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Monday, November 27, 2006

Translating biblical quotes

Many quotations in the biblical texts are easy to spot. Typically they will have some kind of quote margin indicating where they begin. For instance, in the New Testament it is common to find such pre-quote margins in the more literal translations as:
And Jesus began to speak, saying,
And Jesus answered them saying,
English Bible translators do not usually have much difficulty indicating where such ordinary quotations begin and end. There are a few passages where the boundaries of quotations are debated, such as in John 3, where it is not clear where Jesus' words to Nicodemus end and John's comments following them begin. But even there, we do clearly know, at least, where Jesus' comments begin.

But there are a few passages where many translators have not been aware that they are translating a quote. And in such passages it can make a great deal of difference whether or not a translation makes clear that part of the original message was a quotation.

I am thinking of two such passages in 1 Corinthians. First, let us remind ourselves that the book of 1 Corinthians is a response to a letter which the Corinthians had sent to Paul, asking him a number of questions. We do not have any copies of their original letter, but we do have several indications throughout the book that Paul is responding to their letter (e.g. 1 Cor. 7:1). Paul typically begins a section where he is responding to the letter from the Corinthians with the words "Now concerning ..." (1 Cor. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12, 9)

1 Cor. 7:1 is the first passage where there is an important difference in meaning whether Paul is quoting the Corinthians or speaking for himself. Traditionally, English versions have not clearly indicated that Paul is doing anything in 7:1 other than speaking for himself. It might be possible to understand from the traditional wordings and punctuation that Paul was quoting the Corinthians, but many people would not get that understanding from these translations:
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (KJV)

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (ASV)

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. (RSV)

Now, to deal with the matters you wrote about.
A man does well not to marry. (TEV/GNT)

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. (NIV; with a footnote indicating that the second sentence may be a quote)
A number of more recent translations, however, clearly indicate that Paul is quoting the Corinthians, which is, in my opinion, correct:
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” (NRSV)

Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, “Is it best for people not to marry?” (CEV)
Now with regard to the issues you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” (NET)

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." (ESV)

About the things you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman." (HCSB)

Now for the matters you wrote about: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." (TNIV)
This is a case where English Bible translation is catching up with biblical scholarship, and this makes for more accurate translation. Paul was not telling the Corinthians that a man should be celibate. Instead, Paul was addressing that question from the Corinthians.

The second passage in Corinthians where most Bible translators have yet to catch up with biblical scholarship about a quotation is 1 Cor. 14:33-35. Most English versions assume that these two verses are instructions from Paul, quoting from "the law", for example:
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (NIV)
Readers who have no background knowledge other than the translation they are using will assume that Paul is referring to something from "the law" in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), or, more specifically, the Mosaic Law. But it is impossible to find any statement in the Hebrew Bible that "women are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission."

Exegetes have suggested several options to deal with this problem. Another problem, often discussed by exegetes, is that of an apparent contradiction since earlier in the book (e.g. 1 Cor. 12:7) Paul tells how women should prophecy:
but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.
It sounds like a contradiction to give instructions for women to prophecy (presumably in a congregation) and then, later in the same book, tell women to be silent in a congregation.

What "law", then, is Paul referring to? No such law is found in the Hebrew Bible (or its Greek translation, the Septuagint). But, there was an oral law which contains some restrictions upon women speaking. Rabbis had developed this oral law as a commentary upon the written laws which are found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Jesus referred often to these oral laws when he taught. Later they were written down as the Talmud. Paul surely learned the oral law when he studied under Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

UPDATE: Earlier versions of this post contained a number of quotes from the Talmud which I took from secondary sources. This section of my post generated many comments which debated the accuracy of the quotes themselves and the accuracy of references to their locations in the Talmud. I don't want disagreements about details of quotations from the Talmud to detract from the main point here, which is that there were statements in the oral law restricting the speech of women and Paul may have been referring to such restrictions in 1 Cor. 14:34. I have therefore deleted the questioned section from my post and have substituted the following paragraph which I think more of us can agree upon:
The oral law asks men to avoid unnecessary talk with women (Mishnah Avot 1:5). It forbids women from singing in the presence of men, or making a blessing over the Torah in the presence of men.
Obviously, Jesus did not agree with any oral laws that he felt improperly restricted women. He spoke to women in public as well as in private. He spoke to Mary and her sister Martha. He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. He never gave credence to any of the discriminatory laws against women in the oral law.

I suggest that it is the oral law from which Paul is quoting or paraphrasing in 1 Cor. 14:34. Paul does not agree with that part of the oral law he cited, nor should we.

I know of only two English translations which reflect biblical scholarship which has connected 1 Cor. 14 to the oral law. It is the New Testament in Modern English (Centenary Translation), by Helen Montgomery, first published in 1924, and most recently re-published by Broadman & Holman in 1988, and even more recently cited by Cheryl Schatz in her well presented DVD series. (Montgomery's translation is available from Montgomery reflected good biblical scholarship when she makes it clear that 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is a quote:
"In your congregation" [you write], "as in all the churches of the saints, let the women keep silence in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. On the contrary let them be subordinate, as also says the law.* And if they want to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
Montgomery included this footnote to the word "law" in the preceding translation wording:
*This can only refer to the oral law of the Jews, as no such prohibition is found in the Law. Paul is probably quoting a sentence from the Judaizers.
The second translation which reflects the connection to the oral law is The Source, by Ann Nyland, a Greek classicist. She translates 1 Cor. 14:34-35 as:
Paul now quotes from the letter which the Corinthian assembly sent to him.
"The women must be silent in the assemblies: for they are not allowed to speak, but to be supportive, just as indeed the law states. And if they want to learn something, they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is a disgrace for women to speak in assembly."
Paul next chastises the Corinthians, apparently for following the oral law silencing women:
36. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?)
37. Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have spiritual powers, must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.
38. Anyone who does not recognize this is not to be recognized. (NRSV)
Dr. Nyland translates Paul's disagreement even more forcefully:
Utter rubbish! Did the Word of God come originally from you? Utter rubbish! Were you the only ones that it reached! If anyone thinks they are a prophet or spiritual, they are to realize tht what I'm writing to you is the Lord's commandment! But if anyone is mistaken about this, then they are certainly mistaken!
As did Montgomery, Dr. Nyland footnotes information about the quotation in verses 34-35:

These words are a quotation from the letter sent to Paul by the church in

Corinth. He quotes from this letter in 7:1, refers to it in 7:25, 36, 39; 8:1;

9:3. The language in the quotation resembles known Jewish oral law, cf. S. Aalen, “A Rabbinic Formula in 1 Cor. 14,34”, in F. Cross (ed.) Studia Evangelica, II-III. Papers, Berlin, 1964, pp. 513-25; Holmes, op.cit., p. 235.

Sometimes it requires careful research to discover background information needed for making more accurate Bible translations. But better Bibles reflect such accuracy, as we have seen from translations of two quoted passages, above, in 1 Corinthians. And you can quote me on that!


At Mon Nov 27, 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Kenny said...

According to this this article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Armenians have one apocryphal letter to the Corinthians and two from the same." Wikipedia, however, says, "The Armenian Apostolic church at times has included ... the Third Epistle to the Corinthians, but does not always list it with the other 27 canonical New Testament books." No mention is made of the Epistles From the Corinthians. I haven't been able to find further information online.

My point is, that there seem to be two writings claiming to be letters from the Corinthians to Paul, which do not seem to survive in the (alleged) original Greek. I'm wondering if anyone knows whether they have any credible claim to authenticity (not to canonicity - IMO, God would have preserved them in the original language if they were inspired), and what they say, and how they fit in with the claims that various passages in 1 Corinthians represent quotes from a letter Paul received. There also is the scholarly hypothesis that our 1 and 2 Corinthians come originally from 3 letters rather than two, and I wonder if anyone knows about that and how it fits in.

I guess these issues stray a bit from translation, but they are also crucial if we are to get this stuff right, especially since, if Paul is in fact sometimes quoting from a letter he received (as I agree he probably is) it is difficult to determine precisely which parts of the are quotations and which are not.

At Mon Nov 27, 06:56:00 PM, Blogger Sungkhum said...

These are some interesting ideas (in regards to 1 Cor. 14).

But really...where has it ever been called for to add something like "Paul now quotes from the letter which the Corinthian assembly sent to him." to the beginning of a verse? Has that ever been done by translations that have actually been accepted by the Church as translations?

Or are we now "enlightened" and everyone before us were sexists (except Paul)?

When does it stop? If I can add that at the beginning of a verse - what else will I add to "make things clear"?

No thanks.


School begins again for me tomorrow - so I can't be on here much - so sorry if I don't respond, but I still like to read when I get a chance.

At Mon Nov 27, 09:06:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Nathan asked:

When does it stop? If I can add that at the beginning of a verse - what else will I add to "make things clear"?

Nathan, your question is legitimate *if* the purpose of some "addition" is to make things clear. If, on the other hand, somehow including the idea that Paul was not asserting the commands of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 himself, but, rather was quoting from oral law, then it is a matter of accuracy. We then face the exegetical question now: Did Paul tell the Corinthian women to be silent in church or did he quote oral law that women should be silent in church and he was trying to state how wrong that oral law was? There is a clear exegetical choice, one that we need to answer in order to be able to translate that part of the Bible accurately. We can't allow our opinions or theology to guide us on the matter. We have to try to find out what the original meaning was. For myself, it makes more sense to me now that I know that there is no place in the biblical law which commands what is commanded in 1 Cor. 14:34.

The same principle of as accurate exegesis as possible holds for the translation of 1 Cor. 7:1. Exegetes from a variety of ideologies, including both complementarian and egalitarian have agreed that 1 Cor. 7:1 is a quote. I suspect that an increasing number of exegetes will come to accept that Paul was quoting from oral law in 14:34.

I really do believe that what is at stake here is accuracy, which is the highest priority for any Bible translation. I don't believe that we should make something clear if it is not accurate. Accuracy must always trump clarity, but accuracy without clarity may not be real accuracy.

At Mon Nov 27, 09:14:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...


Thanks for you comments. I cannot vouch for the references from the oral law myself. I copied them from a book. But I have no reason to question that the statements are not part of the oral law. The references may be off due to some carelessness in bookkeeping or transcription.

As for my quote: "A woman is a pitcher full of filth with its mouth full of blood" you are right that I did not quote more of it. I didn't realize that the remainder of it was relevant to this post. In my resource the full quotation is as follows:

"A woman is a pitcher full of filth with its mouth full of blood, yet all run after her."

My apologies for not including the last of the quote.

The main point I am trying to make in the post is that a number of biblical scholars have said that Paul was quoting from oral law rather than the Torah itself. I'm sorry if the actual quotes or their accuracy in translation detracted from my main point.

At Mon Nov 27, 09:27:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon., I went back and rechecked my secondary source. I found several transcription errors on my part. I hope that I have corrected them all. I also made some other revisions thanks to your input.

At Mon Nov 27, 09:35:00 PM, Blogger ElShaddai Edwards said...

kenny wrote: "There also is the scholarly hypothesis that our 1 and 2 Corinthians come originally from 3 letters rather than two, and I wonder if anyone knows about that and how it fits in."

The study notes of a recent bible class I took actually suggest four letters from Paul to the Corinthians, with II Corinthians containing parts of the first, third and fourth:

1. Original letter concerning the immoral nature of their lifestyle. Partially preserved as II Cor. 6:14-7:1.

2. Second letter from Paul in response to the Corinthians' response with questions, including concern about his authority, as well to things learned from Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus. Preserved as our I Corinthians.

3. Paul's second letter evidently sparked a division in the Corinthian church and a revolt against Paul and his teaching, fueled by representatives of Jerusalem. After Paul made an unsuccessful trip to Corinth to address the controversy, a third letter was written, preserved as II Cor. 10-13, and delivered by Titus.

4. Titus eventually reconnected with Paul after the latter was forced to leave Ephesus and reported that the Corinth church was reconciled to Paul, prompting a fourth letter of joy and relief, the remaining bulk of II Corinthians 1:1-6:13, 7:2-9:15).

I can't say that I have much to add from a scholary position; just wanted to contribute to the point raised above. I'm new to this blog and have greatly enjoyed reading the content here.

At Tue Nov 28, 07:37:00 AM, Blogger Kenny said...

The Babylonian Talmud is available online in English translation at

I don't know of a site that has the Midrash.

At Tue Nov 28, 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon., in spite of your saying that I have mistranslated the Talmud, we need to be clear that I have not even attempted to translate it. I don't have training in either biblical Hebrew or Aramaic. I simply took the translations and references from my secondary source.

As for a submission "law" in the rest of the New Testament, the passages you cited had not been written yet when Paul wrote to the Corinthians. They may have been written as much as 40 years after Paul's letters to the Corinthians.

Personally, I don't put too much stock in what Bart Ehrman says. I realize that he is riding a certain wave these days, but many scholars do not agree with him.

