Thursday, December 31, 2009

A common sense of humanity

Here is an excellent video on abuse against men. HT John Hobbins I really like the way she emphasizes that if something is unacceptable and inappropriate it doesn't matter if it is against men or women. We must be sensitive to both.

I like the sense of empathy across gender lines, the sense of women helping men with issues of abuse against men. Its all about a common sense of humanity.

However, I am once again blocked from commenting on this video on John's website because I recently remarked to him that Dallas Theological School has a doctrinal statement that God chooses men only to be teachers and leaders, based on Eph. 4:8,

But John responded,
    I do not agree with you that religious formations which exclude women from some kinds of leadership - you give the example of DTS - are thereby sexist. At the very least, that is not how they see it, and you show no inclination to even try to understand their point of view.
Many Christians share this view, found at Dallas, that a common sense of humanity does not apply to church leadership, and it most certainly does not apply to marriage either. In marriage, women are responders only, living as assistants to their leader husbands.

While John suggests that I try to understand the viewpoint of DTS, it happens that DTS has had a profound influence on the congregations I attended for 30 years. I do understand DTS, and it is not about a common sense of humanity.

The intense alienation between men and women, fostered by doctrinally based discrimination against women, is a huge block to men and women being able to pool resources and create a common front to fight abuse in the home, whether against women or men.

I look forward to a time when Christian men and women can move beyond the current rhetoric and care for each other as brothers and sisters. I need to become more sensitive to how many men suffer psychological abuse either in the church or in the home.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rights and the Christian: The rights that Paul claimed

Paul, the apostle, both stated his rights and claimed them. Some rights he gave up voluntarily because he was able to provide for himself. Here is what he says,
    This is my defence to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?
Here Paul argues that an apostle has the right to food and drink and to travel with a wife. These rights are based not only on human calculation, but also on the law of Moses,
    Do I say these things as a human? or doesn't the law say the same? 1 Cor. 9:8
In 1 Cor. 7 Paul makes it clear that both husband and wife have the right to physical intercourse with a spouse. Therefore, an apostle has the right to food, drink, companionship and sexual intercourse. These things are seen a human rights, not only rights declared by God in the law but rights that we are also aware of as humans.

Paul does not use all of his rights but he is careful to lrefer to them nonetheless. In Acts 22:25 Paul also claims his legal rights as a Roman citizen.
    And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
Paul establishes three foundations as a basis for rights - our humanity, the law of Moses and the civil law. He claims the right to eat, drink, have a sexual partner, be reimbursed for his work and not to be beaten unless he is condemned of a crime.

Now here is that horrifying passage in 1 Peter 2,
    19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
I don't think that there is any suggestion that it is wrong to demand the right to be treated properly. Unfortunately the scriptures do not spell out the rights of slaves to eat, drink, get married, have a sexual partner, raise their children and not be beaten.

We see that basic human rights are in view. There is nothing wrong with demanding basic human rights within the civil law. But there is little about expanding these rights to those who don't have them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spiritual Abuse Recovery

Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness

By Barbara M. Orlowski

What factors contribute to active Christians in ministry leaving their church and becoming exiting statistics? Every year dedicated Christian people leave churches because of spiritual abuse. The stories of people who left their home church because of a negative and hurtful experience paint a picture of a widespread occurrence which beckons consideration by church leaders and church congregants alike.

Spiritual abuse, the misuse of spiritual authority to maltreat followers in the Christian Church, is a complex issue. This book shows how people processed their grief after experiencing spiritual abuse in their local church and how they rediscovered spiritual harmony. Their spiritual journey shows how one may grow through this devastating experience.

This book offers a thoughtful look at the topic of spiritual recovery from clergy abuse through the eyes of those who have experienced it. It invites church leaders to consider this very real dysfunction in the Church today and aims to demonstrate a path forward to greater freedom in Christ after a season of disillusionment with church leadership.

Endorsements for Back Cover

"In an age of increasing calls for strong church leadership, this book is a gift to church leaders and those who have been severely hurt and abused in our churches. Through careful research and an insider's perspective, Barb has opened up both pathways for healing from church abuse and insights for leadership to ensure that potential future abuse is stopped."
—Alan Jamieson, author of A Churchless Faith

"What we refer to as spiritual abuse was a concern for Jesus in his earthly ministry and it is a common problem today. It is, therefore, surprising that more attention is not given to it by today's Christian community. Barb Orlowski, however, does take it seriously as she offers insight into the causes of bad church experiences and how to recover from them. Her counsel alerts people to the dangers of spiritual abuse, and if leaders hear her, they will be less likely to become part of the problem . . . I encourage you to read it."
—Ken Blue, author of Healing Spiritual Abuse

"Dr. Orlowski's research has provided a balance for various perspectives on the experience of woundedness. She listens to the voices of the wounded and lets them inform us of their reality of feeling disappointment and disenfranchisement, tragedy and turbulence in the Church . . . For recovery, Dr. Orlowski gives an excellent starting point—the voice of the wounded—and follows that with the grace of God demonstrated through hearing the voice of God and basing recovery on the Word of God."
—Kirk E. Farnsworth, author of Wounded Workers

Execution in China

URUMQI, ChinaChina brushed aside international appeals Tuesday and executed by lethal injection a British drug smuggler who relatives say was mentally unstable and unwittingly lured into crime.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "appalled" at the execution of 53-year old Akmal Shaikh — China's first of a European citizen in nearly 60 years. His government summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to express its anger.

China defended its handling of the case, saying there had not been documentary proof Shaikh was mentally ill. Beijing also criticized Brown's comments, but said it hoped the case would not harm bilateral relations. The Foreign Ministry called on London not to create any "obstacles" to better ties.

Shaikh's daughter Leilla Horsnell was quoted by the BBC and other British media outlets as saying she was "shocked and disappointed that the execution went ahead with no regards to my dad's mental health problems, and I struggle to understand how this is justice."

The execution is the latest sign of how China's communist government, with its rising global economic and political clout, is increasingly willing to defy Western complaints over its justice system and human rights record.

Rights and the Christian: Women in Creation

I am currently interested in pursuing the language of "rights" as it is represented in scripture and in contemporary statements such as the Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Do Christians have rights, as Christians, or just as citizens of the world? If Christians do have rights, what can we say about them? And, do women, as human beings, have equal rights to men; but, as Christians, have lesser rights than men?

