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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A long story

A long story: part I

The notes on my conversation with Dr. Waltke are still under a lot of other stuff and will stay there for a few more weeks. I never really thought of how much mess a bathroom reno could make - a lot! They are down to the joists and still assessing the feasibility of rebuilding the bathroom vs tearing the whole house down.

However, I can share another minor point. I had been reading Al Wolters' book, The Song of the Valiant Women, which I enjoyed tremendously. Now there was absolutely nothing in that book that was the least bit pro-feminist but it was an excellent read if you like 25 pages on the "distaff" and that sort of thing. I adore that stuff so I really loved the book.

I mentioned Wolter's book to Dr. Waltke, because he quotes it in his commentary on Proverbs and I wanted to show off that I had read his commentary. Since it is two volumes of about 800 pages each, I hadn't actually read it, but, well, I wanted to look smart - of course. And, I had read Wolters', 154 pages, the entire thing, that is more my speed.

Anyway ... to make a short story long .... one of the things I really liked about Wolters' book is where he discusses "wisdom" in Proverbs 31:27,
    She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

    צוֹפִיָּה, הילכות (הֲלִיכוֹת) בֵּיתָה;
    וְלֶחֶם עַצְלוּת, לֹא תֹאכֵל.

    ṣwōfîyâ hălîḵwōṯ bêṯāh
    wəleḥem ‘aṣəlûṯ lō’ ṯō’ḵēl:

    tzofiyah, hylchvt (halichot) beitah;
    velechem atzlut, lo tochel.
Wolters comments that the first word in this verse, צוֹפִיָּה, has an unusual form - it is a participle. It is also an unusual spelling for the participle since both vowels are written in full. Wolters believes, and I can see no difficulty with this suggestion, that the word is intended to be a play on words and is a transliteration of σοφία - wisdom - in Greek.

He also mentions that the participle fits into the acrostic better, since this form begins with the consonant צ. It gives the passage a hymnic style. And it follows on the previous verse,
    "She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
very nicely.

I like this kind of thing and I mentioned it to Dr. Waltke, who responded that yes, wasn't it interesting and Al is now proposing to demonstrate that Junia is a transliteration of Jechoniah, and therefore, male. All Al needs to do to support this theory is prove that Junia was not that popular a name and that Jechoniah was. Something like that. I don't have this recorded. We were still at the fetching coffee stage.

So I really should email Michael Burer and let him know that he doesn't have to defend his "Junia hypothesis", he can just wait for Wolters' research. Obviously Wolters feels there is a need for a backup for the previous hypothesis.

However, in a sneak preview, I googled and found that there were approximately 250 ancient mentions of Junia, about 12 for Junius, one for Junios, and none for Junias. As for Hebrew names, Johanna was one of the five most common women's names and Jechoniah, although I have no reason to think it unpopular, is not among the top ten for men. Also, Jechoniah is already transliterated in Matt. 112 as Ἰεχονίας. It seems highly unlikely to me that this could come out as Ιουνιας as it comes from a Hebrew original יְכָנְיָה which transliterates as either yechaneyah or yəḵānəyâ. I just can't see it losing the 'k'. However, I suppose it is possible - anything is possible.

So, that was one interesting part of the conversation between Dr. Waltke and myself. I wasn't too upset about it because he seemed a little unsure of the details.

A long story: part II

After this discussion I got to thinking that I recognized Al Wolters' name and that I had been influenced by his writing elsewhere. The truth is that I like the way he writes, and share his interest in language, even if he might not accord me functional equality, female that I am.

Where I first ran into Wolters' writing was in Evangelicalism and Biblical Truth. Dr. Grudem has included in this book Wolters' full review of a book by the Kroeger's. The inclusion of this kind of material makes EF&BT look scholarly.

However, on Adrian's blog I claimed that "In fact, Dr. Grudem's entire section on Junia is riddled with factual errors". (I still think it is but won't go into the reasons here. I have defended my position and it is in Michael Burer's court now. There were other reasons as well.)

At the time Dr. Grudem responded,
    Nor does my section on Junia in Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth have any "factual errors" known to me (it has been out now for two years). I try to be extremely careful in all my citations of fact in what I publish and it seems to me inappropriate for McCarthy to make an unsupported blanket accusation that my work is "riddled with factual errors." This is intemperate, polemical language rather than argument, and I consider it a false accusation.
I felt a little embarrassed about this actually so let me show you where I got this kind of language from and why I think Dr. Grudem should edit his book Ev. Fem and Bib. Truth - while he is in the mood for such things. In his book, Grudem first quotes Tom Schreiner on the Kroeger's book I Suffer Not a Woman. Schreiner writes,
    Unfortunately, the Kroeger's reconstruction is riddled with methodological errors. ... The lack of historical rigor, if I can say this kindly, is nothing less than astonishing." Ev. Fem & Bib. Truth, page 284.
It is possible that there are errors in the Kroeger's book. I have not read it but Schreiner does not quote any unequivocal error.

