Thursday, January 31, 2008

More reading material from my bookshelf

A Friend for Little Brown Rabbit

Little Brown Rabbit had no friend.

Little Brown Rabbit saw a little white lamb.

"Little White Lamb, will be my friend."

"No," said the little white lamb.

Little Brown Rabbit saw a little white duck.

"Little White Duck, will you be my friend."

"No," said the little white duck.

Little Brown Rabbit saw a little white goat.

"Little White Goat, will you be my friend."

"No," said the little white goat.

Little Brown Rabbit saw a little white rabbit.

"Little White Rabbit, will you be my friend."

"Yes," said the little white rabbit, "I will be your friend."

Tagged for page 123

It appears I have been tagged by Iyov.

The rules of this game:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
(No cheating!) Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

Informal Tests for Diagnosing Specific Reading Problems by Stephen A Pavlak.

    6. Does the child have any speech problems?
    a What?
    b Does the child go to a speech therapist?
Exciting, eh? I tag Scott, Kurk, Molly, Ellen, Codepoke

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Like a tree planted ...

I am taking a course in Psalms right now at one of the local seminaries. It is an experience in sensory overload. We sing from the Scottish Psalter, dance in a circle to tambourines, enact portions of the text, colour in the text with pencil crayons, and other exquisite things.

I am not much of a song and dance type so I was a tiny bit skeptical at first. However, we fit in an hour of Hebrew first, for some of us, and I also follow the LXX. We cover as much of the history of interpretation as we can in 3 hours, quite a lot actually. There are two instructors, a Reformation Psalms and Hebrew specialist, and a preaching instructor who focuses on spirituality and homiletics.

In each class there is something really special - on top of the song and dance that is - we looked at some images of a 16th century mural of Psalm 1. There were 8 panels for the psalm, some reflecting both the Septuagint and Vulgate interpretation, as well as the original Hebrew. Many aspects of this psalm vary greatly between the Hebrew and the Septuagint.

However, the central panel was truly remarkable for its interpretation. The tree planted by streams of water was actually not one, but two stately trees, a man-tree and a woman-tree, both gracefully illustrated in the best 16th century tradition. Their branches were loaded down with fruit and the woman-tree was dipping a branch to drop apples into the basket of a beggar.

In the background, strangers were being invited in, beggars fed, clothed and cared for. The righteous of the first psalm were being portrayed according to the text of Matt. 25:31-46.
    Blessed are those
    who do not walk in step with the wicked
    or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

    2 but who delight in the law of the LORD
    and meditate on his law day and night.

    3 They are like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

    "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Matt. 25:34-36

It was a beautiful illustration of a righteous man and a righteous woman, caring for the poor.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Champion" and "Defender" in Clement

The preceding post brings up the question of who is the stronger, and who is the weaker and what is the title given to stronger and weaker. Is the man the stronger and the woman the weaker? The answer in Clement is surprising.

First let me explain. Eve was called a "help" an 'ezer in Hebrew, and βοηθος, boethos, in Greek. The early church used the Greek scriptures. That is what they knew.

Phoebe was called a πρστατις, prostatis, for Paul, a "great help" a "benefactor" or "patron." The male form of this word is translated as "leader" or "guardian" but it is the same word.

These two words βοηθος and πρστατης are used as titles for Christ alongside "saviour" and "high priest." Here is how the words were used in 1 Clement 36:1.

    Αυτη η οδος, αγαπητοι, εν η ευρομεν το σωτεριον ημων, Ιησουν Χρστον, τον αρχιερεα των προσφορων ημων, τον προστατην και βοηθον της ασθενειας ημων.

    This is the way, beloved, in which we found our salvation; even Jesus Christ, the high priest of our oblations, the champion and defender of our weakness. tr. Charles Hoole 1885

    This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our weakness. tr. J. B. Lightfoot.
So here, in an old fashioned translation, we find that prostates, the word for Phoebe was translated “champion" and the word for Eve, boethos was “defender.”

Now, if we think back to the previous post, we can see that submission is mutual. However, it looks different for each person. The stronger does not neglect the weak, and the weak respects the strong. So, one might deduce that man is the strong one, and woman is the weak one. The woman is to respect the man, and the man must not neglect the woman.

But, it is perhaps quite the opposite. The woman is guardian and defender, she must not neglect the man, and the man must respect her. However, the titles for Christ include both "salvation" and "high priest; " and "guardian" and "defender." There is no example here of a strong male role and a weak female role, but both male and female roles are applied equally to Christ as an indication of how he is strong for us. The submission then, is to give each other out of whatever our strength is, whatever strength God has given us. We must not neglect the weaker.

If woman has been given greater strength in any area, her submission is to help her partner out of her strength. If she is weaker in some way, then she is to respect her partner in that he submits to her by giving out of his strength. And it is likewise for the man.

At the time that the scriptures were written, it was assumed that women were in a weaker position in several ways. They were physically weaker and still are. But in that era, they had fewer civil, legal and financial rights. Their role was to respect their husband who submitted to them by caring for and providing for them.

However, those women in the scriptures who were strong in resources, showed their submission by helping others out of their resources. There was no sense that they had to just do as they were asked. It was their money, they made the decisions that had to be made. Surely, the man or woman who loves will want to be strong for their partner.

I can only say that the lesson is that we not neglect each other, that we respect each other. This is mutual submission.

Mutual Submission in Clement

There has been a great deal of discussion on whether or not mutual submission is actually possible. Here is an except from Clement's first epistle to the Corinthians. The date is early, in the late first century AD.
    1Clem 38:1
    So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject unto his neighbor, according as also he was appointed with his special grace.

    1Clem 38:2
    Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor; and let the poor give thanks to God, because He hath given him one through whom his wants may be supplied. Let the wise display his wisdom, not in words, but in good works. He that is lowly in mind, let him not bear testimony to himself, but leave testimony to be borne to him by his neighbor. He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so, and not boast, knowing that it is Another who bestoweth his continence upon him.

    1Clem 38:3
    Let us consider, brethren, of what matter we were made; who and what manner of beings we were, when we came into the world; from what a sepulchre and what darkness He that molded and created us brought us into His world, having prepared His benefits aforehand ere ever we were born.

    1Clem 38:4
    Seeing therefore that we have all these things from Him, we ought in all things to give thanks to Him, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I hope that this can contribute to some of the conversations on exactly what submission is. The Greek verb hupotasso occurs in line 2 as "be subject unto." It does, of course say "each one" and not "each man" in Greek. The word man was added in English. What do you think?