These are some of the questions I am asking myself. I will post excerpts from a variety of sources, but here is one I don't want to lose. In this passage women do not have equal rights with men,

    The idea of "one flesh" must be given proper emphasis, especially in light of the common understanding of chapter one's emphasis on equality. The term, "equal," is never used in these two chapters, but "one flesh" is used. Unity of the two distinct roles of the man and the woman is more strongly emphasized than equality. The emphasis is not on two individuals who are equal, leading according to their individual strengths, but rather on two individuals who are "one," the man leading and the woman complementing.

    The intent in the garden is not to have a man and a woman co-ruling with equal rights, opportunities, and authority based on perceived strengths, but rather to have a man and a woman co-ruling, with the man as leader and the woman coming alongside of him in his tasks based on the mandate of the Creator. Their "togetherness" is not a 50-50 relationship, comprised of two individuals who maximize their effectiveness by focusing on strengths to determine who takes the lead, but rather a complementary relationship with the man leading and the woman completing under the authority of God. Again, the man and the woman will know joy most fully as they learn to live in the manner God created them to live.
Gender and Sanctification: From Creation to Transformation by David Lee Talley

Clearly, in this passage, women do not have equal rights with man. Man has the right to be a leader and decision-maker, and woman has the right to help man.

I will be looking at many other kinds of rights in the future, not only gender-based rights.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pogorelich playing Scarlatti: K20

Meditating on Mary

Joel has a post on Mary, suitable for this season, which brings together many threads, including a translation from Kurk Gayle on the incarnation, and an excerpt from Wisdom of Solomon. I don't have a Christmas post this year, but these two stand out. I see in them many of the snippets of conversation which have came up in the dialogue between us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What happened to Wrebbit?

Does anyone know what happened to the Wrebbit 3 D puzz sets? We used to buy one or two every year and build them over Christmas. Sadly, I am not a collector and eventually our structures were deconstructed and sent to a thrift shop.

Now I find that the ones we had are collectors items, and oddly I can't find one in the stores. Is it just me, or have they disappeared from the market?

Mary Robinson on the subjugation of women

I feel that Mary Robinson speaks in a more authentic way to the circumstances of women. While Carter tries to confront issues relating to the authority of the scripture, Robinson simply explains that male religious leaders must take part in creating euality for women within the religious framework.

I noticed that Carter mentioned both the Southern Baptists and the Catholics. I would guess that he speaks so confidently about Catholicism as a locus of subjugation for women because of his interaction with Mary Robinson.

Many may think that it is only a church which self-identifies as patriarchal that subjugates women. However, many women are now identifying the complementarians dictate that while men have authority, women have submission, as a locus of subjugation for women. See Submission Tyranny and Women in Ministry.

Jimmy Carter continues his campaign

On Dec. 11, 2009 Jimmy Carter addressed the parliamnent of World's Religions on the issue of the subjugation or women. Here is the video.

President Jimmy Carter addresses the Parliament from Parliament of Religions on Vimeo.

Here is the full text of his speech and an article by Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times.

Some powerful excerpts:
    Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

    The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

    Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views and set a new course that demands equal rights for women and men, girls and boys.

One of the goals of this site is to present the fact that those who interpret the Bible have a choice as to how to do so. Often they choose an interpretation that harms women, when two equally valid interpretations exist side by side. This is not acceptable.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love you

I got to thinking of the general category of exegetical fallacies, and remembered the common one that agape refers specifically to Christian love, to the love of God for humanity. But actually agape just means "love" as in s'agapo - I love you.

So here are a few tidbits of modern Greek to add to your repertoire. I am just going to cut and paste them from other sites, so I hope they are accurate.

M' areseis = I like you

S' agapo = I love you

Kego s'agapo = I love you too.

M' agapas? = Do you love me?

Agapi mou = My love, Darling

Filise me = kiss me

Fili = kiss

Filos / F ili = friend (male) / (female).


Se latrevo = I adore you.

Se thelo = I want you.

More phrases from

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Universalism in Luke 2:14

John has a collection of posts on Luke 2:14 and now the discussion developing there and on the BBB is about whether peace on earth was intended for all (hu)mankind or only for those people who please God (or some such thing).

Universalism seems to be the topic of the moment and Scot McKnight is going to start a series on The Evangelical Universalist soon. David Congdon blogs about Christocentric Missional Universalism. HT Chris Tilling. exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

    Another way to serve your wife is to provide for her. This provision first involves assuming responsibility for meeting the material needs of the family. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. Dennis Rainey

    The headship of men in the church and home is rooted everywhere in Scripture in protection and provision. This is why the apostle Paul calls the man who will not provide for his family "worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim 5:8 ESV). Russell Moore

    Does the Bible not speak of manhood specifically in the terms some of these students provide (Matt 7:9-11; Eph 6:4; 1 Tim 5:8)? Robert Sagers

    Husbands and fathers are specifically given the role of provider in the New Testament (Eph 5:29; 1 Tim 5:8). Stuart Scott

    And even widows or women whose husbands have left them are not expected to leave their domain and children to work outside the home. Paul declared this in 1 Timothy 5:8 John McArthur

    In order to honor the Lord by filling his quiver, the man must take the burden of provision for the family squarely upon his shoulders. Though this may be difficult at times, he is doing what he is called to do (see 1 Tim. 5:8 and Titus 2 for starters). Owen Strachan

    She is not the nourisher. She is not the provider. You're to do that. That is the man's responsibility.

    And if a man doesn't do that, according to 1 Timothy 5:8, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture the man is always the provider as Christ is the provider for His church. That's key. We provide nothing. The church provides nothing. We just receive Christ's provision, protection, preservation, His care, His nourishing, His cherishing. It comes to us. In a sense, it's very one- sided. Men, we are to provide that in our homes. John McArthur

Calvin exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

    8 And if any person do not provide for his own Erasmus has translated it, “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles, and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both to men and to women.

    He hath denied the faith 90 He says that they who do not care about any of their relatives, and especially about their own house, have “denied the faith.” And justly; for there is no piety towards God, when a person can thus lay aside the feelings of humanity. Would faith, which makes us the sons of God, render us worse than brute beasts? Such inhumanity, therefore, is open contempt of God, and denying of the faith.