However, Wolters' review is reproduced in toto and he does pinpoint some errors in the Kroegers' book. He writes
    In fact, it is not too much to say that their book is precisely the sort of thing that has too often given evangelical scholarship a bad name. There is little in the main thesis that can withstand serious scrutiny, and there is a host of subordinate detail that is misleading or downright false. ... Their scholarly documentation is riddled with elementary linguistic blunders. page 286

    Their argument is a travesty of sound scholarship. page 313
Wolters then goes on to tear apart the Kroegers' discussion of the word αυθεντειν,
    Ignoring the fact that authentein is attested in New Testament times in the meaning "have authority over", they take their point of departure in the meaning "originate,"a rare sense of the verb which is not attested before the fourth century AD.
Here Wolters shows himself to be completely unaware of the fact that authentein is not attested as having the meaning "have authority over" in New Testament times, in spite of the fact that Baldwin's notes are included in an appendix of Grudem's book. However, the notes are uncorrected and continue to report the false information that authentein had one occurence before the fourth century in which it meant "have authority over". That was a mistranslation cleared up later by Linda Belleville*.

But what are some of the other elementary linguistic blunders - surely not this. In fact, here is an example of some of the errors Wolters finds in the Kroegers' book. He complains that they misspell Hygeiea as Hygeia and Aretalogy as Aretology. If Wolters had had google when he wrote this review he would know that these words have two legitimate spellings. What a nitpick! It is possible that some of his other examples are actual errors. I haven't read the book and I have no idea.

But, here is my point. Grudem's book does have errors. He quotes studies that are not done rigourously and he doesn't deal with that. He says things in the main text that counter his footnotes. I point this out. I point out that in his other book he has not checked the lexicon on aner and he misspells Koehler-Baumgartner as Bahmgarter. He should be grateful to me and use this as an opportunity to edit his books.

But no, he says that when I use language like "riddled with factual error" this is "intemperate, polemical language." When Wolters uses this kind of language Grudem quotes this phrase of Wolters not once, but three times. He quoted the phrase of Wolters "riddled with elementary linguistic blunders" and I was exposed to this kind of language and it lodged itself in my brain to emerge the next time I ran into Dr. Grudem on the internet on Adrian's blog. There it is - I was influenced by this kind of writing and I gave in to temptation. (Anyway, I am relieved to find that I have imitated a phrase from Wolters and not Grudem.)

What I am wondering is whether there is official sanction for this kind of double standard - that language like this is eminently honourable if you are a guy, and "intemperate" if you are a gal like me. Is this in one of Dr. Grudem's charts on biblical manhood and womanhood? It is not as if I can't back up my accusations with facts.

Well, I shall still read Wolters' books anyway. They tend to have the odd fascinating tidbit in them. I just wish that people would realize that Grudem's books are somewhat in the category of the accusations which Grudem quotes against the Kroegers. I won't say anything more myself, I don't want to be thought of as "unladylike" - oh no.

I just think it is pretty sad that there can't be a level playing field. It could be a lot of fun if there was.

*Linda Belleville, In Discovering Biblical Equality:
Complementarity Without Hierarchy 2005.

Kroeger, Richard Clark and Catherine Clark Kroeger, I Suffer not a woman: Rethinking 1 Tim. 2:11-15 in light of ancient evidence. 1992.

PS Day 8 Dog, cat, fish and plumber are all still alive and intact.


At Thu Aug 23, 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Esteban Vázquez said...

What I am wondering is whether there is official sanction for this kind of double standard - that language like this is eminently honourable if you are a guy, and "intemperate" if you are a gal like me.

Well, of course there is! But sadly you didn't get the explanatory memo on this matter due to your, um, biological deficiencies.

Is this in one of Dr. Grudem's charts on biblical manhood and womanhood?

Perhaps it is--I imagine that right along with Dr. Piper's suggestion that maybe women shouldn't be, like, bus drivers.

Anyway, the whole discussion of whether "Junia" is actually a female name seems just odd to me. But then I'm Eastern Orthodox and St Junia is right there in the Calendar, under May 17.

At Thu Aug 23, 03:38:00 AM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

I am so pleased about the cat, the dog, and the fish.

