Stenschke, “‘Einer Frau gestatte ich nicht, dass sie lehre’ (1 Timotheus 2:12): Exegese – Hermeneutik – Kirche”

Christoph Stenschke, professor at the University of South Africa, has published a new article on 1 Timothy 2:12, available online:

Stenschke, Christoph W. “‘Einer Frau gestatte ich nicht, dass sie lehre’ (1 Timotheus 2:12): Exegese – Hermeneutik – Kirche.” HTS Theological Studies 75.3 (2019): 1–14.

The abstract is provided in English: “This article is an exercise in combining the exegesis, hermeneutical issues and application of 1 Timothy 2:12 in ecclesial contexts where this prohibition is still taken seriously as a Pauline injunction or, at least, as part of the canon of the Church. It surveys representative proposals in New Testament studies of dealing with this least compromising assertion regarding the teaching of women in early Christianity. It discusses the hermeneutical issues involved in exegesis and application and how one should relate this prohibition to other New Testament references to women and their role in the early Christian communities. In closing, the article discusses whether and how this assertion can still be relevant in contemporary contexts when and where women have a very different role in society and church.”

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).

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.

3rd edition of Women in the Church

In 2016 a third edition of Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner was published. Although Baker published the first two editions, this version is published by Crossway. Scott Baldwin’s chapter on αὐθεντέω has been replaced with a chapter by Al Wolters on the same word. Dorothy Patterson’s chapter has been replaced by a roundtable discussion.

The chapter summaries below are taken from the introduction, with permission from Crossway.

The team of contributors, all leading experts in their respective fields, scrutinize in the following pages the various aspects of a responsible interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: the historical background of first-century Ephesus; the meaning of the word αὐθεντεῖν; the Greek syntax of v. 12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man”; the exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:9–15; the cultural context for applying the passage; matters of Bible translation; and vigorous, spirited interaction on the implications of the reading offered here for women’s roles in the life of the church today.

In chapter 1, S. M. Baugh discusses the first-century background. For more than a century, excavators have been digging in the city of Ephesus, and in the course of that time, archaeologists and ancient historians have unearthed, examined, and evaluated a very large amount of original source material, which makes a fairly intimate knowledge of the city and its inhabitants possible. Unfortunately, this material is not always easily accessible, and misunderstandings sometimes continue for people who look for accurate explanations of the Ephesian background to interpret texts such as 1 Timothy. Hence, while the earlier forms of this essay provided much technical information, this version has been revised to make the subject matter clearer to the nonspecialist. The overall goal is to draw an accurate, brief portrait of the institutions of Ephesus as they relate specifically to the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 and illumine its message.

In chapter 2, Al Wolters examines the meaning of the verb αὐθεντέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12 and is commonly translated “have authority.” His main point is that the verb here does not have a pejorative meaning (as in “domineer”) or an ingressive meaning (as in “assume authority”), although in recent decades a number of scholars, versions, and lexica have ascribed these connotations to it. An exhaustive survey of all known occurrences of the verb in ancient and medieval Greek shows that actual usage does not support these lexicographical innovations. While the translation “assume authority” (or the like) is sometimes justified, this is the case only where an ingressive aorist is used, not in other tense forms of the verb, such as the present tense in this passage.

In chapter 3, I examine the essential syntax of what is probably the most contentious section of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (v. 12 ESV). In particular, based on syntactic parallels in both Scripture and ancient Greco-Roman literature, I argue that the two activities joined by the conjunction οὐδέ in 1 Timothy 2:12 (teaching and exercising authority over men) must be, in Paul’s consideration, either both positive or both negative. Paul’s positive view of διδάσκω (teaching) as an activity thus points to his positive view of αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός (exercising authority over a man) as an activity, over against interpreters who have assigned to αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός a negative meaning. In addition, I argue that the two activities of teaching and exercising authority, while related, ought not to be merged into a single idea that is more restrictive than either one is separately (e.g., “seizing authority to teach a man”), an interpretation that some scholars have strenuously advanced in recent years.