Subordination of Christ and woman

It seems to me that the church fathers and all the theologians which I have read (not all that many) up until well after the reformation, thought that woman was subordinated by her transgression and the fall.

This is because Bibles up until after the Reformation said in Gen. 3:16 - in Latin, "she will be under the power of her husband" and in French “she will submit to her husband”, the LXX simply has “turn back” - she will turn back to her husband.

Here is Chrysostom on woman in creation,

    In the beginning I created you equal in esteem to your husband, and my intention was that in everything you would share with him as an equal, and as I entrusted control of everything to your husband, so did I to you; but you abused your equality of status. Hence I subject you to your husband: Homily on Genesis
and on why woman does not have the image of God,
    The image has rather to do with authority, and this only the man has, the woman has it no longer, Discourse 2 on Genesis
Why would he say “no longer” if woman was created with less authority? I am sure he believed that woman was created with equal authority. I believe that this was the widely held belief even by the Reformers. They believed that because of the transgression of Eve, woman is subordinate.

No one has ever shown me that the subordination of women and the subordination of Christ were related until the last 30 years.

turning back

Regarding 1 Cornthians 14 and the silence of women, in an article on gender blog Carl Laney writes,
    Chrysostom notes that Paul is "not simply exhorting here or giving counsel, but even laying his commands on them vehemently, by the recitation of an ancient law on that subject." Paul, taking the law along with him, thus "sews up their mouths."[11] Raising the obvious question, Chrysostom queries, "

    And where does the law say this?" Chrysostom is the first of the church leaders whose comments on this subject are preserved for us. The text he directs us to is Genesis 3:16, "Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (NASB). According to Chrysostom this text "not only enjoins on them silence, but silence too with fear."

    He argues that if they should so respect their husbands, how much more should this apply in the context of teachers, and fathers, and the general assembly of the church."
So, my question is how on earth did Chrysostom have access to the NASB? That is so amazing! The only Bible Chrysostom had at that time said that "her turning back would be to her husband and he would rule over her." και προς τον ανδρα σου η αποστροφη σου και αυτος σου κυριευσει. The curse of desire did not make its appearance until the 16th century. Until then desire on the part of a woman was considered a blessing. ;-)

In any case, Chrysostom wasn't one of those "subordination in the garden" types. Whew. It all happened with the fall according to him, which is why we know that he did not compare the subordination of women to the trinity.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kephale in the literature

    In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:

    • the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
    • the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
    • the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
    • the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
    • David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
    • the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
This is the evidence of some complementarians. Would it surprise you to know that not even once is kephalē used in connection to any of the authority relationships which we believe God has ordained in the Hebrew scriptures?

Not once is the word kephalē used in the Septuagint or in ancient Greek literature preceding the Bible in the following expressions,
  • head of the nation
  • head of the people
  • head of the tribe
  • head of the family
  • head of the army
Instead, we find that the king of Egypt is head of the kings in his own family line, those who precede and follow him. Zeus is the beginning of all things, David is called the head of the Gentiles, the leaders of the tribes are called "heads" of staffs, and the kephalē is a raiding party in Job 1:17.

The citations which verify this claim are found here. While the term "head" is used in the occasional metaphor and is applied to Jephthah when he is named a commander, it is not used in the way that is suggested by the quotes provided to prove that it means an "authority."

It would be more appropriate in literature making claims for the meaning of "authority," to either provide complete citations as evidence, or withdraw some of the claims .

How about the meaning "source" then? This comes from the lexicon entries indicating that kephalē was sometimes used as a synonym for arché, meaning "beginning," "origin" or "source." Other meanings for kephalé were "noblest" and "the upper part."

I will leave any further explanation of what "head of" means in the Bible to the theologians. However, I merely ask that you be open to being aware that the evidence for "authority" is considerably weaker than what is currently being claimed.

It would be useful when considering the basis for gender relations to remember that the word "help" boēthos, which woman is surely named, was used for God in the Septuagint and for Christ in Clement.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The omitted citations.

Grudem wrote on gender blog,
    In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:

    • he king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
    • the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
    • the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
    • the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
    • David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
    • the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
    • the husband is the "head" of the wife
    • Christ is the "head" of the church
    • God the Father is the "head" of Christ
Grudem makes this look very authoritative. However, he does not give references nor does he supply citations. I have simply looked up the original citations for these quotes, to the extent that I could. Then I have made some comments in green.
  • the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
    "and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings." Philo Moses 2:30

    It would be fair to say that Philadelphus is the head of all the kings in his own royal family in that he is the most illustrious.
  • the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
    Plutarch, Pelopidas 2.1.3: In an army, The light-armed troops are like the hands, the cavalry like the feet, the line of men-at-arms itself like chest and breastplate, and the general is like the head.

    In Job 1:17 small raiding party is called the kephale, and in Arrian the right hand of a phalanx. This quote is a simile and does not refer to normal usage. The general is no more "called the 'head' of the army" than the cavalry is normally called the "feet."
  • the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
    Plutarch, Galba 4.3: Vindex . . . wrote to Galba inviting him to assume the imperial power, and thus to serve what was a vigorous body in need of a head.

    This does not say that the emperor was '" called the 'head of the people."
  • the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
    Zeus is the first. Zeus the thunderer, is the last.
    Zeus is the head. Zeus is the middle, and by Zeus all things were fabricated.
    Zeus is male, Immortal Zeus is female.
    Zeus is the foundation of the earth and of the starry heaven.
    Zeus is the breath of all things. Zeus is the rushing of indefatigable fire.
    Zeus is the root of the sea: He is the Sun and Moon.
    Zeus is the king; He is the author of universal life;

    Orphic Fragments

    My understanding is that Grudem agreed that here kephale meant "beginning."

  • David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
    2 Samuel 22:44

    Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people,
    thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen:
    a people which I knew not shall serve me.
    My main problem here is that Grudem misquoted it and gave the impression that David was the head of his own people. There seems to be some question of whether David was ever the ruler of the Gentile nations.
  • the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
    3 Kings (1 Kings) 8:1 (Alexandrinus): Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes.

    This text is based on a variant which translates "heads of the tribes" in the Hebrew into
    "heads of staffs" in Greek. Nowhere does the Greek expression kephalai twn phylwn (literally "heads of tribes") exist. The explanation can be found here. This example was invented by Grudem.
Overall, I do not feel that Grudem represented the citations with enough fidelity for anyone to use them as evidence. Some are clearly misquotes, others are of doubtful origin.