I suspect that Paul was paraphrasing (one of the options I mentioned in my post) the gist of what he had been taught of the oral law by Rabbi Gamaliel. And there were Judaizers at Corinth as well as at some of the other cities where Paul helped establish Christian congregations. Paul frequently opposed their teaching in his letters.

None of this is anti-Semitic. I would be the first one to cry anti-Semitism wherever it appears. I despise anti-Semitism. I am simply trying to account for what Paul said in 1 Cor. 14. I don't think Paul was anti-Semitic. He loved his Jewish roots. Of course, he differed from non-Christian Jews of his day in that he wished they all had chosen to believe that Jesus was the Messiah as he had. But that didn't make him anti-Semite.

There are enough statements limiting the status of women in the oral law that I think it rather likely that it was that law that Paul was "quoting" (however loosely which is an issue with many New Testament quotes, whether from the LXX or wherever) in 1 Cor. 14:34. There is a different quality to statements in the oral law to those in the Torah. There are even opinions included from different rabbis that seem to disagree with each other. None of this is intended to denigrate the status that the oral law or Talmud has with the Jewish communities of faith.

At Tue Nov 28, 11:03:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anonymous responded:

You "suspect" that Paul had a certain meaning, but you don't have evidence (other than the fact that "law" is mentioned in the quote.) The evidence that you cite from Jewish literature (a) cites to non-existent sources; or (b) says something different than what you quote. You don't take into account other statements from Jewish literature, and you even admit you have not read in context the relevant portions of Jewish literature. (And yet, when interpreting Scripture, you more than anyone I know insist on the importance of reading ancient statements in context, as opposed to simply providing a proof-text or portion of a proof-text in isolation.)

Yes, I do very much insist on finding meaning in context. Jewish scholars have been wrestling with the meaning of some of the sayings about women in the oral law for centuries, just as Christian scholars have been wrestling with some of Paul's sayings about women. Both sets of scholars have been trying to figure out what was meant by what was said, in context.

As for whether or not the quotations from the Talmud have legitimate references or correct translations, I am not the one to answer that. But I don't think that you can simply say that the purported quotations do not appear in some form in the Talmud. The references for each of them may not be quite right, although I have tried to correct them as best as I can with the resources I have at hand. But people fairly often make mistakes on references. That doesn't mean that a saying does not occur in the original text. As for the translation quality, yes, it may not be as good as what some other scholars might produce. But are the quotes totally distinct from what they are said to reference. How far off are the translations? Are they off enough to completely change the meaning of what was actually said in the Talmud?

You dispute the relevance of other quotes from the New Testament because they postdate Paul by 40 years, and yet the passages in the Mishnah were not written down more than 100 years after Paul, and those in the Gemara were written down more than 300 years after Paul.

You are right about the dating, but note how much of the Talmud recorded what had been orally preserved for generations. Jesus referred to some kind of oral laws outside of the Torah during his teachings.

There is no evidence, on the other hand, that Paul's later letters to Ephesus and cities other than Corinth recorded an earlier oral composition. They even claimed to be composed at the time of their writing. So I would still maintain that their was no Pauline "law" that Paul was referring to in 1 Cor. 14:34.

You say that this must be the Oral Law because it has a different "feel" than the Written Law, and you explain that by citing the fact that minority opinions are expressed in the Talmud, but the passage you quote includes no minority opinion.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand that.

You discuss parallel passages, but they refer to statements by the Corinthians, not citations from the Oral Law.

I don't understand this either.

But perhaps most damning to your thesis is that there is no recognized law against women speaking in Jewish halacha. (There is a custom [not a law, but a "minhag"] against speaking during prayer, but that applies to all, equally men and women.) So, if your thesis were correct, it must refer to an oral law that was lost.

Please note what it claimed to have been taught in the Talmuc by Rabbi Merilla: “Let the women be silent in the assembly…It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men…." Does anything like this teaching appear in the Talmud? Was it part of the Oral Law at the time that Paul wrote to the Corinthians?

I'm trying to be honest and fair in all of this. I do not want to put words in the mouths of rabbis which they did not utter. Nor do I want to put words in the mouth of Paul that he himself did not say, if he was quoting something else.

If you can prove that none of the statements I cited come even close to being translations of actual teachings in the Talmud, I'd be happy to withdraw them and note that in my post.

Do any of the teachings I cited from secondary source appear *anywhere* in the Talmud in some form close to what you would consider better translations?

At Tue Nov 28, 01:02:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anonymous replied:

In your original post, you justify viewing 1 Cor 14:34 as a quotation by appealing to parallel passages, such as 1 Cor 7:1. But by your own account, that parallel passage was a quotation from the Corinthians, not from the Oral Law. This does not provide evidence that 14:34 is a quotation from the Oral Law.

That's correct and I never suggested that it did. My post is about translating quotations in the Bible. 7:1 is a quotation, but many English Bible translators have not recognized that until more recently.

14:34 is not found in any of the Hebrew Bible, but Paul says it comes from "the law." There are teachings in the oral law which are similar to the statement in 14:34. A number of biblical scholars have recognized that, including Adam Clarke in the 1800s. Several more have since then. A number of the scholars have been competent to find teachings in the Talmud, unlike myself.

I have presented their hypothesis. Yes, the burden of proof is upon me, not you who are claiming (if I understand you correctly) that the teachings my sources reference from the Talmud are not found in the Talmud or else are so poorly translated that they do not mean what the Talmud means by similar saying. But I am not able to provide that proof. Should I simply not refer to the work of biblical scholars who are capable of reading the Talmud and quoting what it says because I cannot read it myself? No, I don't think so. And I don't think that's what you're suggesting.

So why don't we leave the thesis open. There are others who read this blog who are capable of determining if the sayings which a number of biblical scholars say are found in the Talmud actually are, and if the translations I copied from my sources are reasonably accurate.

I believe that the research will demonstrate that the purported sayings are in the Talmud. And I believe that it is reasonable to hypothesize that "the law" that Paul was citing in 14:34 was part of the oral law that he had been taught by Rabbi Gamaliel.

I am happy to be proven wrong by anybody. I would be happy to withdraw the claim of several biblical scholars that the cited teaching appear in the Talmud if proof is offered by anyone that they do not. Perhaps these biblical scholars just made up these sayings. If so, I would very much like to know about that and expose their fraud here on this blog.

I would encourage you to go back through my post and check each of the links. Some I have added today. You may find that you can easily prove that the linked claims are fraudulent. Or we may find that someone else visiting this blog can provide that proof. Or we may discover that the scholars who have made the claims have, in fact, made accurate claims. I'm open to wherever the research leads us.

At Tue Nov 28, 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Kenny said...

anon: let me point out that it is sufficient for Wayne's argument that a statement like this exist somewhere in the Jewish legal tradition prior to the time of writing. The Corinthians needn't be interpreting the Oral Law in a correct or balanced way in order for this to be a correct interpretation of Paul's text, nor does it need to be a direct quote of any particular source (all the proposed sources are later than 1 Corinthians anyway). All that is being claimed is that the Corinthians, in their letter, cited some Jewish legal tradition to the effect that women were to be subordinate and not to speak in religious assemblies, and that it was Paul's intention to disagree with that particular legal ruling. If this was the case, we would expect to find that tradition reported somewhere in the literature, but whether it is the ultimate conclusion the Talmudic discussions arrive at, or whether it represents a "fair and balanced" view of the Jewish tradition's view of women, is not relevant here.

At Tue Nov 28, 03:14:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...

I back Kenny's argument, and take it one step further. It is sufficient to Wayne's (brilliant and very helpful) argument if the alleged quotes merely appear in a letter from the Corinthians. Whether the Corinthians were quoting or misquoting from a local, global or non-existant Jewish oral tradition is of supporting value, not primary value. The question is whether Paul was quoting their letter.

Thanks for some excellent insight, Wayne. Great stuff!

At Tue Nov 28, 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon. asked:

However, you have not provided any evidence that women were treated any worse in Jewish culture than in Greco-Roman or Hellenistic culture, and despite your frequent updating of your post, you quote irrelevant passages (which I have quoted above) or non-existent passages.


Anon., I am simply searching for the truth about the original meaning of 1 Cor. 14:34. I am proposing a solution which a number of Bible scholars have suggested.

Please don't put any words in my mouth other than those I have posted. I have not said that the status of women was worse under Second Temple Judaism than under Christianity or any other religion. Any mistreatment of women is wrong. And almost every religion has either mistreated women or allowed such mistreatment to take place under its umbrella.

But that is not the point of the blog post. The point is whether or not, in 1 Cor. 14:34, Paul was quoting something from an oral law with which he was familiar. And the hypothesis is that there is evidence from *some* teachings in the oral law that Paul had been taught they he quoted in 14:34.

As far as I can tell from the data I have seen from secondary sources (I have looked at several), the hypothesis is reasonable. It supports the hypothesis.

The truth is what I am after. I am willing to follow it wherever it leads. If the hypothesis turns out to be wrong, if there are no such sayings in the Talmud, then I will gladly update my blog with a note that the hypothesis has been proven false.

That's all I can say for now. Let's search the data. I will continue to do so.

At Tue Nov 28, 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

anon said: Finally, there is no oral law that I am aware of that Paul is quoting here. Can you give a single citation to a rabbinic statement that matches the statement by Paul?

Although there is not a single oral law from the Talmud, the law is a compilation of Talmud teachings regarding women. In the 1 Corinthians 14 passage there are two things presented regarding the "law":

1. There is a "law" that forbids women from speaking in the assembly.
2. Women's speaking in the assembly is shameful or filthy.

Now all of God's laws have their roots in the Old Testament. Since the early believers did not have the New Testament, they would have needed to go back to the Old Testament to find this "law". However there is no "law" in the Old Testament that silences women - none whatsoever. There is also nothing in the Old Testament mentioned about a woman's speaking in the assembly as a shameful act. Her voice is never said to be shameful or filthy.

Because this "law" in 1 Corinthians 14 demanded a woman's silence in the public assembly and her public voice was said to be shameful of filthy, we need to be very attentive to find out where such a law existed so we can understand what this passage means.

There is absolutely no doubt that the silencing of women comes from the oral law, because it is clear from the Talmud that women were not to read the Torah in the assembly. In the Palestinian Talmud, in the discussion of the Mishnah, Rabbi Eliezer said: “The wisdom of women is only in her distaff.... May the words of the Torah be burned rather than be given to women!” pSotah 3. 4. Cf. also bYoma 66b. Women were not to be given training in the Torah nor could they read the Torah in public. Although there was some provision for women to read the Torah, they were not to do so in the congregation out of respect for the congregation.

The voice of a woman is said to be sexually provocative according to Berachoth 24a "Samuel said: A woman's voice is a sexual incitement" and this made her voice in the assembly indecent for men to hear.

In my search in the Talmud, I found nothing from those laws that allowed a woman to speak in the assembly. There are no such laws in the Old Testament that forbid a woman from reading from the Torah or handling God’s word. The “law” that is quoted in 1 Corinthians 14 cannot be found in scripture as there is no silencing of women there. There is a silencing of women in public in the Talmud with regard to the Torah.

Anon, you also said: “why is it that all major translations (and all the commentaries easily available to me) do not mention this as a possibility.”

This is because first of all those who wrote the commentaries did not go into the historical sources such as the Talmud. It wasn’t until recently that the Talmud was translated into English so anyone who wanted to research these historical sources would have had to read the Talmud in the original language. John Lightfoot was a Hebrew scholar who did read the original languages and who has connected much from the New Testament with the Jewish oral tradition. I have a set of his writings and it is fascinating.

The second thing about the commentaries is that none of them have clearly been able to connect the “law” quoted in 1 Corinthians 14 with any law in the Bible that silences women. Some have “suggested” the order of creation is what is referenced but God’s law is never just a suggestion. Others have tried to tie the law in with Genesis 3 where the man will rule over the woman. However this is not a connection either. Genesis 3 whether one takes this as a result of sin or a pattern for marriage cannot be used as a law to silence women in the congregation. My husband regularly encourages me to speak out and never tells me to be silent, so the marriage relationship is in no way a law that makes women silent in the congregation.

The last piece of evidence that ties the “law” with the oral law and not God’s written law is that Paul immediately contradicts the “law” in verse 36. After contradicting the previous two verses, Paul says that the commands (plural) that he gives are of God. His commands through chapter 14 are in opposition to the “law” from verses 34 & 35. Paul allows women to prophesy in the church and this is part of God’s commands that release women. Verses 34 & 35 are in stark contrast to the verses that release women to prophesy and speak in tongues.

When I first purchased five tractates of the Talmud, I thought that it would be a great historic source. What I read with my own eyes was shocking. The sexual laws and discussions in these books were revolting to me and I clearly saw the evidence of man-made rules and laws. This is not to say anything about the Jewish people. They are God’s chosen people and always will be. They are precious in his sight. But within the oral laws are contradictions of God’s law and these laws invalidated God’s laws. One of the laws that invalidated God’s law was the silencing of women and the considering of her voice to be a sexual thing. That is not from God nor did Paul validate the law to silence women.

