Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Do I allow a woman to teach men?

A very good question, Michael. Do you? I need to store this post somewhere and my favourites don't work as well as the blog. This post has a long comment thread which has embedded in it something I am reading about. Hmm.


Bill said...

I haven't checked the link yet, Suzanne. But if you're onto what I think you are, I think it's well worth considering. I may have told you once before I suspect Paul's comment to Timothy was not only personal opinion but also very particularly related to the church history in Ephesus. In other words, Timothy had been dealing there with some strong Judaizing men (Alexander & Hymenaeus) who were making much hay of the way Paul treated Priscilla and Junia as equals. So if one of the the controversies was over propriety in discipleship, there may have been some debate on whether Paul expected Junia to train her own _male_ disciples or _A_ male disciple [to become an apostle]. In other words, it wouldn't have been seen as appropriate for _a_ woman to be the in charge of training _a_ man as an apostle. And of course, as I've said elsewhere, it wouldn't really be appropriate for _a_ man to have that kind of intimate relationship with _a_ woman either, now would it? But I take it Paul had no need to defend against that inverse criticism.

Sure, it's all speculation, and I won't go into the greek. But if the context of "teach a man" is a one-on-one discipleship... well, that might at least add a wrinkle or two, eh?

I'm all about story, speculation though it may be. My questions are: How well does it fit what we know? And how plausible is it? But I do believe Titus and Epaphras are referred to as "apostles" in the Greek of 2nd Cor. & Php. And I do believe the hall of tyrannus was for training the next generation of apostles, including the men of Acts 20:2 as well as Andronicus, Junia and Erastus (who must have stayed in Illyricum/West Macedonia). AND I'm convinced 1st Tim. was written in 57 AD, handed to Timothy at Troas. So I admit that's a lot of unproven assumptions. And I don't assume it's ALL true, but it may spark some better perspective, upon consideration.

Still, without ALL that...

I would still consider that ancient ideas of education were far more toward the model of intimate relationships between a tutor/rabbi/grammaticus and some pupils. So the gender may only be a problem because it's singular AND because it's expected to be so intimate.

Just giving you more to think about. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Sam C said...

Wow, a lot of comments there, very interesting discussion.

Suzanne: can I again urge & encourage you to consider bringing together some of your research into various semi-formal papers?

I think this would really (i) help strengthen your arguments & make them more persuasive, & (ii) invite more interaction from comp's, and make it harder for them to avoid responding.

It seems to me that currently you're often spending quite a bit of time repeatedly making technical arguments which don't end up being engaged with, and are often somewhat hampered by the medium of blog posts and comments.

I say all this as I'd really like to see your efforts engaged with!

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I learned a lot from that. Thanks. I read it once and I will reread it and let it sink in.

Sam C,

Thanks so much. I always feel that there is one tiny trail left that I have not worked through.

Oddly it is not always visible but I do engage. In the thread in the post I linked to here, Dan Wallace came on and we had an exchange which gave me invaluable insight into the comp position.

Just tonight on another thread, chez Dennyburk, I learned some more information that was quite valuable. I might blog about it soon. I am always learning.

However, your point is well taken. You are reading my research notes here. Fun, eh?

Sam C said...

Hi Suzanne,

Yup, I read (all!) the comments in that thread and noted your discussion with Dan, which was in part what prompted me to comment here; from my perspective it didn't seem like either of your arguments were substantially addressed by the other.. Sounds like it was productive for you at least though :)

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You're amazing because I would never plow through a long thread. However, having examined Wallace's arguments, I think at this point, on reflection, that they support my case more than his.

The problem is that you never want to bring up an issue in public unless you know for sure what the other person's argument is going to be. No point in publishing something that can be torn down.

Bill's comments are also helpful.

Sam C said...

Fair enough. And I just noticed your paper on aner - good work!

Iyov said...

Forgive this off-topic comment, but I just wanted to mention how happy I am that you are blogging regularly. I must say that this is a far more interesting blog than many of the gender blogs I've seen. Keep it up!

Bill said...

No point in publishing something that can be torn down.

Bill's comments are also helpful.

What an ironic juxtaposition, but I'm glad you feel that way! ;)

I say ironic because speculation seems easy to 'tear down'. But then again, imagination sometimes gets us to places normal thinking just can't. Like how Newton's thought experiment with an imaginary cannonball helped him envision a theory of planetary [orbital] gravitation. So in that sense, I say: post what may yet be torn down. If we trust in the truth, then it must yet come out! :)

And yeah. Keep on blogging!

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Men are allowed to speculate in this game and women are not. Women gamble for their soul. Playing dice with devil.

Eternal subordination on one side and hell on the other. Women don't find much about this that invites speculation. We pay in blood.

However, Bill, I am interested in your speculation. It is quite cohesive.


Thanks, a little on Paul in my next post just for you.

Bill said...

Ah. And you do spill your share.

"Cohesive"? Good word. I thank you. :)

Once I get to the 50's AD at year-by-year, I'm going to do my best to lay out the logistical details. It actually depends a lot on Ramsay's South Galatian Theory and how long it took Paul to get to "Illyricum". But with those in place, my placement of 1 Tim at Troas in 57 AD fits perfectly.

I believe I can also put Junia plausibly in Ephesus, based on Romans 16 & Acts 20:2. And I imagine it won't be too hard to build a case that Priscilla (and Junia) were a bother to Alexander & Hymenaeus. But then there's the third challenge of defending a view on the troublesome verses. Those last two are fields I don't really know how to argue in...

So anything you want to do to help, go for it!

And if you want more detail on my Ephesus scenario, just ask. :)