Answer Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 3

Answer Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 3

grudem4 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Answering Wayne Grudem 3

This is the part 3 of answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”.  Today I am posting his third question and my own answer.

Wayne Grudem’s question #3:

3. “or’’ (Greek e): In 1 Corinthians 14:36, some of you argue that the Greek word e (“or’’) shows that the preceding verses are a quotation from the Corinthian church which Paul denies. Therefore you say that Paul is not really telling the Corinthian church,

“the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 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” (1 Cor. 14:34–35),

but the Corinthians are saying those things, and Paul is just quoting them. You tell us that Paul’s response might be paraphrased as “Are you crazy?’’ This, you tell us, is the force of the tiny Greek word e, which is usually translated “or.’’ You tell us that e, “or,’’ is used in Greek to deny what went before it.

Our problem is that when we look at other examples of e used in constructions like 1 Corinthians 14:36, where the following material is clearly false (that is, Paul and the Corinthians know that the word of God did not come from them), then “or’’ functions to show that the preceding material has to be true. This would mean that verses 34–35 are affirmed by Paul.

To put it another way, Paul is arguing:
You must do A.
Or: Is B true?
(No.)
Then you must do A.

This is just the opposite of what you claim. You claim that Paul uses “or’’ to deny A (verses 34–35). In fact, we can find no parallel examples where it is used to deny both what precedes and what follows. This is also what all the Greek lexicons tell us. So our question is this:
Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “or’’ (e) is used to introduce what the readers know to be false, so the author can deny both what goes before and what follows?

If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

 

Cheryl’s answer:

Wayne Grudem is asking us to “prove” that the Greek word “e” can be used to deny both the statements before and after.  However this is not what Paul has done.  Paul has used this little Greek word to both introduce a negation of something preceding and to support the negation he also asks two rhetorical questions.  Paul is not denying his own words.  Let’s look at the evidence:

Zodhiates Complete Word Study Dictionary shows that the “or” can introduce a negation of something preceding:

(B) Generally, and in a direct question where the interrogation implies a negation of something preceding

Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament shows that the “e” not only shows mutually exclusive statements but it also introduces rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected and it includes 1 Cor. 14:36 as a double  set of rhetorical questions.

a) either-or, coordinate two or more mutually exclusive terms or statements

c)  (Greek “e”) is used frequently to introduce rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected (Matt 7:9: “Or is there one among you … ?”; 12:5: “Or have you not read … ?”; cf. 20:15; 26:53; Luke 13:4; Rom 3:29; 6:5; 7:1; 9:21; 11:2; 1 Cor 6:9, 16,19; 9:8; 10:22; 2 Cor 11:7; 13:5; Jas 4:5; a double question in 1 Cor 14:36)

Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G.

The BDAG again shows that “e” separates opposites which are mutually exclusive
1. marker of an alternative, or, disjunctive particle
(a). separating
a. opposites, which are mutually exclusive
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature.
The claim of the Corinthians that women were to be silent in the assembly is mutually exclusive from Paul’s claim that all were to be allowed to prophesy.  They are opposite claims that cannot both be followed.  Paul claims that the things he has written about all being free to prophesy in the assembly are the commandments of the Lord and that those who refuse to recognize this are not to be recognized.
1 Cor 14:37  If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
1 Cor 14:38  But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
Then Paul repeats the commandment that he made in verse 1 that all are to desire earnestly to prophesy and he commands that there be no prohibition to speak.
1 Cor 14:39  Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
The context has two complete opposites that are presented as mutually exclusive.  It is impossible for all to be allowed to prophesy in the assembly and for women to be silenced in the assembly.
The challenge that Wayne Grudem gives regarding the Greek word “e” being used as a negation of the statements before and after is invalid.  The issue is not a negation of what comes before and after.  It is a dual use of “e” that brings both a negation and a set of rhetorical questions that prove the previous negation.
How is the church going to follow the command for women to be silent and at the same time follow Paul’s command for all to prophesy and that none is to be forbidden to speak in tongues?  The little Greek word “e” proves that Paul is refuting a faulty tradition.  The tradition that silences women is soundly refuted by the numerous commands in 1 Cor. 14 for all to seek earnestly to prophesy.  God’s commands that free women to use their voices to speak forth His message are contrasted with man’s tradition that silences women.  I would like to challenge Wayne Grudem to answer the question why he chooses to follow man-made traditions that silence women when God’s command for women to be speak out are found throughout scripture.  I would also like to challenge Wayne Grudem to show the “law” that silences women that is referred to in 1 Corinthians 14:34 since no such law exists in the Old Testament.  Here is another command from the book of Psalms that frees women to use their voices to preach the good news:
Psalms 68:11  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host
Amen!  God Himself has given the command.  Women who proclaim the good tidings are to do so by God’s encouragement.  Let them set aside the commands of men to obey the commandments of the Lord God.
Links to more posts on Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6