At Tue Nov 28, 05:42:00 PM, Blogger teknomom said...

Just an observation:

This whole issue of where the quote comes from is irrelevant. The issue is that whether it's a quote or not makes a 180 degree difference in interpretation. Is Paul ordering women's silence or refuting such a notion? And the answer to that question has nothing at all to do with the source of the quote, since all seem to agree that whatever it is, it's not from God. That being the case, plus Paul's answer to it ("What" or "Or" or "Rubbish"), seems to make a clear case for Paul refuting the silence of women, not ordering it.

And for what it's worth, Anon seems more bent on exposing the splinter in Wayne's eye than trying to help figure out what Paul is saying.

At Tue Nov 28, 06:03:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Teknomom: I agree with you 100%. Although I am convinced that the quote is from the oral law of the Jews, it does not hurt my point if it is not. The FACT is that it is not a law from the Old testament. There is not even one place that silences a woman in the Hebrew scripture.

Commentators have not given the Talmud much credence regarding using it as a historical source for showing which "law" Paul was using. Since most commentators only considered that the quote was from Paul himself, it made no sense to think that the "law" was anything other than an Old Testament law. John Lightfoot was one a Hebrew scholar who did see the importance of considering the Jewish oral law in interpreting the New Testament.

So anon instead of defending the Talmud, why don't you try to find the "law" that silences a woman in the Old Testament? That would certainly be helpful. Discussing the Talmud is not something I like to do. Believe me I have read it from myself. I purchased 5 tractates all on women and I was totally disgusted. I read them for myself and I have them here in my home. I didn't need to be influenced by anyone on the internet because I can read the books myself.

So, let's either find an Old Testament law that silences women in the congregation or let's at least consider the point that Paul was refuting a law that was not God's law.

At Tue Nov 28, 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

anon: you said, The difference is that I've actually looked up my references.

But the reference that I quoted and gave a link to does not show that scripture says that a woman's voice is a sexual inticement. It only says that this is the opinion of the Rabbis. That is exactally what I said it was. It is not scripture. Scripture does not say that a woman's voice is a sexual inticement, but the Talmud says it. I think it would be good for you to follow the rules and not judge motives. As I said, I have the books. I was not biased in anyway before I read them. When I finished I felt ill. God's word has never made me feel ill. The sexual things in God's words are beautiful. In the Talmud....well I won't say the terrible things I read. It is the precious word of God that we need to hold on to. His word has never silenced a woman. If you believe it has, please show me. Read the source - the Old Testament and show me where it silences women.


At Tue Nov 28, 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

anon: so you are agreeing that the "law" is a quote from the Corinthians letter to Paul?

At Tue Nov 28, 06:56:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon, anon, perhaps you can educate me. "For your voice is sweet" Hebrew #6156 means sweet, pleasant. That might be the only part in this passage that is not sexual. As I said, and say again, the Talmud attributes sexuality to her voice. You can't have a woman talking to men in public because her voice is sexually enticing. But the Old Testament doesn't say that a woman's voice is sexual and shouldn’t be heard in public because it could cause sexual thoughts, nor does it stop women from speaking in public.

You said: “I don't understand your question. If 14:34 claims that the law says women should be subordinate”. Perhaps you should have another look at the passage. The subordination is silence in the congregation. Where does the Old Testament enjoin silence for women in the congregation? It doesn’t. The Talmud enjoins silence because the Torah is not to be read to the congregation by a woman. Perhaps there were other “laws” out there that silenced a woman in the congregation. I don’t know any, but I can grant you that there might be. The “law” that is referenced cannot be Genesis 3:16 since that passage says nothing about silence in the congregation.

I have a couple of questions, are you a Christian who loves Jesus? Do you believe that following any command that contradicts scripture would be wrong?

And….thanks for not making me quote the abusive sexual stuff I read in the Talmud. I would rather forget I even read it.

At Tue Nov 28, 07:44:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: you said: “I'm sorry but עָרַב means to "take pleasure [with a woman]". I won't give the more explicit translation. Look up Ezek. 16:37 in your Hebrew Bible.”

Well my bible doesn’t say that. It uses another Hebrew word: thou hast taken pleasure #6149 not #6156. #6156 does not say “take pleasure” it says “sweet”. I looked it up in the NASB and KJV and both say #6156. Again, the bible doesn’t say a women’s voice is sexually enticing to men so that a woman can’t read the bible or teach in the congregation.

Now I think it would be fair to quote me right. I am saying that the Talmud says that a woman cannot speak in the congregation by reading the Torah. Again, if I am wrong, I am sure you could quote from the Talmud where I could look it up and see that I am wrong. That is what I have read and until I am corrected, that’s what the Talmud says. You surely can’t be arguing with me that the Talmud doesn’t say that a woman is not to read the Torah in the congregation??

Actually the question I asked you about whether you loved Jesus was so I could understand a little of whom I am speaking with. I want you to know that I LOVE Jesus and I believe that the commandments from the New Testament are meant to be obeyed. I just wanted to know if you agree. If you are a Messianic believer, that’s fine. If you are not a lover of Jesus, then it would be good to know so that I can treat you in an equal respectful manner as a non-Christian.

I am equally glad to hear that you believe that women are not to be silenced. I believe that as well. However I believe it because I believe that scripture has given women use of their God-given gifts with freedom and integrity. However, if this passage was a command of God and He really meant to silence women, then I would obey it because I do not want to disobey any of God’s commands. It is because I want to follow scripture and understand it in the way that it is written, without their being any contradiction in the passage, that I have pushed on to read through each word, each piece of grammar and each context to uncover what the author meant. It is a blessing to have Greek and Hebrew helps that enable a simple person like myself to do that. All one has to do is put the quote marks around verses 34 & 35 and the passage makes complete sense in context and with no contradictions. I do not believe that this passage was tampered with by unknown people; I believe it was inspired as it is by the Holy Spirit.

I hope that helps! We may need to agree to disagree but at least you let me have a say and didn’t silence me :)

At Tue Nov 28, 08:09:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: Let’s have another look at the wording in the Greek, okay?

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. KJV

The words “they are commanded” are not in the original Greek. They are an addition to the text and the command can only be found by going back to the “keep silence”.

The command here is silence and the reason is because there is no permission to speak. The “but” joins the command together to “under obedience” and the law is then appealed to as the reason for the command. You cannot pull the first command apart from the law. The command for “under obedience” has to be implied from the “keep silence” command because it is not there on its own. The command of the law is definitely the “keep silence” and the law that is referred to must encompass both the results (the obedience) and the command “keep silence”.

You see it really makes no sense to have Paul agree with a command for silence by his appealing to her obedience and then the very next verse he contracts the whole shebang. Verses 34 & 35 are a unit and verse 36 contradicts that unit. If that isn’t true, we have Paul contradicting everything he has said in chapter 14.

Well, I hope you get it. Even if you don’t, you have been wonderful to dialogue with.

At Tue Nov 28, 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: (Sure wish you’d give your name….sigh) “Regarding Song of Songs 2:14 and Ezek. 16:37, the text is actually in Hebrew, not English. The Bible was passed down in Hebrew. And, in Hebrew, I am afraid that they are same word: ayin-reish-beit.”

I have been looking at the Hebrew. I gave you the Hebrew #’s. (Too lazy to put them down again!) They are different words, although they may have the same root. Surely you aren’t telling me that my interlinear is wrong on the numbers? One word says it means sweet, the other shows a sexual content in the context. With the word that means sweet, my interlinear gives no indication that there is a sexual context meant with that word. And nowhere else in the Hebrew scriptures have I ever seen a voice ever given a sexual context. Sorry, but you haven’t convinced me at all. Look at a Hebrew interlinear and see that the word numbers are different and look and see that the second word has an additional meaning that can mean sexual. I was looking only at the Hebrew and not the English so you ain’t going to convince me it is exactly the same when my interlinear shows different. Sorry, my friend. Maybe your Hebrew is different than mine, but mine is all I have to go on and I think we will need to move on from this one.

You also said: “So, forgive me, but I think you are not fully informed on what the Talmud says. You may not like it -- you may be repelled by it -- you may pity those who follow it -- but at least quote it correctly.”

I did quote it correctly. We both agree that the Talmud says that the voice is sexual. Where our disagreement is, is not on the Talmud says but on what the Bible says.

Now, my friend, you may not think that it is better to burn the Torah than to give it into the hands of a woman, but it is written in the Talmud and I have correctly quoted it. By my reading the Talmud is made up of the Mishnah and the G (too late to look up the spelling, but you know the other part).

Okay, so I’ll take you up on this: “Cheryl, I'm afraid that I rather strongly disagree with you, but I would battle with anyone who denies your say. If anyone tries to silence you, let me know, and I'll be the first to fight on your behalf.” Oh boy! My dear, whatever your name is, could I ever use you!! I have been told that I am sinning against God for teaching the Bible to men and that if I don’t repent I will go to hell. My friend, can you please take this battle for awhile? I’m kind of tired of telling these men that they are my brothers in Christ and I do not want to be prejudiced against any of my brothers. My gift of teaching will be given freely to any man who is willing to learn and if they think I am going to hell for that, then bless their hearts, I have a new friend who will allow me to teach, while he fights my battles for me. I am not being sarcastic here, I really could use your help!

Blessings and have a good night!

At Tue Nov 28, 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anonymous quoted:

Seeing Judaism as a primary source of Christian women's opression has been present in U.S.-American feminist thought since at least Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible. Today, Christian feminists are faced with the dilemma of sexism within the very roots of Christianity, the New Testament. Judith Plaskow has insightfully spoken of projection onto the "the Other" of that which we cannot acknowledge in ourselves.

So true! Sexism was not inherited from Judaism. It has been widespread all around the world for millennia. It became institutionalized with Christianity at least as early as the conversion of Constantine, if not sooner. There is sexism evident in the writings of a number of the Church Fathers. Denying women the vote, denying them the ability to own property in their own name, denying them entrance to academic institutions are forms of sexism which took great effort to defeat.

Today those who deny women equal access to any roles within the Christian Church do so with total sincerity, with a deep-seated belief that they are following exactly what the Bible teaches. I know. I've been there. It's my background. It's not been easy to consider other possibilities when they don't sound like they align with what the Bible says at face value.

But good research, clear logic along with irenic tone, and an obvious commitment to biblical truth does move mountains. It did in the past against other social injustices. It can for Christian women today who wish to exercise the gifts God has given them within any role God calls them to. The question remains: What roles does God call women to? That remains very much debated. I truly want to get closer to "God's truth" on this. I'm willing to follow his truth wherever it leads, although it may take me some time to overcome my reservations due to past teaching which I have believed and assumed was true.

Thanks, Anonymous, for you contributions to this topic. There is absolutely no room for Christians (or anyone else, for that matter) to blame Jews for sexism within society or people's own religious groups. One of my sons-in-law attends a Jewish graduate school, majoring in biblical languages (he will be able to straighten me out on quotations from the Talmud when he gets time). I am struck by the numbers of women rabbis graduating from such institutions. I wish that women graduated in similar numbers from institutions of other faiths training people to minister within those faiths. But it will require a paradigm shift, just as was required to address institutionalized slavery or the ills of indentureship (a word?), etc. Many (most?) people cannot experience a paradigm shift until they become convinced that it is legitimate according to the sacred writings of their faith.

I really hope that this blog, in spite of our failings and mistakes as we blog, can help enlighten those who are open to change, if it means bringing us closer to truth.

At Wed Nov 29, 08:16:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, if you claim that ערב in Proverbs 3:24, 13:19, 20:17 and Jeremiah 31:26 means "take pleasure [with a woman]", all I can say is that you have a very dirty mind. As for Malachi 3:4, Jeremiah 6:20, Psalm 104:34 and Hosea 9:4 concerning things pleasing to God, your interpretation doesn't have a chance. Just because a word is used once of sexual pleasure, that does not imply, and more than the English "pleasure", that the word always has sexual connotation.

There are of course many other uses of the consonants ערב in the Hebrew Bible, with meanings like "mixture", "pledge", "Arab", "evening", "raven". In fact according to BDB there are six homonymous roots here. So we have to be very careful how we use this words. Your presentation has confused the noun עָרֵב and one of the two homonymous verbs עָרַב (note the different vowel points under the middle letters). There is probably a semantic link here, because there two words are probably derived from the same one of the six homonymous roots, but it is not necessarily a simple link.

As for commentaries, at least one does mention this issue of Talmudic citations. Fee, in his New International commentary on 1 Corinthians, cites a scholarly paper here: S. Aalen, "A Rabbinic Formula in 1 Cor. 14,34," in Studia Evangelica 2 (TU 87; Berlin, 1964), pp. 513-25. Fee also writes: "A similar usage is reflected in Josephus, who says, "The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. let her accordingly be submissive.""; the reference given is to C.Ap. 2.200-201 (Loeb, I, 373). So, Anon, I suggest you look up these references before commenting further.