In chapter 4, Thomas Schreiner sets forth an interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15. While not every contributor would agree with everything argued for in this essay—especially the interpretations offered for 1 Timothy 2:14–15—the interpretation proposed draws upon the conclusions reached in other chapters of this book (especially Baugh, Wolters, and Köstenberger) and interacts extensively with existing scholarship.

In chapter 5, Robert Yarbrough deals with the hermeneutics of this passage and what the interpretation means for church practice. He denies that this passage asserts the abolition, prevention, or curtailment of women’s leadership in church or society, or women’s exclusion from all teaching and ministry in any capacity whatsoever. Rather, this chapter explores the meaning of the biblical precedent and precept of men’s primary leadership responsibility as pastoral teachers and overseers (cf. Paul’s “teach” and “exercise authority” in 1 Tim. 2:12) in God’s household, the church.

In chapter 6, Denny Burk investigates the claim, advanced by Linda Belleville, that a nonpejorative rendering of αὐθεντεῖν is an innovation of English Bibles produced in the twentieth century. He also examines the shift in translation of αὐθεντεῖν from “have authority” in the NIV 1984 and TNIV 2002 to the ingressive “assume authority” in the TNIV 2005 and NIV 2011. Is the NIV translators’ explanation for the new rendering compelling? Or is it potentially misleading in light of Philip Payne’s pejorative understanding of “assume authority,” which the findings of Al Wolters and Andreas Kӧstenberger in the present volume contravene?

Chapter 7 is devoted to the application of the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to women’s and men’s roles in the church today. To this end, we gathered a virtual roundtable of several women and men with a proven track record of speaking out intelligently and knowledgeably on this issue. While diverse in background, these women and men concur in their essential interpretation of the passage as laid out in the present volume. At the same time, while the original meaning of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 is firm, the significance of Paul’s teaching in this passage is multifaceted. The various participants in the roundtable provide a series of perceptive observations on the text and its application as women and men strive to apply the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to their lives today.

 

Taken from Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 by by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, © 1995, 2005, 2016, pp. 21-23. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

Abraham Malherbe and the Pastoral Epistles (Guest Post)

This is a guest post from Chuck Bumgardner, who is currently working on a PhD in New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

At the time of his passing in 2012, Abraham Malherbe was working on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles that was to replace Dibelius/Conzelmann in the Hermeneia series (as of last August when I checked, Fortress had not chosen a new author). His contribution to the literature would have been most welcome, given his scholarly acumen and his previous Pastorals research. I wanted to note here that most of his already-published engagement with the Pastorals, which was scattered rather widely, has been gathered into the first volume of a just-published collection of his essays:
Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity. Collected Essays, 1959-2012, by Abraham J. Malherbe. Edited by Carl R. Holladay, John T. Fitzgerald, Gregory E. Sterling, and James W. Thompson. 2 volumes. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 150. Leiden: Brill, 2014. (ISBN 978-90-04-25339-1)
The following essays are in Light from the Gentiles. I’ve provided original publication data.

“‘Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners’: Soteriology in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 331-58 in Salvation in the New Testament: Perspectives on Soteriology. Edited by Jan G. van der Watt. Novum Testamentum Supplements 121. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

“Godliness, Self-Sufficiency, Greed, and the Enjoyment of Wealth. 1 Timothy 6:3-19: Part I.” Novum Testamentum 52 (2010): 376-405.

“Godliness, Self-Sufficiency, Greed, and the Enjoyment of Wealth. 1 Timothy 6:3-19: Part II.” Novum Testamentum 53 (2011): 73-96.

“How to Treat Old Women and Old Men: The Use of Philosophical Traditions and Scripture in 1 Timothy 5.” Pages 263-90 in Scripture and Traditions: Essays on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Carl R. Holladay. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 129. Leiden: Brill, 2008.

“‘In Season and Out of Season’: 2 Timothy 4:2.” Journal of Biblical Literature 103 (1982): 23-41.