21 thoughts on “Answer Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 3

  1. I think I remember reading awhile back, Grudem’s explaination for the contradiction is that women can prophesy but not interpret or judge (so that the judging of prophecy is a job of the flesh – the male gender).

  2. Grudem is going to have problems explaining how women can prophesy so that all may learn and at the same time keep silent (as the “law” says). One cannot say that the silence is only for judging prophecy. The term for silent means complete silence and a “law” dictating this silence is appealed to. Where is there a law that forbids women from judging prophecy? There is no reference in scripture to such a law.

  3. Grudem conveniently ignores all that proceeds vs. 34 and all that follows vs. 37 as if it has nothing to do with Paul’s instructions. “Cherry pickers – unite!” The overall message of 1 Cor 14 is clear – “Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly [men and women alike] to prophesy, and do not forbid [anyone – man or woman] to speak in tongues.”

    As often happens, 1 Cor 14 – in particular vs. 34-37 – is a bit baffling if you take the complimentarian interpretation. If the rhetoricals in vs. 36 affirm all that has come before, they affirm a contradiction. Of course, if you are a complimentarian, you live in a world of Pauline contradictions. I suspect the apostle would take quite a bit of offense at such an implication about his teaching.

    On the contrary, if you assume Paul means to be clear, then 1 Cor in its entirety is crystal clear once you understand what is really being said, or more correctly, who is saying it, in vss. 34-35. As he often does, Paul takes a brief sidebar to dispose of a particular practice which is a stumbling block to the accomplishment of his overall instructions.

    Incidentally, Grudem’s challenge is easily won, and you don’t have to go outside of 1 Corinthians.

    1 Cor 1:13 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

    [A behavior, practice, attitude, or tradition]

    1 Cor 1:14 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or [?]were you baptized in the name of Paul?

    [A series of rhetoricals where the answer is “no” showing that the preceeding is incorrect behavior, practice, attitude, or tradition]

  4. Grudem is pretty sly. He constantly makes statements like “Our problem is that when we look at other examples [of a word or phrase]…” but he never actually lists any of those examples. In reality, there are no identical constructions to 1 Cor 14:34-36 where a “matter of fact” statement is made followed by such negative rhetoricals – whether or not the rhetoricals affirm or defeat the prior statement. Grudem, therefore tells a half truth when he says…

    “Our problem is that when we look at other examples of e used in constructions like 1 Corinthians 14:36, where the following material is clearly false (that is, Paul and the Corinthians know that the word of God did not come from them), then “or’’ functions to show that the preceding material has to be true.”

    …because although there are plenty of examples of negative rhetoricals in the NT, especially by Paul but also by Jesus, they almost always follow a statement that has already been exposed as bad behavior. So, it is true that they “affirm” the prior statement, but only in the sense they affirm its negativity. But that isn’t the construct of 1 Cor 14:34-36! This passage has negative rhetoricals following a matter of fact statement presumed to be relating positive behavior. That construct is almost non-existent in scripture (although I don’t have the resources to check the LXX).

    So Grudem again employs red herring arguments and challenges while himself speaking half truths about his research into the Greek. Doubly disingenuous if you ask me.

  5. I would also like to announce that Mike Seaver has been in communication with me and he has graciously agreed to publicly answer questions that I pose to him just as I have agreed to answer his questions. These posts will likely be made public around the end of July this year or early August. I am hoping that it will be a good dialog and a show of respect for a brother/sister in Christ even though we passionately disagree on these issues, we do not question each other’s salvation.

