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7710Re: [textualcriticism] Re: James 4:4 - James the Egalitarian??

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  • Daniel Buck
    Feb 19, 2013
      You two have got me thinking here. While we are at hypothesizing, I would bring forward the idea that the original reading of James 4:4 was 'adulteress', vocative singular feminine, which more closely identifies the Hebraism of personifying a faithless people as a wayward wife. The first stage of correction would then yield the Alex reading, and the second stage the Byz.
      Daniel Buck

      From: Vox Verax <james.snapp@...> 


      Let me try to provide some quick answers.

      You proposed that when James says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers," he means, when he says, "brothers," that not many of his brothers [no sisters included] should become teachers. And you asked, "What am I missing here?" All you're missing is the egalitarians' interpretation of the word "adelphoi" that has become woven into some recent English translations.

      MMR: "I would go a step further and state that he is exclusively speaking of the Pastor/Teaching offices (and or gifts) within the Body of Christ."

      I can see how this variant-unit could have direct doctrinal ramifications with such a view in place.

      When I asked, "Does it not follow, then, that James took for granted that women, as well as men, were qualified to teach doctrine, if they were sufficiently mature?" you wrote, "Not if Scripture is used to interpret Scripture."

      But, it could be argued, when the book of James was written, the passages that we consider the major passages in the New Testament about the role of women in the church were not yet written, and this could be understood as an indication that those other passages pertained primarily to particular situations, and were not intended to be normative for all time; James' statement here, though, is more permanent, inasmuch as no particular setting is linked to it.

      You asked, "Can a woman who is `sufficiently mature' be the head of the household and put her husband in subjection to her?" I would say that Scripture precludes such a thing, with the usual qualifications in place. But let's try to stay focused on the main question about James 4:4's textual variant and its potential impact on how James 3:1 should be interpreted.

      After I mentioned that the Alexandrian reading of James 4:4 takes away the basis for an egalitarian interpretation of 3:1, you wrote, "Once again, due to my trouble in following some of your previous thoughts, I am at a loss here." I will try to rephrase: throughout James' epistle, there is nothing that clearly indicates that he is writing to women as well as to men, except the Byzantine reading of 4:4. Thus there is nothing that clearly indicates that he intended for his statement in 3:1 to apply to women, as well as to men, except the Byzantine reading of 4:4. One could propose that it cannot apply to women because James specifically frames 3:1 as an address to *brothers,* but those who think that adelfoi should be understood to be gender-inclusive (even when used by a writer, such as James, who demonstrates his ability to refer to "a brother or a sister" when that is what he means) would no see that as much of an obstacle.

      When I wondered about the likelihood that future egalitarians might favor the theory of parableptic error in the Alexandrian Text of James, you wrote, "Personally, I hold that the shorter reading in James 4:4 is a parableptic error and have never dreamed of such a situation. But, anything is possible!" Okay; with that premise in place, ask yourself: hypothetically, if you had never seen any other New Testament book, and if you believed that every time James referred to brothers, he actually meant "brothers and sisters," how would you interpret James 3:1?

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.

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