From these examples we can clearly see "preeminent," "beginning," and two live metaphors. There is a reason why "authority" does not appear as a meaning for kephale in the LSJ. This study is not terribly helpful in telling us the meaning of the Greek word kephale in the New Testament. This study is extremely helpful in giving us some idea how Wayne Grudem presents doctrinally significant material to the public, not word for word, in any case.

The Ethical Imagination

I just bought this book and I am delighted to find this recent blog post with an extended comment thread in which Margo Somerville participates. It is worth noting the approach she takes which fits in with our political discourse in Canada.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Index: CBMW, Grudem, kephale

Everything I have written on kephale has been in spontaneous posts in response to posts elsewhere in the blogosphere. I have never had any intention of examining this issue in depth and I deeply regret that I have not so far organized my material on this topic.

I have also written on several other aspects of the CBMW platform and Grudem's books. Let me summarize.


I first became aware that there was a belief among some in the Christian community that the Greek word anthropos meant "man" as in male, and this was one reason for why the TNIV was a "gender neutral" version. I found that the ESV had translated 2 Tim. 2:2 anthropos (pl) as "men" and in that way gave the impression that the scriptures did not give women the command to teach.

Dr. Packer and 2 Timothy

I was truly disturbed when I read this. It was one of the times Ifelt that the campaign against women was deliberate and involved waffling on the actual meanings of Greek words.


Around the same time, I read the TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy. There, on page 426 I read that Grudem had drafted the guidelines for the TNIV without checking meanings in the Liddell-Scott Lexicon. He admitted that in May of 1997 he did not know that adelphos (pl) meant "brothers and sisters." I was stunned. How could a Bible translator not know the most basic meanings of very simple words?

Brothers and Sisters: Colorado Springs

Since then I have come to believe that each of the guidelines in the Colorado Springs guidelines is based on a faulty premise.

Colorado Springs Guidelines

I have summarized a few notes on the CSG here.

Summary of the Colorado Springs Guidelines


Another teaching of Grudem's has been the subordination of woman in creation. I have responded with some notes here.

What subordination in Creation
Subordination of Christ and Woman


The CBMW had criticized the TNIV translators for translating aner (man. citizen, person) as "person." In this case, I wrote a full article on the subject. It became evident to me as I wrote this article that Grudem has not followed up on all the examples of aner in the LSJ lexicon but had jumped to the conclusion that aner always referred to a male. That does seem obvious. It is, however, not factual.

The CBMW, Grudem and the TNIV: the lexicography of Aner


In the ESV and the NET Bible the reference to Junia in Romans 16:7 says that she is "well-known to the apostles."

I wrote 17 posts here and added more content in comments on other blogs. The best printed material on Junia to date is by Linda Belleville. See the bibliography in my post below.

Junia, the apostle: Index

After several exchanges with Grudem and Burer, I wrote,

Junia: A Reponse to Michael Burer

This is a highly technical argument, but the upshot is that neither Dan Wallace nor Michael Burer have responded to Linda Belleville's excellent critique of their work in attempting to prove that Junia was not an apostle. I reference the work done by Belleville, Epp and Bauckham. However, my writing benefited from what they wrote, and has additional content. The conclusion is that Chrysostom, a native speaker of Greek,recognized Junia as a female apostle and he was a native speaker of Greek.


Grudem claims on the CBMW website that submission is always submission to an authority, and therefore, wherever there is the word "submission" in Greek, we must assume that the other person has "authority over." In that case, there is no such thing as mutual submission. However, we do find that submission in Greek can be mutual. Here are some useful posts.

Grudem puts Foh before Calvin
Authority 7: One another
Authority 6: Trampling or loving one another
Mutual Submission in Clement

Ezer and Boethos

"Champion" and "Defender" in Clement


Once again we are back to rough notes. To a certain extent, I am expressing some tentative opinions here. I have since come to the conclusion that while the head, in Greek, was sometimes but not always considered the ruling part of the person, the expression kephale (head) was not used to indicate the authority of one person over the other. The examples offered by Grudem to prove this case have not been accurate representations of the Greek.

Exchange with John Mark Reynolds
Grudem and kephale
Grudem and Ptolemy
Grudem and Glare
The Omitted Citations
Kephale in the Literature

I am unwilling to get into kephale any deeper than this. The foremost example which Grudem uses to prove that kephale means "authority over" is,

“the king of Egypt is called “head” of the nation”

Grudem used this quote on Jan. 19, 2008, on the Gender Blog. However, in Appendix 1A of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he wrote,

    19) Philo, Moses 2.30: As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy [Ptolemy Philadelphos] became among kings.

    Cervin does not think that head means ruler here because Philo says that Philadelphos is the head of kings, not in the sense of ruling them, but as the preeminent king among the rest. Philadelphos is the top of the kings just as the head is the top of an animal’s body. . . . This example is therefore to be rejected (p. 100).”

Grudem continues in RBMW Appendix 1B to discuss this example. However, he fails to show that it means "authority over." This is Grudem's best piece of evidence and proves the opposite of his thesis, which is that kephale means authority. It obviously doesn't. The rest of Grudem's examples are similar. However, what is the point of quoting them if Grudem just recycles rejected evidence?


Here are a few posts on the Greek word authentew - to usurp authority or dominate. This is the word commonly translated "to exercize authority" in 1 Tim. 2:12. However, the Latin Vulgate translated that word as dominare. The notion that this verse had "exercize authority" in it is relatively recent. What follows is a rather academic look at the lexical evidence for the meaning of authentew.


I will be adding material here from time to time as well as editing the post.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Grudem and Aner

This is still up on the CBMW website as of today, Jan. 19, 2008.
    So it seems to me that the burden of proof is still on those who say that aner could lose its male meaning. Before I would agree that aner can sometimes mean "person," I would hope to see some unambiguous examples from the Bible or from other ancient literature. This kind of evidence is simply what is required in all lexicography, especially concerning such a common word. Unless such examples are forthcoming, it seems unjustified to translate aner as "person" or the plural form andres as "people."

    And even if someone produces some unambiguous examples that aner can mean "person" without implying a male person (as there are many unambiguous examples with anthropos), this would still be an uncommon sense, not the "default" sense that readers assume without contextual specification. And even in such cases the male-oriented connotation or overtone would probably still attach (with the sense that the people referred to are mostly or primarily male).

