Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters

  • Philip B. Payne
  • Feb 5, 2010
  • Series: Volume 13 - 2010

Book-Man and Woman One in Christ

Philip B. Payne.  Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.  $29.99.  511 pp.  ISBN 978-0-310-21988-0.

It’s not often these days that a book takes thirty-six years to complete.  But Phil Payne has a good excuse.  In between the beginning and end of his work, he founded Linguist’s Software and developed computer fonts for most of the languages in the world!  When Payne began his work while still a Ph.D. student in New Testament at Cambridge in 1973, there were no books of this scope defending an egalitarian position from Paul’s writings.  Had he finished it in the seventies or early eighties, it would have been a blockbuster—and a lightning rod for both praise and criticism.  Today, most all of Payne’s positions are known from other writers, and people have formed their opinions of them.  But it still remains interesting to see which specific synthesis he winds up with.

A short chapter introduces us to backgrounds to Paul’s thought.  Not well known are Gamaliel’s favorable attitudes to women in contrast to most of his peers.  (But then Saul of Tarsus scarcely followed his teacher’s “live and let live” attitude to the early Christians, so it is hard to know how significant this information is for Paul’s likelihood of supporting women in ministry.)  Much more well known are the egalitarian approaches to Genesis that find patriarchy appearing only after the Fall.  Jesus begins to undo this corruption by favoring women, counterculturally by the standards of his day.  The absence of women from the apostles has strictly cultural significance.

Turning to Paul, Payne surveys the women Paul names as “ministry leaders”—especially Phoebe, Priscilla, and Junia, along with a dozen theological “axioms” that affirm the equality of men and women.  Galatians 3:28 cannot be limited to equality with respect to salvation but requires social consequences.  The equal rights of husbands and wives in marriage are repeatedly affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7.  Of course, some complementarians would agree with virtually all Payne writes thus far, so now he narrows his focus to the three most problematic texts, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34-35; and 1 Timothy 2:8-15, which occupy his attention for almost all of the rest (about 80%) of the volume.

Payne makes an excellent case for the head covering Paul wants wives to retain in worship in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11 to be their hair—done up rather than flowing freely, in keeping with the style for almost all married women of the time.  Payne makes a plausible case for long hair on men being forbidden because of its common connotations of homosexuality, especially in the Greek world.  (It is a pity the TNIV deleted the lengthy footnote in the NIV at this point, acknowledging the translational possibilities for verses 4-7 along the lines of this interpretation.)  On the vexed question of kephalē in verse 3, Payne predictably opts for “source,” but at least he acknowledges and discusses the complexity of the issue and the comparative rarity of both metaphorical meanings for “head”—“authority” as well as “origin.”  Ultimately, the immediate context dictates his decision, because not only is the man the kephalē of the woman, but God is the kephalē of Christ, and Payne believes Kevin Giles’ work that functional subordinationism in the Godhead is an early Christological heresy.  (However, Mark Baddeley in a 2004 Reformed Theological Review article argues that Giles repeatedly misreads the patristic evidence, but Payne does not comment on this “refutation”.)

An intriguing and plausible option for verse 7 (“the woman is the glory of man”) is that Paul is implying “and not another man is the glory of man,” especially given the apparent concerns about homosexual practice in this context.  Payne agrees with most scholars these days that the angels appear in verse 10 as watchers of worship, and he correctly translates the verse not as the woman having “a sign of authority on her head” but as having “control over her head.”  Verses 8-9 explain why the various “glories” of verse 7 have come to be, but verses 11-12 show that in Christ there are no differences in roles to threaten the equal standing of men and women. ( Like Rebecca Groothuis, Payne finds the concept of functional subordination within ontological equality virtually non-sensical, so he doesn’t really consider it as an intermediate option. )  Verses 14-15 reflect further cultural attitudes, while verse 16 should be rendered “we have no such practice” rather than “we have no other practice.”  But, instead of this meaning that Paul has no uniform policy at all, as some egalitarians have argued, Payne also realizes in context it more likely means “we have no practice that would disallow my commands,” so the different translations lead to approximately the same conclusions.

Much more debatable is Payne’s treatment of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, although it is a commonplace in non-evangelical scholarship these days for these verses to be labeled post-Pauline.  Building on Gordon Fee’s work and reflecting his own previously published articles, Payne opts for the interpolation hypothesis.  Why are these verses placed after verses 39-40 in a handful of (mostly late) manuscripts?  Not because that is the much more logical place for them, after Paul has completed his treatment of prophecy and speaking in tongues, and thus exactly where we might expect some scribes to move them, but because they were originally absent from Paul’s autograph altogether.  Marginal sigla in the very early and reliable Codex Vaticanus support the case for textual variants having existed at this point.  Payne strengthens his argument from his previous publications for these sigla indicating textual variants at this point rather than being used as some other kind of marker, but no new information makes the case more probable that the variants implied involved the absence of these verses rather than their relocation

Payne counters that there are no other known examples of NT scribes transposing “blocks of text to other places to improve the logic of a passage” (p. 229).  Presumably what he means is that there are no other examples of them doing so with this large a passage, since scribes were certainly known to rearrange words, phrases and clauses within a sentence or within a one-to-two verse span of material in order to improve the logic of a passage as they understood it.  I still think the stronger egalitarian argument is Craig Keener’s, in his Paul, Women and Wives, that Paul is silencing disruptive or uneducated questioning that should be dealt with by married women asking their husbands at home.  And I don’t sense that Payne has felt the full force of the complementarian argument from the narrative flow of the passage that makes speaking in the context of evaluating prophecy far more likely than it would be  based just on an analysis of these two verses alone.