    Not content with this, Paul heightens the criminality of their conduct, by saying, that he who forgets his own is worse than an infidel This is true for two reasons. First, the further advanced any one is in the knowledge of God, the less is he excused; and therefore, they who shut their eyes against the clear light of God are worse than infidels. Secondly, this is a kind of duty which nature itself teaches; for they are (στοργαὶ φυσικαί) natural affections. And if, by the mere guidance of nature, infidels are so prone to love their own, what must we think of those who are not moved by any such feeling? Do they not go even beyond the ungodly in brutality? If it be objected, that, among unbelievers, there are also many parents that are cruel and savage; the explanation is easy, that Paul is not speaking of any parents but those who, by the guidance and instruction of nature, take care of their own offspring; for, if any one have degenerated from that which is so perfectly natural, he ought to be regarded as a monster.

    It is asked, Why does the Apostle prefer the members of the household to the children? I answer, when he speaks of his own and especially those of his household, by both expressions he denotes the children and grandchildren. For, although children may have been transferred, or may have passed into a different family by marriage, or in any way may have left the house of the parents; yet the right of nature is not altogether extinguished, so as to destroy the obligation of the older to govern the younger as committed to them by God, or at least to take care of them as far as they can. Towards domestics, the obligation is more strict; for they ought to take care of them for two reasons, both because they are their own blood, and because they are a part of the family which they govern. Source

Erasmus exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

This is Erasmus' paraphrase of 1 Tim. 5:8, (page 27)
    If anyone (7) takes refuge in the church under the pretext of widowhood and sheds in this way her responsibility to her children and grandchildren or to any other member of her family, I not only do not consider her worthy of the bishop's favour but I think that she should be viewed instead as one of those women who have denied the faith of the gospel and consequently are worse than the pagans.
Endnote 7 (pge 265)
    The Vulgate takes this pronoun to be masculine gender 'any man' (DR). In his annotation on 1 Tim. 5:8 (si quis autem suorem) LB VI 940D (first in the 1519 edition of the Novum Testamentum) Erasmus argues that Paul is talking about the widow and cites in support of this interpretation of the Greek indefinite pronoun tis the "Greek Scholia" (by which he means, I think, a catena or a commentary like that of Oecumenius found in one of his Greek manuscripts; cf the note to the Argument on Philemon below) and Ambrosiaster Comm in 1 Tim. 5:8 CSEL 81/3 280:19-23.
Erasmus' Latin translation of 1 Tim. 5:8,
    Quod si qua suis et maxime familiaribus non provider, fidem abnegavit, et est infideli deterior.

    But if anyone (feminine) does not provide for [their]* own and especially [their] family, [that person] denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Bibligraphy and notes:

New Testament Scholarship: Paraphrases on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, the Epistles of Peter and Jude, the Epistle of James, the Epistles of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews by Erasmus, Robert D. Sider, and John J. Bateman page 27

Nouum Testamentum iam quintum accuratissima cura recognitum à Des. Erasmo Roter. cum Annotationibus eiusdem ita locupletatis, ut propémodum opus nouum uideri possit.

* If anyone wants to try and reword this without using the singular 'they' please try it out.

Declaration of Independence from Complementarian Church

and Husband Tyranny

If you have not been following Waneta Dawn's blog, you should. She has just written an excellent statement declaring independence from the tyranny of complementarianism. This is just what women need. Many of us have a trained resistance to declaring ourselves independent of what the church teaches. We think it may end us up in hell, but some of us were living in hell already. It was time to go. It helps to have someone else voice this for us if we have strong imhibitions preventing us from rejecting the damaging traditions that we have inherited.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Luke 2:14

Everyone and his or her dog has posted about Luke 2:14. But I can't agree that Christ only came for those whom God favours and not all of humankind.

I think the main point here is that anthropos needs to be understood as applying univerally to all of mankind. I notice that a lot of other blogs are going with "people" in the restricted sense of only "those people who are favoured." But because of the use of "earth" it seems to me to mean "all people," not just "some people". How about disposing of the plurals altogether and writing,

Glory to God in highest heaven,
And on earth peace
to mankind whom God favours.

It is not poetic and can't replace the KJV in a ritual setting, but at least is does not too severely distort the meaning of the Greek. It leaves no doubt in the mind that God loves all of humankind and not just the favoured few.

Other blogs which discuss this passage are:

Jim West
Kirk Gayle
Shields up

1. In Mark 3:28 we see a precedent set by the ESV of translating the plural of anthropos into English as "man" as a generic for the human race. I don't think "men" functions as a generic any more, so it is really just time to give that one up and get over it.
2. I just reread Kirk's version and I think it hits the nail on the head, but mine is a little more spare.

Monday, December 14, 2009

An interesting definition

This definition of egalitarianism appeared in the sidebar of Parchment and Pen on Dec. 3, during the debate on that blog,

"Theological position held by many Christians (contra complementarianism) believing the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold positions in society, ministry, and the family according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Prominent egalitarians include Doug Groothuis, Ruth Tucker, William Webb, Gorden Fee, and Linda Belleville."

This is from the doctrinal statement of DTS,

"We believe that divine, enabling gifts for service are bestowed by the Spirit upon all who are saved. While there is a diversity of gifts, each believer is energized by the same Spirit, and each is called to his own divinely appointed service as the Spirit may will. In the apostolic church there were certain gifted men—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers—who were appointed by God for the perfecting of the saints unto their work of the ministry. We believe also that today some men are especially called of God to be evangelists, pastors and teachers, and that it is to the fulfilling of His will and to His eternal glory that these shall be sustained and encouraged in their service for God (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; Eph. 4:11)."

Erasmus Latin New Testament

I have wanted to look at a version of Erasmus Latin New Testament for some time and now it is possible through the Erasmus Centre. Click on Facsimile and install the plug in if necessary. Its worth it.

Its always interesting to compare the Vulgate with Erasmus and see some significant differences. It was Erasmus, apparently, who decided to translate phobeo in Eph. 5:33 as "reverence" instead of "fear." This is the text which came to influence Calvin's Latin translation, the Beza Latin translation and eventually the KJV. It is the missing link, as it were, between the Greek text and the English.

