Re: Science, Women, and Paul

From: george murphy (
Date: Sun May 19 2002 - 16:48:48 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Science, Women, and Paul"

             The two passages we've discussed in I Cor. certainly have a number of
    puzzling aspects. Your way of dealing with those puzzles is to try
    to make Paul
    say something other than what he apparently is saying. As I have said several
    times, this has some plausibility with ch.14. It has no plausibility
    at all for
    ch.11. As I pointed out, there is clearly a continuity of speakers from v.2 to
    v.3 there. As both I & Gordon Brown pointed out, your argument about a lack of
    pronouns there is irrelevant.
             Your reply to Gordon on this:
             "However, even if what you say turns out to prove that the pronoun "I"
    should be understood every time Paul was quoting false teachers, that will only
    show that he was quoting the written opinion of one writer, which was probably
    the case anyway."
             shows that you intend to maintain your interpretation
    regardless of what
    the passage actually says and regardless of the fact (let me be blunt) that you
    appear not to know elementary Greek. Since this is the case there's
    little point
    in debating this passage further.

             You seem to think that in noting Lk.9:50 and 11:23 and
    Prov.26:4-5 that I
    was attempting to show that there are contradictions in the Bible. I think I
    made it quite clear that I was citing these texts to show that one gets
    contradictions if one interprets them wrongly as abstract timeless
    And in fact that's the same tack you've taken in trying to interpret them. It
    seems to me that you're not really paying attention to what I've said.

             With regard to Acts 15:28-29 it again seems that you're trying to force
    the text to fit your presuppositions. You want the apostles to be
    giving helpful
    suggestions to the Gentiles. Would this be described as a _burden_? Is the
    statement that they are to abstain from "unchastity" also just a helpful
    suggestion? The first task in biblical studies is to find out what a text
    actually says, not to make it fit in with what we want it to say.

             I don't think there's a lot of point in continuing this particular
    discussion further.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interaface" wrote:

    > Hi George,
    > You wrote: In I Cor.11:2-16 Paul says that women must have their heads
    > covered (with something in addition to their hair) when they pray or prophesy
    > in the public assembly of the church. ... I Cor.14:34-36 appears to be a
    > prohibition of women speaking in church. ... The explanation may be that in
    > ch.14 ... Paul ... is here giving a rule for a particular situation, perhaps
    > because of particular disorderliness of Corinthian worship.
    > You and I will have to agree to disagree here. For the reasons I have
    > previously stated, I do not think Paul's words can be logically read in such
    > a way.
    > You wrote: The question of supposed contradictions in the Bible often arises
    > because
    > people think of the Bible as a collection of timeless abstract propositions
    > which have to be logically consistent with one another.
    > I don't see the Bible in quite that way, but I also don't think Paul would
    > contradict himself in a very short span of time. I also cannot believe that
    > Paul would have ever made a bunch of legalistic rules and regulations
    > forbidding women to teach in church, or for that matter forbidding them to
    > even ask questions in church. You seem to believe he actually told them to
    > keep absolutely silent in church and if they had any questions about anything
    > to go home and ask their husbands after the service. What if they had no
    > husband? What if they had a nonbeliever for a mate? The idea that Paul would
    > require women to dress in a certain way or wear head covering when they
    > prayed is, to me, also ridiculous. Paul was the apostle who worked tirelessly
    > to promote Christian freedom, and who said there should be no distinctions
    > within the body of Christ between Jew and Gentile, free man and slave, and
    > male and female. Paul is the apostle who fought hard with Peter over his the
    > issue of legalisms.
    > I don't buy your explanation of such passages. The understanding I have put
    > forth is the only one that makes sense to me. As I said, on this issue we
    > will have to agree to disagree.

    > So far as your presentation of what you see as various Bible contradictions
    > to justify the presence of apparent contradictions in Paul's teaching, I see
    > it as a pretty lousy way of defending your understandings of Paul's
    > teachings. You might as well say, "The whole Bible is full of contradictions.
    > Why should we expect Paul's letters to be any less so?"
    > You pointed out that Jesus said at one time, "He that is not against you is
    > for you," and at another time, "He who is not with me is against me" (11:23).
    > However, this is no contradiction at all. For at the time Christ made those
    > generalizations the boldness of His preaching had polarized most of those who
    > were familiar with His message. By that time those who knew Jesus had already
    > chosen sides. They had by then either decided to become one of His supporters
    > or one of His opposers. Very few in the crowds who had listened to Christ
    > speak for any length of time remained "sitting on the fence."
    > I also see no contradiction in Proverbs 26:4-5. "Answer not a fool according
    > to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his
    > folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." I see that these verses tell us
    > that for our own sake it is best not to argue with fools. For doing so most
    > often just makes us look foolish. On the other hand, if we don't sometimes
    > help those believing foolish things see the error of their way of thinking,
    > they may never gain real wisdom. The author of Proverbs is simply reminding
    > us that there is often personal risk involved in helping others.
    > Please don't throw more supposed Bible contradictions at me to prove that all
    > of Paul's sexist and legalistic words may have been his own. For just because
    > some apparent contradictory statements elsewhere in scripture are not really
    > contradictory does nothing to prove that some of Paul's words are not, if all
    > he wrote were his own teachings. I've played the "Bible contradiction game"
    > too often with Bible skeptics and atheists. I have no desire to play it with
    > a Christian.
    > You wrote: No, I don't think that there was a universal flood, but what I
    > think is
    > irrelevant here. What is of concern is what Jews & Christians of the 1st
    > century
    > thought. & whether they believed that the flood was universal or not (but
    > they
    > probably thought it was) is not as important as the fact that the story of
    > the
    > covenant with Noah was thought of as an expression of God's will for all
    > people.
    > So you are saying that the apostles felt justified in making a set of
    > Christian laws for new Gentile Christians because the apostles mistakenly
    > thought that Noah's flood was global and that God's blood law given to Noah
    > thus applied to all people by extension.
    > If that is what you are saying you and I are far apart in our view of the
    > scriptures. The letter sent to Gentile Christians was good advise on how they
    > could avoid offending their Jewish brothers and sisters with their new
    > freedom in Christ. It was nothing more. Christians are not under law. The
    > apostles, including Paul, never made any official set of rules which any
    > Christians were obliged to follow. Paul never made any special rules
    > restricting the participation of Christian women in the Christian church in
    > any way. Those are my beliefs. You are welcome to yours.
    > Mike

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