A brief chapter on Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19 treats role relationships in marriage.  “Source” is again better than “authority” for kephalē  (so Payne) in a context in which the parallel is drawn to Christ’s sacrificial self-giving to nurture the church.  But Payne says little about kephalē being combined with “submit” (hypotassomai) in this context.  Perhaps it would be better to speak of Paul redefining authority in terms of sacrificial responsibility rather than privilege.  And I am puzzled by what Payne means, as an egalitarian, when he writes of why Paul calls wives to submit but men to love:  “Paul highlights for women and men what each tend to need to hear most.  Women tend to need a call to submit, men to love” (p. 277).  How is this any different from a moderate or chastened complementarianism at this point?

A meticulous and thorough analysis of 1 Timothy 2 brings us almost to the end of the book.  Payne is already known for his argument, of which I am convinced, now recently published in New Testament Studies, that parallel parts of speech conjoined with oude, as in verse 12, create an informal hendiadys.   In other words, the expressions combine to define one activity rather than two separate ones.  The evidence for this is rehearsed again here.  Payne, however, disputes Andreas Köstenberger’s equally careful study of such structures (in the book he co-edited on Women in the Church), which argues that they also very consistently pair two activities that are either both positive or both negative, so that if the teaching in verse 12 is normal, healthy instruction, then so must be the exercise of authority.  Payne includes me as one of the scholars he takes to task for having “uncritically accepted [Köstenberger’s] thesis” (p.  356 and n. 48). 

But how can Payne know whether or not I scrutinized Köstenberger; in fact, I evaluated his examples quite carefully and critically accepted them.  The rebuttal Payne offers involves passages interpreted in strange ways to turn them into counterexamples.  For example, he lists “the one who did the wrong nor. . .the one who was wronged” (2 Cor. 7:12).  Evil is involved in both instances, but Payne says the one is meant to elicit sympathy and the other antipathy so that they aren’t both bad.   He cites, “we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it” (2 Thess. 3:7-8).  Clear synonymous parallelism is at work here—both are negative actions that Paul eschews.  Payne does not even explain how he sees it otherwise.  Or again, Payne cites “to sleep or be indolent” in a passage in Plutarch where Payne thinks a reference to dreams turns sleeping into something positive.  But the context has a speaker declaring that he has no right to do either action despite a trophy he has won.  In fact, of the seven counterexamples Payne presents, only two come from the NT (the texts noted above), and the only one that is a clear counterexample is in Sirach 18:6, a full two hundred years earlier than the time needed for analyzing grammatical meaning in Paul’s day.

When it comes to authentein, Payne stresses that the unambiguously positive uses of the term for ordinary or even positive exercise of authority are all post-Pauline and that the contextually appropriate definitions that are demonstrably pre-Pauline are “domineer” or, what Payne prefers, “assume authority.”  Because he believes the references in the Pastorals to women being seduced by the heresy in Ephesus mean that they were also involved in teaching it (a point never demonstrated), the “assumption of authority” that is proscribed is its inappropriate or unauthorized assumption.  Properly delegated authority to women, presumably by an entire congregation, could be completely acceptable.  Now I will grant that “assume authority,” given the lexical evidence, may well be an improvement over “exercise authority” (so also TNIV), but, given Köstenberger’s analysis, it should not be taken merely to mean inappropriately assumed authority.  It still seems better to me to combine the valid insights of both men and see “teach or exercise authority” as defining a single, positive role (or even, “office”), which, as I have repeatedly argued, 3:1-7 and 5:17 suggest is that of elder or overseer.

Perhaps anticipating that not all will accept his lexical-grammatical analysis of these words, Payne relies further on the present tense of “permit” (epitrepō) and suggests in keeping with verbal aspect that it is better rendered “I am not permitting” so as to indicate something other than a timeless command.  This would be a legitimate insight if the statement were phrased positively, “I am permitting. . .”  But verbal aspect with a negative prohibition means “I am [continually] not permitting. . .”  Perhaps in some other time or place Paul would have behaved differently, but nothing in the use of the present tense by itself allows us to deduce this.  The verbal aspect actually suggests his practice is a more continual prohibition than if he had just used the default tense of the aorist. 

As for the statements of rationale in verses 13-14, Payne takes these as better explaining the injunctions to learning quietly and submissively in verses 11-12, given the context of deception by the false teachers “and the respect woman owes man as her source” (p. 403).  But then would men not need to respect women teachers and learn from them peaceably and submissively?  Why the lack of symmetry in verse 13 even if it is not explaining Paul’s prohibition?  And while occasionally a gar-clause can refer back to material that is not its nearest antecedent, this is neither common nor a natural interpretation in this context.

Finally, Payne defends “the Childbirth” (of the Messiah) as the way to translate teknogonia and solve the puzzles of verse 15.  He argues that 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 do not prevent women from being elders or overseers.  And he concludes and summarizes by arguing that Paul consistently champions egalitarianism.