    But until substantial evidence in that regard is found, we cannot agree with the procedure of systematically changing many NT examples of aner to "person" or "persons." What seems to be driving the decision at this point is not the preponderance of evidence but an attempt to eliminate male-oriented meaning
I presented this evidence to CBMW and Grudem in April of 2007. Included in my article is this lexical example,

ποτὲ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς γίγνοιτ' ἄν,
τὴν ἀνθρώπῳ προσήκουσαν ἀρετὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἔχων .... ,
εἴτε ἄρρην τις των συνοικούντων
οὖσα ἡ φύσις εἴτε θήλεια, νέων ἢ γερόντων

… in which a member of our community--
be he of the male or female sex, young or old,--
may become a good citizen, possessed of the excellence of soul
which belongs to man. Plato's Laws 6. 770d.

At first, CBMW linked to it but eventually removed that webpage. I have Grudem's email (April 11, 2007) in response to an earlier interaction on aner, so he is aware that there is a gender neutral meaning in the LSJ lexicon.

How should one go about confronting a Christian organization that behaves in this way. The views of the CBMW have caused considerable pain to many people. There is both the statement against the TNIV and the persistent teaching on the rulership of the husband.

Called by God

I have been feeling quite discouraged. I haven't much to say about Bible translation today since it seems to me that some of the organizations that put the most into that effort are doing so in order to enslave women.

Here is the concluding paragraph from a post by Psalmist, something to calm me down,
    I am called by God, by my name. I am not my marital status, I am not my sexuality, I am not my father...I am me, God's beloved child. I believe that status is the only one that matters and that it's every child's birthright (whatever the age or other status of that child). I stand for the freedom of every boy and girl, man and woman, to live out that identity in Christ.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My day job

A few other women bloggers have been blogging bits and pieces of their lives and I enjoy reading that quite a bit. What do I do? I am a little shy about my other pursuits so I don't write about them often.

However, here goes. A little change of pace for this blog. I am a resource teacher. Half of my day is spent on my Reading Recovery assignment, during which time I work with only one student at a time. It is a great opportunity to observe the strategies a child uses in becoming literate and develop the theory and practice of literacy.

I am incredibly fortunate in having a job like this and the children do well. I use the same teaching methods throughout the day with other children so the program benefits more than just the few who are actually enrolled in it. It has helped create an ethos of individual attention for each child.

I teach older children, grades 2 - 5 in groups of 4 to 8 students. If there are only 4 children, we sit at a low round table covered with colourful roll paper. Each child has a large felt pen and 6 coloured blocks. We use the blocks, letter tiles, and writing on the paper to develop sequencing and segmenting strategies for reading previously unknown words. The blocks are from the Auditory Discrimination in Depth kit. We read terribly exciting books, or what passes for that.

Several periods a week I team teach a class, either in math or language arts. We also have several mentally handicapped children, one with Down's syndrome. A couple of children have severe articulation difficulties. These children are fully integrated and sure we have our doubts sometimes, but overall I think it works well. We really do integrate them.

I would say that the distinctive of my programme is how the kids feel about coming to my room. Yes, I am the special needs teacher but most of the children - not all but most - would kill to come down to my room. They feel like it is special. Of course, these are the little ones. When I used to work with the older grades, I always had some techy sort of project to teach on the computer and give students something to feel very accomplished about.

All last term I had my two preps on Friday afternoon. Who needs preps anyway, right? So I held open house. A few former students from the high school dropped in and then they would each go and get a child who needed extra help or attention and spend half and hour with them in my room.

They could read, of course, and I have the best books, or play with the train or dolls house, or learn to make a power point, or write a letter to a buddy on the computer.

So, how does a special needs teacher make it seem like a treat for a student to come to her room. Mostly she says things like "If you are really good, you can have an extra period with me this week." Or "I missed you so much when you were away sick, honey." (I call them all "honey" cause I am pretty bad with names.)

You know, I am not kidding. If you call someone "honey" or "sweetie" or something like that, they really do like it.

The vow to obey

I am shocked. Don't ask me why? I thought that with the association of controlling authority with the husband's role, I had seen it all. But, no, look at this.

I believe that the vow for a wife to obey her husband should be made illegal, as slavery was made illegal. This is just plain stomach-churning evil. Here are some excerpts from a set of Christian marriage vows.

    Male: "Always will I perform my headship over you even as Christ does over me, knowing that His Lordship is one of the holiest desires for my life."

    Female: "loving you, obeying you, caring for you and ever seeking to please you."

      Male: I promise to love, guide, and protect you

      Female: I will love, serve, and obey you

        Male: I promise to guide and protect you

        Female: I promise my faithfulness, to follow you

          Male: to provide for your needs through His enablement, and to lead you as He leads me,

          Female: I promise my faithfulness, to follow your leading submissively, loving you and serving you

        And so on. Where did the servant-leader go? The relationship once was described as submissive follower and servant-leader. Now it is simply obedient servant and master.

        Okay, I may have given the impression that I am a Christian. Now, I will have to qualify this. I am not "this kind of" Christian.

        Can Christianity be redeemed from these terrible teachings of bondage?

        Here is Paula's take on this,

          Of the twelve they list, nos. 1,2,4,5, and 12 have expressly stated the husband’s alleged “headship over” his wife. They leave nothing to the imagination as to what they think “head” means, combining it with “over”, and that the wife is to “obey” her husband (never him obeying her). Especially repulsive is no. 12. For the man it says “I will look to Christ as Head of our home as I have looked to Him as Head of the Church.”, but for the woman it says “I will look to you as head of our home as I have looked to Christ as Head of the Church.”

          Sorry,, but that makes the husband a blasphemer (taking the place of Christ in the life of another person) and the wife an idolater (looking to a man instead of Christ). This abominable trend in the churches has infected influential leaders in the Christian community, and it’s spreading rapidly. Those men love to “keep their place” and to be “head over” someone, especially women. We women are expected to spend our lives stroking their delicate egos, making them little gods over us, and believing it’s God’s divine order.

          I pray that will “redesign” more than their website, and “rethink” their acceptance and promotion of Spiritual Formation. And those wedding vows don’t need just a redesign, they need to be thrown out. They can practice idolatry, blasphemy, and the spiritual adultery of Spiritual Formation, but they can’t make us join them.

          “Come out of her, my people, so you will not take part in her sins and so you will not receive her plagues” (Rev. 18:4, NET).

        Amen, Paula.

        Thursday, January 17, 2008

        Grudem and Glare

        Gender Blog continues,

        Grudem quotes Glare as writing,

        kephalē is the word normally used to translate the Hebrew r'osh, and this does seem frequently to denote leader or chief without much reference to its original anatomical sense, and here it seems perverse to deny authority" (italics added).