HT the Amsterdam NT Weblog

Ancient Abbreviations

It is easy enough to find the list of abbreviations in BDAG, if you own it, and perhaps the same for LSJ. However, for those of us using the Liddell Scott Lexicon online, it seems impossible to find the abbreviations.

So here is an excellent source, at the DICCIONARIO GRIEGO-ESPAÑOL on their abbreviations page.

So often, I read somewhere that a word had such and such an origin, where the commenter assumes that lexicon references to occurences of a word are listed in chronological order with the earlier ones being first. This is not the case.

You can now look up a reference at DGE and then plug the name into wikipedia and find out what century the reference belongs to and notice that, lo and behold, the references are listed according to the meaning and use, not according to chronology.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why can't I own a Canadian?

Here is a letter explaining the Biblical reason for why you cannot own a Canadian. It's been around for a while, but now turns up the autocomplete program in google for "why can't."

Thanks to the friend who alerted me to this important Biblical safeguard for Canadian - US relations.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

to this you have been called

    Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2
A slave did not have the status of a free man, did not have protection against detention or any kind of physical punishment from their master, did not have freedom of movement or freedom to earn money.

Some slaves lived within the family, and due to their education or race, they were respected and even friends, eventually gaining freedom. Some slaves were branded, wore an iron collar, slept in chains and worked in gangs. Some were galley slaves, chained to the seats where they toiled out their lives.

The slaves of ancient Greece and Rome were overwhelmingly prisoners of war, or the children of a slave woman. (The father could be anyone.) If a soldier knew that he was losing in a battle, he might kill himself rather than be taken as a slave.

The most noted difference between a free man and a slave is that the slave could be flogged.

A female slave had no right to resist intercourse with her master or any males of the household. It was not considered adultery if the master slept with her. Her children belonged to him anyway. A female slave could not gain freedom or buy her own freedom on her own. She could only become free if she were the partner of a male slave who was being freed.

A female slave had no rights over her body, or her children, no hope of independance, and could not protest being used as a prostitute.

I find that the book of Ephesians does not uphold marriage between a man and a woman, but only between a male citizen and a female citizen. It is not about the sacredness of the male-female union but only about the inviolable rights of the master of the household.

Yes, there is a discussion of how Christians conduct themselves within the cultural context, but there is no defense of this context.

Are slaves indeed called by Christ to be beaten?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Orphism and κεφαλή

A commenter on my post on Kephale as "source" asks,
    Hi Suzanne,

    Does it concern you that the strongest evidence for kephale to mean 'source' is actually from a source with variant readings and is dated to 500BC approx?

    I ask because many people dismiss the LXX examples that it has a leader overtone on the basis of variant readings. If the LXX cases are considered illegitimate, should we not also consider the Orphic Fragment illegitimate?
My answer is no, not at all. Let's look at the citation supporting the interpretation of "source" or "beginning." I would like to point out that this argument depends on demonstrating that κεφαλή is a variant of ἀρχή, meaning "beginning" or "source." One cannot easily disentangle the two.

Now I would like to disentangle some of the threads of your very interesting question.

First, you ask about the dating of the evidence for kephale as "source". Is the major occurrence dated around 500 BC, and doesn't this mean that is has little to no influence on how we read Paul in the letter to Corinthians?

Second, doesn't the fact that kephale is a variant reading in the Orphic fragment mean that we should also accept the use of kephale as a variant reading in the LXX?

I think it is essential to examine the use of kephale in both the LXX and in the Orphic literature to understand the influence that each of them would have in first century Christian literature. Let us assume that Paul is writing to a multithnic group of believers. Would this group be more familiar with the passages in the LXX using the term kephale in a hierarchical sense, or with the literature of Orphism using the term kephale in the sense of beginning or source?

A detailed discussion of the Orphic fragment occurs in Modern Linguistics and the New Testament by Max Turner,* page 171.
    In this fifth-century B.C.E. fregment, Zeus is called κεφαλή ("Zeus was first, Zeus is last with white vivid lightening: Zeus the head, Zeus the middle, Zeus from whom all things are perfected"). An alternative text has ἀρχή instead, and so it is inferred that "source" is what κεφαλή must have meant here. But this could be an instance of ἀρχή ("beginning,""head of time"), a sense already recognized in Classical Greek.

    .... so it must be said that we have no good evidence of κεφαλή meaning "source" in the public domain of Paul's day. Those who wish to protest that "head" as "authority over" is relatively rare should at least be prepared to admit that "head" as "source" is considered rarer "probably to the point of vanishing altogether.)
I could not disagree more with Max Turner. My disagreement rests first with dividing the meanings of "source" and "beginning" into two different meanings, and thus demonstrating that "source" is not the meaning.

Here is my problem. We are trying to decide what the word κεφαλή meant in Greek, not in English. If an author cannot break out of his English mindset in order to do exegesis, it is very difficult to discuss this. In my opinion, κεφαλή in 1 Corinthians should be treated as if it meant ἀρχή, and then the different interpreters can digress from there into discussing man as the origin or beginning of the human race, or God as the first principle of the godhead, or whereever you wish to go. This was the practice of the early church fathers, who also interpreted
κεφαλή as "authority" along with the other possibilities. But at least for them, they could discuss the various interpretation as interpretations.

To say, as Turner does, that the meaning "source" is virtually non-existant in the public domain at the time, denies the fact that ἀρχή has this meaning, and that κεφαλή and ἀρχή are considered synonyms, in some contexts, from the time of the Orphic fragment, in 500 B.C.E. to the time of Cyril of Alexandria in the 5th century A.D.

Here are the two citations,
    Therefore of our race he become first head [κεφαλη], which is the source [αρχη], and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is source, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our source, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven.
This is a passage from Cyril of Alexandria, (died AD 444), De Recte Fide ad Pulch. 2.3, quoted by Kroeger Clark.

Here is the passage on Zeus, 6th century B.C.E.
    Zeus is the first. Zeus the thunderer, is the last.
    Zeus is the head (kephale). Zeus is the middle, and by Zeus all things were fabricated.
    Zeus is male, Immortal Zeus is female.
    Zeus is the foundation of the earth and of the starry heaven.
Max Turner cannot simply dismiss these as saying that κεφαλη means "beginning" or "origin" and not "source" and is therefore out of the running. Not at all. In some way, κεφαλη did mean "origin" "beginning" and "source," all these English meanings encorporated in the Greek word ἀρχή.

