Codepoke, sorry for reinventing the wheel! But I am glad for any added exposure that reference to an oral law gets for understanding 1 Cor. 14:34-35.
Also check out Codepoke's other related posts in his series.
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Now notice how much more time and energy is required to process unnatural English:
- John is sick today.
- Should we shop for groceries after supper?
- Mary sprained her ankle this morning.
- I've been praying for you every day.
- Adam made love to his wife Eve.
- Finally, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on top of the temple.
- On the day of Pentecost all the Lord's followers were together in one place.
Natural language translations not only take less time and energy to process, but they actually communicate messages more accurately. There is less artificial ambiguity which you may have to wade through to try to figure out what message was intended.
- John is experiencing illness today.
- Should we obtain that which can sustain us after we partake of our evening meal?
- I make petitions to God for you upon every remembrance of you.
- Adam knew his wife.
- In the end, the devil took Jesus into Jerusalem and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple.
- See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.
- May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
there is no mental blip. I think every native speaker of a standard dialect of English understands immediately what they have read. The message comes through without "noise". They can concentrate on the message and not on any communicative "bumps" due to use of obsolete or other unnatural wordings for current, natural good quality English.
- Adam made love to his wife Eve. She became pregnant
- Then Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she became pregnant.
And Jesus began to speak, 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.
And Jesus answered them saying,
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (KJV)A number of more recent translations, however, clearly indicate that Paul is quoting the Corinthians, which is, in my opinion, correct:
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)
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)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.
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)
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."
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.
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.
"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.Paul next chastises the Corinthians, apparently for following the oral law silencing women:
"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."
36. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?)Dr. Nyland translates Paul's disagreement even more forcefully:
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)
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.
In our day, the word "literal" has undergone something of a shift in meaning. Today, "literal" is often opposed to "figurative." "Jesus died on a cross" is considered a literal statement, but "God's mighty right hand brought Israel out of Egypt" is considered a figurative statement, because God does not have a material body, which means necessarily that he does not have a right hand, at least in the way we normally conceive of right hands. I believe these distinctions must be recognized when one approaches Scripture, and if one prefers to use the term "literal" in opposition to "figurative," then I have no quarrel with that use of the term. In this sense, then, many parts of the Bible should be interpreted literally and many parts should not.I agree with Aaron and have often posted on this blog about translation of figurative language in the Bible.
Sometimes, however, I hear the word "literal" used in another sense, and it is this sense that I think is wrong. Some people say, "Do you take that literally?" to mean, "Do you think that text should be applied to our lives as it stands?" An example of this usage of the term would be to say, "I do not interpret 1 Timothy 2:11-15 literally because I think women should not be forbidden from serving as pastors today," or, conversely, "I interpret 1 Timothy 2:11-15 literally because I think women should be forbidden from serving as pastors today." In actuality, the word "literally" does not belong in this kind of conversation.While I understand Aaron's point, I think there are so many people who use the term "literal interpretation" for precisely this approach to any Bible passage, namely, that of taking it at its face value, with the normal meaning that most people would get from it, without reference to any historical, cultural, or theological context which might lead us not to understand the passage as it initially sounds. For many people, find some meaning to a passage other than the most direct one that seems to present itself is akin to not taking the Bible seriously, not believing it as we should, and even, sometimes, beginning the "slippery slope" towards liberalism, postmodernism, or any other approach to the Bible which is disapproved of by those who approach the Bible as, well, "literally" as possible.
ὡς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς κεφαλὴ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, αὐτὸς σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματοςliterally translated:
as also the Christ [is] Head of the church, he [is] Saviour of the body.I'm not sure why TNIV rearranges this to:
as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.(nor why "Saviour" merits a capital letter but "head" does not). For the identification of the body with the church is left implicit here, and in verse 30, although it is of course explicit in 1:22-23. Indeed, and here I partially correct what I noted in a comment on a previous post, Colossians 1:18 is the only place where Paul explicitly describes Christ as "the Head of the body". Also, despite the NASB mistranslation of Colossians 2:10, the only place where Christ is called "Head over" anything at all is in Ephesians 1:22-23, where he is described as:
head over everything for the church, which is his body (TNIV).Thus there is no justification for the claim that Christ is "head over the church", or for assuming that "head of the body" implies a hierarchy.
the husband is the head of the wife (TNIV)?The connection with "as" makes it certain that "head" is being used in the same way in both halves of the verse. We must therefore conclude that the husband is to be understood as the saviour of the wife. How so? For an explanation we need to move on to verses 25-27:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (TNIV).Christ by his sacrificial love as expressed on the cross was able to save the church. And in the same way husbands are expected to "save" their wives by loving them in a self-sacrificial way.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (TNIV).Thus the submission of a wife to her husband is only an example of the submission of any believer to any other, including by implication the husband to his wife.
