Σιγαω, Λαλεω, And ὑποτασσω In 1 Corinthians 14:34 In Their Literary And Rhetorical Context -- By: Adam D. Hensley

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 55:2 (Jun 2012)
Article: Σιγαω, Λαλεω, And ὑποτασσω In 1 Corinthians 14:34 In Their Literary And Rhetorical Context
Author: Adam D. Hensley


Σιγαω, Λαλεω, And ὑποτασσω In 1 Corinthians 14:34 In Their Literary And Rhetorical Context

Adam D. Hensley

Adam Hensley is assistant professor of theology at Concordia University Irvine, 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA, 92612.

I. Introduction1

A major crux interpretum in NT studies, 1 Cor 14:34-35 is often said to be disruptive to the logical flow of Paul’s instruction for the Corinthian assemblies in verses 26-40 and the broader context of 1 Corinthians 11-14, leading scholars to favor various marginal gloss or interpolation theories.2 This article challenges that claim by clarifying meanings of σιγάω, λαλέω, and ὑποτάσσω in 1 Cor 14:34 and demonstrating that 1 Cor 14:26-40 comprises a rhetorically coherent argument in which verses 34-35 fit smoothly and logically, as may be expected at the apex of an argument that has been building over chapters 12-14. Given the contested nature of the passage, our analysis addresses the broader context of chapters 12-14, Paul’s appeal to “the law” (ὁ νόμος) and parallels between chapters 11 and 14,3 and the

significance of 14:35 for historical reconstruction. An excursus on the textual issue concerning 1 Cor 14:34-35 can be found at the end of the article.

As is well known, λαλέω and σιγάω refer to different kinds of speaking throughout 14:26-40. Immediate context identifies their intended subjects in verses 27-30, hence the kind of speaking to which they refer. Though sometimes assumed otherwise,4 there is good reason to believe that the meanings of σιγάω and λαλέω in verse 34 are likewise contextually qualified by verses 29-33. Numerous scholars argue that, although σιγάω and λαλέω denote tongues speech in verses 27-28 and general prophetic speech in verses 29-30, these terms refer to the public evaluating of prophecy in verse 34 (also λαλέω repeated in verse 35)....

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