Also “Overheard” in the BlogWorld…

From Toward An Egalitarian Ecclesia at Theology for the Masses (writing of 1 Timothy 2:12):

Interestingly enough, the history of translations of this passage is that the dominant translation of this word before WWII had to do with the violent treatment of men in the congregation – ‘usurping authority’ in the KJV is among the least obvious of these and even it has remnants of the idea.

The notion that "authority" was not seen in the the passage until WWII is wrong - especially reading the study notes and commentaries.

There weren't all that many translations:

Translation Year 1 Timothy 2:12
Wycliffe Bible 1395 But I suffer not a woman to teach, neither to have lordship on the husband [neither for to have lordship on the man], but to be in silence.
Tyndale's 1536 I suffre not a woman to teache nether to have auctoricie over a man: but forto be in silence. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.
Geneva Bible 1560 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition 1899 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.

Interestingly, the study notes say:

2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach,8 nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

2:13 For Adam was first formed,9 then Eve.

(8) The first argument, why it is not lawful for women to teach in the congregation, because by this means they would be placed above men, for they would be their masters: and this is against God’s ordinance.

(9) He proves this ordinance of God, by which the woman is subject to man, first because God made the woman after man, for man’s sake.

Which (for me, anyway) shoots a hole in the argument that "creation order" is a new teaching, invented by Grudem.

From looking at older versions that are available online, authority, lordship, usurp...

The reasons?

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown (1871)

vv 11-13 She might teach, but not in public (Acts 18:26). Paul probably wrote this Epistle from Corinth, where the precept (1 Cor. 14:34) was in force.

12. usurp authority--"to lord it over the man" [ALFORD], literally, "to be an autocrat."

13. For--reason of the precept; the original order of creation. Adam . . . first--before Eve, who was created for him

(Again, 1871 was well before Grudem began teaching.)

Matthew Henry (1708-10 and he died in 1712 - before Grudem was teaching.

Women must learn the principles of their religion, learn Christ, learn the scriptures; they must not think that their

sex excuses them from that learning which is necessary to salvation. They must be silent, submissive, and subject, and

not usurp authority. The reason given is because Adam was first formed, then Eve out of him, to denote her subordination

to him and dependence upon him; and that she was made for him, to be a help-mate for him. And as she was last in the

creation, which is one reason for her subjection, so she was first in the transgression, and that is another reason.

(Emphasis mine. Egalitarian claims that creation order is a new teaching are false.)

Darby: 1855-65

A woman was forbidden to teach or to exercise authority over men; she was to abide in quietness and silence.

The reason given for this is remarkable, and shews how, in our relations with God, everything depends on the

original starting-point.

All of this to say:

  1. The idea of authority being the thought carried by 1 Tim. 2:12 was pre-WWII
  2. Creation order teaching is not new.
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5 thoughts on “Also “Overheard” in the BlogWorld…

  1. Sue

    The idea of authority being the thought carried by 1 Tim. 2:12 was pre-WWII

    Bang on! Erasmus introduced "usurpare authoritatem" and Tyndale translated this as "have authority."

    ESV revised Tyndale and Tyndale translated Erasmus, and Erasmus was a revision of Jerome. So why do we want a translation that is a revision of a translation of a revision of a translation?

    You tell me.

    The only occurrence of authentein at the time of the NT is

    BGU 1208 (first century B.C.): "I had my way with him [authente? ] and he agreed to provide Catalytis the boatman with the full payment within the hour."

    Believe me, that is it. All scholars agree from the wider context of this line that no official authority is in view but it means compel.

    So, let's go back to Jerome's translation. He used dominari in Gen. 3:16. This is the result of sin, that man shall rule woman harshly. And in 1 Tim. because of the creation order woman shall not rule man harshly.

    Now where did I get rule harshly? From Grudem, because he teaches that man rules woman from creation and the result of sin is that man rules woman harshly.

    Let's try this again. The result of sin is that man rules woman. And creation order tells us that woman shall not rule man.

    Now, where in the Bible does it say that from creation order man rules woman? It does not. So the early church fathers taught that the rule of woman by man was because of sin and the curse, not because of creation.

  2. Wow, thanks for the careful critique. I am appreciative of you bringing these out...sincerely!

    Here's my thoughts -

    1. The Wycliffe and Geneva translations fall withint he bounds of what I was saying.

    2. The other 2 translations certainly demonstrate that I overstated my point. Thanks for pointing this out.

    3. I don't think this destroys my argument - it just demonstrates that my provided reason that this happened is misconstrued.

    4. I don't doubt that the appeal to the creation order is a long interpretation. I just don't think that's what Paul is doing here.

    More comments later - got things to do.

    Thank you, though, for your gracious and detailed look at my post.


  3. Sue

    Tom and Ellen,

    In short form, "to have authority" is not the meaning of authentein, IMO. However, "to have authority" was first used by Tyndale as Ellen as shown. That does not make it correct. So, the history shows "to have authority was used at the time of the Reformation, but I do think that there was a resurgence in the use of "to have authority" post WWII.

    So, I think you are both right. I was given today the name of an Erasmus scholar with whom I can meet and check some facts.

    Grudem on page 34 of Biblical Foundations of Manhood and Womanhood writes,

    "In any case, the word does not signify one who leads among equals, but rather one who rules by virtue of power and strength, and sometimes even rules harshly and selfishly."

    Grudem writes this with reference to the word mashal in Gen. 3:16. Mashal is translated into Latin as dominari, the same word as is used in 1 Tim. 2:12. So a woman may not rule a man harshly by virtue of power or strength, or whatever.

    I do consider that Jerome's translation dominari is the best evidence we have on the meaning of authentein.

    However, you also asked me if I would correct peoples understanding of something being post WWII. But I think Tom understands that from your post.

    Anyway, you know, Grudem wants dominari to mean "rule harshly" because Grudem wants men to rule women - but lovingly of course.

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