Women As ‘Masters Of The House’ -- By: Brian Neuschwander

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 14:3 (Summer 2000)
Article: Women As ‘Masters Of The House’
Author: Brian Neuschwander

Women As ‘Masters Of The House’

Brian Neuschwander

By Brian Neuschwander, owner of a business in Santa Cruz, California, and a founding member of the CBE Santa Cruz chapter.

People familiar with the debates about gender issues know how universally the patriarchalist position defines and applies the Greek word kephale as “authority” and “leader.” The word kephale is literally the anatomical component of the head, but commonly used metaphorically throughout literature and language.

Another Greek word, despotis (from which the English word despot originated) is used in Scripture to clearly mean “master” or “lord.” But the concept of authority carried by despotis is being forced by cultural patriarchalists into the Ephesians texts, among others, that use the word kephale instead. The correct contemporaneous metaphor of kephale, which is most clearly defined as “beginning, origin, or source,” is totally ignored.

This tactic forces into the English translation what would have been far better established by the use of despotis rather than kephale. For an example of the “beginning, origin, or source” concept of head, look at Colossians 1:16-18: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”

Here is a fine example of kephale being used in a “beginning, origin, source” context. Jesus as kephale is the source and sustainer of all creation. The connection to authority in the passage is that authority follows his status as the divine source. For instance, Colossians 1:15 describes Jesus as the prototokos (preeminent, having paramount dignity), not despotis of all creation. Prototokos is poorly translated “first-born,” connoting in English more of the despotis concept than is in the Greek. Despotis, or master, is ascribed to Jesus elsewhere, but not in this context. And further to the point, the entire text of Colossians 1:15-18 repeatedly echoes “beginning, origin, and source” in clear definition of kephale as “the beginning, the “prototokos” from the dead . . .”

Further in the text is this: “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is head over a...

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