This evidence from Josephus (which I have not checked, you may wish to) can be taken together with what I wrote recently about the book of Ben Sira to prove that at least some Jews in the Second Temple period had a very negative view of women. This view may have been restricted to rather Hellenised Jews. And at least some Jews in later periods had similarly misogynistic views, as did and still do very many Christians. In contrast we can read the biblical books of both the Old and New Testament, which, while not always entirely to the liking of modern feminists (even when correctly interpreted), do consistently avoid the kinds of anti-woman statements which we have been discussing. If the same is true of much post-biblical Jewish literature and teaching, that is of course very good.

At Wed Nov 29, 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

As I recall, in some texts there is a η with a grave accent just prior to v. 36 in some manuscripts. Some suggest that this indicates a quote preceding it. I was curious about your thoughts on this.

At Wed Nov 29, 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Michael said:

As I recall, in some texts there is a η with a grave accent just prior to v. 36 in some manuscripts. Some suggest that this indicates a quote preceding it. I was curious about your thoughts on this.

Cheryl Schatz discusses that η in her DVD series. Hopefully she will be on here later today and can tell us about that η, eh? :-)

At Wed Nov 29, 09:57:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...


Thank you for bringing this interesting theory to my attention. Now, however, I’m starting to see difficulties. Perhaps you or someone else here can help me out:

(1) If v34-35 is a quote from the Corinthians’ letter to Paul (and either way, I think v33b should probably go with what proceeds it, and not be taken with v34), then surely it would follow that not only would it reflect the opinion of (at least) the leadership of the church in Corinth, but also what was actually happening there: i.e. that women were being prevented from speaking (perhaps because of the leaders’ erroneous interpretation of “the law”, whatever we take that to mean)?
But that is not the impression I get from re-reading the rest of First Corinthians. It seems to me that (a) women were already exercising gifts that involved them speaking in public; (b) Paul had no problem with that; but (c) what Paul was concerned about, and wanted to ensure, was that “everything” (v26 and v40) (which would include, but certainly not be limited to, women exercising their gifts) should be done in an orderly and proper manner – as was only fitting in a Christian church (v33 and v40).

(2) Is there anything in the expression “be in submission” (v35, TNIV) that implies “to their husbands”? Is it, perhaps, to the church – the body of believers as a whole?

(3) I’m also interested in “Or” (as most versions render it) at the start of v36. Can it really be rendered “Rubbish” or suchlike?

(4) Finally, is there any fatal flaw in (what I had held to be) the common theory (that Paul is issuing a corrective to those who were disrupting the service by chattering, asking questions, etc, and who [in this case] just happened to be women) that requires us to look for another interpretation?

Thanks again to everyone here for their help.
[Interestingly, Word’s “Grammar Checker” attempted to “correct” me there for using “their” as an “inclusive” third person singular pronoun!

At Wed Nov 29, 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

John said:


Thank you for bringing this interesting theory to my attention. Now, however, I’m starting to see difficulties. Perhaps you or someone else here can help me out:

(1) If v34-35 is a quote from the Corinthians’ letter to Paul

I blogged the hypothesis that it is a quote from "the law". And which law seems to be some oral law that Paul had learned.

1 Cor. 7:1 is a quote from a letter from the Corinthians. I do not see 14:34 as being a quote from the Corinthians, but it is possible that they are quoting oral law that they were familiar with.

(and either way, I think v33b should probably go with what proceeds it, and not be taken with v34), then surely it would follow that not only would it reflect the opinion of (at least) the leadership of the church in Corinth, but also what was actually happening there: i.e. that women were being prevented from speaking (perhaps because of the leaders’ erroneous interpretation of “the law”, whatever we take that to mean)?
But that is not the impression I get from re-reading the rest of First Corinthians. It seems to me that (a) women were already exercising gifts that involved them speaking in public; (b) Paul had no problem with that; but (c) what Paul was concerned about, and wanted to ensure, was that “everything” (v26 and v40) (which would include, but certainly not be limited to, women exercising their gifts) should be done in an orderly and proper manner – as was only fitting in a Christian church (v33 and v40).

Yes, that is one of Paul's main points about how their assembly meetings should be conducted.

(2) Is there anything in the expression “be in submission” (v35, TNIV) that implies “to their husbands”? Is it, perhaps, to the church – the body of believers as a whole?

I don't think we can say unless we find some specific instructions about who should be submitted to in copies we have of the oral law, such as in the Talmud.

(3) I’m also interested in “Or” (as most versions render it) at the start of v36. Can it really be rendered “Rubbish” or suchlike?

Yes, if it introduces sarcasm which Paul uses fairly frequently in 1 Corinthians to indicate how silly he considers their faulty thinking is.

(4) Finally, is there any fatal flaw in (what I had held to be) the common theory (that Paul is issuing a corrective to those who were disrupting the service by chattering, asking questions, etc, and who [in this case] just happened to be women) that requires us to look for another interpretation?

This happens to be what I assumed for many years, after hearing this same idea. I don't know that there is any *fatal* flaw to it. But we always want to get as close as possible to what Paul was actually trying to communicate. In this case, Paul is referring to something from "the law" so we need to be sure whatever explanation we use includes that. In this particular passage there is nothing about disorderliness in the service. Instead, the emphasis here is on some "law" that says women are to be silent in congregational meetings. This, of course, conflicts with what Paul earlier said promoting prophesying of both men and women in their meetings.

Thanks again to everyone here for their help.
[Interestingly, Word’s “Grammar Checker” attempted to “correct” me there for using “their” as an “inclusive” third person singular pronoun!

Well, well, if everyone who programmed grammar checkers would just listen better to their peers, they could write checkers which more accurately reflected current language usage.


At Wed Nov 29, 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: I think Peter Kirk did an excellent job at refuting the idea that a Hebrew word necessarily means the exact same thing as another Hebrew word because it may have a common root. I am also glad he is able to show that you confused the noun and the verb. That really is far above me. All I know is that the passage in the Song of Solomon has much sexual thoughts regarding body parts as a husband longs for his wife’s body, but the idea that the voice is a sexual part of a woman is outrageous! A woman is not to be kept silent from teaching or reading scripture because her voice is a sexual enticement to the men. God has never said this about sexuality attached to a woman’s voice nor is his intention to make rules about a woman’s voice as he did when Paul gave guidelines about how a woman dresses so that she is decent. A woman’s voice is always decent and to attach a sexual connotation about a woman’s voice is just plain wrong. Although the husband in Song of Solomon thinks that his wife’s voice is sweet (I’ve been told by a male friend that my voice is sweet and there was no sexual innuendos involved in that comment!) in no way makes her voice a sexual part of her. Now if she is saying sexual things – then yes, her *words* can be sexual, but her voice is not sexual.

Now if you would like to discuss this further with me privately so we do not take up the time of this blog, you can email me at mmoutreach (AT) gmail (DOT) com.

About the Talmud, like I said I have read it myself and there is much sickness there. Although Jesus was Jewish and his disciples were all Jewish, Jesus also knew that in the hearts of some men, were very many wicked things. He said that the Pharisees were whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones and all kinds of uncleanness - Matthew 23:27. From my reading in the Talmud and from reading about the Talmud from Jewish sources, the Talmud is the work of the Pharisees and a clear understanding of the Talmud is necessary to understand Jesus’dealings with the Pharisees. I completely agree. I never understood Matthew 23:27 until I read the Talmud. The sexual discussions in the Talmud concerning children are completely disgusting and the sexual discussions even beyond children are beyond describing in this public forum. I can now understand why Jesus said that they were filled with all uncleanness. It makes perfect sense to me now.

Yet scripture is not like the Talmud. Scripture is not misogynic like much of the literature at the time the bible was written, and scripture is complete God-breathed without error.

You said: “the Talmud has not come down to us unmolested. It was censored and altered -- we have substantial evidence of this.” But scripture is not censored or altered. Scripture is God’s word given to mankind and it cannot be molested and held back. Do you see the difference between the traditions of men that result in stopping women from speaking in the assembly, results in attributing pornographic language to discussing what a man can do that would be allowed within the loopholes of God’s law, and compare that to the beauty of scripture that is unmolested and describes sexuality without sin and without attributing sexuality to a woman that she cannot cover up (like her voice)? Scripture is God-breathed and without error. The Talmud is not. I respect that you have your traditions, but I hope you also respect my ability to compare these traditions to the word of God and to test them to find the difference between truth and error. I have read the Talmud for myself and the things I have read do not measure up to scripture. It completely made me feel ill and so sad that women were treated as a piece of property and dealt with in the category of property and animals. Again, if you feel you need to discuss this, please email me privately.

At Wed Nov 29, 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Michael: the η shows a marked contrast to the verses that it follows. Some have interpreted this as meaning “What?” or “Nonsense!” thus indicating a marked contrast and a refutation of the preceding verse. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament Vol. 2 edited by Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider says that η is used frequently to introduce rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected. They then list 1 Cor. 14:36 as one of the examples of a rhetorical question that we are expected to answer “no” to. Thayer’s also lists the η as a disjunctive conjunction “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand”. Thayer’s then lists 1 Corinthians 14:36 as an example. It only makes sense that Paul isn’t refuting himself. He would only be refuting someone else, hence it makes perfect sense that the previous two verses are a quotation.

At Wed Nov 29, 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

John you said:

“(1) If v34-35 is a quote from the Corinthians’ letter to Paul … then surely it would follow that not only would it reflect the opinion of (at least) the leadership of the church in Corinth, but also what was actually happening there…But that is not the impression I get from re-reading the rest of First Corinthians.” It is my contention from my DVD series on this subject (Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?) that women were free in the Corinthian church and Paul allowed women to prophesy and to pray in public. However I believe that there was a minority who were trying to bring the believers under bondage to the oral traditions of the Jews and they wanted to stop the women from participating either in public learning (let them learn at home) or in public speaking (the women are to keep silent in the churches). I do not believe the majority of the Corinthians was intent on stopping the women. There was much freedom there and the Judaizers were the ones who wanted that freedom to stop. They had an attitude that men were superior and that the woman was the one who brought sin into the world and brought the man down with her. Since the woman was responsible for sin, the word of God was to be in the hands of the men alone.

You also said: “(4) Finally, is there any fatal flaw in (what I had held to be) the common theory (that Paul is issuing a corrective to those who were disrupting the service by chattering, asking questions, etc, and who [in this case] just happened to be women) that requires us to look for another interpretation?”

Yes there are two fatal flaws. When my husband and I were in Israel in 1986 we were taught this interpretation as we sat in the ruins of a synagogue. We were shown the seats where the men sat and where the women sat and it was told us that the women were shouting questions over to their husbands across the hall. That made sense to me until I put in my own study of the passage. There are two fatal flaws to this reasoning. The first is the use of the “law” as reason to stop the women. If this was Paul’s words, not a quote from the Corinthians, then what reason would Paul have had to quote the oral law of the Jews? You see, I did a thorough search of Old Testament scripture and there is no law at all that silences a woman in the congregation. I have read the scriptures that others have proposed that Paul may have “alluded to” as the “law” but these fell far short of being any kind of a law. God’s laws are clear, they are understandable and they are enforceable. If Paul was referencing God’s “law”, then how come no one in the Old Testament quoted this “law” or used it to silence women? The reason is because there is no such law.

The next step for me was to find out what “law” is referenced in 1 Cor. 14. When I read about the restrictions on women that were in the Talmud I purchased five tractates to see it for myself. What I saw was an amazing amount of restriction on women including the fact that women could not divorce their husbands without their husband’s permission and men who could divorce their wife without giving them financial support if they merely went into public without a head covering. I saw that women were not allowed to speak in the congregation by reading the Torah in public and I saw that women’s voices were considered sexual and shameful so men were not supposed to listen to them in public and even speaking to them in public was to be kept to a minimum. I also saw that although some men allowed their wives to learn the Torah, for the most part it was extremely discouraged and in other places forbidden. Now whether these places that it was forbidden was a part of the strict law part of the Talmud or in the comments from Rabbis, it all comes across as authoritative and all parts are under the binding of the Talmud.

So now that I could put a name to the “law” and see that it was consistent with the view of stifling women’s learning and public speaking, I knew that it was not God’s law but man’s. So why would Paul appeal to the oral law which was not authoritative for Christians? He certainly would have been very familiar with these laws as Paul was a former Pharisee. The answer comes in verse 36 and this is the second fatal flaw of the understanding that Paul was restricting women from shouting across the hall to their husbands. The second fatal flaw is the refutation that comes in verse 36. I listed the sources that say that η is a disjunctive conjunction “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand” previous in this blog. If we make verses 34 & 35 as coming from Paul, then we have Paul denying and refuting himself. That just isn’t possible because it makes a fatal flaw to the argument.