Although Payne has compiled a very ample bibliography, there are still a few surprising gaps in the views with which he interacts, including the fuller 2005 version of my views, published in the revised edition of Two Views of Women in Ministry.  Understandably, most of his interaction with complementarianism is with the more strident and thoroughgoing form represented especially in Wayne Grudem’s and John Piper’s various works and those of a similar perspective.  But there is a “kinder, gentler” complementarianism (what William Webb in Slaves, Women and Homosexuals calls “ultra-soft patriarchalism”!) that escapes Payne’s notice at several points and that remains slightly preferable in my view.  For someone who wants an extraordinarily detailed defense of egalitarianism in Paul, however, Payne is a must read.  And, in my opinion, his is second only to Keener’s book as an exegetically plausible egalitarian approach.  But with both, I remain just “almost persuaded”.

Craig L. Blomberg, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of New Testament
February 2010

Comments(5)

Comments:

Paul Adams

Thank so very much, Dr. Blomberg! Sincerely appreciate your insights here and I was very much wondering where you may stand on Dr. Payne's fine work here. If interested, I've begun a series of reviews with extensive quotations @ http://en.wordpress.com/tag/phil-payne/

Philip Payne

I appreciate and am honored by Professor Blomberg’s detailed critique of my book and for its many positive comments.

I am happy to provide the following answers to his questions and to offer what I believe to be corrections to some of his statements. Unless specified otherwise “pages” refers to pages in Man and Woman, One in Christ.

Although Blomberg highlights the originality of my work on Gamaliel and my argument that in 1 Cor 11:7, “the woman is the glory of man” implies that woman, not another man, is the glory of man, he writes, “Today, most all of Payne’s positions are known from other writers.”

Perhaps I am wrong, but I am not aware of any other scholars who have written on the distigme obelus symbols in Codex Vaticanus, who have argued that Codex Fuldensis and MS 88 provide evidence for a text of 1 Corinthians 14 without verses 34-35, who have exposed the misrepresentations of crucial data regarding αὐθεντεῖν in BGU 1208. I believe this work contains a great many more original insights than the above characterization suggests.

Blomberg writes, “Saul of Tarsus scarcely followed his teacher’s “live and let live” attitude to the early Christians, so it is hard to know how significant this information is for Paul’s likelihood of supporting women in ministry.”

No student follows his or her teacher in everything. The issue I challenge is the common assumption that Saul’s training under Gamaliel reinforced a typical rabbinic disrespectful view of women. I show that the records of Gamaliel’s sayings in the Mishnah repudiate this view. Even Saul’s persecution of women shows that he took women seriously, a legacy traceable to Gamaliel.

Regarding κεφαλή in 1 Cor 11:3, Bloomberg writes, “On the vexed question of kephalē in verse 3, Payne predictably opts for ‘source,’ but at least he acknowledges and discusses the complexity of the issue and the comparative rarity of both metaphorical meanings for ‘head’-‘authority’ as well as ‘origin’.”

“Payne predictably opts for ‘source’” conceals the fact that I studied this issue for 13 years before finally publishing my findings up to that point in 1986. Even after my study of Scripture changed my attitudes toward women in ministry, I was still keen that my wife Nancy include in her marriage vows that she would obey me. It was my study of κεφαλή (“head”), not an egalitarian view, that forced me to reconsider and eventually to reject my former assumptions regarding what Paul meant by “a husband is κεφαλή of his wife” in Eph. 5:23. It is correct that on pages 117-37, I do argue that “authority” is not a well-established meaning of κεφαλή, but in contrast to this I argue that “source” is an established meaning for κεφαλή, listed from the earliest Greek lexicons to the present. In the course of my analysis, I cite many passages demonstrating that κεφαλή means “source,” including instances in Galen where κεφαλή in the singular clearly identifies the source of a river. I present fifteen reasons why κεφαλή in 1 Cor 11:3 means “source.” I argue that this meaning is particularly prominent in Paul’s letters, sometimes defined by Paul as such by means of apposition, as shown on pages 283-90.

Blomberg writes, “Payne finds the concept of functional subordination within ontological equality virtually non-sensical [sic].”

This misrepresents my position. I believe that ontological equality is perfectly compatible with functional subordination as long as that subordination is voluntary and temporary, as was Christ’s voluntary and temporary subordination to the Father in the incarnation (e.g. Phil 2:6-11). It seems to me that if subordination in necessary and eternal, it is then an aspect of one’s essence. As Millard J. Erickson says in Who’s Tampering with the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), 250, “If the Father is eternally and necessarily supreme among the persons of the Trinity, and if the Son eternally is subordinated to him, an interesting consequence follows. The Son in not merely accidentally, but essentially, subordinate to the Father. That means that there is a difference of essence between the two—that the Father’s essence includes supreme authority, while the Son’s essence includes submission and subordination, everywhere and always.” It is the simultaneous affirmation of equality of essence of the persons of the Trinity with this sort of difference in their essence that I find self-contradictory.

Blomberg attributes to me the view that 1 Cor 11:11-12 “shows that in Christ there are no differences in roles to threaten the equal standing of men and women.”

This misrepresents my view. I believe that there are differences in roles between men and women. For instance women bear children and men do not. I do believe, however, that the most natural reading of these verses is that “woman is not separate from man, nor is man separate from woman in the Lord” and that this does entail “the equal standing of men and women.”

Blomberg writes in the context of discussion 1 Cor 11:11-12 that Payne “doesn’t really consider it [the concept of functional subordination] as an intermediate option.”

