Saturday, November 20, 2010

1984 and the complementarians

When I was in high school I read the dystopian novel, 1984, about a society where information was controlled and no one was free. It seemed like a remote and unlikely future. But it turns out that 1984 was the year that God was going to reveal his truth about 1 Tim. 2:12, and seal that dystopian future. Denny Burk writes,
I think a better way to render authentein would be exactly the way it was rendered in 1984 “have authority”—or an even better way would be “exercise authority.” I think “assume authority” gives a negative connotation to the word, and Andreas Kӧstenberger has shown that a negative connotation is not possible in this particular grammatical construction.
It turns out that these two youngsters, Burk and Köstenberger, have found the dystopian foundation for the subordination of women. Dr. Kostenberger has, of course, found a new interpretation for 1 Tim 2:12, one never revealed to the human mind before. He has proven, so he says, that authentein can only be positive because of its conjunction with didaskein. He was cited on Justin Taylor's blog saying,
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).
However, didaskein does not always have a positive connotation, even in the pastoral epistles as Titus 1 shows,
They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
I know, I know, Dr. Kostenberger has a complicated formula which he runs this verse through to prove that didaskein has a thoroughly positive connotation in this verse. However, modified by dishonest gain, didaskein becomes thoroughly negative. Since this modifier does not occur in 1 Tim 2 that means that didaskein must be thoroughly positive there, and authentein likewise. Don't worry that authentein does not occur with a positive connotation elsewhere in Greek literature. Never mind that this is another place where the word authentein is used,
Therefore, everyone will walk according to his won desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.
Sweet, isn't it? But it's like this. If somebody says "she has cruelly abused me" then that means that the word "abused" is a thoroughly positive word with a positive connotation because it is the modifier which makes it negative. I hope you remember this the next time you tell someone to stop making an awful racket. Remember now that a "racket" must be a good thing, otherwise there would be no need to modify it with the word "awful." That is Dr. Köstenberger for you.

Anyhow, the fact is that "big brother" over at Biblegateway.com is suppressing comments and making sure that certain facts are not given too much air time. A few comments have been allowed and mine were originally published but then removed. I don't think there is much interest in anything preceding 1984, the beginning of history.

2 comments:

Don said...

Your wit (and frustration) are showing. But rest assured that the truth will win out.

Paula said...

Another reason for me to keep working on my own (NT study tool. We can make our own interlinear, our own translation, our own commentary, and those control freaks can go fly a kite. Let them eat pixels!