Gender Versus Marital Concerns Does 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Address The Issues Of Male/Female Or Husband/Wife? -- By: Preston T. Massey
TynBull 64:2 (2013) p. 239
Gender Versus Marital Concerns
Does 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Address The Issues Of Male/Female Or Husband/Wife?
This study proposes an alternative for interpreting the background to 1 Corinthians 11-14. The investigation will focus on the following three issues: 1) the issue of married women versus any woman; 2) the matter of a married woman’s talking in a public setting; and 3) the nature of the church as the family of God meeting in a house for public worship. The combination of these factors will lead to the conclusion that Paul is addressing marital issues.
In a long and distinguished career devoted to Pauline studies, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor has established a significant publication record on issues related particularly to 1 Corinthians. Of special interest has been his focus on clarifying the nature of the problem as addressed in the pericope of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Murphy-O’Connor has developed arguments that Paul was combating the blurring of the sexes through the styling of male and female hairdos: by wearing long hair the men were flirting with notions of homosexuality; the women by wearing short hair were at risk of appearing mannish. Murphy-O’Connor has been relentless in pursuing this thesis.1 The Murphy-O’Connor
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proposal has not been ignored. Numerous scholars have taken on the case he presents: some have challenged his thesis; others have come to his aid.2
2. Married Men And Women Or Any Man Or Woman?
There is no consensus on who Paul is precisely addressing in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and 14:34-35. Is he addressing men and women in general,3 or husbands and wives in particular?4 Regarding 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 there is the additional problem of whether both sexes are addressed or just one. The recent commentary by Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner presents the dilemma facing scholars: ‘The decisions are difficult ones, and no real consensus has been reached. It may be that Paul’s approach reflects more than one of the concerns highlighted by various interpreters.’5 It appears that the evidence follows two separate pa...
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