  6. Another gem of ancient Greek also mirrors the construct of 1 Cor 14:34-36 and shows that sarcastic rhetoricals can deny or denounce the preceeding assertion. I give you Job 38 in the LXX. Here God puts together a mighty string of or’s denouncing Job’s “words without knowledge”. In fact, the construct is very similar to 1 Cor 14 in that the word of God is contrasted to the word of man.

    The problem with Grudem’s construct is that it assumes that vss. 34-35 are direct instructions from Paul (and therefore, from God). Of course Paul isn’t going to contradict himself through the rhetoricals of vs. 36. But, if, as egalitarians contend, vss. 34-35 are not the instructions of Paul but the practices of man, then the dripping sarcasm of vs. 36 makes perfect sense, just as does God’s sarcasm toward Job.

    So, again, Grudem’s question is disingenuous (as is his research) because he has not reviewed any other passages that have the same construct that egalitarians propose exists in 1 Cor 14. In other words, other than 1 Cor 1 which I noted before, there are no other constructs (at least reviewed by Grudem et al) where Paul’s rhetoricals are responding to the words and deeds of others instead of his own words.

  7. Hello, Cheryl and company. I finally found some time to read the latest post and make a comment. I have been busy, among other things, doing studies in the Trinity, and have been relishing Thomas F. Torrance’s THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD: ONE BEING, THREE PERSONS. It is modern exposition and confirmation of the Unity, Coequality and Coeternality of the Three Persons of the One True God as argued long ago by Athanasius and Gregory the Theologian and which became enshrined in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 318 A.D. A creed, which I may add, is still recited as part of the liturgy common to the Catholic, Eastern Greek Orthodox, and Protestant churches. Torrance is an evangelical, Scottish Presbyterian theologian who also was involved in the formulation of “The Agreed Statement on the Trinity” by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church which, among other things, forever closed the loopholes on subordinationism among the three Divine Persons of the Godhead. So if you want to read a good, solid theological exposition that puts the Semi-Arianism of Grudem and Ware to flight, I highly recommend you read Torrance’s THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD. Now, as to the latest nonsense being propagated by Wayne Grudem.

    Cheryl, I suppose you felt like I felt when I read about Wayne Grudem’s “Open Letter to Egalitarians”–you didn’t know whether to laugh or weep. Like you, I have done a lot of study and writing on prophecy in the early church, both as a gift and as ministry exercised by both men and women. And it was long ago clear to me, as others such as Gilbert Bilizekian and yourself have also demonstrated, that 1 Cor. 14:34-35 was not Paul’s own teaching, but that of a Judaizing faction which he repudiates in 14:36-40. And as far as the lexical evidence showing “e” in v.36 is an adversative particle, used by Paul to repudiate what is stated in vv. 34-35, anyone who has investigated this knows that Grudem is, to put it nicely, ignoring the evidence that counters his own view. But then, it has been his practice to redefine terms, suppress evidence that goes against his own view, and then loudly proclaim his own view as alone the truth. So I guess his current practice is to be expected.

  8. gengwall,
    You are also a wealth of information. Thanks!

    Frank,
    I have missed your comments of late. It is always nice to have as many men around as possible who are precious souls who do not see themselves as an authority over (or better than) their sisters in Christ.

    When I read Grudem’s work, I see blinders on his eyes because the evidence to the contrary is there. In fact to have verses 34 & 35 as Paul’s own words instead of a quote from the Judaizers in Corinth, would mean that Paul has contradicted himself both before and after the two “silencing of women” verses. Also no one has yet pointed to a judicial law in the Old Testament that orders the silencing of women in the assembly. The problems in this passage are overwhelming if one thinks that Paul was appealing to a law to silence women just after telling the whole congregation to desire to prophesy and allowing them all to do so. The contradictions are many and Grudem pits egalitarians against scripture as if our believing that Paul was quoting the Judaizers makes us against scripture. I for one am very glad that Paul quoted the false teaching and then promptly refuted it in verse 36 so that we can know for sure what is God’s commandments and what is not. Those who side with the Judaizers on this issue are standing in opposition to God whether they believe it or not.