        But, in fact, Grudem himself in RBMW Appendix wrote,

        In fact, the most common word for ruler, the one that literally meant ruler, was archon. It is not at all surprising that in contexts where the Hebrew word for head meant ruler, it was frequently translated by archon. All I have claimed is that kephale could also mean ruler or authority in a metaphorical sense of head.

        So, how does Grudem assume that kephale means authority? In fact, a mere 5% of the time that rosh meant "leader" it was translated as kephale. That is what I meant when I said that overhwlmingly, the evidence is against the meaning of authority for kephale, and in favour of some other meaning like "progenitor," or "father," most "prominent" or "representative." I am sure that for some the word "father" means "authority" just as the word "mother" means "milk." However, these two are two separate although associated entities.

        Wednesday, January 16, 2008

        Grudem and Ptolemy

        This deserves a separate post. On Gender blog, Grudem says that when kephale is used it means "ruler of", and here is an example,
          the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
        But this is what he is quoting, presumably,
          and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings. Philo Moses 2:30
        In fact, Philadelphus is described as being the most illustrious, the leader of the herd, and not the ruler of the nation, at least, that is not what "head" means. "Head" clearly means that he is preeminent above other kings, he was quite simply better known, or more famous, not "ruler of the nation."

        Kirby, Peter. "." Early Christian Writings. 2008. 19 Jan. 2008 .

        I have since confirmed from a study by Grudem that this is indeed where he gets the notion that kephale means "head" of the nation. It is evident to anyone reading the article that Phildelphus became "head" among kings (that is, most famous of the kings in his family), and not "head" of the nation. Therefore, I assume that the manipulation of this text is open and deliberate.

        Grudem also writes,
          The alleged meaning “prominent without authority,” like the meaning “source without authority,” now sixteen years after the publication of my 1985 study of 2,336 examples of kefalhv, has still not been supported with any citation of any text in ancient Greek literature.
        I beg to differ. When Phildelphus is described as "head" among kings, it is clear that he does not have authority over the other kings. He is preeminent over them, without having authority over them. It is not a matter of there not being evidence against Grudem. It is simply that some people want to believe in male authority.

        Grudem then argues that kephale does not have the meaning of "preeminence" in the lexicon. However, one entry lists "as the noblest part." In a thesaurus "noblest" has "Possessing eminence, elevation, dignity,". Yes, I think that is what Philadephus has over the rest of his family, not authority.

        I have in the past, sent a paper to CBMW proving that aner had a gender neutral meaning in Greek, although Grudem claimed that it did not. They did take down one webpage with this claim. However, I find that they have simply moved the information around and preserve it on this page. That means more false claims on the CBMW site. Of course, Grudem knows that aner has a gender neutral meaning in the LSJ because I gave him the examples and CBMW acknowledged the receipt of my article.

        Grudem and kephale

        These are just a few stray thoughts in response to Gender blog's response to CBE.

        Grudem wrote,

        In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:
          1.the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
          2. the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
          3. the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
          4. the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
          5. David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
          6. the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
          7. the husband is the "head" of the wife
          8. Christ is the "head" of the church
          9. God the Father is the "head" of Christ
        So, let's take this apart. First, we want to know what "head" means in the NT, so we need to remove several points. This leaves ,
          1.the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
          2. the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
          3. the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
          4. the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
          5. David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
          6. the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
        Now, let's cancel out one or two.

        In the LXX, in Job 1:17, the kephale was a raiding party. In the Greek army the kephale was the right hand phalanx. So let's balance out #2. Put a backslash after it. \

        Zeus is the "head" that is, the beginning and the end. Hmm. Maybe, "origin," but beginning, certainly. Backslash.\

        Leaders of tribes are still the "head" after they are dead. No ruling there. \

        The Roman emperor is called the "head" of his people because that is how the word caput was used in Latin. \ There is actually quite a difference between kephale and caput, in terms of range.

        Now, let's add Adam as the "head" of the human race. This is not during his lifetime. And Esau as the "head" of his clan.
          1.the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
          2. the general of an army is called the "head" of the army\
          3. the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people (influenced by Latin)
          4. the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things \
          5. David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
          6. the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes \
          7. Adam is called the "head" of the human race\
          8. Esau is called the "head" of his clan\
        Now think about David. He was still being talked about in the NT. He was dead. His significance went beyond his role as ruler. He represented something else. He represented the people. As does Adam. He represents the human race.

        This is a passage from Cyril of Alexandria, (died AD 444), De Recte Fide ad Pulch. 2.3, quoted by Kroeger Clark.
          Therefore of our race he become first head κεφαλη, which is the source αρχη, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is source, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our source, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because head means source, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.
        Here is the same passage as quoted by Grudem,
          The one of the earth and dust has become to us the first head κεφαλη of the race, that is ruler αρχη: but since the second Adam has been named Christ, he was placed as head, that is ruler of those who through him are being transformed unto him into incorruption through sanctification by the Spirit. Therefore he on the one hand is our ruler, that is head, in so far as he has appeared as a man; indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. But that the head signifies the ruler, the fact that the husband is said to be the head of the wife confirms the sense for the truth of doubters: for she has been taken from him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.
        I think this passage makes clear that "source" or "origin" is the plain meaning of "head." With the mention of kinship and nature, one can see that God shares his nature with Christ, Christ with man, and man shares kinship with woman. Is sounds so simple. Christ becomes our head when he became man. Does Christ need to become man to be our ruler? I think not. Does he need to become man to share our nature? Yes, he does.

        The Greek word αρχη used in this verse meant "beginning" "origin" "foundation" and "source." Those who see "source" and "origin" in headship, see sameness of nature and kinship between men and women. Those who see "ruler" in headship see the curse of Gen. 3:16.

        PS John Reynolds and I ended our conversation amicably. Neither one of us has a definitive answer.

        Addendum: Here is the quote from Philo regarding the king of Egypt. He is not exactly head of the nation. Here one a citation of this,

        The King of Egypt is called "head" of the nation in Philo, Moses 2.30, "As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy became among kings."

        And here is a longer one,
          and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings.
        It is no wonder that the word "head" is sometimes considered as "prominent" and not "ruler." In any case, I don't know why Grudem calls Ptolemy the ruler of the nation.

        Response to John Mark Reynolds

        John Reynolds wrote in his comments,

        . .which body we now call the “head,” it being the most divine part and reigning over all the parts within us."

        In Timaeus, Plato uses the literal head as a ruler or command center. This work was of major importance in the East in shaping religious and philosophical views. Not all works are equal . . . and Plato's influence and the particular influence of this work (Timaeus) was massive.