At Thu Aug 23, 08:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, all of this has got to be frustrating for you.

Such double standards are discouraging.

But just so you know, Waltke's commentary is worth the read. I have 75 pages left in the first volume.

At Thu Aug 23, 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Well, I own Wolters book because it was on discount for $10.00. However, I don't own Waltke's commentary. That is the real difference - to tell the truth. I am sure it is worth reading and I have scanned it in the library.

At Thu Aug 23, 10:52:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


If the Orthodox church can live with a female apostle then I don't see why others can't arrange to do that as well. To think that this is occupying theologians, supposedly. Very silly.

Of course, I am silly to rebut them but I mourn the loss of the King James Bible. It is no longer any kind of standard and it turns out that Grudem doesn't even remember what was in it. So those of us who are old fashioned are at a loss.

And yes, I think a woman can drive as well as a man but a man should drive so that the woman can navigate. "Men lead and women guide." that is the latest from John Ensor. ;-)

At Fri Aug 24, 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

If Wolters thinks there is a Greek word in Proverbs, he is clearly denying its Solomonic authorship and probably implying that it is a Hellenistic composition. This makes him a strange ally of Grudem et al, perhaps an embarrassing one for them if made public in the right way. But what does Wolters actually write about the date of Proverbs?

I have scanned it in the library.

What, all 1600 pages with a Canoscan LIDE 70? That must have taken some time, and breached copyright. Or do you mean you skim read it?

a woman can drive as well as a man but a man should drive so that the woman can navigate.

Oh no! Anything but that! Everyone knows that women can't read maps! ;-)

At Fri Aug 24, 01:26:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ha. I definitely did not "scan" it. Forget that.

On dating Wolters writes,

"the song was probably composed some time after Alexander's conquest, presumabaly in the third century."

"Consequently the song was added to the canonical book shortly after being composed, which accounts for its position as the last of a number of appendices to the work."
pages 40-41

Wolters considers the pun to be a "cleverly veiled bar in a religious polemic" between the Jewish view of Godly down-to-earth wisdom, and the Hellenistic view of wisdom.

At Sat Aug 25, 03:25:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

So what evidence do you have that this has to do with your being a woman? Normally that sort of charge requires showing that Grudem has done this with other women.

A much more likely explanation is that Grudem, like most people, is more likely to say this sort of thing about people who disagree with him and then complain about it when people who disagree with say it themselves.

At Sat Aug 25, 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


That is a possibility. But considering this article, I jumped to a conclusion.

Now here is the problem. This is what Rebecca wrote about Grudem's book in Nov. 2005.

If you, like me, are not a scholar, you'll appreciate that while Wayne Grudem is a scholar--and this is a very scholarly piece--it is still quite readable and understandable for the nonscholar.

[1]This doesn't mean I am simply what Grudem calls an "instinctive complementatian". In fact, my instinctive (or default) position would probably have been more toward egalitarianism.

Rebecca is an intelligent woman who knows the Bible and knows theology. However, she has been persuaded by Grudem's rhetoric to see value in his teaching on biblical womanhood.

She continues,

However, every argument I heard egalitarians make sounded "grasping" and flimsy, so I began to view the whole viewpoint with suspicion. After all, if your best arguments are a stretch, it doesn't matter much that you've got a whole slew of them--support for your argument is still weak.

I am persuaded that the Bible does not fully support either the egalitarian agenda nor the complementarian agenda. But she needs to know exactly how flimsy Grudem's arguments are. If flimsy arguments discount a position then his books discount his position. His quotes of the lexicons and KJB are sometimes flawed.

I prefer to think that Rebecca would do well to forget the writing of both sides and ask God what He wants of her. Does a woman want to preach God's word? Does she want to teach exegesis, does she want to enable men to understand and read the Biblical languages, whatever God has given a woman to do, she ought to do that, and not look at Grudem's lists. It is a complete tragedy. To use a word in Grudem's book, it is a travesty.

Who is going to explain to women that Grudem's books do not reflect God's will for women. Are his colleagues stepping in? Someone has to. Have you read this?


please understand that I am not aiming this at you, or at every complementarian. I haven't even used that word for a year except in quotes by people like Dan Wallace. What he said about the two camps was very unpleasant but I didn't write it, I quoted it. I have deliberately not used that term in a derogatory manner for almost a year. I know its hard to believe, but I have carefully edited for this because I have some friends here who are complementarian.

I am specifically taking apart the non-Biblical aspects of the Manhood and Womanhood teaching because I believe that it denies decision-making power to women and impacts in an extremely negative way on their life.


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