  9. Grudem seems to be shying away from total silence and has taken the “just can’t judge prophesy” approach, according to this article by him on the CBMW site. Of course, this argument relies heavily on the hierarchical interpretation of 1 Tim 2, the error of which has been discussed here at length. Again, he ignores the obvious and instead analyses scripture based completely on his preconceived prejudices.

  10. I have to confess, I’ve always been quite baffled by complementarian use of 1 Cor. 14:34-36. If taken as a restriction Paul is universally placing on women, then it is far too restrictive to be useful even to complementarians. “Silent in the churches” would not mean women cannot preach and teach in the assembly; it would also mean no praying, no prophesy, no tongues, no singing hymns, and no token pretty girl singing back-up for the otherwise all-male worship band.

    While the “Paul was citing an opponent who was forbidding women to speak” interpretation is one possibility, I’ve also always appreciated the argument set forth by Carroll D. Osburn in Essays on Women in the Earliest Christianity Vol. 1. He argues that there are grammatical clues in the text to indicate that Paul is directing his comments at women who are speaking out of order and interrupting the service with questions. He says:

    “This verb ????? always takes its precise meaning from the context. In v. 28, it refers to ’silent meditation.’ In vv. 23 and 27, it refers to ’speaking in tongues.’ In v. 19 it refers to ‘cognitive prayer.’ Here in vv. 34-35, however, there is no clear contextual indication of what is meant, but there is a significant grammatical indication. … Here the two present infinitives make it clear that the ‘ongoingness’ of the ’speaking’ is in focus. … ?????? should be taken here to mean [the women] were ‘piping up,’ giving free rein to ‘irresistible impulses’ to ask question after question either of the speaker or of their husbands, creating chaos in the assembly by interfering with communication.” (Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity: Vol. 1, p. 232-233)

    As I see it, the one interpretation of this passage that really doesn’t work is the complementarian one, which tries to wrest “be silent in the churches” into “women can’t preach or teach in the assembly, but they can do all the other kinds of talking.” Talk about eisegesis.

  11. Whoops, looks like the comment function here doesn’t approve of Greek characters. The quote from Osburn should read:

    “This verb [LALEW] always takes its precise meaning from the context. In v. 28, it refers to ’silent meditation.’ In vv. 23 and 27, it refers to ’speaking in tongues.’ In v. 19 it refers to ‘cognitive prayer.’ Here in vv. 34-35, however, there is no clear contextual indication of what is meant, but there is a significant grammatical indication. … Here the two present infinitives make it clear that the ‘ongoingness’ of the ’speaking’ is in focus. … [LALEIV] should be taken here to mean [the women] were ‘piping up,’ giving free rein to ‘irresistible impulses’ to ask question after question either of the speaker or of their husbands, creating chaos in the assembly by interfering with communication.” (Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity: Vol. 1, p. 232-233)

  12. Hi Bridget,
    Welcome to my blog!

    There are different interpretations of verses 34 & 35 but there is one problem in the verses that has been a real challenge to complementarians. It is the reference to the “law” that silences women in the congregation. No one has ever found such a law in the Old Testament and there is no consensus on a verse that even “hints” at a prohibition. It is my belief that until we can understand where the law is located and who it is written to, we will not be able to understand the prohibition in verses 34 & 35.

  13. Cheryl, both you and I agree that in 1 Cor. 14:34, the phrase “women must be in submission, as the Law says” is a reference to Jewish oral legal traditions and not to the Old Testament itself. But there are some egalitarians who, understanding this passage to be a rebuke to noisy, boisterous women interrupting public worship, explain this “law” in terms of Paul’s rule of mutual submission. Such is the view stated by Sue and Larry Richards in their book, EVERY WOMAN IN THE BIBLE:

    “To be submissive, as the law also says” (1 Cor. 14:34). The middle form of the verb indicates that Paul is addressing the women, calling on them to “submit yourselves.” The phrase “as the law says” indicates a principle understood to govern all Christian behavior. Some have thought that Paul was calling on these wives to submit to their husbands, while others have assumed he was calling on them to submit to the authority of the church leaders, whose responsibility it was to evaluate the words of the prophets. However, it is most likely that the universal principle Paul has in mind is the principle of mutual submission. This principle is expressed in Ephesians 5:21…and is also expressed in Philippians 2:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 16:16. Paul appealed to the Corinthian wives whose interruptions were so disruptive to consider others, and voluntarily stop their continual speaking up, that the church meetings might be edifying rather than chaotic (“Paul On Women,” p. 226)

    While there are elements of truth in this intepretation, I do not think it is really adequate. First, except for Rom. 8:12, where nomos (“law”) might be understood as “principle,” depending on the context, Paul uses nomos to refer either to the OT Scriptures, Rom. 3:21; the entire Mosaic Law, Gal. 5:5-6; or Jewish oral legal tradition, such as he doe in 1 Cor. 14:34. Second, such is the strength of the adversative particle “e” and the negative rhetoricals coupled with it in 1 Cor 14:36-37, one wonders how Paul could so strongly repudiate any form of the law of mutual submission, if in fact that was the law referred to back in v. 34. But as you yourself said, there are many interpretations of this passage. I just I would bring this one to your attention, should anyone ask you about it.

  14. Oops! In my last paragraph in comment 15, I made a reference to Rom. 8:12, when I actually meant to say Rom. 8:1-2. Sorry.

  15. Frank,
    There are several problems with the view that Paul is stopping the noisy women from talking. First of all the Greek word used is not the one for noisy speech. There is a perfectly good Greek word that does mean this. It is krazo which means “as speaking or demanding with a loud voice cry (out), call (out), exclaim, shriek, to cry out with loud and raucous voice.” Secondly the learning that these women are have is to be done at home. This contradicts Paul’s instruction that everyone can prophesy so that everyone can learn. The next problem is that we would have to assume that only the married women were causing a problem because the instruction is to ask their “husbands at home”. The last thing is that it is sad to be a shame (meaning vile, filthy thing) for a woman to speak (normal word for speak again, not one for raucous speech) in the assembly. How could Paul tell women that they were allowed to prophesy and then say a few verses later that their mere speaking is a shameful act? It just doesn’t fit. And if it doesn’t fit, you must aquit. 😉

    I do like the idea that there are other explanations for the problem passages, but these explanations have way too many problems to be considered the proper solution to this difficult passage.

  16. I would like to suggest that it is not very ‘Christlike’ to always be slagging a brother in Christ even though Grudem has a different opinion to people. I was glad to hear Cheryl that you had an open debate with mutual respect-how did it go?

    The evidence to suggest that Paul is quoting a Corinthian standard is very very limited. The information for it is far to detailed for this blog but if any are interested i would like you to an article written by Don Carson, who deals with the questions graciously and honestly i believe.
    http://www.cbmw.org/images/onlinebooks/rbmw/silent_in_churches.pdf
    Please don’t be put off by the fact it is on the CBMW site.

    I don’t think your useof Psalm 68 is good biblical exegesis. What is you understanding that this is referencing a command that women can preach in the churches or even connected to the theme of 1 Corinthians.

  17. Mark,
    Again there is a huge difference between attacking a person or disputing and refuting their position. This blog is about giving a reason for the hope that is within us that allows women to freely use their gifts in the body of Christ and for refuting the complementarian position by showing where it doesn’t fit with the Scriptures.

    As far as the open debate with Mike Seaver, it went very well. Mike is a very likable brother in Christ and I think we will have a friendship even though we do not agree on this issue. Mike did admit to several things that brought a bridge-building attitude into the debate which was very much appreciated.

    Mark you said:

    The evidence to suggest that Paul is quoting a Corinthian standard is very very limited.

    I didn’t say that Paul was quoting a Corinthian “standard”. What I said was that Paul was quoting from the letter from the Corinthians that was written to him. It is a common understanding that Paul quotes from this letter several times in 1 Corinthians. The fact is that there is zero evidence that there is a “law” in the Scriptures that silences women in the assembly and makes their voices considered as filthy. Such a law is found in the Talmud or the oral law of the Jews.

