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James 4:4 - James the Egalitarian??

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  • Vox Verax
    The text-critical question at the beginning of James 4:4 -- Adulteresses versus Adulterers and adulteresses -- might be among the textual variants that is
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 16, 2013
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      The text-critical question at the beginning of James 4:4 -- "Adulteresses" versus "Adulterers and adulteresses" -- might be among the textual variants that is capable of affecting doctrine. James often refers to his readers as his brothers. But, we are sometimes told, James did not thus limit his readers to males; translators are perfectly justified when they render ADELFOI as "brothers and sisters" in James' letter. (Even when James uses ANHR, we are sometimes told, this term does not refer exclusively to a male. See for example the NET's interpretive notes that accompany 1:8, 2:2, etc., where ANHR becomes "individual," "someone," etc.)

      In James 4:4, we are not left in doubt about the question of whether or not James wrote to females as well as to males. He distinctly addresses both groups: "Adulterers and adulteresses!" Clearly, if this was intended to only describe men, James could have called them either "Adulterers," as if they were actually guilty of the sin of adultery, or as "Adulteresses," picturing them collectively as the unfaithful bride of Christ. But there would be no reason, it seems to me, for James to have written, "Adulterers and Adulteresses" if he had only been addressing males.

      So, back in 3:1, when James says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers," he means, when he says, "brothers," that not many of his brothers /and sisters/ should become teachers. And it is a small interpretive step to conclude that James is not referring to teachers of how to draw or cook, but mainly to doctrinal and/or ethical teaching, inasmuch as James says that the teachers shall receive a stricter standard of judgment.

      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?

      On the other hand: if we depart from the Byzantine Text in James 4:4, we will adopt the short reading, "Adulteresses." In which case, in the one place where, in the Byzantine Text, James distinctly recognizes the women in his readership, we will insist that he did not actually do so. In which case, when we look through James' letter as a whole, it looks exactly what a letter written to males would look like; when "brothers" means "brothers," and "man" means "man," it is completely consistent with a scenario in which the readership consists of males. In which case, it becomes impossible to extract any egalitarian principle from James 3:1 or anything written by James.

      I wonder if, in the future, the theory of parableptic error in the Alexandrian Text of James 4:4 will gain supporters among egalitarians, as the non-inclusion of I Cor. 14:34-35 has.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
    • rslocc
      Hi James, I had a couple of quick questions. ... Vox Verax james.snapp@... wrote: The text-critical question at the beginning of James 4:4 -- Adulteresses
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 18, 2013
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        Hi James,

        I had a couple of quick questions.

        --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com,
        "Vox Verax" james.snapp@... wrote:

        The text-critical question at the beginning of James 4:4 -- "Adulteresses" versus "Adulterers and adulteresses" -- might be among the textual variants that is capable of affecting doctrine. James often refers to his readers as his brothers. But, we are sometimes told, James did not thus limit his readers to males; translators are perfectly justified when they render ADELFOI as "brothers and sisters" in James' letter. (Even when James uses ANHR, we are sometimes told, this term does not refer exclusively to a male. See for example the NET's interpretive notes that accompany 1:8, 2:2, etc., where ANHR becomes "individual," "someone," etc.)


        In James 4:4, we are not left in doubt about the question of whether or not James wrote to females as well as to males. He distinctly addresses both groups: "Adulterers and adulteresses!" Clearly, if this was intended to only describe men, James could have called them either "Adulterers," as if they were actually guilty of the sin of adultery, or as "Adulteresses," picturing them collectively as the unfaithful bride of Christ. But there would be no reason, it seems to me, for James to have written, "Adulterers and Adulteresses" if he had only been addressing males.

        [Agreed! He is speaking of the Body of Christ in general (both male & female).]

        James Snapp continues...
        So, back in 3:1, when James says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers," he means, when he says, "brothers," that not many of his brothers /and sisters/ should become teachers.

        [Please forgive me James, but you lost me here. If I am following your previous statement correctly, it would appear that the exact opposite is the case. Namely,"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". What am I missing here?]


        James cont...
        And it is a small interpretive step to conclude that James is not referring to teachers of how to draw or cook, but mainly to doctrinal and/or ethical teaching, inasmuch as James says that the teachers shall receive a stricter standard of judgment.

        [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.]

        James cont...
        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?

        [Not if Scripture is used to interpret Scripture. If there exsist other clear passages which forbid this practice (which there are) than the interpretation is locked. Being "sufficiently mature" has no power in such a situation. Can a woman who is "sufficiently mature" be the head of the household and put her husband in subjection to her? Will this qualification alter the will and commandments of Almighty God?]