It is not that I have not considered it, for I have considered it deeply. It is that I do not see how one can exegetically derive “functional subordination” from 1 Cor 11:11-12.

Regarding 1 Cor 11:16 Blomberg writes, “But, instead of this meaning that Paul has no uniform policy at all, as some egalitarians have argued, Payne also realizes in context it more likely means “we have no practice that would disallow my commands,” so the different translations lead to approximately the same conclusions.”

Nowhere in my book do I state or support this interpretation. Indeed, I write on pasge 208, 210, “ Versions that change “no such custom” to “no other custom” (e.g., HCSB, NIV, NAS, NAB, RSV, TNIV, TEV, LB, Amplified, Goodspeed, Phillips, Williams) introduce a meaning for τοιαύτην (“such”) that not only has no support in any standard Greek lexicon such as BDAG or LSJ; it is the opposite of this Greek word’s meaning. … The fact that the churches had no such custom implies that some in Corinth were practicing novel customs, not breaches of established church rules. Verse 16 contradicts any interpretation that this passage requires women to wear a garment over the head to conform to church custom.”

Blomberg writes concerning 1 Cor 14:34-35, “Why are these verses placed after verses 39-40 in a handful of (mostly late) manuscripts?”

As noted on pages 228-29, most textual critics date the beginnings of the Western text to the first half of the second century. It was established by the time of Hippolytus (d. 234), and G. D. Fee (1 Corinthians, 699-700) argues that every Western witness of this text has 1 Cor 14:34-35 after verse 40. Early attestation for this reading includes the fourth century Hilary (according to Albert Bengel) and Ambrosiaster, the fifth or sixth century Codex Claromontanus in Latin, and the sixth century Codex Claromontanus in Greek. If Fee is correct, the last of the Western text-type manuscripts of this passage are from the ninth century. Consequently, it is incorrect to characterize the manuscript evidence for this reading as “mostly late” manuscripts.

Blomberg writes that the displacement of 1 Cor 14:34-35 following verse 40 “is the much more logical place for them, after Paul has completed his treatment of prophecy and speaking in tongues, and thus exactly where we might expect some scribes to move them.”

This explanation faces serious objections. First, it requires that these verses about silence were deliberately taken out of their original proximity with all Paul’s other statements about silence in this chapter and displaced to a new location far from them. Second, if this is “exactly where we might expect some scribes to move them,” why didn’t this position after verse 40 become the dominant reading? Fee argues (1 Corinthians, 700) that all the surviving evidence indicates that these verses followed verse 40 in the Latin Church for at least 300 years. Nevertheless, instead of becoming more dominant, this reading virtually disappears after the ninth century. Third, it requires that a scribe would deliberately move such a large black of text such a long distance. “Exactly where we might expect some scribes to move them,” suggests that this follows common scribal practice, yet Blomberg does not supply a single instance in any manuscript of Paul’s letters where any scribe moved such a large black of text such a long distance. Not only is this not common scribal practice, as far as I can determine, not a single instance of such a long block of text being moved so far simply to improve Paul’s logic has survived in any manuscript of any letter of Paul.

Blomberg writes, “Presumably what he means is that there are no other examples of them doing so with this large a passage.”

This is correct. I make this explicit in the sentence immediately after the one Blomberg quotes from page 229, where I specify, “no manuscript of any Pauline passage of comparable length has been moved this far…”

Blomberg writes concerning Codex Vaticanus’s text critical siglum at the interface of 1 Cor 14:34-35, “Payne strengthens his argument from his previous publications for these sigla indicating textual variants at this point rather than being used as some other kind of marker, but no new information makes the case more probable that the variants implied involved the absence of these verses rather than their relocation.”

All of the data about the distigme obelus marking widely-recognized interpolations on pages 237-40 is, however, new information that makes the case more probable that the variant designated by the distigme obelus at the interface of 1 Cor 14:33 and 34 is the absence of these verses rather than their dislocation. This is further reinforced by the absence of a distigme or a distigme obelus at the end of 14:40, which should have followed verse 40 if the variant being noted were this dislocation, since the two texts would have the reverse of the identical variant at that point as well. There are only six instances in the NT where this distigme obelos symbol occurs with the obelus extending approximately 3 mm or more into the margin. Five of the six occur by widely acknowledged interpolations of a block of text. The sixth occurs by the location of a short interpolation, “but Jesus” in Mark 5:40. There is a distigme obelus at the interface of 1 Cor 14:33 and 34 and at the interface of Luke 14:24 and 25. The latter marks the exact point at which the interpolation “many are called but few are chosen” occurs (this interpolation is not in Vaticanus or English translations), just as the former marks the exact point at which the widely recognized interpolation of 1 Cor 14:34-35 occurs. http://www.pbpayne.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/1_Cor_14_Distigme_Obelos_images2.pdf contains photographs of both these distigme obelos symbols showing the contrast between the obelus and other shorter horizontal bars called “paragraphoi” on the same page. http://www.pbpayne.com/?p=303 lists all of these and the block of text that is interpolated at each of these exact points in the text.

Blomberg writes, “I don’t sense that Payne has felt the full force of the complementarian argument from the narrative flow of the passage that makes speaking in the context of evaluating prophecy far more likely than it would be based just on an analysis of these two verses alone.”

