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RE: [GTh] Re: Silencing women

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... Speaking from memory, the passage isn t in the best manuscripts, the passage flows better without it (it certainly looks like an interpolation), and it
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 12 10:37 AM
      Robert Brenchley asks:

      >> Do Listmembers think 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 is actually Paul.
      Speaking from memory, the passage isn't in the best manuscripts, the
      passage flows better without it (it certainly looks like an
      interpolation), and it contradicts 1 Cor. 11:3-16. There's not much
      point Paul writing all that convoluted stuff about womens' veils if
      he's about to turn round and ban them from speaking at all, is

      My old UBS 2nd edition says that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is well attested after
      vs 33 (incl p46), but does show up, transposed and displaced after
      14:40, in a few mss and sources. That was enough of an indicator of
      editorial activity for the UBS editors to give it a grade of "B".

      But I think there is indeed a connection to 1 COR 11. I have long been
      disturbed by breaks in reasoning that the Pauline letters exhibit, and
      some while ago I attempted to pick apart this passage as follows:

      1 COR 11:3a But I want you to understand that the head of every man
      3b [...], 3c <displaced> 3d [...] 3e is God. 3c but the head of a
      woman is her husband, 4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head
      covered dishonors his head, 5a but any woman who prays or prophesies
      with her head unveiled dishonors her head-- 5b - 10 [...]. 11
      Nevertheless, in (the) LORD a woman is not independent of a man nor a
      man independent of a woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so
      man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for
      yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head
      uncovered? 14 - 15 [...]. 16 If any one is disposed to be
      contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of

      The passages I set aside as interrupting a flow of the arguments above

      3b is Christ 3d and the head of Christ (added in the reworking of
      existing text)
      5b it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6a For if a woman will
      not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; 6b but if it is
      disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
      7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and
      glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made
      from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman,
      but woman for man. 10 That is why a woman ought to have a veil on
      her head, because of the angels (commentary)
      14 Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair
      is degrading to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her
      pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering (commentary)

      These latter passages do not seem to me to be written by a Jew. For
      instance, if "nature itself teach[es] you that for a man to wear long
      hair [it] is degrading to him" was written by a Jew, what of the
      Nazirite vow? This is a highly venerated tradition among Jews in the
      holy land and Acts even suggests Paul took such a vow. The author of
      Acts, though, had him discharge it by shaving his head in the wrong
      place (18:18, Cenchrea), since Rabbi's concluded it was only to be
      performed in the holy land, and the shaving of hair and subsequent
      offering could only be performed in the temple in Jerusalem.

      I think it is interesting that the Rabbinical tradition about the vow
      only being valid in
      the holy land (Mishna Nazir 3.6) is supported by the case of Queen
      Helena of Adiabene. Helena took a seven year Nazirite vow while in her
      homeland, but when she tried to discharge it in Jerusalem she was
      there persuaded to fulfil the entire vow, again, in Judea, on the
      basis that there was a high probability of her having contracted
      corpse impurity while residing in her home country.

      Now Mishna Yoma 3.10 also praises her for the dedication of a golden
      plaque to the temple upon which was written the paragraph of the
      suspected adulteress of Num 5:11-31. This suggests that her second
      observance of the vow was also under suspicion (I understand that some
      exegetes think she may have observed the vow a third time). I assume
      this is the second attempt to fulfill the vow as Nazir 3.6 was
      concerned with corpse impurity, not immorality). Perhaps her seven
      year residence in Jerusalem, or a practice such as praying with an
      uncovered head, made some suggest she was somehow being unfaithful or
      disrespectful to her husband back in her homeland.

      At any rate, this means that on at least two occasions she would have
      been ready to shave her head to fulfill the vow, and that there was
      controversy over it. The second time she would have attempted to shave
      her head was about 50-54 CE, exactly in the period when 1 Cor is
      traditionally believed to have been written. If that is the case, then
      the original author of 1 Cor 11:3-16 may have made a comment about the
      appropriateness of Helena fulfilling her vow (by shaving her head).

      I suggest that Paul/the author objected on the grounds that her -in
      his opinion- improper behavior made the vow invalid and she should not
      have (or should not) shave(d) her head. But a later editor deleted the
      original reference because he did not approve of the Jewish practice
      of the Nazirite vow, even though he still could not resist offering
      his opinion about the practice he had deleted, including his
      rationalization based on a rather strict opinion about the place of
      women in general.

      In 1 COR 14:33b-35 I see a related overlay:

      1 Cor 14:33a For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. 33b As
      in all the churches of the saints, 34 - 35 [...]. 36 What! Did the
      word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has
      reached? 37 If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he
      should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of (the)
      LORD. 38 If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

      Here Paul/the author is chiding the Corinthians for being too novel in
      their approach to prayer and worship. But an editor, probably the same
      one as in 1 COR 11, had to add that:

      34 ... women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not
      permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.
      35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their
      husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church

      I attribute this to an editor of the Pauline letters who had a
      neurotic psychological complex about family/household relationships,
      showing up in several other places (EPH 6:23-33, 1 TIM 3:5, 2 TIM
      3:1-11, TIT 2:2-10). I think "editor," even though these are usually
      not considered authentic, is that these ideas also appear there as
      intrusions, as they did in 1 Cor. [Yes, that does suggest a rather
      complex history behind the Pauline corpus as we have it]

      Could this be what GoT 61 is in reaction to? I'm not sure, as nowhere
      in the Pauline corpus is a Salome even alluded to. It is probably a
      comment related to a Salome tradition such as what we also see in
      non-canonical gospel traditions (_Gosp. of the Egyptians_ - Clem
      Alex., _1 Apoc. of James_ - NHL, _Protoevangelium of James_,
      Serapion's _Life of John_). Perhaps it is a gnostic slap at an
      orthodox rejection of Salome tradition, probably occasioned by its
      association with doctrine the orthodox opposed and gnostics favored.


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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