In reading egalitarian arguments I have not seen much to answer these two “fatal flaws”. In my understanding, the only way to answer them is to understand that Paul did not appeal to a human law to gain order in the congregation. Paul never once appealed to the oral tradition that he so strongly believed in before he became a Christian. To make him pull rank by appealing to man’s law now would be unthinkable and contradictory to everything that Paul has stood for as a Christian. Also verse 36 if Paul is not refuting himself (his own silencing of women in verses 34 & 35) then you have a refutation that is placed in the middle of a thought that actually refutes nothing. No, I prefer to agree with The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament and with Thayer’s that Paul’s question and refutation is meant to refute the statement that it follows.

There is also one more argument against verses 34 & 35 as being Paul’s command. I wouldn’t call this one a fatal flaw, but I think it has a lot of merit. If Paul is commanding the silence of women (and the term here for silence is complete silence, not just a quiet spirit) and he gives no reason for the silence except for the “law”, then it follows that women must not speak in tongues either. Yet in verse 39 Paul says that they all are to desire earnestly to prophesy and that no one should be forbidden to speak in tongues (the prohibition on tongues previously is not regarding forbidding certain types of people who can speak in tongues but only on the number of people at one session). If the prohibition verses are from Paul, then he is certainly silencing women from speaking in tongues but then contradicts himself once again in verse 39 when he tells the Corinthians that they should not forbid speaking in tongues. There is contradiction after contradiction unless we put the quotation marks around verses 34 & 35. If we do that, there is no longer any contradiction in the chapter.

At Wed Nov 29, 01:18:00 PM, Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

To anon

I am no linguist but I have had the privilege knowing several people who are professional translators. Word roots are interesting but they are not determinative in translation. I think about the word "illusion." Generally the word has somewhat negative connotations of something that is false, misleading and unreal. Yet we speak of being "disillusioned" (to be free from illusion) to describe great loss and disappointment. Same root word but important connotations that are different. Therefore, to point to same the words all have the same root does not mean they have they same connotations. That much I have learned about translation.

At Wed Nov 29, 01:35:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: You said “I've now checked three commentaries and two dictionaries -- they agree with me. In any case, the evidence is there with your own eyes: the words are the same, the passage is a description of female anatomy, and every word reeks with eroticism.” Well I have checked my commentaries and found none that said that her voice was a sexual part of the woman. In good faith I will copy the three best know commentaries that I have so we can all have a look to see that none of them say that the reference to the voice of the woman is sexual:

John Gill’s exposition of the entire bible regarding Song of Solomon 2:14

for sweet is thy voice; pleasant, harmonious, melodious, having a mixture of notes in it, as the word signifies; and so exceeds the voice of a natural dove, which is not very harmonious: Herodotus (w) makes mention of a dove that spoke with a human voice; and such a voice Christ's dove speaks with, and it is sweet; that is, pleasant and delightful to him, who loves to hear his people relate the gracious experiences of his goodness, and speak well of his truths and ordinances; prayer is sweet music to him, and praise pleases him better than all burnt offerings;

Matthew Henry’s words on this passage:

4. For her encouragement, he tells her the good thoughts he had of her, whatever she thought of herself: Sweet is thy voice; thy praying voice, though thou canst but chatter like a crane or a swallow (Isa_38:14); it is music in God's ears. He has assured us that the prayer of the upright is his delight; he smelled a sweet savour from Noah's sacrifice, and the spiritual sacrifices are no less acceptable, 1Pe_2:5. This does not so much commend our services as God's gracious condescension in making the best of them, and the efficacy of the much incense which is offered with the prayers of saints, Rev_8:3. “That countenance of thine, which thou art ashamed of, is comely, though now mournful, much more will it be so when it becomes cheerful.” Then the voice of prayer is sweet and acceptable to God when the countenance, the conversation in which we show ourselves before men, is holy, and so comely, and agreeable to our profession. Those that are sanctified have the best comeliness.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary:

Jesus Christ does not invite her to leave the rock, but in it (Himself), yet in holy freedom to lay aside the timorous spirit, look up boldly as accepted in Him, pray, praise, and confess Him (in contrast to her shrinking from being looked at, Son_1:6), (Eph_6:19; Heb_13:15; 1Jo_4:18); still, though trembling, the voice and countenance of the soul in Jesus Christ are pleasant to Him. The Church found no cleft in the Sinaitic legal rock, though good in itself, wherein to hide; but in Jesus Christ stricken by God for us, as the rock smitten by Moses (Num_20:11), there is a hiding-place (Isa_32:2). She praised His “voice” (Son_2:8, Son_2:10); it is thus that her voice also, though tremulous, is “sweet” to Him here.

I am sorry but you have given nothing but the Talmud to prove that the voice of the woman is a sexual part of her being. I have checked my commentaries as you have asked me to do and I am sorry but you fall short. You have said here in this forum that facts are not to be misrepresented. You have made a word have sexual meaning although you have misrepresented that it is the *exact same* word as in another passage that has a sexual meaning yet when you have been shown that it isn’t the exact same word and it isn’t even the same tense you have glossed over that fact. Which commentary should I be checking so show that another reputable commentary says that the voice is a sexual part of the woman as is the contention of the Talmud?

Anon, my friend, you said “Now, as to your knowledge and judgment of Rabbinic writings: your tone speaks for itself. I am distressed by your clear bias, spurious quotes, refusal to consult footnotes, refusal to read entire passages, and your clearly fallacious claim that you have read the Palestinian Talmud.”

Actually my friend, you are charging me with things that are not true. I think now might be a good time to call up that favor. Could you fight for me to speak?

You say that I have a bias, yet when I purchased the five tractates of the Talmud I had no bias. I thought it was a good resource and a good history that I should check out. I curled up in my easy chair to read. My husband was gone and I had lots of time to read so I started from the back (of course the English follows the Hebrew in starting from the back and of course you know that!) and I started to read. I read and I read and I read. And I got almost physically ill. I read things that I could not believe. I read them for myself and no one had to tell me they were there. You have charged me with prejudice without even knowing me or understanding my desire for truth. That actually isn’t nice, you know. I don’t know you and I don’t attack your character. It is better to give the person the benefit of the doubt instead of attacking first and asking questions later. At least that is my motto. I don’t know about you.

You said that my tone speaks for myself. Well words on the page actually don’t have a tone. I can tell you that my tone is one of compassion and understanding. I feel sorry for anyone who might be forced to read these unnatural sexual discussions and restrictive deals regarding women. I mean the long discussions about the color and appearance of a women’s menstrual discharge was…..well I don’t even have the words to describe all of that. I think the graphic detail would make anyone blush.

Next you have said that I didn’t check the footnotes to see that the quote was from the bible, however the footnote gave me no reason to think it was from the bible, as the footnote about the voice of the women being sexual said Cant. II, 14. And I did check the bible where you said the quote came from and I have check commentary references and nothing I have seen gives a sexual connection to the woman’s voice. I think that you have to admit that if I was biased that I wouldn’t be interested in the facts. Why would I subject myself to reading the Talmud if I wasn’t interested in learning and knowing the truth? Why would I check out the Hebrew words to see that your saying that it was the *exact same* word and then having you copy a different tense of a differently number word from the Hebrew. I am sorry, but I just don’t see why you would judge me so poorly when I have done my best to check out the facts.

You said that I have refused to read entire passages, yet I have read entire Tractates of the Talmud. I think that is above and beyond what I should have to endure, but truth is important to me. I think you should not be saying that I haven’t done my job when I have done more than most Pastors I know have. I know of very few Pastors who have taken the time or even considered it worthy to read the Talmud. I had considered buying the entire collection of Talmud tractates but the price was prohibitive. Then when I read the ones I already owned, I wasn’t sure I wanted any more of that kind of literature in my home.

I also notice that you say that quotes are taken out of context, but you have not shown how the quotes are out of context. Perhaps some of us, probably even including me, have been mistaken on the reference that a quote comes from, because it is difficult to access the material itself. You even alluded to that by saying that I couldn’t have read the Palestinian Talmud. I didn’t claim to have purchased the Palestinian Talmud. I have read the quotes and if they are out of context concerning burning the Torah rather than giving it to women, then perhaps you can supply the complete quote so we can see how out of context it is. That would be helpful instead of attacking my character, don’t you think? I would GREATLY appreciate you providing the complete quote.

I consider it an honor to have been given the permission to dialogue with you. I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar. I am only a plain, simple, ordinary person who believes that scripture is meant to be understood by the common person. It may take time to understand the hard passages, but I think I have proven that it can be done. I have heard from so many who have said that my arguments are clear, logical and persuasive. I am humbled by that and I give my arguments for the body of Christ to see. If I am wrong, I would appreciate someone to show me where I am wrong.
Okay, you can rest now from defending my right to speak. I’m done.

At Wed Nov 29, 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon. and Cheryl,

I haven't closely followed all of your exchanges on the sexual nature of a woman's voice, so pardon me if I'm off track here: I'm wondering if something like the following, said to be from the Talmud, is what one of you might be referring to:

"A woman's voice is a sexual excitement. " (I omitted a preceding and following sentence which were more explicit.)

The reference is said to be Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 24a; Shabbath 64b.

At Wed Nov 29, 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

And this publication highlights on its first page commentary by Rashi, in Bablylonian Talmud Berakhot 57b, where he says, "The sweet voice of a woman ... can restore a man's good spirits."

In the publication there are a number of references to the qualities of feminine voices, as well as women's voices in the Song of Songs.

At Wed Nov 29, 02:28:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon., is this what you are referring to, from Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth, Folio 24a?

"Samuel said: A woman's voice is a sexual incitement, as it says, For sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.25"

Footnote 25:
"Cant. II, 14"

which is rendered in the NJPS as:

"O my dove, in the cranny of the rocks,
Hidden by the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet
And your face is comely."

At Wed Nov 29, 02:34:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Hi Wayne,

Yes that is the quote that we have been referencing. The publication that you linked to is a really good one reference! I will have to make note of it. Thank you!!

At Wed Nov 29, 02:38:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Also from the quote that we have been discussing from the Talmud:

"R. Isaac said: A handbreadth [exposed] in a [married] woman constitutes sexual incitement.21 In which way? Shall I say, if one gazes at it? But has not R. Shesheth [already] said: Why did Scripture enumerate the ornaments worn outside the clothes with those worn inside?22 To tell you that if one gazes at the little finger of a woman, it is as if he gazed at her secret place! — No, It means, in one's own wife, and when he recites the Shema'. R. Hisda said: A woman's leg is a sexual incitement, as it says. Uncover the leg, pass through the rivers,23 and it says afterwards, Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen.24 Samuel said: A woman's voice is a sexual incitement"

You will notice that it says that gazing at the little finger of a woman is like looking at her sexual parts. This certainly is not scriptural and makes everything about the woman as sexual even her voice and her little finger.

At Wed Nov 29, 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon. asked:

Are you going to turn BBB into a sounding board for this sort of hatred? Because that is the source that Cheryl relies on.

Absolutely not, Anon. But I know Cheryl well enough to know that she doesn't buy into the anti-Semitic hatred or even hintings that feel underlying prejudice.

It is not easy for those of us who are not very familiar with the Talmud to find websites which have accurate translations and will not have anything about them which we might not spot which is offensive.

Let's not turn any of this into a question of anti-Semitism. Genuine Christians love Jews as much or more than many Jews love each other. Genuine Christians despise the Holacaust and, closer to home, prejudiced joking and cliches about Jews. My wife and I never allowed them in our home.

I think, Anon., that it would be most fruitful if we could get back to the heart of the post, which is whether or not Paul was referencing some oral law that he was familiar with.

And whether you like it or not, there are parts of the Talmud which offend women and others. That is not an anti-Semitic statement. There are parts of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Bible which offend me. Let's be honest, fair, and give each other as much benefit of the doubt in our exchanges here.

If a translation from the Talmud is inaccurate, please don't attack the messenger. Instead, please simply suggest a more accurate translation. If something would be better understood within a larger context, please don't accuse anyone of taking what they quoted out of context. They may simply be quoting a secondary source, or may not have read as much of the Talmud as you have. Instead of attacking the messenger, why not graciously provide better information. This is not a battle. It's a search for truth.

I suggest that you read some of the literature by observant Jews who wrestle with what they perceive as misogyny in the Talmud. It's OK to wrestle with problems. Sometimes we can explain some statements by a better look at their contexts. Sometimes we just have to say, "Well, it looks like that doesn't measure up to my standards of treatment of women" (or anyone else, for that matter).


At Wed Nov 29, 05:55:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Anon: This will have to be my last post to you as you do not accept what I have told you. First of all you say that the quote I gave you is misquoted but you have not put the quote up for all of us to see that. Would you please put the quote up and not just say that it has been misquoted? Then we can check up on you and go to the University or wherever to get a copy. Please do that so we can see the quote in context. I think that would be a wise thing for you to do.