In addition to my other objections to this view listed on pages 222-23, if verse 34 is only about evaluating prophecy, why is its specific application in verse 35 about something different? “If they desire to learn” implies a position of sitting under, not standing over, and so is an inappropriate word to express “evaluating.”

Blomberg writes concerning Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19 “Payne says little about kephalē being combined with “submit” (hypotassomai) in this context.”

Pages 279-90 are devoted to the relationship between κεφαλή and ὑποτάσσω. I follow BDAG 1042 in defining ὑποτάσσω in Eph 5:21 as, “submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love.” This same sense fits naturally in Eph 5:23 as well. My understanding of κεφαλή in Eph 5:23 and Col 1:18 is determined by how Paul defines the meaning of κεφαλή in these passages by apposition, respectively as “savior” and “the source, ἀρχή.”

Blomberg asks about my affirmation of Paul’s calling wives to submit and husband to love, “How is this any different from a moderate or chastened complementarianism at this point?”

It is different from most complementarians, because, as is grammatically required by Paul’s syntax in Eph 5:21-22, it is as an expression of mutual submission, not a hierarchical structure in which in which only the wife has the obligation to submit, and the husband has no obligation to submit to his wife. I agree with Blomberg on the importance of “redefining authority in terms of sacrificial responsibility rather than privilege” since that is what Jesus did. If a passage is about self-giving and not about authority structures, however, we should accept it as such, without imposing authority structures on it and then redefining authority.

Concerning the use of οὐδέ to join positive and negative examples, Blomberg asks, “But how can Payne know whether or not I scrutinized Köstenberger; in fact, I evaluated his examples quite carefully and critically accepted them.”

I apologize to Blomberg for this, since I apparently misrepresented the care of his analysis. I assumed that if Blomberg had scrutinized Köstenberger’s examples he would have realized that not all of Köstenberger’s examples in fact combine only positive or only negative elements, and Blomberg would not have written, “Without exception, these constructions pair either two positive or two negative activities … then authentein must be taken as appropriate authority as well” [“Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian” in Two Views on Women in Ministry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 363]. I am gratified that Blomberg now acknowledges Sirach18:6 to be “clear counterexample” to this, which confirms that his original scrutiny was not as critical as his current judgment. Köstenberger even stated, “I found no evidence [against this…. This] should now be considered as an assured result of biblical scholarship.” Even if there is only one exception one should not conclude that this must apply in 1 Tim 2:12. My NTS article’s analysis showed evidence for nine such cases, available for free download at www.pbpayne.com - publications – articles, including the following apparently positive/negative contrasts: “increase/diminish [mercies],” “be surprised/distrust,” “pursue/cast aspersions,” “touch/give pain.”

Blomberg writes that Payne cites, “we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it” (2 Thess. 3:7-8). Clear synonymous parallelism is at work here—both are negative actions that Paul eschews. Payne does not even explain how he sees [2 Thess. 3:7-8] otherwise.”

I explain this in detail on pages 346-47, as noted also on page 357. Synonymous parallelism expresses the same idea in different words. Being idle, however, is a completely different idea than eating freely given food (δωρεάν). The latter has positive connotations unless it is joined with the negative idea of idleness. If eating freely given food is negative, then Paul is saying he never accepted free food, yet elsewhere he acknowledges receipt of gifts (Phil 4:16-19) and commands others to receive hospitality (1 Cor 10:27) and to give hospitality (Rom 12:13; 1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:8). The interpretation that Paul never accepted free food also stands in tension with the explication of verses 7–8a in verses 8b–12 and with cultural conventions. All this supports interpreting οὐδέ in 2 Thess 3:7–8 as merging a negative concept and a positive concept to specify the single idea, freeloading.

Blomberg acknowledges the references in the Pastorals to women being seduced by the heresy in Ephesus, but he states that Payne never demonstrates that they were also involved in teaching it.

If no women were engaged in false teaching, why is the false teaching summarized as “myths characteristic of old women” in 4:7, and why does Paul restrict teaching by women in 1 Tim 2:12, and why does he cite Eve’s deception as a basis for this restriction? Furthermore, the most natural implication of 1 Tim 5:13-15 is that these women were engaged in false teaching. It describes women who are φλύαροι, a term referring to people talking nonsense or foolishness (like the false teachers in 1:6 and 6:20, not “gossips” cf. Fee, 1 Timothy, 83), “going about from house to house [house churches?] speaking things they ought not … giving the enemy opportunity for slander, for already some have turned away to follow Satan.” Pages 299-304 describe women’s involvement in the false teaching and show that the 1 Timothy’s descriptions of women closely parallel its descriptions of false teachers.

Blomberg perceives an extremely important point in writing, “Now I will grant that ‘assume authority,’ given the lexical evidence, may well be an improvement over ‘exercise authority’ … but, given Köstenberger’s analysis, it should not be taken merely to mean inappropriately assumed authority.”

The problem with treating “assume authority” as though it refers to the assumption of properly granted authority is that all eighteen instances of αὐθεντέω from the first century BC to the sixth century AD with the meaning “assume authority” refer to assumption of authority that has not been properly delegated, as I show on pages 365-70 and 385-94.

Blomberg writes, “It still seems better to me to combine the valid insights of both men and see ‘teach or exercise authority’ as defining a single, positive role (or even, ‘office’), which, as I have repeatedly argued, 3:1-7 and 5:17 suggest is that of elder or overseer.”