Thank the LORD God of Israel through all eternity!Happy Thanksgiving to each of our American blog visitors. And may all of us, regardless of our citizenship, thank God daily for how good he is to us.
Amen and amen! (Ps. 41:13 GW)
I will always thank you, God, for what you have done;
in the presence of your people
I will proclaim that you are good. (Ps. 52:9 TEV)
Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving;
go into its courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise him. (Ps. 100:4 TEV)
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Cor. 15:57 RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, TEV, HCSB)
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Cor. 9:15 NIV, TNIV, NRSV, NET)
Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. (Phil. 4:6 CEV)
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!In contrast, here are some wordings which sound like they were not written by mother tongue translators:
Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Deacons must also be of good character. They must not be two-faced or addicted to alcohol.
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.
Because of the ground that is dismayed, since there is no rain on the land, the farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads.Can you spot wordings in the second group of verses which do not sound quite like any kind of standard English? Can you mention other wordings in English Bibles which you have spotted which do not sound like they were translated by mother tongue speakers of English? Feel free to list them in the comments to this post.
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion are held back from me.
There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Sin began with a woman, and we must all die because of her. Don't let a bad wife have her way, any more than you would allow water to leak from your cistern. If she won't do as you tell her, divorce her.Where does that come from? Believe it or not, these words are in the Good News Translation of the Bible, recently reviewed by Rick Mansfield. But they are in a book which I do not accept as authoritative. I don't think I could accept a Christian faith which required me to accept the above as authoritative teaching.
And the other Books (as Hierome [= Jerome] saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:(The list is of course of the books of the so-called Apocrypha.)
The Third Book of Esdras, The rest of the Book of Esther,
The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Wisdom,
The Book of Tobias, Jesus the Son of Sirach,
The Book of Judith, Baruch the Prophet,
The Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasses,
The Story of Susanna, The First Book of Maccabees,
Of Bel and the Dragon, The Second Book of Maccabees.
12 Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it.(Romans 5:12, GNT)
3 A man should fulfil his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfil her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs. ... 10 For married people I have a command which is not my own but the Lord's: a wife must not leave her husband; 11 but if she does, she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and a husband must not divorce his wife.Thanks to Ethel Saltz on the b-hebrew list for bringing the Sirach passage to my attention.(1 Corinthians 7:4,10-11, GNT)
I have found in 1 Corinthians 6:4 a possible parallel to the wording in Romans 16:7 about Junia the probable apostle. And here also the meaning is debated. Here is the second half of the verse in Greek and with my literal translation:
τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε;
(as for) the ones who are despised in/among the church, do you seat (as judges) these?
Note that the question mark has been added by the editors of the Greek text (UBS 4th edition). There is nothing in the Greek to indicate clearly whether this is a question, a statement, or a command. So this is one of the two main issues in this verse. The other is, are the despised people here members of the church, or are they people whom the church despises? It is on this second point that we see the parallel with Romans 16:7, for in both places we have an evaluative comment about people followed with ἐν (en) plus the dative.
appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!
(The NIV marginal reading has the same wording rephrased as a question.) Fee notes (my emphasis) that:
In making the clause and ironic imperative, the NIV follows a long interpretive tradition. In this case the verb must take the meaning of "appoint judges" and the object must refer to insiders, "those of little account" within the church itself. However, this interpretation faces the nearly insuperable difficulties of having an imperative appear as the final word in a sentence, especially in an instance where irony is the intent, and Paul's use of such pejorative language - even in irony - to speak of fellow believers (see below).
It is interesting that TNIV has changed this verse significantly, and not just to remove the unjustified gender bias of "men":
do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?
