:10 AM—10:50 AM
Greg A. Couser (Cedarville University)
The Church as Family: The Nature of the Household of God in 1 Timothy

11:00 AM—11:40 AM
Peter Walker (Trinity School for Ministry)
1 Timothy & Titus Relocated: Reimagining the Connections