        The soul, in Plato was considerably more complicated. Reason resided in the head, appetite in the belly and thumos (will, decision-making) in the lungs. To which part do you assign authority? Which part are you claiming compares with the role of man vis-s-vis woman?

        Is it useful to suggest that this image of the head as "command centre" of the body, should influence our interpretation of scripture on marriage?

        Please understand that, in any case, this does not immediately convince some of us the notion that "head" represents authority.

        Reynolds re Cephalus,

        Why was this character used? The Republic stresses his religious role (he leaves to make sacrifice) and his role as head of family (he hands on the argument to his son).

        Again, since Plato uses "head" as an image of authority, this is a reasonable interpretation of what he wrote.

        Cephalus was a retired arms dealer, not an image of religious authority. As a pious old man, he may well represent respect for the old ways, respect for the religious authorities. He left to offer a sacrifice. He was not a priest. How was this his "role?"

        I now understand how you came to this way of thinking about authority, although I cannot find it persuasive. I can offer no evidence that Paul was influenced by either Plato or Aristotle, or that he was not.

        My sense is that you are trying to show that kephale could possibly mean "authority over," while the Christians for Biblical Equality are at the same time trying to show that kephale could possibly mean "source."

        I personally believe that kephale may mean one of many things, all pointing to the fact that there ought to be unity between men and women, and mutual respect for real differences, (not imaginary ones) and essential and functional equality between the sexes.

        I see absolutely no reason to say that kephale must mean "authority," or that it must mean "source." If people do not see the meaning of "authority over" in the relationship of husband and wife, they should still be respected as Bible believing Christians.

        We should move on to deal with the harm that is done in the Christian community. If people are damaged by one person in the marriage controlling or commanding the other, then we should deal with that. If people are hurt by abandonment and adultery, then we should deal with that.

        Plato's parts of the soul

        I have not had time to formulate a response to John Reynolds comments yet - I regret. However, this should help to explain my confusion with his introduction of Plato in the headship debate.

        Here is an excerpt, quickly chosen, to illustrate the parts of the soul in Plato,

          At all levels of this plan can be found a three-step pattern consonant with the threefold structure of the soul introduced in the middle of the middle section of the "middle" discussion : a desiring, passionate, part (which is actually manifold), the epithumiai, which is the "reflection" in us of nature, phusis, matter, biology and the like ; a reasoning part, the logos, which makes it possible for us to get in touch with the intelligible, with order, with the "forms" outside time and space, with the divine ; and in between, an intermediate part, the thumos, akin to the will, the field of choice, judgment, decision-making and the like. *
        I am not sure how Reynolds wants us to associate this with the notion that man is the head of the wife. Clearly, for Plato, there was the rational part, residing in the head, and the part of desire or appetite, residing in the belly, and the part of the will, residing in the lungs.

        How does this make in clear that head was an authority? It gives us the idea that for Plato reason resided in the head. It does not tell us that man should be the ruler of the wife.

        * Bernard Suzanne

        Open Letter to David Kotter

        CBE posted on kephale. After a long series of comments including a little nonsense, Gender blog responded. And this is my response to Gender Blog. I posted the following in two comments on cbe's blog.

        Open letter to David Kotter of the Gender Blog,

        In your post of Jan. 15, 2008, you cite John Mark Reynolds who wrote,

          I should make one comment about the general discussion in popular circles about the status of the Greek word for “head.” Too often arguments have turned on meanings found in a wooden manner by looking in lexicons.

          A lexicon is a useful tool, but it cannot substitute for examining the particular figurative usage of a term in its literary context. Context can give definite clues to the author’s intent in using a particular word.

        Dr. Reynolds resumé does not indicate that he has ever studied classical Greek as a language, or read Plato’s Republic in Greek. That would be the only viable alternative to using the lexicons.

        Reynolds then remarks with reference to Plato,

          In Republic (I) he is using “head” as an image of religious authority. The father (the Head) must leave the discussion or pious young men will not be free to engage in the intellectual discussion they need. Socrates must become their new head.kephale.

        This is a misrepresentation of the facts. Since I have read the Republic in Greek, let me respond.

        In the opening of the first book of the Republic, the character is Cephalus, (this name derives from the word kephale - “head”) This is who Reynolds is referring to when he says "the Head."

        Cephalus is the real name of an real historic personage. Cephalus was a resident alien in Athens and a retired wealthy arms manufacturer. He had three sons. He was in old age in this dialogue and discussing the end of life. He represents "piety" in the discourse. He leaves the house and goes to offer sacrifices to the gods.

        There are several reasons why the name Cephalus may have been used.

        First, Plato may have wanted to write about the real person, Cephalus.

        Second, Cephalus was the father, now aged and passing on his wealth and business. Cephalus was the head of the family in that he was the father, (not the ruler.) There is no indication that the discourse takes place in Cephalus' house rather than in the house of one of the sons.

        Third, Cephalus opened the discourse. He was the heading to the story. He was the opening. The word kephalaion is the word for the heading of a chapter in Greek.

        Fourth, there has been some discussion that Cephalus may have represented logos vs eros, or logos vs thumos. This would set up a contrast between reason and mind, two elements of the soul. This does not mean that one is the religious authority. The thumos would be more likely to make the decision.

        The only sense in which Cephalus represents "religious authority" is that as one of the older generation he is pious and still worships the old Greek gods with sacrifices. He is most emphatically not himself a religious authority, nor does his name Cephalus mean religious authority. The entire mention of "religious authority" is conjecture in this context.

        While Reynolds mentions that Plato believes the head is the “divinest part of us which controls all the rest” I do not think that Reynolds is proposing that men are more divine than women or that men should control their wives. Gender blog needs to guard against false and dangerous teaching in this respect.

        Reynolds also does not present the alternative, that Aristotle, who clearly believed that women were without authority, did not use the word kephale to express this, but simply the word βουλη meaning “will.” He said that the will of a woman was without authority (ακυριος) That is Aristotle, not Paul. For Aristotle the heart was the central organ, and the most suitable seat of the soul. He did not use kephale to refer to the reasoning part of the human. I would argue, however, that Aristotle is the more likely candidate as someone whom Paul would have been familiar with, than Plato.

        Some Greeks also believed that sperm was stored in the head and that the head was the generative part of the male human. Zeus gave birth to Athena from his head. So the head is the progenitor.

        Reynolds does not accurately record the different alternative interpretations of the word kephale, in Greek. As one who has read a great deal of Greek, both classical and Hellenistic, I do not find the argument for authority to be convincing. The Greeks, for the most part, located the “will” of a person, the decision-making part, outside of the head. Philo may be an exception to this.