If Paul had intended to say he was restricting women from church office, why does he instead of using a noun for a church office, use infinitives to prohibit the activity of teaching combined with assuming authority to oneself? Furthermore, the first instance of αὐθεντέω that clearly means “exercise authority” is ca. AD 370 in Saint Basil, The Letters 69, line 45, so there is inadequate lexical basis for this translation. Not even Baldwin includes “exercise authority” or “have authority” as a meaning established close enough to Paul’s day to be a viable translation. Baldwin’s study of αὐθεντέω in Women in the Church, edited by Köstenberger, “narrows down the range of meaning that might be appropriate in 1 Tim 2:12” to four possible meanings: to dominate, to compel, to assume authority over, and to flout the authority of [Baldwin, “A Difficult Word,” Women in the Church, first ed. 78–80; “Important Word,” Women in the Church, second ed. 45–51]. Baldwin writes that Schreiner will identify which best fits in 1 Tim 2:12 [Baldwin, “A Difficult Word,” 80; “Important Word,” 51]. Schreiner, however, adopts none of these, but rather “exercise authority over” [Schreiner, “Dialogue,” Women in the Church, second ed., 97, 101, 102, 104].

Blomberg writes, “Payne relies further on the present tense of “permit” (epitrepō) and suggests in keeping with verbal aspect that it is better rendered “I am not permitting.”

Pages 320-25 argue, not on the basis of the present tense alone, but on the basis of the present indicative, which, particularly with the verb ἐπιτρέπω, and even more particularly in the first person singular, is, more naturally translated “I am not permitting.” Permanent or universal prohibitions typically are in the imperative, and occasionally in the future or subjunctive, but rarely in the indicative. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 225 n. 30, lists 56 verses to argue that 1 Tim 2:12’s prohibition is “a general precept that has gnomic [= “timeless” 523] implications,” These 56 verses contain 74 imperatives. Not one of the timeless commands he lists is in the indicative like 1 Tim 2:12.

Blomberg writes, “This would be a legitimate insight if the statement were phrased positively, “I am permitting….” But verbal aspect with a negative prohibition means, “I am [continually] not permitting….”

Blomberg’s “Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian” in Two Views on Women in Ministry (2001), 361 cites J. M. Holmes, but her Text in a Whirlwind, 92 explains the imperfective aspect as implying that the teaching and assuming authority “may be conceived variously as single actions in process at the time of reference, or as actions attempted, continued or begun. … The prohibition would then not be upon women ever teaching or exercising authority over a man, but upon some ongoing form of those actions.” Even Thomas Schreiner writes, “The word ἐπιτρέπω cannot … establish that we have a universal principle for all time” in “A Dialogue with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church (2005), 100.

Blomberg asks, “But then would men not need to respect women teachers and learn from them peaceably and submissively?”

Paul is addressing the problem at hand, which the letter clearly identifies as being women influenced by the false teachings, as my book shows on pages 299-304. For women to assume for themselves authority over men was disrespectful. Consequently, Paul calls women to respect man as their source. Judging by Paul’s explicit statements in 1 Cor 11:11-12, he would call men to respect women teachers if their disrespect were the issue at hand.

Blomberg asks, “Why the lack of symmetry in verse 13 even if it is not explaining Paul’s prohibition?”

Pages 399-405 argue that verse 13 is explaining Paul’s prohibition, and the lack of symmetry is because Paul identifies women as the ones influenced by the false teachers and saying things they ought not, e.g. 1 Tim 5:13-15.

Blomberg states, “Although Payne has compiled a very ample bibliography, there are still a few surprising gaps.”

The complete 255 page bibliography for the book along with free articles to download, supplemental studies (e.g. on Paul’s statements about slavery), endorsements, and a blog including interactions regarding the book are at www.pbpayne.com, where signed copies of the book may be ordered for $17.75 rather than the $29.99 list price.

Craig Blomberg, PhD

Wow, I think your review of my review is almost as long if not longer than the original review! Thanks for such a detailed missive. :)



As you can imagine, even with the extra length Denver Journal allows its reviewers, it was a challenge to deal with so thorough and wide-ranging a study as yours. Most of the comments you make above where you claim I neglected something you wrote I was well aware of but without space to go into all the precise caveats tried to cover myself by saying things like "mostly," "most all," "virtually," "approximately," and the like. I can appreciate that from an author's perspective this probably didn't feel adequate but it was the best I could think of to do. Several of your other remarks above involve comments on where I use language about not considering something or feeling its full force, or the like, and, of course, I am referring to what is actually in the book, not what you may have mulled on for years, to which I do not have access. I may also be referring to the relative amount of treatment that you give something, even where it is discussed, since some issues are dealt with in great, even chapter-length detail and others (necessarily) moved through much more quickly. Finally, several of your comments above go beyond what you actually say in the book or restate things in what seem to me to be clearer language, which is very helpful. But, of course, the original review did not have access to that language or those additional remarks.



So, for the level of discussion that typically goes on in short, published book reviews, I think I still did a pretty good job representing your views and using caveats, qualifiers and modifiers that allow for the nuancing you rightly describe without being able to go into all of them.



