Friday, April 02, 2004

Ruether on Paul and Women

Also courtesy of Bible and Interpretation, this link to an article on beliefnet:

St. Paul, Friend or Enemy of Women?
It's too simplistic to call the apostle a patriarchal misogynist on the one hand--or to praise him unreservedly on the other.
By Rosemary Radford Ruether

It is a short article with this summary at the end
What Christians need to see today is that both options existed in early Christianity. In Paul's own writings, he assumed that women could teach and lead churches, although he wished them to do so with the traditional sign of women's secondary status on their heads. In the next generation Pauline Christians split between those who wanted to continue this ministry of women, linked to a radical view of women's new autonomy in Christ, and those who wished to suppress it altogether. But in the church for which Timothy wrote both views still coexisted in the same church.
One element in the article that may be a little overstated is here:
But the passage in I Corinthians 14: 33b-35 where it is said that women should not speak at all is generally conceded by scholars today to have been an interpolation from the next generation after Paul. It was not part of the original text.
My own reading of the situation would be that it is not "generally conceded"; some think it an interpolation and some do not. The comment that "It was not part of the original text" might lead some readers to think that there is more text critical evidence for its omission than there is. I am not a text critic, but if I recall correctly there are no texts of 1 Corinthians that lack those verses though they are not always found at precisely the same point.

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