    You give a link to Don Carson who you say deals with the questions but this is not true. He does not adequately deal with the questions nor does he answer the contradictions of his own view. He points out that Paul never quoted the Jewish oral law and this fact supports my own view not Carsons. The quote then is not Paul’s quote but a quote from the Corinthians. There is no other such “law” found in the Scriptures so Paul could not be quoting such a law. Carson completely fails to present such a Scriptural “law” that would make the words as coming from Paul himself. Secondly Carson admits that the beginning of verse 36 is “probably” a disjunctive particle. It most certainly is a disjunctive particle and it is used to refute the preceding verses. He tries to make Thayer’s say that it isn’t refuting the previous verses but agreeing with them but this is not not true and makes Carson come across as being deceptive. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the same meaning and it even lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as one of the examples of such a question where a negative answer is expected.

    c) n is used frequently to introduce rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected (Matt 7:9: “Or is there one among you … ?”; 12:5: “Or have you not read … ?”; cf. 20:15; 26:53; Luke 13:4; Rom 3:29; 6:5; 7:1; 9:21; 11:2; 1 Cor 6:9, 16, 19; 9:8; 10:22; 2 Cor 11:7; 13:5; Jas 4:5; a double question in 1 Cor 14:36).
    Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament.

    Carson’s position simply cannot hold up under scrutiny. He has not refuted the position that verses 34 & 35 were quotations from the Corinthian letter and he has given no place where we can find a law in the OT that restricts women in the assembly. Where is such a law located? Carson says that it is not in Genesis 3:16 as so many think but “probably” is referring to the creation order in Genesis 2:20-24. But there is no such “law” in Genesis 2:20-24 and God’s laws are not indistinct and unclear. God’s laws are not “probably” but clear, distinct and enforceable. Carson has struck out in the very important area of defining the “law” of 1 Cor. 14:34. He has failed as every other complementarian has failed to identify the law.

    The fact is that it is identifiable in the oral tradition of the Jews. Since Paul never appealed to this tradition, it must be taken as a quote from the Judalizers who had infiltrated all the other congregations trying to bring the Christians under the Jewish law. No other explanation fits the inspired words in this passage.

    Psalms 68:11 is about God’s command that women were to publish the good news. God’s law has no limitations on place or race, class of people or social standing that women are to publish the good news too. If there is to be a Scripture that refutes Psalms 68:11 then it must be distinct that God has forbidden women from publishing the good news in the assembly. There is no such law against this so God’s command in Psalms 68:11 stands.

    I hope this helps!

  18. Cheryl,

    You seem to hold strong to your positon on the fact that Comps can’t identify this ‘law’. I have a few questions about your interpretation.

    1. If this is a Jewish oral law quoted from the Corinthian letter, how can you be certain? Your view holds onto a lot of ‘probables’ aswell. For example, if this is a quote, it is very unlike any of the other quotes used throughout the rest of 1 Corinthians. What is your evidence that Judaizers had infiltrated Corinth? Perhaps you are refering to the ‘super apostles’ of 2 Cor but again, this was written later and is only probable that they were there when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. And what is ‘super apostles’ actually refering too?

    2. The evidence of the letter itself in the issues it deals with i.e prodimantly Hellinistic issues in wisdom and resurrection, aswell as the confirmation of Acts 18 which shows the rejection of Paul by the Jews, suggests that prodominantly the congregation was non-jewish. This is a view that alot of scholars hold to and which i agree with. Therefore why would Jewish ‘oral’ law have been an issue at Corinth?

    I see just as many probables in your view as any other. We can NEVER be certain that this is a quote from the corinthian letter unless it is discovered, which as far as i’m aware of hasn’t happened yet. None the less i appreciate that both you and Carson and others are trying to understand it.

  19. Hey Mark,
    I am trying to get through all the questions brought up on my blog the last couple of days as well as the questions on the Australian blog. I hope that I don’t miss any questions. If I don’t get to them within another day and I miss something, please remind me.

    I like your questions! They are very good and well-thought out.