        James cont...
        On the other hand: if we depart from the Byzantine Text in James 4:4, we will adopt the short reading, "Adulteresses." In which case, in the one place where, in the Byzantine Text, James distinctly recognizes the women in his readership, we will insist that he did not actually do so. In which case, when we look through James' letter as a whole, it looks exactly what a letter written to males would look like; when "brothers" means "brothers," and "man" means "man," it is completely consistent with a scenario in which the readership consists of males. In which case, it becomes impossible to extract any egalitarian principle from James 3:1 or anything written by James.

        [Once again, due to my trouble in following some of your previous thoughts, I am at a loss here.]


        I wonder if, in the future, the theory of parableptic error in the Alexandrian Text of James 4:4 will gain supporters among egalitarians, as the non-inclusion of I Cor. 14:34-35 has.

        [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! -M.M.R.]
      • Vox Verax
        MMR, 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
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 18, 2013
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          MMR,

          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.
        • Daniel Buck
          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 ,
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 19, 2013
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            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@...> 

             
            MMR,

            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.



          • rslocc
            Hi James and Daniel, ... You two have got me thinking here. While we are at hypothesizing, I would bring forward the idea that the original reading of James
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 19, 2013
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              Hi James and Daniel,


              --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Daniel Buck <bucksburg@...> wrote:

              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.

              M.M.R.
              [Hi Daniel, the main problem (I see) with this theory is the extreme lack of manuscript evidence. Is it not much safer to believe that a scribe commited a common error (Homoeoarcton) instead of formulating hypothesis after hypothesis about what so and so scribe did and why? (Especially when the overwhelming amount of support for the Byzantine reading is kept in mind.)]




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

               
              MMR,

              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,

              M.M.R.
              [But all the true Churches had an Apostle who founded them and all the true Apostles taught the same gospel. Thus they would have the proper oral commandments to guide them. Remember that the Church was operating for decades before most of these books were written anyways and this was done by the preaching and teaching of God's ministers.]

              James continues;
              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.


              M.M.R.

              [Yes James, this could be agrued, but can it be proven. For one, I Corinthians is very very early (54 A.D. approx.)and secondly, the dates of all the New Testament writtings are far to tentative to press this issue very much (in my opinion). But for the sake of argument, lets say that James was written first (as I believe it probably was). You stated "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;"

              I would disagree with this position for these several reasons. In I Cor. 4:17 Paul writes "For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into rememberance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every Church." This passage clearly notes that what Paul taught the Church at Corinth, he taught all Churches. Now if a man or woman wants to believe that I Cor. 14:34-35 "pertained primarily to particular situations, and were not intended to be normative for all time", I would object with one very important question. What about the first 33 verses of that chapter, do they also fall under this category?


              Again in the 14th chapter of the same book we read "What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?", meaning, that women speaking in the Church is their "thing" ("out from you")and they are generally alone in this respect ("unto you only"). Paul continues "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any be ignorant, let him be ignorant.", this being in direct connection and in the immediate context of the verses in question. Once again, Paul wants the Church to "acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord", which commandments "I teach every where in every Church".


              In I Timothy 3:3 Paul writes "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,", so not only was Timothy to teach these Apostolic doctines to Corinth, but also in Ephesus. Just as Paul taught them "every where in every Church". As all know I Timothy is a "Pastoral" Epistle, which in itself, combats any notion of these commands having "pertained primarily to particular situations, and were not intended to be normative for all time". The geographical distance between Corinth and Ephesus confirms this, as does the fact that I Timothy was written appox. a decade after I Corinthians. Now in I Tim. 2:9 it reads "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel", why does this not pertain "primarily to particular situations, and were not intended to be normative for all time"? How is this precept not included? "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man", are women now allowed to "usurp authority over" men? Or are we just extracting the mentioning of teaching and silence for the chopping block? Furthermore Paul bases his words (which were given under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit) on the Law and the very act of creation. So this is nothing new!]




              James continues;
              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 not see that as much of an obstacle.


              [OK, now I get your point. Thank you for the clarification! I was stuck under the thought that James mentioned both male and female in 4:4 and if both male and female were spoken of in 3:1, James would have again mentioned them both specifically acc. to his manner (notice James 2:15, I must thank Jonathan Borland for pointing this vs. out). Yet we all know that the Scriptures in general and as a whole apply to everyone, whether old or young, whether male or female. Therefore isn't this a mute point out the gate? I have never noticed any woman disregard the Epistle of James (or any NT book) because the teaching, commandments, precepts and wording is set forth in a masculine format. See James 1:2, 1:9, 2:1, 3:1 etc... No one could ever think that I John 3:10 does not apply to "sisters" as well, could they?]