I have to question why someone would work with a sense of the dominance of English semantic organization replacing the Greek semantic organization of the words κεφαλη and ἀρχή.

Now what about the notion that the citation from the Orphic fragments would have been unknown in the Hellenistic era as it comes from the 6th century B.C.E.? In fact, this is the very opposite of the truth. It was a well-known citation, judging from its influence on other authors of Paul's time.

Here is a passage from Josephus, for example,
    The first command is concerning God, and affirms that God contains all things, and is a Being every way perfect and happy, self-sufficient, and supplying all other beings; the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things.
Against Apion, ll:23

Of overall significance is the simple fact that Orphism as a religious tradition endured from at least the 6th century B.C.E. throughout the Hellenistic era to become a tradition which rivaled Christianity. Plutarch ( A.D. 46 - 120) was a follower of Orphism.

Orphism contained rituals of purification and initiation, communion services centred on a meal of raw flesh and a libation cup, and offered the hope of personal salvation and immortality. It was a widespread tradition, and no doubt was better known to the inhabitants of Corinth than the passages in the LXX which use the term κεφαλη with the sense of hierarchy.

The passages in the LXX which use the term κεφαλη in this sense are listed by John Hobbins in this post. (Num 1:2.20; Deut 28:13.44; Isa 9:14; 19:15; Ps 17:44 (= 2 Kgd 22: 44); 117:22; Isa 7:8; Jer 38:7. To the list one must certainly add Judg 10:18.) I don't see any of these passages encorparated into common rituals of Corinth. I have read Max Turner and John Hobbins on this issue and I respectfully disagree with their position.

I welcome further questions from the anonymous commenter although I would encouage him or her to provide a name of some kind for future reference. Thank you.

*This article is found in Hearing the New Testament ed. by Joel Green.

Friday, October 30, 2009

finding the non-Latin URL or IDN

Here is the news - ICAAN has approved Internationalized Domain Names. According to this video released today, this could be considered the most significant change on the internet in - did he say 40 years???

Here is the much proclaimed upside. People, and especially children, worldwide will be able to access the internet in their own script for the first time. This is an amazing surprise to me, since most scripts are input on the computer via the Latin alphabet in the first place. Try this Input Method Editor for Japanese. Input a meaningless string of Latin consonants and vowels to get a sense of how it works. You are inputting Latin letters, don't you think, in order to create text in Japanese.

But here is the downside. Phishing. How will you know that these two sequences are made up of different codepoints? code and cοde - two separate sequences now available for domain names. If you don't think these two are composed of different codepoints, try putting them in google. Funny - they look the same.

One thing you do not have to worry about is how you, even if you are a monolingual who only dabbles in foreign scripts, will input the required domain name. You can use an online Input Method Editor or IME. Here are a few -

Russian and others

In a matter of minutes, I was able to recreate this Chinese word 龍 with the appropriate search results.

In any case, there are dozens of these online input doohickeys, so you don't really have to worry. However, do read the comments under this post and think about it. I don't know whether it is a good thing or not.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The suicide and what was said

I don't want this post to be one more comment on this young man's life, I don't know him personally, but I do want to talk about the way he was treated.

First let me say that his funeral was attended by hundreds of people - I know the subway stop, the church, the camp, the school and many concerned. I am filled with sorrow for the parents, and for this young man.

In spite of the fact that the evidence was concerned with email messages that have not been disclosed, the newspaper reported that this young man was accused of sexual assault. What was said about him is described here. There was, in fact, no question of sexual assault or sexual touching. What we do know for sure is that the day before he took his own life, he was accused in the newspaper of doing something that he did not do.

This should be motivation for everyone to reflect on the seriousness of saying something about someone else's personal life that is not true. What disturbs me is that the bibliosphere has no censure for unjust attacks. For both Rosie DiManno and Jim West, a suicide is a guilty plea, proof of sin. Do they have any idea how helpless one feels when one is the target of a false attack?

If anyone related to this man ever googles his name, then Jim West's inflammatory headline will jump out at them and cause unnecessary pain.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autism and baptism

Internet Monk has a post on the baptism of an autistic teenager. This is close to home for me, as I often think about how to honour the humanity of cognitively disabled children in difficult home circumstances. This leads me to reflect on my work situation for a bit.

For many years I have had the habit of organising a play or reader's theatre, and I have found that it has made room for the equal participation of special needs children of different ability levels. This year I may not be able to stage a play as my timetable is quite different and the teachers have other priorities. I feel a bit sad about that.

I have picked up quite a few tech blocks instead. While this is not at all a substitute for putting on a play, it does alter the image of working with Ms. McCarthy, the "tech teacher," rather than the "special needs" teacher.

I also hope to get back to having a group produce a class newspaper as well. Maybe I can turn my new tech blog over to some students. That would be a big help. Perhaps the newspaper itelf will be digital in format, although I would not favour a simple chronological series of posts in blog style, but something more collaborative.

The important thing about using technology in the classroom is that it always has to be a means to an end, a learning tool and not a goal in itself. Technology needs to be used in ways that enhance student agency and participation. This requires a certain level of comfort and what is called automaticity with the technical aspects, so the teacher can reflect on the intended and unintended consequences and benefits for the students of a shift in learning medium.

While technology has tended for some time to lead to social isolation and online interaction, the latest revolution, interactive whiteboards, promotes both teacher and student face-to-face learning and student interaction and turn-taking. This technology favours the development of the collective rather than the individual. For the first time, web learning and design, or the production of online document and files, can become a social and shared task, rather than a socially isolated task.

I have come a long way from autism and baptism, but the common thread is the opportunity to integrate everyone into the activities of the group.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carson on authenteo

John Starke has published this segment of Don Carson's talk at the Different by Design 2009 conference. Here are some relevant points with reference to this video.

1. Carson says that "the verb authenteo in most instances has a neutral or positive overtone. But there is a handful of instances where you can at least make a case that it can have a negative overtone."

In fact, there are no cases near the NT in time, where authenteo has a positive overtone. I repeatedly asked John Starke to supply even one, but he declined to do so. ( I know he has a new baby, and I am very happy for him. However, he found time to make the clip of Carson on authenteo for CBMW.)

