The Scholarship Of Patriarchy (On 1 Timothy 2:8-15): -- By: Alan G. Padgett

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 11:1 (Winter 1997)
Article: The Scholarship Of Patriarchy (On 1 Timothy 2:8-15):
Author: Alan G. Padgett

The Scholarship Of Patriarchy (On 1 Timothy 2:8-15):

Alan G. Padgett

Trained in biblical studies, history and philosophy Alan G. Padgett (D. Phil, Oxford) is Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Science at Azusa Pacific University. He is a long-term member of CBE and is active in the Orange County (CA) Chapter. His article on 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is now available from the CBE Book Service.

A Response To Women In The Church. Eds. Köstenberger, Schreiner & Baldwin

One of the most hotly contested passages in the New Testament these days is 1 Timothy 2:8-15. The cultural reason for this is clear: The ordination of women in the Church is a major issue of debate among traditional and evangelical denominations. Biblically-minded Christians are rightly concerned about the meaning of this passage for ministry today. And, in response to that concern, a large number of scholars have written articles, commentaries and now even entire books on these few verses.

Readers of Priscilla Papers will no doubt know of our President Emerita’s book, I Suffer Not a Woman (by Catherine and Richard Kroeger, published by Baker Books in 1992). In a counter-move to that volume, Baker Books has just released a new work on this same passage, Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger, Thomas R. Schreiner and H. Scott Baldwin (1995). The purpose of this scholarly collection is clear: to marshal the tools of biblical scholarship and theology in defense of the subordination of women in the church, and the exclusion of women from teaching men (the so-called “complementarian” view). The authors join in the attempt to refute the growing consensus among scholars that “Paul required only that Ephesian women not teach or exercise authority over men, since they were infected with an anomalous cultural outlook” (15)—in other words, the women in this passage were being deceived by false teachers.1

What we have in this book, then, is an example of the scholarship of patriarchy. I mean the term “patriarchy” here in a literal sense, because in fact the authors do favor the rule of men in church and home. (I do not mean these seven brothers are “anti-women” but rather that they favor the rule of men.) The question before us thus becomes: How good is this scholarship? Do the collective efforts of these seven men refute the growing consensus of biblical scholars that in 1 Timothy 2 Paul restricts the teachings of women for local and cultural reasons?

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