Re: Science, Women, and Paul

Date: Sat May 18 2002 - 11:54:14 EDT

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    Hello George,

    You wrote: The sort of interpretation of Paul's statements about the role of
    women in the church proposed below - basically, that Paul is citing the
    arguments of others with whom he does not agree - has been made before.

    I had heard this suggested before but had never seen all the relevant
    passages and all the objections to such a way of understanding the scriptures
    dealt with before. So I took it upon myself to take a closer look at the
    whole matter. The conclusions I have reached on these issues are, I believe,
    correct ones.

    You wrote: Not everything that Paul (or any other biblical writer) says
    should be seen as a regulation valid for all times and places. Some are
    regulations for the good order of the church in particular situations. This
    is, e.g., the way virtually all churches understand the statements of Paul in
    I Cor.11 ...

    "Virtually all churches" understand that Adam was literally the first man who
    ever walked the earth. "Virtually all churches" understand that the flood of
    Noah's day was global. Virtually all churches are wrong about some things
    which some people think are quite important in the "times and places" we are
    now living in. This includes the way women are now treated in most Christian

    You wrote: Paul is giving a rule about how women are to be dressed when they
    speak publicly in the church!

    Paul is giving no such rule at all. He is quoting false teachers whose
    writings he was asked to critique.

    You wrote: That in itself suggests that the statement in chapter 14 that
    women are to "remain silent" is intended to apply only to particular

    As Paul would say, "WHAT?!" (1 Cor. 14:36) The evidence which I earlier
    presented clearly shows that Paul made no such statement.

    You wrote: Other wise Paul wouldn't give detailed arguments in chapter 11 for
    the proper dress of women when they _do_ speak.

    He does no such thing in chapter 11. He first quotes the false teachers who
    were demanding that women wear head coverings. He then said that he required
    they do no such thing, and said their long hair was all the head coverings
    they needed. (verse 15) He then said in the next verse, "If anyone wants to
    be contentious about this, we have no other practice - nor do the churches of
    God." It sounds to me like you are being contentious about it.

    You wrote: It also should be remembered that Paul isn't the whole of
    scripture. Arguments that woman are not to teach men must ignore, among
    others, Deborah
      (Jdg.4:4-10), Huldah (II Kg.22:14-20), Mary Magdalene (Jn.20:17-18) and the
      daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

    Of course, I agree with you. But what is your point? That the writings of
    Paul contradicted the rest of the Bible? I don't think so.


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