2. Köstenberger insists that both verbs must be either positive or negative.

Yes, most scholars agree with this.

3. All sides agree that "teach" by itself has a positive overtone.

I find this odd because Köstenberger on his blog has written the following,

    A case in point is I. H. Marshall. In his 1999 ICC commentary on the Pastorals, Marshall at the outset indicates his acceptance of the findings of my study by noting that it has “argued convincingly on the basis of a wide range of Gk. usage that the construction employed in this verse is one in which the writer expresses the same attitude (whether positive or negative) to both of the items joined together by oude.”

    Yet Marshall proceeds to opt for a negative connotation of both terms “teach” and “have authority,” because he says false teaching is implied in the reference to Adam and Eve in verse 14.
Two out of three of the points that Don Carson made about authenteo were not accurate. I don't think this video makes a good case for why women should not teach men.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feminine language for God

Bloggers in this conversation are Damian, Kurk, Rachel, Joel, Doug, and Tim. I regret not having time to link to specific posts, but I have very much appreciated the dialogue. Forgive me, if a momentary mental block has caused me to forget someone. Please comment. I like conversations like this, where no one is obliged to declare a position on women in the church, blah, blah, blah.

Another great post, not to miss is by Molly of Adventures in Mercy. There are a lot of women blogging about the Bible, but so many of us have our plaints - we view the Bible through the "knothole" of our former misery. Too true, whoever you are who said that!

The minimalization of abuse

Waneta Dawn has another important post on Fireproof. She points out how the movie, and John Piper, minimalize abuse. She writes,
    The writers of Fireproof did a good job of showing a textbook abuser in action. However, their choice of an abusive character, their minimization of Caleb’s abusive behavior together with their statement at the end that a wife can implement the Love Dare and save the (abusive) marriage, suggests to abused wives who view the movie, that they, too, should deny and minimize their husband’s abusive behavior, and if they use the Love Dare, their abusive husbands will start treating them right. As stated in Part 1, this is extremely dangerous. By using an abusive character, it suggests that divorce for abuse is totally unnecessary (possibly sinful) and that the failure of the marriage is the abused wife's fault because she refused to love and sacrifice enough.

    Additionally, this movie tells anyone an abused wife goes to for help, that if she would just do the Love Dare and stick with it, no matter how long it takes, her whole problem would go away. Even worse, they may PRESSURE her to do the love dare and stick with it. If she refuses, they are likely to hold her at arms length, shun her, or even drive her out of their church.
How can someone hold someone else's life in so much disrespect? That is what I feel when conversing with some other bloggers. This is what I hear. "Oh, it is just your health and safety at risk - no problem, I am all right jack."

The Conservative Bible project

HT Exploring Our Matrix

Conservapedia has a new Bible translation project called the Conservative Bible Project. Deirdre Good analyses it here. A commenter on Exploring Our Matrix points out that this site is not a parody.

Kephale as "cause"

This is from Women in ministry: four views by Robert Clouse et al. (page 168) Here the Greek word kephale for "head" is interpreted as "cause." This is understood to fall under the same general category of "source."
    The Greek writer Artemidorus (second century AD) yields numerous examples of head (kephale) meaning "source."In LIb. 1, Cap. 2. Paragraph 6, we read, "He [the father] was the cause [aitios] of the life and of the light for the dreamer [the son] just as the head [kephale] is the cause [aitios] of the life and the light of all the body." In another section (Cap. 35, Paragraph 36) Artemidorus writes, "indeed, the head is to be likened to parents because the head is the cause [or source] of life."
It is important to note that "source" or "cause of life" is not the meaning of kephale, but is one possible way of interpreting it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kephale as "source"

While I have often remarked on the poor attestation of kephale as "leader," "authority" or even "superior rank." I have not always been a strong supporter of kephale as "source." Kephale is the Greek word for "head." However, in English "head" can be used of a person who is in a leadership position. It can be used in this way directly and without comparison, metaphor or elaboration, as in "head of state." This expression does not exist in ancient Greek.

Some have suggested that kephale should best be understood as "source" instead, but others say that this has little legitimacy. I would like to review the literary evidence for kephale as "source." The first and most interesting example is from an Orphic fragment,
    Zeus is the first. Zeus the thunderer, is the last.
    Zeus is the head (kephale). Zeus is the middle, and by Zeus all things were fabricated.
    Zeus is male, Immortal Zeus is female.
    Zeus is the foundation of the earth and of the starry heaven.
    Zeus is the breath of all things. Zeus is the rushing of indefatigable fire.
    Zeus is the root of the sea: He is the Sun and Moon.
    Zeus is the king; He is the author of universal life;
    One Power, one Dæmon, the mighty prince of all things:
    One kingly frame, in which this universe revolves,
    Fire and water, earth and ether, night and day,
    And Metis (Counsel) the primeval father, and all-delightful Eros (Love).
    All these things are United in the vast body of Zeus.
    Would you behold his head and his fair face,
    It is the resplendent heaven, round which his golden locks
    Of glittering stars are beautifully exalted in the air.
    On each side are the two golden taurine horns,
    The risings and settings, the tracks of the celestial gods;
    His eyes the sun and the Opposing moon;
    His unfallacious Mind the royal incorruptible Ether.
In some occurrences of this prayer the Greek word arche is found instead of kephale. This is teh intial part of the Liddell. Scott, Jones entry for arche,
I suggest that one possible interpretation of kephale is as arche, origin or source. Perhaps Paul in writing 1 Corinthians, was more interested in creating a cosmogony than maintaining a gender hierarchy of human interaction. More on this later.

PS Thanks to those who commented on my googling difficulty with my school blog. It nows googles appropriately. Apparently I was not patient enough.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

here and there

I have added Dr. Claude Mariottini to my sidebar. He frequently posts on women in the Hebrew Bible or other related topics. Browse his recents posts for some interesting discussions.

