Secondly, there seems to be no basis for the claim that auvqente,w in 1 Tim. 2.12 has a pejorative connotation, as in ‘usurp authority’ or ‘domineer’. Although it is possible to identify isolated cases of a pejorative use for both authentew and authentia, these are not found before the fourth century AD.135 Overwhelmingly, the authority to which authentes ‘master’ and all its derivatives refer is a positive or neutral concept.136First, most other authors do not cite authentes as evidence. If someone asks me I will find a citation on why that is so. Andreas Kostenberger does not cite it so I will let it pass for another time. Tonight I will write about the verb authentew. According to Wolters' we should restrict this discussion to occurrences of the verb authentew before the fourth century AD.
There are four occurrences in the running. However, let's examine a statement by Kostenberger first from July 30, 2008 on Between Two Worlds.
- What, in essence, is the argument of the book?
..... H. S. Baldwin takes up the matter of the likely meaning of authentein. The KJV translates this word “usurp authority,” and more recently many feminists, such as I. H. Marshall, have argued that the word has a negative connotation. If so, they say, Paul prohibited only women’s negative exercise of authority in the church, as well as women’s false teaching, not their exercise of these functions, properly conceived. Baldwin’s study shows that authentein was an exceedingly rare word in NT times that occurs in the NT only in 1 Tim 2:12 and elsewhere only once or twice prior to the writing of 1 Timothy.3. So, then, in the case of 1 Tim 2:12, is the word study method by itself inconclusive?
Yes, I believe that’s right. The fact that lexical study in this case, owing to the limited data, of necessity remains inconclusive leads naturally to the next chapter in the book, where I consider the sentence structure of 1 Tim 2:12. Specifically, I proceed from the known to the unknown. The first word linked by the Greek coordinating conjunction oude (“or”) is the word “teach,” didaskein, which is frequently used in the Pastoral Epistles and virtually always has a positive connotation, referring to the instruction of the congregation by the pastors and elders of the church (e.g. 1 Tim 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2).
The upshot, then, is the following: if didaskein (“to teach”) has a positive connotation and oude (“or”) always links verbs of like connotation, it logically (and syntactically) follows that authentein must have a positive connotation as well, thus invalidating the argument by most evangelical feminists.
In his second response he says that didaskein - to teach - "virtually always" has a positive connotation in the pastoral epistles. But here is Titus 1:10-11,
- For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
However, didaskein has a connotation which runs from negative to positive. We know that. So, does authentein also have a connotation that also runs from negative to positive? Let's look at the evidence.
- 1) Philodemus, Rhet. 2.133 Sudhaus (= P.Herc. 220), dated to the mid-first century BC. If Sudhaus’s restoration of the fragmentary text is correct, then the verb authentew occurs here for the first time. He restores the text as follows: (Full text here.) και συν αυθεντ[ου]σιν αν[αξιν] It is possible, however, that the text should read αυθεντ[αι]σιν instead of αυθεντ[ου]σιν, in which case we have a form not of the verb authentew, but of the noun authentes. If we do read the verb, then its meaning here, according to standard lexicographical reference works, is ‘rule’ or ‘have authority over’.
This possible occurrence of authentew contributes no information about its possible meaning. If other authors cite "those in authority" this is by accident, as the summary of this fragment does include this phrase but not as a translation of authentew. Wolters is fully aware of this.
Wolters continues with the next piece of evidence,
- 2)The papyrus BGU 1208.38, dated to 27 BC, where we read the following: καὶ ἐμοῦ αὐθεντηκότος πρὸς αὐτὸν περιποιῆσαι Καλατύτει τῶι ναυτικῶι ἐπὶ τῷ αὐτῶι φόρωι ἐν τῆι ὥραι ἐπεχώρησεν. The verb occurs here with the preposition pros, and is taken to mean ‘to have full power or authority over’ by Liddell–Scott–Jones.67
- The translation of this text is disputed. G. W. Knight, 145, gives Werner's translation here. ... P. B. Payne ... implies that the translation of D. Peterson is superior, "When I had prevailed upon him to provide, ... This passage is about a hostile relationship, his action is called 'insolence' in the text." It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne's argument. ... However, the meaning of "compel" does seem appropriate. (page 680)
Wolters mentions as the third piece of evidence, Aristonicus Alexandrinus, On the Signs of the Iliad. He admits that most people overlook this occurrence. I am going to mention it very briefly only since few others cite it as evidence either way. It is as either the "author" or the "doer" of the word.
I am taking a break here because these are the only occurrences of authentew prior to the writing of the epistle to Timothy. More tomorrow. So far little light has been shed on the meaning of authentew. I cannot promise more in the later evidence.