              James cont...
              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?


              [Well that depends on a whole lot of possible situations. If I was a Jew, I believe the OT and Jewish culture would very sharply press me towards the correct interpretation, namely, that men are being specified by default. Would not the very fact that the Priesthood and various Rabbinical schools are all comprised of males lend to this?
              Now if I were a gentile, that would get tricky and honestly I think we have stumbled upon the origin of this whole situation (consider Pauls words to the Corintian Church). A gentile Christian who had only access to the letter of James would be in quite a quandry in this present debate. Especially if he had no knowledge of the Law and Prophets! The only thing that man or woman could go on is the fact that James, the writter (and Teacher) of the present Epistle is male and therefore that men can be Pastors and Teachers is evident. The opposite cannot be proved, only guessed at. Beyond this it is clear that Jesus Christ (a male) is mentioned in this Epistle and that all Christians must know who He is and what He taught (to some degree) to even become part of the household of faith in this Gospel era. This would give that unfortunate (as far as supplies) gentile Christian two witnesses towards the understanding that males can hold these Christian offices and/or possess these Spiritual gifts. As for females holding these offices and/or Spiritual gifts he would have no Scriptual witnesses! Now if this man or woman knew of the Lords teaching "Let everything be established by two or three witnessess" he or she would be good to go. Or if this person knew of the 12 or the 70 and that they were all males, as were all the Apostles and Teachers in the Body of Christ, then naturally these facts could lead that person to the correct stance on such a question. Without further specifications or narrowing down, I will not entertain any other avenues. Although I will quote my previous statement "all the true Churches had an Apostle who founded them and all the true Apostles taught the same gospel. Thus they would have the proper oral commandments to guide them. Remember that the Church was operating for decades before most of these books were written anyways and this was done by the preaching and teaching of God's ministers"]


              Thank you so much for your quick responce James and thank you for your additional comments Daniel. As always it's been a pleasure to interact with both of you.


              Peace,

              Matthew M. Rose [brackets mine]
            • Peter Streitenberger
              Dear TC Friends, can anyone send me the following booklet as Pdf: “Schlüssel zu von Sodens Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments... : Gegenüberstellung der
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 22, 2013
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                Dear TC Friends,
                 
                can anyone send me the following booklet as Pdf:

                “Schlüssel zu von Sodens "Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments...": Gegenüberstellung der in von Sodens Apparat vorkommenden Sigla und der entsprechenden in Gregorys Liste” Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1927, Friedrich Krüger
                Thank you in advance !
                Yours
                Peter, Germany
              • Stephen Carlson
                I don t have that booklet, but you might find the appendices in Aland s Kurzegefaßte Liste useful for converting to and from the von Soden numbers. Stephen --
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 22, 2013
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                  I don't have that booklet, but you might find the appendices in Aland's Kurzegefaßte Liste useful for converting to and from the von Soden numbers.
                   
                  Stephen
                  --
                  Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
                  Post-Doctoral Fellow, Theology, Uppsala
                • Jim Darlack
                  Hello all. I was helping a student today work through the apparatus for an assignment in an introductory exegesis class. We were looking up manuscripts in
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 25, 2013
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                    Hello all.

                     

                    I was helping a student today work through the apparatus for an assignment in an introductory exegesis class.

                    We were looking up manuscripts in Appendix I in the NA28 and came across what looks like a potential typo (p. 813).

                    The table states that ms.1841 contains ap *R, while the NA27 has ap (*)r.

                    Now I know it’s minor, but shouldn’t the NA28 have an r rather than an R? Typically the R points to “Romans” but in this case, the * indicates that the 1841 is a consistently cited witness for Revelation (which if used in Appendix I is typically a lowercase ‘r’, unless indicated in a string of exceptions, where it is abbreviated Ap).

                     

                    This is the kind of thing that causes quite a hiccup for librarians helping seminary students new to TC (especially when the librarian is new to the NA28). ;^)

                     

                    Jim Darlack, Assistant Librarian for Reference & Bibliographic Instruction

                    GORDON-CONWELL
                    THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

                    GODDARD LIBRARY
                    130 ESSEX STREET, SOUTH HAMILTON, MA 01982
                    (978) 646-4004 | jdarlack@...
                    www.facebook.com/goddardlibrary
                    www.gordonconwell.edu/library

                     

                     

                     

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