Another blog that I read frequently are Submission Tyranny. I highly recommend Fireproof: part 1 the faulty premise, and part 2. She writes,
    I must add here that it is the voluntary submission of the wife—submission to avoid an ugly denigrating attack—that causes abusive husbands to attack their wives, either physically or non-physically. When the wife showers her husband with loving and submissive behaviors, many abusers consider that a weakness and "go in for the kill," to thoroughly establish their power and control. Other times an abuser begins to think she is doing it by her own choice, not because of his coercion. Therefore, if her actions originated from her own choice, he is no longer in control. Since she is being so perfect, he must change his rules for her, even if he has to resort to the ridiculous, in order to regain that sense of dominating her. If an abuser has any inner prompting to feel ashamed of himself and change his ways, he tends to quickly squash it and be even more vicious to silence that inner prompting.
This is the reality of submission. It is crazy making. Defending the subordination of women is utter crap.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I really enjoyed reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Here is an interview with him about this book which I found interesting.

The most dramatic chapter was on the positive correlation between frequent airline crashes and a high power distance index,
    Hofstede’s Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.
Gladwell recounts the discovery that those countries with frequent airline crashes also had a high power distance index. If the co-pilot had too much deference for the pilot, or if the pilot used deference and mitigated speech when addressing the air traffic controllers, then a crash was much more likely to happen.

It was chilling to read the transcription of terminal conversations between pilot and co-pilot in which the co-pilot demonstrates respect and a submissive attitude to the pilot to the detriment of the safety of everyone on board.

Many airlines now teach assertiveness training and a standardized procedure for co-pilots to challenge the pilot if there is a safety concern. The co-pilot is to express concern with increased assertiveness three times and then take over the controls from the pilot in an emergency which the pilot is not responding to.

This kind of assertiveness training is badly needed for those caught up in biblical womanhood. It is amazing to see how the cultural presuppositions about role caused the death of so many people. The vast majority of plane crashes could have been avoided it someone had taken over controls at the right moment.

Phoebe as defender

I notice that April has linked to Elizabeth McCabe's article on Phoebe, A Reexamination of Phoebe as a “Diakonos” and “Prostatis”: Exposing the Inaccuracies of English Translations I remember discussing McCabe's premise with Bruce Waltke. He was quite dismissive of the association between prostatis and proistemi. As one would expect.

However, I feel that it is worth pointing out that the masculine form of prostatis, which is prostates, was used in a prayer to Christ. Not only that, it was used alonside beothos, the Greek for ezer. In an earlier post, I wrote,

These two words βοηθος and πρστατης are used as titles for Christ alongside "saviour" and "high priest." Here is how the words were used in 1 Clement 36:1.

    Αυτη η οδος, αγαπητοι, εν η ευρομεν το σωτεριον ημων, Ιησουν Χρστον, τον αρχιερεα των προσφορων ημων, τον προστατην και βοηθον της ασθενειας ημων.

    This is the way, beloved, in which we found our salvation; even Jesus Christ, the high priest of our oblations, the champion and defender of our weakness. tr. Charles Hoole 1885

    This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our J. B. Lightfoot.
So here, in an old fashioned translation, we find that prostates, the word for Phoebe was translated “champion" and the word for Eve, boethos was “defender.”

I developed these ideas into an article which is posted here. Champion and defender: the other side of the word.

Evgeny Morozov on the spinternet

For all those people who assume that the internet is a medium which fosters a democratic environment, you need to listen to this. Evgeny Morozov studies how the Net is used as a means of repression, just as effectively as it liberates - ask him anything. We need to stop kidding ourselves and realize that the internet is a medium with positive and negative aspects.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy

Mike is reading The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy byVern S. Poythress and Wayne Grudem (you can download it HERE, if you’d like). I extend to him my sympathies. Mike makes the point that when reading the Liddell Scott Jones lexicon entry for aner, Poythress and Grudem cite "man as opposed to God" without recognizing that this is the normal indication of that the word refers to a generic human being, male or female. He then asks,
    So, why do we claim that these sorts of generics are still understandable today, when we don’t understand them today?
I have certainly noticed that male generics are not understood today. Many readers will approach any use of "he" in the text and assume that it refers to men. Typically, if the word is used in the context of salvation then the reader assumes a generic meaning, but if it refers to someone who leads, teaches, protects, provides or bears responsibility then the assumption is often that it refers to males only. This was the case with 1 Tim. 5:8.

I work hard every day to lead, provide and protect my family, and I am insulted by the juvenile attitude of those who treat women who care for their families as if they did not exist. Yes, ideally it is nice to be part of a couple. I agree. But consigning single women who care for their own families to the round file, is simply not an indication of a Christian religion.

What I was going to say is that Ann Nyland wrote about Grudem's utter confusion with regard to the generic use of aner in this article. She had an email dialogue with Grudem in 2002. I had an email conversation with him in 2006 in which he stated that he was unaware of the generic use of aner. This is not possible because Nyland clearly provides it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More feminine language for God

Damian continues his quest for feminine language for God.

slaves to one another

The Hebrew and Greek words that are usually translated as "slave" in English, have a much broader range of meaning. This does not mean that a slave was not a slave in those days. In fact, slaves were owned and beaten and fucked. (Sorry, I can't think of a better word at this moment.) It wasn't a pleasant thing.

Of course, some slaves had very high status, and one of my favourite slaves was Tiro, after whom the Tironian notes shorthand system was named.

But back to the Hebrew word abad, and the Greek word doulos. The Hebrew word abad is used in Gen. 2:15. Adam was to "work" the garden and keep it. We believe that work is a good thing, but to be a slave is a bad thing. The Greek word doulos and its verb douleo are also used in negative and positive ways.

The first way that one can serve is as an involuntary or owned slave. The second is as a voluntary slave of a good and kind master. The third way one can serve is in a mutual relationship, to be slaves of each other. This way is found in Galatians,
    For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. Gal. 5:13 NRSV
Sometimes the scriptures instruct people to submit to unjust slavery and oppression, sometimes they teach that one should submit to a loving master but we also see that the ideal of mutual service is taught.

In 1 Peter, we find that Christ submitted to death, slaves submitted to being beaten unjustly and wives submitted to patriarchal husbands.

Serving others is a healthy thing and working is a privilege, but slavery is worse than death. In a similar way, marriage is healthy and the commitments of family are a privilege, but being locked into an involuntary situation where you are mistreated by your spouse, husband or wife, is a misery.

We need to have a healthy view of human hierarchy as a pragmatic and fluid arrangement in which mutual service is expressed in participatory leadership and shared responsibility and accountability and where lines of authority are limited, skill based and task oriented. The scriptures are not obscure on this matter, but repeat it in several places.

