I beleive the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated, copied, and interpreted correctly. In the course of my studies of the Bible, I've discovered that it has a long and convoluted history. So, these are my discoveries and my musings of Christian history and doctrines.

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Women Speaking In the Ancient Church, Part 1

Women in the ancient Christian church. Were they allow to speak or not?

Lately, I have been reading in the book The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In one chapter he discusses the forgery entitled The Acts of Paul and Thecla. We know it is a forgery because according to Tertullian, a North African Christian writer who lived about the late 2nd and early 3rd century A.D., the forger was caught and confessed to having wrote it. (1)

In that chapter, Bart delves into a discussion regarding the rights and privileges of women in the early Christian church and made some points that I thought were rather interesting. He points out that the apostle Paul writes:

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." (2)

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (3)
With regards to Timothy, Bart writes that many scholars are of the opinion that Paul did not write it because "it's vocabulary, writing style, theological modes of expression, and presupposed historical situation all differ significantly from what can be found in Paul's authentic letters." (4)

But what about 1 Corinthians 14? In chapter 11, Paul writes:
"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." (5)
So, as Bart sees it, and I agree, according to this verse it is okay for women to pray and prophesy, as long as their heads are covered. But how do you do that in silence? Did the apostle Paul contradict himself, or is there another explanation?

1. Tertullian, On Baptism, Chapter 17.

2. 1 Corinthians 14:34, King James Version (KJV).

3. 1 Timothy 2:12-14, KJV.

4. Ehrman, Bart D.. The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, 2003), p38.

5. 1 Corinthians 11:5, KJV.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed in the mommy circles that I'm on the fringes of as an LDS woman, that many Evangelical women are turning back to the use of prayer shawls. They are easy to purchase in Christian books stores (e.g. not Deseret...), and quite a hot ticket among the knitters and crocheters of this crowd. All in all, it seems to me to be more of a part of the lesser law.

I hadn't made the connection to Paul. I'm curious of the context now - and the influence of Judaism at the time. I'm thinking this might be a nice one to use for some teaching callings in the church:)

5:36 PM  
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3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is with the English translations of the Bible and all those italicized words that Jerome the Monk added to the original Greek manuscripts while translating it ... he added to "clearify" the passages.


Gene Edwards (a brilliant linguist, Greek scholar, theologian and historian of 1st century church) presents a compelling arguement in his book for the priesthood of the believer and women in particular in his book - The Christian Woman Set Free - 1700 years is long enough (to suppress them).

Guys, we simply don't want to hear this. We'd rather have authority and rule these silly women. We claim that women are prideful if they are not willing to be dominated. Who is prideful?

On the "shaw" issue. . .Here is another eroneous "covering" doctrine. Frank Viola exposes this as well in his book "Who Is Your Covering." What nonsense.

To be consisten women can't speak at all, lead at all, and when they worship must cover their heads with scarves. Does this sound like what Jesus would do?

Minds poured in concrete with the wet mud of prejudice will always refuse to entertain the truth.

This is one of the most glaring problem with the church today. Pretend that women don't lead a church, pretend to remain silent, pretend not to teach men. Could it be the reason for the decline of the traditional church and the explosion of the House Church movement?

I posted this information on a anti-women's freedom Christian site and these Christians redacted my comments and the books I listed. So much for a free and honest dialog. I hope this won't happen on your blog.

We need to look at the ancient Christian church that met in homes for 400 years before the Roman Church started building their Cathederals with the tithe.


8:58 PM  

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