Second of all I knew the word was Gemara but it was late at night and I was very tired. I was lazy and didn’t want to look up the spelling and I didn’t trust my memory. That doesn’t mean I didn’t read it. I did and you can choose to believe me or not. It wasn’t all that hard to read the books I bought. They are big books actually very large books in height but a good portion of them is in Hebrew with the English translation on the opposite page. So half the book I can’t read, and the English at times didn’t even fill the page. I told you I read them and if you want to believe that I went to web sites that hate the Jews, and got my information there, then you are simply wrong. I have no reason to hate Jewish people. You are God’s people and will always be God’s people because he chose you for his own. Does that sound like hatred to you? Perhaps you have a slight bit of prejudice in your dealings with those of us who are not Jewish. I hope that you will reconsider because I would not think that anyone on this board has an axe to grind against the Jewish people. I would hope we all love Jesus here and he was Jewish. How could we love Jesus and hate the Jews? It was my sin that sent Jesus to the cross and I blame no one but my own sin.

It is not my intention to hurt you or to speak ill of your faith. I just have been given the privilege to read the Talmud and I spoke from the things I read. In the Talmud that I purchased are parts listed as the Mishnah and parts as the Gemara. They are paragraphs of each and some are long and some are short. Both are bound together in one book called the Talmud. I am not talking about the tractates that I haven’t read because there are lots that I haven’t read. However I can talk about the ones I did read and they made me nauseous. You did admit that there were sexual parts in the Talmud. Well that is an understatement. That is not prejudice on my part. That is simply the facts. Like I said, if you were to push me to produce the parts that are highly offensive, I don’t think there is one person on this board who would not be shocked.

Now I don’t believe that the Talmud is followed today in all of its parts as it was in the time it was written. Perhaps Jewish women still cannot divorce their husbands without their permission, I don’t know, but I have read and watched about women having more freedom in the Jewish faith. Little by little there is more freedom for women and that is similar to Christianity. I watched a wonderful documentary about a woman soferet. I don’t know if I spelled that right or not, but it was a female scribe and I watched as she copied the Torah painstakingly and with beautiful lettering. She said that the laws didn’t permit women to do what she was doing but there was a way around the law. I can’t remember the exact reasoning, however there she was as a woman scribe so things have definitely changed.

Also the document that Wayne linked to, I only read part of the first page and the quotes from the Jewish history. It sounded reasonable to me because the words agains women are no different than Christianity. I read nothing more than the quotes about women and that was what my comment was about. I liked the honest, because it followed everything that I too had read in the Talmud.

So my views….I believe that Israel is precious in God’s eyes. I also see that there are things in the traditions of men (the Talmud) that parallel some of the traditions of men in Christianity. That doesn’t make me reject Christianity, or religion in general; it just makes me long for truth and thus for freedom for women. I hope that helps and if not perhaps the others on this board can instruct you more because you don’t believe what I have clearly told you is truth because you deny that I have read what I said I read, so I won’t be able to help you further. Take care and God bless.


At Wed Nov 29, 07:43:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for all your help in this blog. It has been an enlightening post. You are very courageous man to be willing to look outside the traditional interpretation of this hard passage of scripture in 1 Corinthians 14. Also looking at this passage with the view that a segment of the Corinthian church was holding onto a law that was outside of the Christian community and being able to see this from other historical sources has certainly opened our eyes to see that Paul was not restricting women but giving them great freedom to speak in the assembly.

It also allows us to see that all scripture is inspired by God and we cannot change scripture or disregard it just because we don’t like it. I have a very high view of scripture and would consider any one or any group of people who change scripture to suit their own prejudices or beliefs to be setting themselves up as a law to themselves. Many have done that and it is so sad to see. Jesus taught some were using their own tradition as their measuring stick for truth and thereby disregarding the Scriptures. Jesus said that they invalidated the scriptures for the sake of their tradition. This was Jesus’ charge against the Pharisees during his day and we can see this happening even in our day. Those with liberal views feel free to pick and choose which scriptures they want to obey. I for one cannot do that for I believe that all Scripture is God-breathed and every word and every piece of grammar is there for a reason. Those who put down the Scriptures because they have a better way will one day answer to God. God has revealed Himself through Scripture and through his final Word – the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus Himself never contradicted scripture and those who do are not following Christ. Again, I applaud you on your willingness to take a tough portion of scripture and allow us to think the grammar through and work hard to understand Paul. You have my deepest respect.

At Wed Nov 29, 07:56:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Anon. said:

I'm sorry Wayne. I can forgive a lot of things -- I can forgive your quoting Mishna that don't exist -- I can forgive Peter demanding I read a commentary that he himself has not read -- I can forgive Cheryl for just making "facts" up out of thin air -- but I am simply stunned at at your approval of a pro-Hitler website:

Oh, dear me! I never, ever approved of any pro-Hitler website. This exchange is spiraling out of control (the fancy terms for it is complementary schismogenesis!). I do not approve of any pro-Hitler websites. I do not approve of any anti-Semitic websites. I do not approve of any websites that oppress of ridicule or put down any group of people or any person.

I never said I approved of a website that Cheryl used.

If you wish, please re-read my comment. I'm not splitting semantic hairs here. I am absolutely serious in what I wrote to you in my last post. I despise, I abhor any abuse of any person or any group of people.

I'm sure that Cheryl doesn't approve of such websites either.

Let's not deal in off-track communication strategies here. If there is a website that someone accessed which has offensive material, let's just simply point out the fact. Let's not escalate things beyond the intentions of the communicators, please.

We really cannot continue in this kind of a negative dance. We either must get back on track, dealing with the point of the blog post or we must stop posting comments which are spiraling out of control. If someone makes a mistake, let's simply state where the mistake is. That's all that is needed. No additional statement is needed. No additional evaluation of the messenger is needed. Our blog guidelines try to help us with this.

Please, let's either get back on track and *objectively* and professionally share important information. Or let's just stop. You have a wonderful mind and many gifts. You are most welcome to share both on this blog. But as you do, take a few breaths and try to treat each person on here with dignity. Try not to associate someone with evil which may be on a website, evil that they may be totally unaware of. I know that I myself often do not spot things which are improper. Perhaps they are on part of the page which I have not read. There are a number of reasons why people are not aware of things which may be wrong. Let's be patient and tolerant with each other, so that we can learn from each other.

Simply pointing out an error is all that is needed whenever there is an error. No further comments are needed. I happen to appreciate being corrected. A short, simple correction is all that is needed.

I hope that my comments back to you are in that spirit, although I'm afraid I have gone on so long that they may not communicate that I care for you and would like to be able to learn from you and for there to be mutually beneficial exchanges.

Let's try one more time and if we can't get back to professional, objective comments, then let's just drop it and move on to something else.

At Wed Nov 29, 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Wayne: "I never said I approved of a website that Cheryl used."

The Talmud has been posted on line and I find that helpful. If someone uses the on-line Talmud alone that isn't accessing any kind of hate-literature unless the Talmud itself is considered hate-literature. I don't think anyone here quoted from anything that was offensive. If there is another site that has the Talmud on-line that is easy to access perhaps someone could point us to the site. Reading and using the Talmud on-line would not endorse any other articles that may or may not be on the site. I am not interested in reading articles but reading the Talmud. Having the Talmud online can save me a lot of bucks in having to buy more books if I want to reference something regarding a quote from the bible.

I find it interesting that someone would consider their own on-line literature as offensive. If I was in a country that didn't have a printed bible readily available and someone put the bible on-line for me to access in my own language, I would look at that and be glad. If it is truth, then one should be proud of that truth. If there is something to hide, then of course one would be worried about having the message out there.

I have been a big supporter of original documents. I have worked with Jehovah's Witnesses for 16 years and operated a support group for those who left the organization. I found their own literature to be the best witnessing tool. I have a personal collection of Watchtower literature going back to 1879. This literature has caused many Jehovah's Witnesses to leave the Watchtower because it has opened their eyes to the changing doctrine, the lies and cover-ups and the double standards of the Watchtower. Having the actual books on hand has been such a blessing to me as I strive to help people come to a meaningful relationship with Christ. It is my opinion that if what you have is truth, there is nothing to fear when people want to research the primary documents for themselves. If the Talmud is something to be proud of, then be proud of it. Put it online for everyone to see. Have a hundred sites that all have the Talmud available online.

Wayne, I agree that there shouldn't be attacks on people's character. The most respectful thing is to do with facts not perceived attitudes or motives. And I must say that your gentle character comes in a clear way. It is Christ-like and loving and I for one appreciate it. Thanks!

At Wed Nov 29, 08:34:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Soncino Talmud where?

At Wed Nov 29, 08:48:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Wayne, I found the disk I bought years ago and it has the Soncino Talmud on it.

B.T. Shabbath 152a: "Yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high(27) — even a small knoll looks to him like
the highest of mountains; 'and terrors shall be in the way' — when he walks on a road his
heart is filled with fears;(28) and the almond tree shall blossom' — that refers to the
coccyx(29) 'and the grasshopper shall be a burden'(30) — the rump; 'and desire shall fail'
the passions. R. Kahana was expounding a portion [of scripture](31) before Rab. When he
came to this verse, he [Rab] uttered a long sigh. This shows that Rab's desires have ceased,
observed he. R. Kahana said: What is meant by, 'For he decreed, and it was':(32) this refers
to a woman;(33) 'he commanded; and it did stand' — this refers to children. A Tanna
taught: Though a woman be as a pitcher full of filth and her mouth be full of blood, yet all
speed after her."

The other statement that was quoted above is not with this one and is on the next paragraph so that statement about a woman ends as above. This says that no matter how bad a woman is the man is destined to still go after her.

At Wed Nov 29, 08:56:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Where has it changed the Soncino translation? What proof do you have for that?

At Wed Nov 29, 09:21:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Well my book says translated into English with notes, glossary and indices by Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, B.A. Ph.D. under the editorship of Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, B.A., Ph.D. D. LIT, New edition, London The Soncino Press 1966. I assume that this means I have a Soncino hard copy. I will check it myself.

Actually I just checked and the first book I have isn't even on line - Kiddushin.

I will check one that I have that is on line - Gittin. The date of my book says 1990. I can do the research myself and I will know what is the truth.

At Wed Nov 29, 09:43:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

It looks like the version that is on Come and See is the original version:

The publication was completed as a 35-volume set in 1952, and republished in 18 volumes in 1961. Each tractate was accompanied by a glossary, a table of abbreviations, an index of Biblical references, and a general subject index. In 1952, Soncino published a comprehensive Index volume collating the indices from all tractates, and included an index to the statements of each of the Sages. The Jew's College/Soncino English translation of the Babylonian Talmud has remained the gold standard of English Talmuds for six decades.

That must be why they are able to put the material on line. If it was republished again in 1990 I am sure they must have made changes again. You said there has been lots that have been censored (corrupted). Maybe there is even more censorship now. Who knows. If that is the case then each time they publish it they change. I will have a look at it. So far I checked one page and it is exactly the same.

The CD I have doesn't have a date and has the name ISIDORE EPSTEIN after some notes. The disk is labeled The Sonciono cincludes soncino English Text Talmud Hebrew Amaraic Texts Rashi commentary on the Talmud.

At Thu Nov 30, 03:18:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, I am well aware that Fee considers this passage to be an interpolation, and have some sympathy with this argument myself. I made no claim to present Fee's full explanation of this passage. I merely pointed out one of his footnotes and a quotation he makes from Josephus which partially go against your earlier claim that no commentary discusses or gives citations for the theory that this reference to "the law" is in fact to the Jewish oral law.

As for "I'm afraid that Peter is using Bowlderized references," it seems that it is you who can spell neither English ("Bowlderized") nor Hebrew. Song of Songs 2:14 is listed by HALOT (Koehler and Baumgartner dictionary), BDB (Brown, Driver, Briggs dictionary) and the Westminster Hebrew morphology database as an occurrence of the adjective עָרֵב. Ezekiel 16:37 with which you compared it is listed in the same sources as an occurrence of the verb ערב. The adjective and the verb are doubtless etymologically related and probably semantically similar, but they are considered by standard scholarly resources to be different lexical items. So please withdraw your "the words are the same".

As for "every word reeks with eroticism", I repeat that only those with an extremely dirty mind would read eroticism into the Proverbs references I listed, still less into the ones related to sacrifices pleasing to God. Maybe certain later Jewish readers who did have that kind of mind did read that into the words and so certain later commentators understood the passages differently. But the words do not have that meaning in biblical Hebrew, as recognised by the standard scholars. For example, HALOT defines the verb as simply "to be pleasant" (and incidentally gives the same meaning for "MHeb.", I'm not immediately sure if this is Mishnaic or modern Hebrew), and the adjective simply as "pleasant", with no hints of any sexual connotations.

At Thu Nov 30, 03:23:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Hey anon: apology accepted. I am very much for women being given the freedom to speak their mind (and teach too!) but I also am very supportive of encouraging whomever is speaking to make sure to speak with dignity and respect because all people deserve to receive care and concern with dignity. Also I am a stickler for truth and documented facts and just as I have seen my faith misrepresented, I would not want anyone else's faith represented.