The commandment of Christ is to love one another, to love your next one as yourself, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, to be the slaves of one another, to submit to one another, to hold others in esteem.

It would be a funny Bible that said "some submit to others." "some love others," "some hold others in esteem," and "some of you become slaves to others." That would be a strange beast of a Bible.

It is interesting that most Bibles do not translate Galatians 5:13 literally. I find that the NRSV is better in this case with demonstrating the concordance that is found in the Greek. Cheers to the NRSV for a literal translation of this verse.

Beyond crazy

Frank Schaeffer - can Christianity be rescued from Christians?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Translating the word "sword"

Dr. Claude Mariottini has an excellent post on how the word "sword" is translated in the Hebrew Bible. He concludes,

    In conclusion, let me say that no one should be shaken by the differences we find in English translations of the Bible. We have to remember that no translation is meant to be a word-for-word translation of the Hebrew and Greek. Rather, the intent of a translation is to provide an accurate understanding of the message of the Bible.

    Every translation of the Bible is good and every translation of the Bible has its flaws. No translation of the Bible will translate a certain Hebrew word the way I think it should be translated, but in the end, a translation will carry the message that God cares for us and that he demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus Christ to reveal the magnitude of God’s love. And that is all we need to know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

NLT: The gift of singleness is dead

In the NLT, in 1 Cor. 7:7, the text at (NLT 2004) says,
    But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.
However, at the NLT site, the text reads,
    But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.
This change was in part a response to The Gift of Singleness blog. I met one of the writers, Gortexgrrl, last spring. She emailed me and we ended up getting together for supper.

Common English Bible

I guess I must have heard of this, but it didn't really register. The Common English Bible translation was started in 2008 and has its own wikipedia page. Here is a list of translators, among them a few I went to school with. Greg Bloomquist was in my first year Hebrew class.

I would love to see a sample of this. It sounds as if it will be about the same level of language as the NIV, and about a grade 7 yo 8 reading level. It is worth remembering that by some measures, the average adult reads at a grade 6 reading level.

Women's speaking justified

Mark Baker-Wright asked to be added to the friends of the TNIV, and I have found his post about Margaret Fell's Women's Speaking Justified. He writes,
    About 7 years ago, when I audited David Scholer's "Women, the Bible, and the Church" class at Fuller Theological Seminary, I was actually somewhat surprised to learn that the debate about whether or not women should be ordained in Christian churches wasn't an entirely 20th century phenomenon. I had always assumed that it arose out of women's rights movements such as the suffrage movement that gave women the right to vote in 1920 (in the United States, that is). In fact, the question of whether or not women had the right to be church leaders (especially in ordained positions) has been going on for many centuries.

    Indeed, I suppose that I shouldn't have been so surprised. Why would some of the ancient church "fathers" (and, let's face it, the earliest church leaders were primarily men) have engaged in such aggressive attacks against women as church leaders if there weren't in fact women who were arguing for their rights to such positions?
Of course, there have always been women in the church who have spoke out and taught.Hilda was the teacher of five bishops in the 7th century, and Margaret Fell wrote in the 17th century.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Aberration blog brings our attention to the F.A.Q.'s on the site.

The happiness gap

There was a slew of blogs (NY Times excerpt available here) which reported that women's overall happiness has fallen with women's liberation.

Here is a language log post which may demsytify some of the statistics surrounding this issue. And here is Mark Liberman, Oct. 6 2007.

OK, so imagine coming into a door labeled "the room of unhappy people". You enter, and find yourself in a hall with 51 to 54 women, and 46 to 49 men. Do you think that you could decide which sex predominated, without lining everyone up and doing an explicit count?

Now imagine that you walk through two such rooms, where the first one is around 51-to-49 female, and the second is around 54-to-46 female. Do you think that you would notice the direction of difference in the sex ratios, without another pair of line-ups?

More to the point, do you think that you could spin differences like these into today's second-most-emailed NYT story?

If your answer is "yes", then you may have a future as a science writer. (Or, perhaps, as an economist...)

Not Only a Father

Tim Bulkley has uploaded his book Not Only a Father: Motherly God-Language in the Bible and Christian Tradition.

I have discovered that there is far more mother language referring to God in Christian tradition than I had formerly thought. I will be reading through Tim's book.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here and there

There are actually quite an amazing number of posts from the last few days on gendered language in the scripture.

Kurk has really brought to light for me that the expression "son of man" meant "son of the human" and that is Mary. Mary is the anthropos, the human, that Christ is the son of.

Damien continues to think about feminine language. Alan discusses Carson's book on gender language and the translation of aner. Joel H. writes about Girl things and Boy things. and Peter writes on the value of women, oxen and cows.

There are lots of other interesting conversations going on elsewhere that I wish I could mention, but my time is limited at the moment.

(I do have a bloggy, techy problem, however, if anyone thinks they have a clue how to help me out I would appreciate a note. I have a new blog here, not related to this blog, and although I did choose in the settings to have the blog open to google, I can't google it. It refuses to show up in any search results. Anyone have any idea what's wrong?)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anthropos in the Peshitta

Kurk has collected some of the posts on anthropos and aner here. I wonder if he is aware of the posts on Café Apocalypsis.

The passage under discussion is Matt. 12:9-14. The NIV uses "man" every time that the Greek word anthropos occurs in the text.
    I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. 7If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
    9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

    11He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

    13Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Perhaps we can learn something from the way that the Peshitta translated the words for "man" in this passage. In the Peshitta, a Syriac (Aramaic) translation from the Greek, written in Syriac script, uses bar anash for "Son of man," geber for "a man" with a shriveled hand, and enosh for how much more valuable is "a man" than a sheep."

Now I realize that this puts the Peshitta on the list of translations seriously affected by feminism. Which is very odd because the editors of this text scrupulously altered the text to eradicate the feminine gender of the Spirit. But they forgot to eliminate the phrase bar anash, the human Christ.

The point is not whether the ESV, NIV or TNIV is the definitive translation. But rather, we need to realize that they are all approximations. If you stifle one of the approximations of the original, then some of the truth is denied.

So far, I have discovered that the Peshitta, Luther, and Tyndale translations all go against the Colorado Springs Gender Guidelines. Personally I prefer to burn the guidelines and keep the translations intact.