“Medical Imagery in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 19-35 in Texts and Testaments: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers. Edited by W. E. March. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1980.

“Overseers as Household Managers in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 72-88 in Text, Image, and Christians in the Graeco-Roman World: A Festschrift in Honor of David Lee Balch. Edited by Aliou Cissé Niang and Carolyn Osiek. Princeton Theological Monograph Series 176. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2012.

“Paraenesis in the Epistle to Titus.” Pages 297-317 in Early Christian Paraenesis in Context. Edited by James Starr and Troels Engberg-Pederson. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 125. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004.

Paulus Senex.” Restoration Quarterly 36 (1994): 197-207.

“The Virtus Feminarum in 1 Timothy 2:9-15.” Pages 45-65 in Renewing Tradition: Studies in Texts and Contexts in Honor of James W. Thompson. Edited by Mark W. Hamilton, Thomas H. Olbricht, and Jeffrey Peterson. Princeton Theological Monograph Series 65. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2007.

The PE at SBL

There were a number of papers on the Pastorals at SBL this year including a full session of the Disputed Paulines study group being devoted to them.

The best paper on the Pastorals which I heard came from Jens Herzer of Leipzig. His paper was titled, “Language and Ideas of the Pastoral Epistles in Light of the Papyri.” Herzer, while not affirming Pauline authorship, has a positive view of these letters and presented solid work on the papyri. He argued for maintaining the individuality of the three letters (rather than simply lumping them together, as is too common), supported the idea of 1 Timothy as mandata principis, and made several other suggestions. Herzer seems to be working on a larger project on the Pastorals, so I will be watching for more from him.

The papers from the Disputed Paulines Section were less constructive and less helpful. The Monday morning session of this group had the theme, “New Methods and the Pastoral Epistles.” I will list each presenter and paper title with a brief interaction.

Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of Milan, “Tit 2:1-4, Women Presbyters, and a Patristic Interpretation”

Ramelli essentially argued that Origen affirmed women “elders.” However, even the evidence cited had Origen stating clearly that these women were neither to teach men nor to teach publicly in church. It was not clear to me that “elders” were clearly in view, rather than Origen simply affirming the role of women teaching and encouraging younger women as stated in Titus 2. AS the paper progressed it was not really rooted in Titus 2 but referred to wide ranging sources which alluded to women in ordained ministries. These references were primarily cited but not explained or defended. This paper was similar to her article “Theosebia: A Presbyter of the Catholic Church,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 26.2 (2010): 79-102.

Elsa Tamez, United Bible Society, “The Rhetorical Strategy in 1 Tim 2:8-3:1”

Tamez’s paper followed a similar approach as that found in her book on 1 Timothy. She cited some verbal parallels in this text, though her point was not entirely clear to me. She argued for a basic A, B. A’ structure in various places- some of which has been commonly noted in the literature. She did argue that this text prohibits women from certain ministry but suggested it is not necessarily binding, stating, “There have been men and women who have refused to heed this text.”. She stated, in what may have been an off hand comment, “So the only way out for women is rebellion.”

Marianna Kartzow, University of Oslo, “An Intersectional Approach to the Pastoral Epistles”

Kartzow, author of the recent Gossip and Gender: Othering of Speech in the Pastoral Epistles, essentially approached the Pastorals on the assumption that they are written as late as three generations after Paul and asked “Who needed this memory of Paul?” She was concerned with how different groups- particularly marginalized or oppressed groups- would have “remembered” the ideas contained in the letter. She stated that she did not think the Pastorals were reflections of reality and said we ought to pay as little attention to the Pastoral Epistles as possible because they contain dangerous hierarchies and are texts of terror. She noted, with apparent disappointment that she found little destabilizing ideas in the Pastoral Epistles, i.e. they were socially conventional.