Joan Holmes

1 of 3 pages



Re your review of Philip Payne’s Man and Woman, One in Christ (2009), and Payne’s response to that review, more particularly his reference to your ‘Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian’ in Two Views on Women in Ministry (2001) with its citation of my Text in a Whirlwind (2000):



Dear Dr Blomberg,

On 361 you write that ‘the verbal aspect of ... epitrepo, bolstered by the present ... non-indicative ... didaskein and authentein, suggests ... “I continually do not permit”’, supporting this at n136 by my 82. Perhaps it would be helpful for me to point out that if one is to use aspectual argument at all, it must be consistent. The infinitives do more than simply ‘bolster’ epitrepo. Payne correctly reads on to my 92 observation that at 1 Tim.2:12 Paul’s aspectual choices include infinitives conveying his visualisation of both didaskein and authentein as either ‘single actions in process at the time of reference, or ... actions attempted, continued or begun ... The prohibition would ... not be upon women ever teaching or exercising authority over a man, but upon some ongoing form of those actions.’ Still in accordance with the ecclesial setting which most envisage here, on 93 I wrote ‘[in] the structures discernible in ... [NT] assemblies the teaching prohibition would simply be against too-frequent instruction of the same man ... [I]f a woman teaches a man for a certain period, or occasionally, she cannot be described as continuously instructing him. Similarly ... [for] authentein ... [t]he authority prohibited must be envisaged as continual, not occasional or temporary. A woman commissioned for particular tasks who performs them ... in combination with other ministries would not be in contravention of such a prohibition ... Her authority would be specific and occasional, not general and continuous.’

It is important to note that my above argument depends upon interpreting the context primarily by the infinitives as ecclesial, and not (as I have argued is more convincing) interpreting the infinitives by that context as everyday life.

Relevant here too is your 364 n149 ‘Holmes ... is on the right track with her discussion of verbal aspect, but ... does not observe how naturally this leads to a restriction solely on the office of elder’. I think it only fair to point out the stated boundaries of my thesis: my introductory 24 ‘The text ... is the basic material from which the exegete must begin... [My] limited purpose ... is to focus essentially on that basic material’; 28 ‘[My study] does not enter the debate on women in ministry today ... [or] apply ... [1 Tim.2:9-15] to any modern structures’; and my concluding 304 ‘These findings have implications reaching far beyond the scope of the present study ... for analyses of assembly structures in the Pastorals ... the roles of ... [those] in them ... and of subsequent practices aspiring to a basis in the ... [NT].’



In Christ, Joan M. Holmes













Dear Dr Blomberg Sat. 13th Nov. 2010



The following additional items are not directly relevant to your review of Payne’s book.

First I want to acknowledge that your ‘Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian’ (2001) 363 n146 prompted a re-read of ‘Not beyond What is Written’ (1988) 412-13, and I’m bound to admit that my 89 n56 could have been better phrased. After your quotation of Spencer’s ‘almost certainly’, my intention was to highlight your closely following ‘this is probably’ and at n29 ‘may well be’. I do see your point, and am aware that Payne demonstrates that Paul consistently uses oude to link two concepts as a single idea. In fact my conclusions about didaskein and authentein (although in my book I did not state it) do harmonise with that. Payne interprets the prohibition as being against non-authorised teaching, and in the ecclesial context which you both accept, that is understandable. Similarly, in the non-ecclesial context which I argue is more convincing, it is difficult to separate ‘continually telling/ instructing/going on and on at’ and ‘continually exercising/assuming authority over/bossing around’. Together they do suggest the single idea of nagging. I accept your rebuke.

In (2001) 358 you write ‘There is no question that false teaching prompted Paul to write 1 Timothy ...’ with n136 ‘[o]ver against Holmes 117-39’. Please note my 107-08 ‘At 1 Tim.1:3-4 ... false teaching is clearly ... the reason for ... [Timothy’s] commission.’ In fact my focus was on the differences between those teachers and their teachings, and the emergence of the teachings from a background of foolish and godless chatter and controversy.

Re your 365 n151, I am sorry you found my 267-98 study on gar ‘tortuous’, but gather that I’d lost your approval long before you got to that!

I have elsewhere explained why in Text in a Whirlwind I did not state my views on church structures: http://textinawhirlwind.wordpress.com/, but your 364 n149 prompts me to briefly (only) sketch for you my thoughts on eldership in relation to women. You are, of course, very familiar with most of what I will say, but may be interested in following my thought process. My sources will be obvious.

In NT assemblies, just as women were for obvious reasons not masters, fathers or husbands, neither were they elder-shepherd-overseers. In everyday life, widowed, divorced, or single women may be heads of their own households, and expected (as were masters in their own households) to shoulder their responsibilities to older widowed relatives. Most married women were wives and mothers, in some cases responsible for the management of extensive households including slaves. Many women worked for a living. Many were slaves, who could not legally marry and whose children may be owned by their masters. Others were freedwomen who may/may not have continuing financial obligations to former masters. In general, then, women’s lives were remarkably varied, as were the roles of such women in their assemblies. All are implied to be proclaimers of Christ, and witnesses to their non-believing husbands. Some were assembly patrons and/or deacons and/or prophets. 1 Cor.11:5 and 14:26 imply that women exercised various ministries in the gathered assemblies. Prisca at least helped, but may well have led as she and Aquila taught Apollos. There is now a strong argument that Junia was an apostle. Tit.2:3-5 demonstrates Paul’s awareness that the proper people to teach younger women about various aspects of marriage are not elders, but older women. Titus is to see that they are qualified (as, indeed, must be the elders) to train others.