        The evidence is overwhelming against the notion that kephale means authority. It is used in reference to Zeus as the beginning, it is used to refer to a small and mobile raiding partly in the army, not the general, it is used to describe the first person in a clan, the progenitor, not the ruler. It is used in many other ways and I have no intention of recreating the various studies. Many people propose it is the source, or the visible or prominent representative. That is also possible. Kephale is not typically used to refer to the person at the top of an organization, as caput was in Latin.

        I see no decisive evidence that kephale must mean authority, and much against it.

        I would appreciate the Gender Blog admitting that there is a variety of possible interpretations available. There is no need for the remark that those who have experienced a solid education in the Greek language are guilty of “wooden” interpretations, while those who have little education in classical Greek as a language are not. Such unfounded comments are surely counter-productive.


        Suzanne McCarthy

        Tuesday, January 15, 2008

        A known harm and a known good

        A complementarian in the blogsphere wrote this to me. I have copied it here without permission because I find it a fair and respectful comment. Thank you.
          I know that this is not just a gender debate about ideas and biblical texts, but a dialogue between real people who have suffered real harm and about a Savior who has suffered to overcome the power of sin.
        However, this is what I do not understand. A person who has been emotionally and physically abused has suffered real harm. A person who has not been given a voice, a person for whom someone else has acted as the literal head, making decisions, and deciding what is best for them - that person has suffered real harm.

        On the other side, someone who has been abandoned or who has an unfaithful spouse also suffers real harm.

        What I do not understand is how the teaching of mutual submission is one of the things that causes real suffering between two people. Why teach something that we know can cause harm, and teach against something which does not cause harm? What real harm has someone suffered from the teaching of mutual submission? I want to hear that story.

        This is not about ideas and biblical texts, this is about real people who have suffered real harm. So now this is out in the open, what is the response?

        Thursday, January 03, 2008

        History Lite: and postmodernism

        The theological worldview survey has been quite popular. I did note that there is a range from 0 to 99% fundmentalist among my interlocutors. I found that quite inspiring because I do like to interact in some way with fundamentalism, although, by this, I mean the fundamentalism of 19th century Britain, not the fundamentalism of present day America.

        But I felt a bit concerned at the frequent high scores in post modernism. Somehow I suspect a bias in the survey, or a least a loose definition of postmodernism. Here is the description,
          You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.
        That doesn't sound too bad. Learning takes place through dialogue and in relationships. No one knows the whole truth.

        However, Marty Foord posts on The Killing of History by Keith Windshuttle, HT Michael Bird. Windshuttle opposes some of the premises of postmodernism in the discipline of history. Simon Schama, the author of Rough Crossings, which I am now absorbed in, writes from a postmodern perspective on history,

          “The claims for historical knowledge, must always be fatally circumscribed by the character and prejudices of its narrator."
        Windhsuttle counters this with the following,
          The essence of history has continued to be that it should try to tell the truth, to describe as best as possible what really happened. Over this time, of course, many historians have been exposed as mistaken, opinionated and often completely wrong, but their critics have usually felt obliged to show they were wrong about real things, that their claims about the past were different from the things that actually happened. In other words, the critics still operated on the assumption that the truth was in the historian’s grasp.
          Today, these assumptions are widely rejected, even among some people employed as historians themselves. In the 1990s, the newly dominant theorists within the humanities and social sciences assert that it is impossible to tell the truth about the past or to use history to produce knowledge in any objective sense at all. They claim that we can only see the past through the perspective of our own culture and, hence, what we see in history are our own interests and concerns reflected back at us. The central point upon which history was founded no longer holds: there is no fundamental distinction any more between history and myth.

        I enjoyed reading this article by Kimball on The Killing of History. (I should add that I have a somewhat muted response to this article. Certainly one wants to be behind the search for objective truth, but I am not sure that I would agree with him on what that was.)

        This entire discussion strikes at the heart of my questions about the scriptures when I first studied Greek and Hebrew in the Near Eastern Studies Dept. at the University of Toronto. If so many words are of unknown origin, and so many passages have multiple interpretations then how can we know objective truth about the scriptures.

        I talked this over with Al Gleason, in the linguistics dept. and he recommended that I pursue canonical criticism. I think now in looking back he meant something closer to the history of Biblical interpretation, or what is sometimes called "reception theory" - the history of the reception of the Bible.

        As I take another look at some of these issues, and ask myself the question, what do I know for sure, and how do I deal with facts, I note that I am still interested in objective knowledge as a focus of study but the questions are different. I no longer ask of a passage, what exactly does this mean, but rather, how did Chrysostom or Calvin or Bucer translate this passage. This is something that I can often discover as a fact. Certainly there is some doubt if I don't have a photograph of the first edition of that particular Bible. But, there are ways of finding these.

        I was delighted to be able to hold the Pagnini/Beza 1579 Latin Bible in Toronto last fall and photograph parts of it. Now I can say with certainty that in 1579 this edition of the Bible had a certain phrase in it. I might even have a photograph. How cool is that!

        One of the really interesting things that I have realized - and I know now this must seem as obvious as the nose in your face, is that the reformers used the Vulgate as the authoritative translation of the Bible. They quoted from it. The Bibles of the Reformation are the product of the Reformation, not the guiding texts of the Reformation. This makes knowledge of the Vulgate or the Douay-Rheims Bible in English an essential text of Reformation studies. Maybe everyone else but me knew this.

        Back to postmodernism. I know I have a prejudice, and I am learning in dialogue, but I do want to ground my learning in tangible facts. This has been my strategy. I wonder approach others take.

        Tuesday, January 01, 2008

        Job's Wife

        I was pleased actually that I scored 7% fundamentalist. I do still feel an affinity for that way of reading the Bible. I especially enjoyed this post of Matthew's on Job - Henry Morris v William Blake on Job.

        This post is a good example of how someone who is strictly an inerrantist, like Henry Morris, may nonetheless come up with a variant or non-standard interpretation of something in scripture. Matthew carefully shows us that Blake's interpretation was quite different, and I think more accurate.

        Penis Envy vs Uterus Envy

        Since Freud based his entire analysis of women on the concept of penis envy it is rather hard to avoid this term entirely. Fortunately it has now been downgraded from the primal and determinative influence on women to something which might possibly occur. My question is about the opposite concept - that of uterus envy.

        The girl will only envy the penis in any concrete sense in that it is an interesting toy which she lacks and which has vast exhibitionist potential. However, if the girl is given appropriate toys to use instead, a water gun, or a tinker toy set or something else of this sort, she may not suffer from her lack of a penis. A kitty car with a powerful little honker on it is also very attractive.