    1. If this is a Jewish oral law quoted from the Corinthian letter, how can you be certain?

    There are quite a few clues that point to the origin of the Jewish oral law. First of all we know that the Corinthians wrote a letter to Paul concerning their questions and some of their statements were matters of debate. One of the great commentators of the Bible from many years ago (can’t remember his name right now but it is in my DVD) said that whenever we come to a view that is opposed to Paul’s known views, we can suspect that this is a view that was being proposed to Paul from the letter. The whole quote is in the DVD so if you get it, you will see much more evidence than I can put here.

    Secondly there is the issue of the term “filthy” (shameful) in 1 Cor. 14:35. This is a term that is common in the oral law regarding women. In the BDAG lexicon it means:

    in var. senses from ‘ugly’ in an external sense to ‘base’ as in moral deformity

    Paul never used a term for moral deformity for women’s voices but the Jewish oral law did.

    Thirdly verse 35 shows that women’s learning is to be done at home not in the congregation. This is opposite of Paul’s confirmed views of everyone learning in the assembly in the very same chapter! But the Jewish oral law didn’t allow for women learning in the assembly. In fact fathers were not encouraged to teach their daughters the law because that was shameful or vile. Recognize the terms again? Yup, same source. Then the pesky “law” that cannot be found in God’s Word is a major red flag. One cannot appeal to a “law” and base a restriction on women until one knows where the law is found. Because we know it is the view of the oral law, we can be sure that the quote is a quote from the Corinthians. Also there is the specific grammar of verse 36. These are all evidences that must not be passed by.

    Your view holds onto a lot of ‘probables’ aswell.

    Not probable at all. The “law” and the attitude about women’s learning and women’s voices is found in the Jewish law. None of this is found in God’s law. Therefore there is not even a small piece of evidence that this was Paul’s appeal to a Biblical “law”.

    For example, if this is a quote, it is very unlike any of the other quotes used throughout the rest of 1 Corinthians.

    This isn’t “evidence” against a quote. After all Paul used lots of unique words and if we made a judgment just because Paul didn’t need to make such a full quote of anything else, then that is very poor reasoning. The fact is what is the evidence within the context?

    What is your evidence that Judaizers had infiltrated Corinth?

    The evidence is that the restrictions on women known to be from the Jewish oral law are given in contradiction of Paul’s known views of women. The Judaizers had pretty much gone everywhere else. And if the Jewish oral law was being quoted here, then certainly they had come here too. Their language is pretty easy to pick up. It is very degrading to women.

    And what is ‘super apostles’ actually refering too?

    This is off the topic and I just don’t have time right now to go down the rabbit trail. Not that this isn’t a good question. It is great. Perhaps a trail we can do sometime in the future.

    the rejection of Paul by the Jews, suggests that prodominantly the congregation was non-jewish.

    Sure, it is likely that a good portion was non-Jewish. This isn’t a problem.

    Therefore why would Jewish ‘oral’ law have been an issue at Corinth?

    Because the Judaizers went everywhere where the Jewish Christians were gathered. There were Jews in Corinth and it doesn’t take more than a few Judaizers to disturb the congregation.

    I see just as many probables in your view as any other.

    I don’t see any problems with my views. The big problem for comps is to be able to point to the “law” that is appealed to. It is a huge rejection of their view not to be able to find a God-ordained law. Once comps are open to seeing where the “law” originated, the puzzle pieces all fall into place.

    We can NEVER be certain that this is a quote from the corinthian letter unless it is discovered,

    I have given more than enough evidence to convict. Two or three witnesses is a strong case. Where are your witnesses that this is a God-ordained law found where???

    Also it is also very revealing that some will say that we can never be sure of where this law is found, yet they still want to restrict women as having to be silent in the assembly when this is the only verse that says this. Perhaps the prejudice of some shows by their willingness to accept restrictions on women without any a second witness or a “law”.

    None the less i appreciate that both you and Carson and others are trying to understand it.

    Thanks! There are also some very sincere comps in that movement as well who are willing to admit things that weaken their own position. I quite enjoyed my discussions with Dr. Andreas Köstenberger on the issue of 1 Timothy 2:15. He couldn’t answer my questions but he at least was honest about it and I found him to be a very respectful and likable fellow.

    Thanks again for your great questions!

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