Saturday, August 29, 2009

4 discussions on women issues

`1) Genesis 3:16 What are the translation histories of “desire” and “will rule”? How was the woman punished?

Seldom has so much mischief been caused by a translation error that became institutionalized. Many use this passage to emphatically answer that men should rule over and women will have lustful sexual desire [libido] naturally exhibited to their husbands. But will the text itself bear the weight of such important claims?

How was tsuqah translated in the twelve known ancient versions of the OT (the Greek Septuragint, the Syriac Peshitta, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Old Latin, the Sahidic, the Bohairic, the Ethiopic, the Arabic etc.)? Why did the church fathers (Clement, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanios and Jerome) seem to have translated the Hebrew word in only one way. And it is not “desire.” We need to ask if modern translators are aware of the Italian Dominican monk named Pagnino who translated the Hebrew Bible. Which was used just 7 years later as a source in the Coverdale English bible in 1528.

The Hebrew word tsuqah, now almost universally translated as ‘desire’ was previously rendered and ‘turning.’ The word appears in the Hebrew OT only 3 times. But when Pagnino went with ‘desire’ English Bibles, following Pangnino, rendered this verse and “Thy lusts shall pertain to..” Or libido and sensual desire. It is time the church returned to the real meaning of this word. It should be: ‘As a result of her sin, Eve would turn away from her sole dependence on God and turn now to her husband.’ The results are not pleasant, warned God, as he announced the curse. ‘You will be turning away from me (God) and (as a result) he will rule over you and take advantage of you.’

Now some want to change the second verb from will to shall. But the statement is only to futurity not to obligation or the normalcy of ‘must rule.’ So we may conclude that it is not lust or desire and neither is it rulership over the women as a type of ordering from God as to how relationships must be expressed.

2) 1Cor 11:3 Head of Woman is Man?

Easily one of the most difficult and debated passages in all of Paul’s epistles. So let’s pursue this from the view of the whole chapter. It goes from “head” passage to “image and glory of God while women is the glory of man” and finally, who are “the angels” in 11:10, due to whom “the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head”?

What does the word ‘head” mean. Most English readers of the text innately regard it as ruler, leader, chief, boss and director are places the mind will go almost immediately. Such an understanding of “head” as connoting “authority over” lead to interpretation of this text (and of Eph 5:22-23) as Paul’s teaching about hierarchical order in the relation between men and women. Some who stand within this interpretive tradition go so far as to posit a “chain of command,” where authority is passed along: from God to Christ to man to woman. The literal “head,” as in the NIV, implicitly suggests an interpretation along the same lines because of the common understanding of “head” in English when applied to persons in relationships such as marriage or other institutions. Common phrases like “she is head of the division” or “he is the head of his family” illustrate this everyday metaphorical meaning of “head” in our language.

Apart from the question whether this common English meaning is also the common Greek meaning of “head” when used figuratively, serious issues are raised by such an interpretation. How are we to see the relation between Christ and God? If God occupies a rank superior to Christ, then we have here a revival of the ancient heresy of “subordinationism” and a challenge to the classical doctrine of the trinity.

Further, if husbands (or men; the Greek word is the same) are under the authority of Christ, and wives (or women; the same Greek word) are under the authority of husbands/men, do we then not have a situation where women stand only in indirect relation to Christ, via their husbands and by extension, all men? A conclusion is then reached by some when they understand it as a series (God - Christ - Man - Woman) as indicating a “growing distance from God,“ or a “chain of command”. The Linguistic evidence points strongly , if not overwhelmingly, away from the common English reading of head as “chief,” “ruler,” “authority over,” though there are those scholars who would challenge this.” One, the most exhaustive Greek-English Lexicons covering Greek literature from about 900 B.C. to A.D. 600, among numerous metaphorical meanings for kephale does not give a single definition to indicate that in ordinary Greek usage it included the meaning “superior rank” or “supreme over” or “leader” or “authority.”

Second, the Septuagint didn’t include the idea of “authority over” or “headship.”

Third, nowhere else in the NT is kephale used to designate a figure of authority or mastery. So, those contemporary readers of Paul’s Greek did not hear our ‘headship” concept in this word but rather the idea of “source, origins and connections.” Cyril of Alexandria, in the 4th Century, on this text wrote: “Thus we say that the kephale of every man is Christ, because he was excellently made through him. And the kephale of woman is man, because she was taken from his flesh (in the beginning). Likewise, the kephale of Christ is God, because he is from him according to nature (John 1:1, 8:42, 13:3 etc).” Thus Paul has the creation narrative of Genesis 1-2 in mind. Though it is obvious that, in a final sense, Christ/God is also the source of the woman’s life (1Cor 11:12), Paul is here considering the sequence of creation of the human species in Genesis. This is temporal, sequential thought is taking in to account Adam as the origin of Eve’s being. Behind this temporal sequence stands God who in 1 Cor8:6 says God is the source of everything. So, the passage refers to Creation and the temporal process of how things were made in that very beginning of humankind. Nothing about hierarchical dominance and authority control in this passage.

3) 1Cor 11:7 Why is man said to be the glory of God, while woman is the glory of man?

Once again Paul seems to put women on step further removed from God than men. In brief it has to do with chapters 8-10 which deal with the issue of Christian liberty in light of true knowledge, caring love and concern for living and acting in ways which “build up” others. Paul sums up this discussion with these words: “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1Cor10:31). Concerns about propriety with regard to appearance in the context of public worship are addressed first (1Cor 2-16). From 1Cor 11:4-5 we must make some deductions from Paul’s answers. We must assume that social, cultural or ritual norms were being ignored or deliberately set aside in the context of worship.

4) 1 Timothy 2:12, 1Cor 14:34: The Meaning of Women Keeping Silent

For another time but, when we consider the role of women in the first century, Jewish people were very, very clearly oriented to thinking that women were mere chattel. What's remarkable is that the empty tomb accounts would feature only females as heroes of the story. This demonstrates that the Gospel writers recorded what happened, even if they felt it culturally embarrassing. Women had no standing in court or other places regarding testimony. Is this passage a study into principle or custom? Which way do you go on this debate? Clues for 1Cor 14 are written just a few sentences before dealing with silence in 34. A few puzzle pieces for you to bring together in literary word use similarities.

5) 1Cor 10:8 Why did Paul use the number 23,000 if what he is quoting in Numbers 25:9 records 24,000? Which text is correct? How does one square this?

Bibliography: Kaiser, Davids, Bruce, Brauch, “Hard sayings of the Bible.”
GleasonArcher, “Encyclopedia of Bible difficulties.”

1 Peter 3:1-7 has at least five words that are mirroring one another and describing the same nature of activities for the Sir and the Lady.

2x hupostaso: voluntary attitude of cooperation, carry your share of the burdens, abide with, assume your responsiblity as heirs in the grace of life, submissive.
2x anastrophe: conduct, manner and way of life, treatment, behavior.
3x phobeo: veneration, to treat with deference, reverence of husband, fearful manner, respectful.
1x hagnos (1x hagios): immaculate, clean, pure of any fault, free from carnality, chaste.
teemay': precious value, respect of one's high office, honor by reason of one's high ranking, deference, reverence, value of one's worthy price, honor.

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