Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paul and Women

From our initial sessions on 1 Corinthians it's clear that one of the most common things people think about Paul is that he had very negative opinions of women. One thing I hope that I'll be able to bring across in this study is that this view is deeply mistaken. Part of the trouble is that it has been spread both by men and male religious leaders eager to keep women in subservient roles, and by many women and men reacting against this mistaken view of Paul and rejecting his writings entirely rather than taking a hard look at what Paul actually said.

I could go on quiet a long time about this, but for now I'll post this short video by respected Biblical scholar Dr. Ben Witherington III. In it he deals with the issue of women in ministry in general, and specifically with the 'problem passages' in Paul that defenders of male-only church leadership always quote - 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 & 1 Timothy 2:8-15.

The interesting thing is that Witherington tends to be on the more conservative side of scholarship (that is he argues that all of Paul’s letters were written by him, where more liberal scholars tend to think that 1 Timothy along with the controversial part of 1 Corinthians 14 were written by later disciples of Paul). Basically he argues the problem isn’t the texts themselves, rather it’s how they have traditionally been interpreted.

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