Women and Paul
- It seems sense?
Women and Paul
“As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know. Let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a women to speak in church.’(1 Corinthians 14; 34-35)
These lines come at the end of a lengthily discussion about order of worship. With specific focus being tongues. Between verses 33 and 36, though, there’s a jarring interruption, as the focus turns abruptly from prophesy and tongues in worship to women keeping quiet. The modern translations contain a foot note at the bottom of the page that says something like this: ”Other ancient authorities put verses 34-35 after verse 40.” This means that the lines about restrictions on women speaking were not even in the same place in the earliest manuscripts
that still exist. We do not have the apostles actual original letter, but have reproduced by various unknown copyists. This might have incorporated and inserted to tarnish his uncompromising standing for Christ as an apostles not lesser than mighty 12. His idea about Christians is: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave
nor free, but all are in one Christ.”(Galatians 3:28) . Even more intriguing is the fact that a recently uncovered early manuscript does not contain the controversial verses in either place, but rather in the margins of the page.
Add to this the vocabulary in these verses, which is decidedly unlike Paul’s language in the rest of the book or elsewhere(“as the law also says” is a very un-Pauline thing to say, as is “in the churches “or
“subordinate”) This result is a questionable section being attributed to Paul.
When it comes to the pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus, most scholars agree they were written later by someone other than Paul( though possibly with some excerpts of Paul’s writing woven it) In the 2 chapter of 1 Timothy, for example, there is a section about how women should dress and act, so as to acknowledge their subordinate status. The sentiment here sounds very much like what we saw in 1 Corinthians” “Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no women to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.”(1 Timothy 2:11-12)
Paul, the fearless advocate of unity and equality in Jesus, became known instead as the arch- conservative whose restrictions on women and slaves resulted in 19 centuries of inequality and injustice. It could be argued that his opponents had succeeded in the ultimate spin. If Paul could not be discredited as an apostle, then the next option for those who feared what he set in motion was to rein things under his name, to make it sound as if he demanded adherence to the social status quo, Sadly, their strategy worked.
(indebted to A Dangerous Dozen :Rev. C.K. Robertsson)