        It is usually the maleness which the girl envies, the access to power. And if a woman sees women as powerful, then she does not envy the maleness which the penis symbolizes. Obviously, a girl will not envy the generative powers of the penis, as it is relatively opaque to her that it has any. Other aspects of this conundrum can be better appreciated by reading some of the early French feminists which I will not summarize here.

        What I am wondering is if men experience uterus envy. I assume that they must, although it is not expressed in these terms. Most men want the woman along with the uterus to which this woman is attached, but this requires that the man actually control the woman, uterus and all.

        A woman on her own is perfectly capable of setting up an encounter, devoting half and hour or so to getting pregnant and then enjoying a lifetime of satisfaction or intolerable irritation with her offspring. If she can get support, either through her own earnings, the government or her own family, she only needs the male for the brief act of begetting the child.

        The battle between men and women, then centres on the product of the encounter, the children. The woman has preferential control over conceiving the child, bearing the child, and maintaining access to the child in the first few years.

        Certainly the Hebrew scriptures has many examples of women who controlled mating and pregnancy directly or indirectly, from Tamar and Naomi to Hannah, Sarah, Rachel and Leah.

        The term male headship is one which I find intolerably offensive in its use as a means of depriving a woman of the right to make any decision at all against the wishes of her husband. However, what if we think more seriously of the "head" in its scriptural use. This would probably be a first, I know. I haven't seen this done before.

        However, in the Hebrew scriptures the term "head" of a tribe refers to the male progenitor of a tribe. Sometimes it refers to the symbolic male progenitor, he isn't actually father of everyone in his tribe but he represents them.

        In the Greek use of the term, Zeus is the head of the human race, he is the first progenitor. The term head is used in this sense and this is then sometimes bizarrely used to claim that "head" means "make the final decision in case of any and all disagreements." This is an extrapolation.

        Let us explore the other possibility. Let's not forget that the "head" was not the place in which decisions were made in Greek concepts of anatomy. The "head" was the place where the mouth was, for ingestion and expression, and the eyes and ears. The head was also the place where sperm was produced. The thinking was variously thought to be in either the heart or the head.

        The deliberative function, that of making decisions, was that which brought together the emotions in the lungs or heart and the thinking process wherever that may be. But, altogether, decisions were not normally made in the head for the Greeks.

        So rather than focusing on the ultimate function of the head as that which makes decisions, which I don't see any emphasis on with reference to the head in scripture, let's look, instead, at the possibility that the head is the ultimate progenitor. Let's not forget that when Zeus birthed Athena himself without the help of a mother for his favourite child, she sprung not from his belly, or from between his legs, but from his head.

        For a woman to acknowledge that the husband is head may then have the very simple meaning that the wife acknowledges the husband as father and honours his right to father. This means that the wife yields to the husband's desire to have children, and to raise the children with her. It does not mean that the husband makes all decisions regarding these children, and the wife none, as is taught by some, but that he has equal right and access to the children as the mother has.

        This cuts to the deepest concerns of inequity between men and women. Women have the ability to give birth and don't they know it. A man doesn't - unless he has a woman and that's all there is to it. So there is no amnesty unless the woman gives the man equal access to children.

        The evil then is twofold. The woman who denies the man children or removes the children from the husband, and the man who denies the woman her right to mother her children. If we call the first a "feminist" and the second "a patriarch" then we understand the chasm which has opened up.

        In the first case men are deprived of children and in the second case, women are bound to slavery as indentured servants retained only to feed and diaper the children who are the sole possession of the patriarch.

        The scriptures then must establish integral equality of parenthood. This is what I think male headship is. Nothing to do with women having to do as they are told or yielding on all fronts. It is about women acknowledging the equal right of the husband to produce and parent children. However, the parenting is done by both. The husband has father's rights, that is equal rights to the children. None of this, "Dad is the boss," but rather "Dad is the dad."

        If producing children is the main product of mating then men and women are not biologically equal, the woman has the advantage. She surrenders this advantage by acknowledging male headship or male fatherhood.

        Apart from producing children, men and women are equal. However, the biological difference is so integral to our being that it colours everything. Men and women are equally both providers and nurturers. But women come to the nurturing task through their body first, the obligation of nature is that they nurture. Men come to it through the voluntary desire to father, mentor or care for someone else. Men are providers as their assigned obligatory role in fathering, but women also come to be providers out of their emotional desire to provide for their own children and others.

        Men and women are humanly identical in being able to display the tender and nurturing traits in the Godhead, and the providing and protecting traits. But they come to these characteristics through a different biology. In some sense, there is a basic difference in the way the body experiences these things. In another sense there is also in both the deep ability to express non sexually determined love and care, whether it be the care of a health professional for a patient, a teacher or parent for a child, elder for younger or younger for elder, or friend for friend.

        What is most important is to realize that much as we wish the human race to continue, for ourselves, it is important not whether we have produced children, but it we have learned to both nurture and provide for others.

        So the difference that we honour in each other is that women come to the nurturing task through their bodies in an obligatory way, and men come to the nurturing task through the desire to be connected to their children. The sameness that we honour is that we should all come to the nurturing task, either as parents, or, in the absence of biological children both men and women become guardians, tutors, mentors and caregivers, people who are preoccupied with the care of others.

        Biologically women are more closely connected to nurturing so in some sense greater honour goes to men, who take this up in a more conscious and deliberative way. But greater honour to the women when they do not avoid the physical difficulties of childbearing. So we should honour and appreciate each other.

        Of course, this requires submission of woman. The woman voluntarily gives the man his fatherhood. And the male, what is his role - to have control/authority over a woman? or to have gratitude to the woman who bears his children.

        The standoff is broken - submission and gratitude, not submission and authority. But of course, the woman is also grateful to a man who submits by providing for and caring for his family.

        Whew, I am glad that my children are grown up now. It's not easy keeping all this in balance.

        But no matter how old we are, we are still different, men and women with a separate biology and a separate cultural experience, and we can continue to appreciate this in each other. However, we are also both human, with the same human capacity for tenderness and leadership.

        PS. This post is in response to Bonnie, Molly, John and Kurk. "Come on Suzanne, tell us what you really think?" Oh yes, and David who remembers the time when he realized that as a boy he could not have a baby.

        PPS Children are on their way home. This mother can stop writing and get some sleep.

        PPPS This also explains the example of Sarah who when she called Abraham "my lord" was referring explicitly to his ability to beget children.