Wayne: I'd be willing to work with you to help verify as many quotes as I can and if possible to find better ones for any that are misleading. It make take me more than just a little awhile. I am busy in ministry with several "irons in the fire" and if I try to do too much at once, my husband tells me that all he sees of me is the back of my head (at the computer!) I need to respect him and slow down my pace a litte.

Anon: Can you give me any links or helps in how to find the Palestinian Talmud on line? Or second best (for the frugal types like me) how to buy a CD of that version of the Talmud? I am very interested in checking out the facts for myself. I know what I have personally seen from the books of the Talmud I have read and own, but I would like to have the opportunity to check out more, (if possible without spending mega dollars to purchase them if they are even available). Thanks!

At Thu Nov 30, 04:42:00 AM, Blogger teknomom said...

Finding a version of any given section of the Talmud that all agree on, appears to be about as easy as nailing jello to a wall. Your version says this? Well mine says that... on and on and on. Ironically, it's a conversation that would delight the Pharisees of old.

Hence the thread being hijacked from its point: that Paul is quoting someone else and refuting them. Who cares about the source of that quote, seeing that in all this time, no one has found it in the Bible itself? That's the crux of the post.

The mention of where the quote might have originated, while possibly an interesting study, is really not relevant at all to answering the question of whether Paul is ordering or refuting women's silence. I think that question has been answered decisively.

Let the Rabbis argue endlessly about interpretations of their traditions, which appear to be so vague and disputed that such a study would be a colossal waste of time. Perhaps the value in it is that it makes the Bible look all the more amazing, dependable, and clear.

At Thu Nov 30, 10:22:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

teknomom: you expressed thoughts that I have had. If the Talmud is evolving as we have been told and different editions say different things and it has been corrupted through the years then it is amazing that the Talmud is held up as an interpretation of the Scriptures and is in essence equal in value to the Scriptures. I am so glad that the Word that God has given us has proved true throughout history. When we were in Israel years ago we went into a building that housed a copy of one of the books of the Old Testament that was extremely old. The really amazing thing is that this old copy is in essence what we still have today. That is clear evidence of God's preservation and of the meticulous work of the Jewish scribes who took great pains to be faithful in their work of copying God’s word. His inspired Word stands in stark contrast to the works of mere men.

I also liked your word picture of nailing jello to the wall. I have felt the same frustration.

At Thu Nov 30, 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, since you ask, Jesus would condemn you as a hypocrite as he condemned the Pharisees whose methods of argument you seem to copy. I have been entirely open about how I used Fee's commentary, that I was quoting a footnote but not discussing Fee's main thesis about these verses. I have been entirely open about the Hebrew words we are discussing here, that they are etymologically linked but listed in dictionaries as separate items.

As for quoting material out of context, how about this? You claim that HALOT's definition of III ערב "includes" "To be pleasing: a) a woman pleases her lover Ezk 16:37". Well, yes, this is part of the definition. Let's see the whole definition:

III ערב: MHeb. to be pleasant; Arb. Hadram. dialect ʿaru/ib it is suitable (Ben-H. Lesh. 44 (1980):85ff).
qal: pf. עָֽרְבוּ ,עָרַבְתְּ ,עָֽרְבָה; impf. יֶ/תֶּעֱרַב‎:—1. to be pleasant: sleep Jr 3126 Pr 324, a wish fulfilled Pr 1319; —2. to be pleasing: a) a woman pleases her lover Ezk 1637; b) offerings please God (tech. terminology in the cult, see vRad Th. 16:27478): to be well-pleasing Jr 620 Mal 34, שִׂיחַ Ps 10434 (:: Dahood Psalms 3:47: to enter, Ug. ʿrb → Vulg. ערב), praise 1QPsa Song of Zion 14 (DJD 4:86), 3Q 6:1 (DJD 3:98). †
hif: impf. יעריבו to make delightful, make lovely (a song) Sir 4021. †
Der. עָרֵב.

Koehler, Ludwig; Baumgartner, Walter; Richardson, M.E.J. (tr.), The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, CD-ROM Edition, (Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill, NV) 1994-2000.

(I have had to retype the Hebrew and take some liberties with the formatting to get this into a comment.)

Note the last point: "Der." implies that the adjective עָרֵב is a derivative, which technically means it is a separate word or lexical entry with the same origin, as I have maintained from the start.

But my main point here is that "a woman pleases her lover" is only one of four or five meanings of this word listed in this the top scholarly dictionary of Hebrew. It is thus quite inappropriate to insist that this meaning is carried by a different occurrence of the same word, still less by an occurrence of a different but derived word. If the Rabbis interpreted the Song of Songs reference in that way, that is their prerogative. But this interpretation is by no means demanded by the evidence, and is not held by the top scholars of biblical Hebrew.

At Thu Nov 30, 11:07:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

Thank you Wayne and Cheryl for your responses.
Thanks also to “Anon” for certain comments referred to under (1) below.

I would seem that there are broadly four views of v34-35:

(1) The words are Paul’s own, but are not meant to be as all-encompassing as they seem: i.e. they were written to a particular situation, and the “silencing” is not to be taken as a general rule. I find helpful Anon's suggestion that the reference to the law may only be meant to apply to the immediately preceding clause (the “submitting”), and not in fact to the “silencing”. If that is the case, we would only be looking in the law for the concept of good order / submission to duly authorised leadership / etc, and not for a command silencing women. Perhaps having referred to what was “common practice” in the churches, Paul appeals to the law to drive the point home (after all, something can be common practice and still be wrong).

(2) Paul is quoting the Corinthians. In that case they were either (a) misinterpreting the (written) law, or (b) referring to the oral law (the latter being “Cheryl’s thesis”).

(3) Paul himself is quoting the oral law (“Wayne’s thesis”).

(4) The words are spurious. In favour of this is the fact that they appear to interrupt Paul’s argument, and that without them v36 seems to follow naturally on from v33.

While I find (4) very attractive, it's probably “too good to be true” (the “harder reading” principle). Nor am I (yet) convinced by (2) or (3), although I’m sure the final word has not been said on the matter (and I don’t just mean on this blog)!

At Thu Nov 30, 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, I am indeed using the electronic edition of HALOT (you don't think I retyped all of that, do you?), which is not supposed to be abridged, but doesn't have the entry numbers you refer to. This edition doesn't appear to have a separate list of abbreviations. The definitions of some abbreviations appear when I hover my mouse over the text, but this does not work for "MHeb." or "Der." Thank you for telling me these definitions. But what period does "Middle Hebrew" refer to?

I did not intend to suggest that any term appeared only in "MHeb." I pointed this out only to note that HALOT does not support my thought that your position and mine might be reconciled by suggesting that the word acquired a necessarily sexual meaning between the biblical and Rabbinic periods.

As for "Der." meaning "Derived form", that is what I thought it meant although I didn't have the precise wording in front of me. This means that the adjective is a separate word which is derived from the verb, or more technically from the same triliteral root as the verb. It does not mean that they are the same lexical entry; that is why they are listed separately. I think you need to learn more about lexicography before making definitive pronouncements in this area. Then you need to learn some semantics, so that you understand that although different words derived from the same word are commonly semantically linked there is no guarantee of this. Indeed it is a well known fallacy, the etymological fallacy, to assume that two etymologically related words must have closely similar meanings.

I have not looked at Song 2:14 in detail and so do not make any claims about its meaning. But I note that neither HALOT nor BDB suggests that the word in question has an explicitly sexual meaning. Of course in the context it may have sexual connotations, but if so they are dependent on the context, not on the meaning of the word.

At Thu Nov 30, 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, what I said about "the top scholars of biblical Hebrew" (not, by the way, "top bible scholars"; I am talking about language experts, not biblical scholars) was that they list the meaning of both the verb and the adjective as "(to be) pleasant/pleasing", without the sexual meaning component of the definition which you put forward, but now seem to have deleted. Now are you denying that Koehler, Baumgartner, Brown, Driver and Briggs are or were top scholars of Hebrew? I accept that the last three are now a bit out of date. But HALOT is still considered the most authoritative dictionary.

Meanwhile I have spent enough time already on answering your indefensible attack on proper linguistic and semantic scholarship, and I am not going to let myself waste any more time following up commentaries and other articles which may or may not have significant insights into the meaning of a phrase which apparently simply means "your voice is pleasant".

At Thu Nov 30, 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

One thing that we can agree on is that the Talmud says that a woman’s voice is a sexual incitement. That means that her voice incites or spurs on sexual thoughts. It is no wonder then that she was not allowed to read from the Torah in public. The mere voice of a woman becomes a lewd act in public.

However all the commentaries I have checked as well as the Hebrew word studies I have checked do not show that in the bible, the voice of a woman was considered a sexual act. In fact no where in scripture is a woman ever refused the ability to speak with men even in an authoritative way because her voice is an incitement for men to sin.

So that difference here then, is that a woman is allowed to speak in church and the fact that she has a female voice is not used against her to stop her from speaking. Her voice then is not shameful. In 1 Cor. 14:35 the woman’s voice is said to be shameful. Wherever this “law” was taken from, whether it was from the Jewish oral law as I believe it was, or from some other non-Christian “law”, the fact is that it attributed some type of filth to the woman’s voice. I think it is pretty clear to see that the Talmud, by attributing sexual incitement to the woman’s voice is a clear contender for this “law”.

At Thu Nov 30, 01:54:00 PM, Blogger teknomom said...

Anon, I'll say what the others are too polite to say (even so, I'm still holding my tongue so as not to 'entice' anyone):

Here you are raking Peter over the coals for name calling, while you've been dishing it out all along. No matter what sources anyone cites, you apparently have nothing better to do all day than hunt down someone with enough credentials to counter it. This is not, as you imagine, scholarship or an effort to find facts, but a witch hunt. You have returned Peter and Cheryl's patience and civility with sarcasm and ego.

Forgive me for sounding my too-sexy voice off, but whenever I read your posts, I can hear Jesus saying "Woe to you, Pharisees and teachers of the law..."

No, I'm not here to be popular either, but at least I don't go around pretending to be an expert. I only know a tantrum when I see one.

At Thu Nov 30, 02:46:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...


This has been one of the most interesting and profitable web discussions I have ever read. I don't often get to learn so much in so little space. Wow.

Thank you to Anon for challenging everything. I believe you ascribed to a peripheral hypothesis that Wayne made in supporting his primary assertion entirely too much weight due to your understandable sensitivity on the subject. Still, I am glad you did. I learned a lot of tolerance for Jewish oral tradition from you in these 100+ comments. Very valuable indeed.

Thank you to Cheryl for a fantastic counterpoint, and very well argued. I agreed with you before you started, and do so more strongly now.

Thank you to Wayne for setting up the discussion so well, and for letting it prosper. I agree with comments above - that took a lot of courage.

To Peter and the rest as well. Great stuff!

It's talks like these that keep me coming back here. The amount of raw data attached to this post is just staggering, and I will not soon forget it.

At Thu Nov 30, 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, I am not discussing the exegesis of Song of Songs and therefore I am not going to read any commentaries on that subject, nor Ullendorff's work although I am sure that is excellent scholarship and very interesting.

The main issue on which we disagree is whether it is correct to call two forms which are listed as separate lexical entries in standard lexicons two separate words. I maintain that it is, and that that is my implicit definition of what a word is. You earlier made an error in taking the forms in question as two occurrences of the same word, and instead of admitting your error you are trying to redefine the science of lexicography in order to cover your tracks, complete with all kinds of ad hominem attacks on recognised scholars as well as myself whose definitions don't fit with your attempted redefinition of the subject.

I have accepted that the word in question in Song of Songs may have sexual connotations in that context, as clearly does the occurrence in Ezekiel of a different word (i.e. different lexical entry in standard lexicons). What I dispute is your claim that the sexual connotations in one case certainly imply a major sexual meaning component in the other case. This would not follow even if this was the same word, especially as there are other uses of the word which clearly have no sexual meaning component (unless of course you hold that God is sexually aroused by sacrifices made by humans). There is even less basis to your claim since it relates to two different words.

As for name calling, who have I been calling names? You can't even claim that I have been calling you names as you haven't given me a name to call you!

Then you write:

Fee's commentary (cited by Peter), which supports my view

HALOT (cited by Peter), which supports my view

HALOT's bibliography (cited by Peter), which supports my view

Babylonian talmud tractates (cited by Cheryl), which support my view

Please can we have some explanation here. You have expressed a number of views in this thread. What view is it which is supported by all four of these items? The view that Song of Songs 2:14 refers to a woman's voice as sexual attractive? Fee has nothing to say about this, and as I have proved nor does HALOT, although some of the many papers referred to in HALOT's bibliography might say this, but it is even harder to check all of them than to check the whole Talmud! The view that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is a later addition to the letter? Well, neither HALOT nor its bibliography has anything to say about that, and I would be very surprised if the Babylonian Talmud does either; anyway, we have not discussed this hypothesis for the origin of these two verses, but only an alternative hypothesis. Or your earlier insistence that Jewish tradition has nothing negative to say about a woman's role? Well, the Talmud itself is your source there, but HALOT and its bibliography have nothing to say on this issue, and Fee, in passing, presents some data (the Josephus quote and the Aalen reference) which appear to go against your position. I never said Fee was irrelevant, although I may have suggested that the hypothesis which you share with him that the verses are a later addition is of limited relevance to the discussion of an alternative hypothesis.