Gail Streete, Rhodes College, “The Pastorals in Rehab; Why They Are Important to Feminism (And It’s Now What You Think)”

Streete is the author of several books, including The Strange Woman: Power and Sex in the Bible. I did not catch why, in her opinion, the Pastorals are important to feminism, though that failure is probably mine due to having listened to too many academic papers in a row. 🙂 She was pessimistic about the possibility of discovering meaning in these letters. She confessed, “I have never learned to love the Pastoral Epistles,” and referred to Deborah Krause’s portrayal of the Pastorals as the “grumpy old uncle” whom you learn to tolerate. She also affirmed the statement of Linda Maloney (in Fiorenza’s Feminist Commentary) that the author of the Pastorals was “a frightened would-be authority on the defensive.”

Bob Yarbrough on 1 Tim 2 at ETS

Bob Yarbrough, now at Covenant Seminary, gave a wonderful paper at ETS titled, “The Empowerment of Women in 1 Timothy 2”.  He discussed how the truths of this text have impacted the lives of members of a church in a largely non-Christian, overseas setting where he has been ministering for many years.

Seeing this text through the eyes, so to speak, of believers in another setting as well as being reminded of the hostility and suffering they face was moving.  Particularly, Yarbrough showed how the complementarian reading was not received as oppressive in this situation but as freeing and indicative of God’s care.

I hope he is able to publish this paper in the future.

Steve Motyer on First Timothy 2.8-15 (Vox Evangelica)

Kudos to Rob Bradshaw and BiblicalStudies.org.uk for the following article on 1Ti 2.8-15:

Steve Motyer, "Expounding 1 Timothy 2:8-15," Vox Evangelica 24 (1994): 91-102.

I haven’t read the article, but figured I’d post the link here so I could find it in the future.

Malherbe on sophrosyne

I recently read Abraham Malherbe’s essay, “The Virtus Feminarum in 1 Timothy 2:9-15” in Renewing Tradition and appreciated it.  He argues for a high degree of literary coherence in this passage and provides significant background for the passage in Greco-Roman philosophical writings.


Given my previous work on the coherence of the Pastorals I was particularly interested in his discussion of coherence.  Malherbe traces the train of thought briefly and concludes that “structurally, the text coheres” (50).  Then the bulk of the essay considers the various ethical ideas in this text arguing that the moral advice contained in it also coheres.  Malherbe also counters Roloff stating, “The two most extended Christological formulations in the Pastoral Epistles … are not mere appendages providing a theological sheen to rather prosaic moralizing” 52).


The bulk of the essay though is a discussion of sophrosyne and related terms in the context of Greco-Roman moral philosophy.  In this Malherbe interacts significantly with Helen North’s $amz(B000CJ3KKQ Sophrosyne: Self-Knowledge and Restraint in Greek Literature), which Malherbe calls a “magisterial study” (53)- no small praise from one of the preeminent scholars on Greco-Roman backgrounds!.  The parallels Malherbe cites here are very helpful and will be important for anyone work on the Pastorals (as these terms occur often in these letters beyond the text in the essay title). 


Malherbe does not in this essay get to the question of how this impacts one’s reading of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.  This essay he says is spade work preliminary to exegesis, which he will do in his forthcoming commentary on the Pastorals in the Hermeneia series.

Bill Mounce on 1Ti 2.15 (saved through childbirth)

Today’s “Mondays with Mounce” on Zondervan’s Koinonia blog discusses that ever-confusing verse, 1Ti 2.15. Here’s Mounce’s summary:

The position I take in my commentary [Mounce wrote the $amz(0849902452 WBC volume on the Pastorals) — RB] is that Paul is talking about how women work out their salvation, in the same sense that Paul says all of us should work out our salvation (σωτηριαν κατεργαζεσθε) with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). The women were not to listen to what the opponents were teaching, looking for other avenues of how their Christian commitment should show itself, which probably included staying out of marriage (1 Tim 4:3) and hence childbirth. But they were to stay in their marriages and see their God-given privilege of bearing children as something to be enjoyed and treasured.

But whatever your specific interpretation, Paul’s consistent use of σωζω argues for some understanding of spiritual salvation in this passage, and not some other meaning more accurately conveyed by ῥυομαι.