Re: Science, Women, and Paul

Date: Mon May 20 2002 - 22:09:18 EDT

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    You wrote: Another possibility is that I Cor. 14:34 ff. was an interpolation

    The idea that certain passages in Paul's letters were added by a later hand
    has been suggested by various commentators over the years regarding these and
    other "difficult" portions of Paul's writings. However, we have absolutely no
    manuscript evidence that any of Paul's letters have been corrupted in such a
    way. The content of the very oldest manuscripts of Paul's letters does not
    differ in any significant way from much later manuscripts.

    Now, I suppose someone might suggest that such corruptions of Paul's letters
    may have taken place very soon after they were written, and the corrupted
    copy then became much more widely copied and distributed than the original,
    and that no trace of Paul's original uncorrupted text remains. The problem
    with saying such a thing is that if God allowed that to happen to Paul's
    letters, how can we say for certain what parts of them Paul actually wrote?
    And if God allowed Paul's letters to be corrupted in such a way, who can say
    what parts, if any, of the rest of the Bible have been accurately preserved?

    You wrote: [Some suggest] that the Pastoral Epistles were written by a
    "conservative" disciple of St. Paul.

    All of the letters which are now widely understood to have been written by
    Paul are now identified as Paul's work because the text of each one of those
    letters clearly identifies Paul as its author. If they were not written by
    Paul, then they contain false information. If they do we, how do we know what
    in them, if anything, can be trusted?

    I do not think it is necessary to suggest Paul's writings have been
    corrupted, or to say that they may have originally been written by someone
    other than Paul, to explain the apparent contradictions regarding Paul's view
    of how women should be treated in Christ's church. I believe that such
    apparent contradictions can be explained quite well by understanding the text
    of Paul's letters in the way in I have already described.


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