Thus TNIV (not surprisingly, since Fee is a member of the Committee on Bible Translation) seems to follow Fee's second and favoured option (my emphasis):
The alternative, also adopted by a long line of scholars and translations, is to see the sentence as a question and the object as outsiders, "those who have no standing at all in the church."
Fee quotes with approval the NEB rendering:
how can you entrust jurisdiction to outsiders, men who count for nothing in our community?
A little later he continues:
The more difficult item is the object, "those held in disdain"; but this is true for either interpretation. In fact, as noted before, it is difficult to imagine Paul, even in irony, so referring to fellow believers - especially in light of 12:21-25, where he attempts to disabuse the Corinthians of viewing the body of Christ in such a way. Furthermore, the softening to "even men of little account" simply has no lexical basis.34 In the view adopted here, Paul would not mean that Christians despise the pagan judges - that, too, is a totally un-Pauline view - but that they are those people whose values and judgments the church has rejected by its adoption of totally different standards.
The problem with Fee's preference as expressed in TNIV is that it requires that ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ is read effectively as "by the church", specifying the subject of "despise". But if this verse is a true parallel (an antithetical parallel, in fact) with Romans 16:7 this interpretation is rule out. For we are forced to understand τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους, the ones who are despised, as ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ in the sense "in or among the church", and so members of it. For, if the arguments we have looked at concerning Junia are valid, the grammar, as well as consistency within Paul's theology, demands that "despised" cannot be the attitude held by or among church members, but rather the attitude held towards these members.
Given the situation in Corinth, I would be reluctant to rule out completely the NIV interpretation that this refers to church members who are despised by other church members. After all, Paul does continue "I say this to shame you" (6:5, NIV and TNIV), so he is not necessarily agreeing with their assessment. But I do see the force of Fee's objection to this understanding.
So I find myself obliged to accept, more or less, the explanation suggested in Fee's footnote 34:
One solution for this point of view is to see the word as designating believers from the pagan point of view, as in 1:28. But in such a case it would still divide the house, as it were, and the irony would be completely lost.
Well, it seems to me that ἐν (en) "divides the house" only to the extent that there is a necessary division between those chosen as judges and others. But Paul does not specify the subject of "despise"; it certainly includes outsiders but may also include the church members whom Paul so roundly condemns, even in this very chapter.
As for "the irony would be completely lost", there is no good reason to assume that there is irony in this verse, although there is condemnation. It could be a non-ironic statement or command. But it makes sense as a statement only if the despised ones are outsiders, the judges of verse 1. And Fee claims that "having an imperative appear as the final word in a sentence" is a nearly insuperable difficulty; can anyone confirm that? But if this is a rhetorical question, there must be some irony here.
So I find myself, despite Fee's comments, drawn back to something rather like the original NIV version, but without its gender bias and also without the irony signalled by the exclamation mark, so something like:
appoint as judges the "despised people" in the church.Or maybe the rather odd Greek grammatical structure can be interpreted in some kind of conditional sense, so:
if any in the church are despised people, appoint them as judges.I would be very interested in any comments on this verse, as I need guidance on how to translate it.
Belleville includes the following information in her footnotes.
This certainly looks like a parallel for Romans 16:7.
According to the latest ranking on CBA website, ESV surpassed HCSB and was #5 on the list last month. HCSB was #7. I have no idea how this happened. I personally prefer HCSB over ESV.I don't know how that happened either. As foreign man did, I checked the rankings a few days ago and HCSB was in the middle of the sales rankings. The ESV was not in the top 10 rankings.
Part of the jump from the previous month (when the ESV wasn’t on the bestseller list) stems from the Spread the Word campaign, which offers a fifty-cent New Testament through Christian bookstores.
There remains to be presented about 10 texts which support the understanding that Andronicus and Junia are outstanding among the apostles. I realize that the minute detail of this study may have lost many, but it must be remembered that the literal understanding of God's word has been altered to suit the article written by Wallace and Burer. Surely this makes it worthwhile.
The King James Version presents a somewhat ambiguous translation, "of note among the apostles". I am concerned that any Bible would depart at this point from a literal and ambiguous reading. To be so sure as to read into the text information which is not there on the basis of evidence in Wallace and Burer's article is surely a misjudgement.