At Thu Nov 30, 05:13:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...


"(b) Cheryl, in support of her thesis, gives a certain interpretation of the Talmud which see says is not present in Scripture. (I cited Song of Songs 2:14; I could have also added Songs 8:13, but 8:13 is more obscure and the case there is weaker.)"

If the reference to Song of Solomon was implying that a woman's voice is a sexual incitement, then we should be able to find historical sources that forbid a woman from speaking in the congregation because her voice was sexually lewd or enticing. In my reading of scripture I have never seen any person stop a woman from speaking or refer to any law that stopped her because of sexual lewdness regarding her voice. I can appreciate that this is the interpretation of the Rabbis responsible for the Talmud and I can leave it with them. There is no reason to attribute these words to Paul as many Christians have. Paul never once attributed sexual lewdness to a woman's voice nor did he ever cite a non-Christian law in order to stop women's voices from being heard.

I appreciate Fee for many things especially since he stands up for the rights of women to speak and to use their gifts in the congregation. I do not agree that the two verses in question should be seen as an interpolation. If I remember right he cites some manuscripts which have these verses in a different place and takes that to mean that they could be looked on as being an addition. Yet if my recollection doesn’t fail me, every manuscript has these verses in them even if some have them in a different order. That speaks volumes to me concerning their inspiration. I am unconvinced by this argument for another reason. If you remove verse 34 from the context, you remove reference to the troublesome “law” but you still have Paul saying that women’s voices are filthy. If you remove both verses 34 & 35, then verse 36 has nothing to contradict. Previously I gave the references where the Greek shows a contradictory stance at the beginning of verse 36, contradicting the previous verses. If you remove the troublesome verses, then verse 36 stands out like a sore thumb. What on earth would Paul’s words be contradicting then? Then we would have to argue that we must remove verse 36 too. I don’t think so.

I think it much more reasonable to accept that this is a hard passage and understand that it has been difficult to interpret because we have assumed that the Old Testament had a law that prohibited women from speaking in the congregation and attributed their voices as a lewd act for some odd reason. It would have been far better for commentators to have admitted upfront that there is no such law in the Old Testament. While we may not be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt which non-Christian “law” was referenced, we certainly can prove that this “law” was contradicted by Paul. That really should be sufficient for us to release 1 Corinthians 14 as a stumbling block for allowing women to use their gifts and talents in the congregation for the benefit of our dear brothers in Christ.

At Thu Nov 30, 08:22:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Great question, Anon!

1 Timothy 2:11-15 is *definitely* canonical!

In my thesis I bring up the following facts:

(1) In context, Paul is dealing with false deceived teachers who are teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3, 7)

(2) Paul did not leave Timothy behind in Ephesus to stop the false teachers AND all women who are teaching correct biblical doctrine….he only left Timothy behind to stop the false teachers from teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3)

(3) Paul says that he too had been deceived and he received mercy because of he fought against the church because he was deceived by false doctrine and was ignorant of the truth (1 Tim 1:13, 16)

(4) Paul differentiates between those who were teaching false doctrines because they were ignorant and deceived (1 Tim. 1:3, 7) and those who were deliberate deceivers (1 Tim. 1:19, 20)

(5) Paul names the deceivers (1 Tim. 1:20) but he does not name the ones who are deceived (1 Tim. 1:3, 6)

(6) Paul gives instructions to Timothy regarding how the men and women who claim godliness should conduct themselves in the church while they are in the midst of the false teachers (1 Tim. 2:1-10)

(7) All Christians should be praying for the lost even those who are lost in their midst – those who are embroiled in false doctrine (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

(8) The Christian men in the congregation are not to handle the false teachers with argumentation that might come out even in their prayers (1 Tim. 2:8)

(9) The women in the congregation who lay claim to godliness (1 Tim. 2:10) need to handle this false teacher situation with prayer as well (1 Tim. 2:9 “likewise” links back to prayer) and continue to produce good works (1 Tim. 2:10) and not expect that it is their appearance with elaborate dressing that will show forth the godly example, but their godly works (1 Tim. 2:8-10)

(10) Paul then abruptly changes from the godly men and women (plural) to the singular form of woman and man.

(11) Before Paul gives the prohibition, he gives the solution to one of the problems in the church. Paul instructs that “a woman” is to be given the opportunity to learn. This identifies the problem that she is not one of the deceivers, but one of the deceived. Paul never educates the deceivers – he names them, exposes them and shuns them. His solution to deception is education and he never ever identifies the deceived.

(12) Paul tells Timothy that he is not allowing “a woman” to teach or authenteo “a man”. It is out of context to even consider that Paul is here stopping godly women from teaching correct biblical doctrine. In context this can only be the stopping of false doctrine and dealing with a false teacher. (1 Tim. 2:12)

(13) We know this is false teaching that is being stopped because Timothy’s mandate to stop the teachers was only for *false* teachers. Also in the example given later of why the teaching is to be stopped, Paul ties the prohibition into the example of the first deceived woman (1 Tim. 2:14)

(14) Whenever gune and aner are mentioned together in scripture in any type of relationship, they are always translated as husband and wife. Verse 12 should be translated as a single wife teaching/influencing her husband.

(15) Paul has several times not identified people by calling them “a man” yet the context clearly identifies the “a man” as a specific person (2 Cor. 12:2, 5; 1 Cor. 5:1)

(15) Paul identifies the reason why the first man was not deceived and why the woman was. He refers us back to Genesis to discover the reason by stating that the man was created first and was not deceived and the woman created second was deceived (1 Tim. 2:13, 14) cf (Gen. 2:8, 19)

(16) The grammar from verse 15 requires the identification of a single female to refer back to “a woman” from verse 12. The “she” from verse 15 cannot be Eve because the tense is future and Eve is dead.

(17) The only “she” in this entire passage that verse 15 can refer back to is “a woman” from verse 12. “She” and “they” are given instructions regarding her salvation and it is future tense.

(18) 1 Tim. 2:15 gives the answer to whether the deceived woman can receive salvation even though she has been deceived by false doctrine. She (refer back to verse 12 the deceived Ephesian woman) will be saved through the Messiah born of the woman (the childbearing which is a noun and not a verb), if they (refer back to verse 12 the deceived Ephesian woman and her husband) continue on in their faith in God, love for the Savior, holiness, and self-control to stay away from false doctrine. This is how one deceived woman will be saved (and is a pattern for the salvation of all deceived teachers).

(19) Summary: Paul was not making a universal prohibition that stopped godly women from teaching sound doctrine to men. He was stopping one of the false teachers in the assembly from taking her Christian husband down the proverbial garden path towards the forbidden fruit.

For a full media production with pictures depicting this you would have to buy the DVD.

Does that make sense?

At Thu Nov 30, 09:57:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...


Taking this thread down a 1 Tim 2:12 path is a long run, but I have to ask whether you have seen Dr. Nyland on the subject?

At Fri Dec 01, 02:24:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, I acknowledge that the interpretation of Song of Songs 2:14 as that the woman's voice is sexually enticing is a possible one. It is indeed an ancient one. But it seems to me that insistence on this interpretation to the exclusion of others is "the product of an impious dirty old man", unless we take Whiston's view that this is true of the whole book. So I am pleased to see that you have now distanced yourself from suggesting this.

But even if we accept that in this verse one man was saying that one woman's voice was at a particular time sexually enticing, and was encouraging encouraging her to speak, that is still a long way from the alleged position of some Rabbis that every woman's voice is always sexually enticing and therefore women's voices should never be heard. We must agree that many women's voices can be used in a sexually enticing way - and so can many men's voices, at least to entice women. In fact Paul has to warn against false teachers who are usually presumed to be male (although it would be interesting to consider whether they might have been women, as is sometimes suggested as the background for 1 Timothy 2), "men of depraved minds" (the TNIV rendering of anthropoi here!), who entice women with their false teaching with clear sexual overtones, although it is not clear that their voices were actually enticing (2 Timothy 3:6-9). But most men and women can choose to use their voices in a non-enticing way as well, and indeed have to for everyday life. So the fact that some women's and men's voices can be used in a sexually enticing way should not be used as an argument to ban all women or all men from teaching.

At Fri Dec 01, 07:11:00 AM, Blogger teknomom said...

Cheryl, that's the best interpretation of the passage in 1 Timothy 2 I've ever seen. The other theories always seem to stretch a little, but yours makes perfect sense of a most difficult writing, especially the "childbearing" part. Maybe I'll get some $$ for Christmas and I can order that DVD. :-)

At Fri Dec 01, 08:00:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Hi tknomom,

Thanks! I have been told that my exegesis is thought-provoking by many. One Pastor told me that the section on 1 Corinthians 11 on headcoverings was the best exegesis he had ever heard on that passage and I was told the same thing by another Pastor concerning 1 Corinthians 14, the passage that this thread is on. I think you will enjoy it. It is also visually entertaining (I may be biased but I have also been told that by many people.) You can see reviews of the DVD at

teknomom you made my day!

codepoke: no, I have not seen Dr. Nyland's material on the subject. Where would I see that?


At Fri Dec 01, 09:15:00 AM, Blogger codepoke said...


The pertinent translation and notes are here, though there is a lot more material available higher up the URL.

At Fri Dec 01, 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

codepoke: Thanks for the link. I will have a look.

At Fri Dec 01, 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

I've been thinking.......while the laws in the Talmud may be binding for followers of the oral tradition, and the writings (sayings) may not be looked on as such a strict law, it seems that the writings are followed just as strongly. Case in point, how come women were not allowed to read the Torah in the synagogue? At least I have never seen anything from the "law" that gave them permission to speak forth from the Torah in the congregation. Perhaps then it may be merely a difference in semantics but in reality it is followed in the same way.

At Fri Dec 01, 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

Hi Anon,

Not sure if you will be around to read this or not. I actually wasn't referring to women praying but reading the Torah. I have never seen that she (they) were given permission to do that or that they ever practiced it. This is fairly consistent with many churches who share a complementarian view. They reason that since only Adam was given the prohibition by God directly, then only men are allowed to speak for God or to teach His Word authoritatively. Most people have missed the fact that after Eve was created, God spoke to both of them and told them both what they could eat. Eve was not left out of the relationship with God and she too received God’s instructions.

I realize that there is a vast difference between the Sadduccees and the Pharisees. However in my research on the Talmud, I learned that the Talmud is the teachings of the Pharisees and reading it will take me back to the understanding of the Pharisees in Jesus day.

You said that learning about Judaism would be best through someone who is in that faith. I am wondering how that would help when one isn’t even required to believe in basic doctrines except that God is one. Sounds like it might be better to read about Judaism from Jewish sources that lay out the basic doctrine. Besides I don’t have anyone to ask and I read quite well.

I am wondering if you also believe that to understand Christianity it would be wise to talk to someone who is a follower of Christ and believes all of the historic doctrines including the need to be born again. I noticed that Peter told you the position of the Christian church that the woman’s voice is not considered a sexual part of her. But I don't think you believed him. I would think it might be good to listen to someone who holds the Christian faith than to consult books that must be interpreted through your own bias. We all have a bias, so sometimes we just have to believe the other person that this is their faith and the faith of Christianity. I have been through a number of churches and denominations and I can attest to the fact that none of them considered the woman’s voice to be a sexual incitement. We can accept you saying that this is a part of Judaism whether it is a law or not and I think it would be good for you to hear Peter too. If you wanted to do a mini survey, you could ask a hundred Christians when having a woman speak in front of a Christian group would her voice be considered a sexual incitement to them. To make it fair let’s put her in a burka so we can’t see her. I have one if you would like to borrow it :)

At Sun Dec 03, 02:46:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Anon, I won't take advantage of your absence by having the last word, after my own probably briefer absence. I will simply note that you have, if not conceded my point, at least confirmed my suspicion concerning "he alleged position of some Rabbis that every woman's voice is always sexually enticing and therefore women's voices should never be heard". For you have confirmed that some Rabbis, or at least some of those responsible for the sayings in the Aggadah if they can correctly be called Rabbis, did in fact hold this position. But I am glad that this material was judged to be Aggadah and so non-binding, just as I am glad that most Christians, as well as Jews, have taken a rather similar position concerning the passage in Ben Sira which I recently discussed. And since we seem to be agreed on this now, I am wondering why we have largely wasted our time in many of the preceding 150 comments. If you had simply started this thread by explaining briefly that the passages Wayne had quoted were Aggadah rather than Halachah, we could have avoided a lot of conflict.


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