Elder-shepherd-overseership itself was a joint ministry. Each had ongoing authority, but it was to be exercised jointly and characterised not by importance but by service. Apart from Christ at Heb.13:20 and 1 Pet.2:25, 5:4, no NT elder-shepherd-overseer of a local assembly (cf. elder-apostles at 2 John 1; 3 John 1; 1 Pet 5:1) is named. There is no evidence of one elder exercising authority over his fellow-elders until the post-apostolic Ignatius. In assembly gatherings these multiple elderships ministered, not only with whichever apostles and/or other travelling ministries may be present, but also with variously ministering assembly members, male and female. In the ecclesial context for which you argue, if one elder taught more or less every time the local assembly gathered on the Lord’s day and/or even mid-week, he could be described as continuously teaching, and that continuous teaching would imply an ongoing authority to do so. At 1 Tim.2:12 Paul would be saying that he does not permit a woman to do that continuous teaching with its implied ongoing authority. But did NT elders themselves continuously so teach? Each is one of several working together, ministering, counseling and supporting each other in whatever ways are necessary, so it is difficult to imagine that one of them would be authorised to continuously monopolise the teaching. 3 John’s Diotrophes springs immediately to mind.

In summary, some NT women were leaders (e.g. Phoebe and Junia), and some taught (e.g. Prisca; Tit.2:3-5; and implied at 1 Cor.14:26). Although none of these are called elders, they did minister as individually Spirit-gifted, recognised, responsible, and at least in some cases trained women whose contributions were valued (i.e. authorised/accepted/welcomed) both in the gathered assembly and everyday life. To deny this is to confuse both leading and teaching with eldership, which is logically invalid: elders were necessarily authorised leaders, but recognised leaders were not necessarily elders; elders were necessarily apt to teach, but those who taught, and so were necessarily to some degree recognised and/or leading, were not necessarily elders.

We would be wise to proceed with the utmost caution before applying instruction intended for NT structures and practices in the very different structures and practices of modern churches.

I would be happy to consider any specific questions or comments you might offer.



Your sister in Christ, Joan.























Brendan Payne

Dr. Blomberg, I am surprised by two statements in the first paragraph of your review that indicate it gives a less-than-fair assessment of Payne's book.



First, you implied that there are today, and apparently were from the 1970s and '80s, "books of this scope defending an egalitarian position from Paul’s writings." But the reality is that today there are no egalitarian defenses of this scope from Paul's writings, not even close! There certainly have not been since the '70s and '80s. And Payne’s arguments contain evidence which has never before been published that hits at the exegetical lynchpins of key passages like 1 Cor 14.34-5 to 1 Tim 2.12. How can I expect a fair review of a book when right up front the reviewer doesn't acknowledge how new and unprecedentedly comprehensive the work he is dealing with is, but instead paints the inaccurate picture that everything in the book has already been covered by others?



Second, and most troubling, you implicitly suggested that since most all egalitarian arguments were articulated in the 1970s and '80s and scholars have formed their opinions on them, Payne cannot present any new evidence or analysis to change those opinions. The quote:



"Had he [Payne] finished it [the book] in the seventies or early eighties, it would have been a blockbuster—and a lightning rod for both praise and criticism. Today, most all of Payne’s positions are known from other writers, and people have formed their opinions of them. But it still remains interesting to see which specific synthesis he winds up with."



It must be noted that many of Payne’s positions are not known from other writers; many of them (and much of the evidence supporting them) are original. More importantly, these sentences implicitly dismiss the very possibility that Payne could persuade by his new evidence and arguments, and the book is more a curiosity to be glanced at than a series of arguments to be carefully considered. The quote implies, quite dangerously, that scholars are creatures that cannot change their minds once they have been made, not even when presented with new evidence. But shouldn't scholars always be open to the possibility of being persuaded by new arguments and evidence? Shouldn't our final allegiance be to the truth, and shouldn't we approach the truth with sufficient confidence that we may apprehend it but also sufficient humility that we admit we may not have apprehended it the first time we looked at the arguments and evidence? Is it not a sad day when a reputable scholar seems to suggest that once academics form their opinions, there’s no changing them, no matter what the evidence? And this at the beginning of a book review!



It is true that professional close-mindedness to alternative ideas after endorsing one theory is a sad trait of certain scholars, as borne out by the tenacity of some to hold onto the Documentary Hypothesis long after it was shown inadequate by Umberto Cassuto in 1941 and by myriad others in various fields in the decades since then. How many scholars still cling to the thoroughly refuted Documentary Hypothesis, essentially thinking, “We have heard the arguments and formed our opinions”? But I did not expect a respectable evangelical scholar to use such language.



The most powerful argument against the notion that Payne’s book cannot change academics’ opinions, particularly on the Bible’s teachings on gender, is that it has been changing academics’ opinions. I personally know of several former ardent complementarians who have, after reading Payne's book, changed their minds about women's position in the church. Those opinions are hardly immutable.



Despite your review’s implicit assertions that the arguments in Payne's book are essentially unoriginal and cannot change opinions, it is original in its evidence and scope and is changing opinions of even longtime complementarians. Now, your review may be successful in keeping some complementarians from reading the book, but I have the feeling that if every complementarian scholar read the book, many may find it much more original that you suggest. It may even lead some to, if not change their opinions on women and men, than certainly reevaluate them with an open mind.