Reviews And Notices -- By: Anonymous
Reviews And Notices
“1 Corinthians 14.34-35: A Reconsideration of Paul’s Limitation of the Free Speech of Some Corinthian Women,”
L. Ann Jervis, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 58 (1995): 51-74
Jervis’ basic thesis is that the interpolation theory for 1 Cor. 14.34-35 should be rejected and the words be regarded as authentically Paul’s. She postulates that Paul wrote the passage out of concern that some women’s speech was detrimental to the Corinthians’ exercise of prophecy because it was self-focused and unloving. Paul’s prescription for the problem was to invoke the patriarchal mores of his contemporary society.
The author, who teaches at Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada, demonstrates an overall interpretive skill and even-handedness that is too often lacking in more popular works which promote an egalitarian viewpoint. And yet, in the end, she betrays her loyalties with her summarization, which in fact implies that Paul cannot be trusted for faithful teaching on male/female roles because of his cultural patriarchal bias. Thus, her article has both positive and negative aspects.
To begin, she effectively challenges egalitarian scholars who propose that the passage is inauthentic and represents an editorial insertion to Paul’s letter after his death (cf. Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1987, p. 699 who comments “they were not part of the original text but an early marginal gloss.”). She demonstrates that the arguments used to label this passage as an editorial insertion are problematic. For example, she correctly questions why a hypothetical Christian editor with an anti-women bias, who was seeking to eradicate the evidence of women’s influence and leadership with the early community, would tamper with the location of 1 Cor. 14.34-35 within the letter but “leave untouched Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 11.2-16?” (p. 55). Indeed, the most satisfactory conclusion is that the words are Paul’s.
A second positive feature is that Jervis concedes that Paul’s injunction applies to all women in the local church and not just wives. While she does not pursue the implications of this line of thinking, this is also a major concession to a complementarian position.
A third positive feature is that she argues that the context of the passage revolves around prophetic utterances in the worshipping community.
Finally, she is to be commended for her intellectual honesty as she acknowledges that “Paul accepted the patriarchal ordering of the Christian’s home life [they are not told to ask their questions of other women].(p...
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