Friday, May 23, 2008
The four young men are sent off with only enough food for six months as they are to live off the land. It seems that they did not even have adequate winter clothing since they panic when Ada does not get down to her sewing tasks right away. It soon becomes evident that of the four well-educated, fit and intelligent young men, none of them are a good shot with the rifles and ammunition dwindles as scarce game escapes their efforts to bring in an adequate food supply. Ada simply refuses to touch the guns at all and seems to have the idea that since she is sewing for the crew, she should be fed by them.
At the end of the first year one young man is seriously ill with scurvy and the food supplies are low. However, Steffanson does not have the resources to get a ship to the island to pick them up in spite of the pleading of the parents of the young men.
Finally realizing that their food and ammunition is running low, three of the group take the dog sleds and head north hoping to cross the ice to Nome, Alaska. They are never heard of again.
Ada and Knight are left together at the original camp. By this time Knight is seriously ill and Ada must now learn to shoulder the rifle and hunt for their survival. Day after day, she takes on the new task. She learns to handle the recoil. She learns to aim and bring down birds. She eventually is able to kill and retrieve a seal.
However, Knight, lying in bed, immobilized by scurvy is no longer able to swallow enough fresh meat to recover. He slowly wastes away and dies. Ada is left alone on Wrangel Island with a gun, the expedition cat, Knight's Bible and a typewriter. One of the passages that touches her deeply is the story of the Samaritan woman. Ada was a young Inuit woman, already married and divorced, the outsider of the group. The only survivor, she lived on after the others were gone with the Bible as her companion. At the end of the second year Ada is rescued. What we read in this book comes from her records and the diary of each of the young men.
Why do I think of this book as the impossible dream? I have a collection of books on Arctic exploration inherited from my mother and grandmother. I simply sat down and read them all one summer. Somehow, I think of the frontiers of the wilderness as their impossible dream. Why would two Victorian women make their main interest Arctic exploration? These books are, for the most part, devoid of a woman's point of view. This is the first time that I have read about Arctic exploration from the diary of a woman. Subtly the entire topic of Arctic exploration has shifted for me.
The story is told sympathetically and characters of the young men are drawn from interviews with relatives and letters from the parents, as well as diaries. How poorly prepared they all were! Ada had no special skill at survival as an Inuit. She accepted the challenge of survival when all other hope was gone. This story is fantastically well told and draws on amazingly detailed diaries. I highly recommend it but I do rejoice that Arctic exploration is not my impossible dream. Nonetheless we all have some notion of a personal frontier that we are reaching towards, whatever that may be.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
The voice of a woman was not heard in the hall while the meeting sat. The men, on the other hand, had every one of them to be ready at all times to share a word given by the Lord. My grandfather had his three favourite chapters from the scriptures, Gen. 22, Ps.. 22 and Phil. 2. He must have had a thing about two's. I don't know what.
We used to kneel by the wooden two-runged chairs during the long weekday evening prayer meetings . And some of the older young people learned to time the prayers. The longest one was 25 minutes. Oh, Lord, have mercy on our souls.
The occasions of weird worship from those long ago days are these.
In our meeting there was an older woman who was afflicted with a chronic condition of the hiccoughs. She could not control this, and once every ten or fifteen minutes, she would emit a resounding hiccough. And so every Lord's day, the Lord was never worshiped without the voice of a woman joining in.
One weekday evening as we knelt in worship and prayer, the boy who knelt beside his parents in the row behind us got bored and inserted his head between the rungs of the chair. He rotated his head and was then unable to extricate his head from its cage. He shook the chair in panic and had to be gently held and have his head ever so gently rotated back and withdrawn from between the rungs.
My grandfather lived with us in his final days before he died of Alzheimer's. He would often not go to bed before he had gathered his grandchildren in the living room for worship, and had read to us one of his favourite passages from the Bible, and then sent us off to bed. After that, he was sent to bed himself and we would reemerge to carry on with our homework.
A tired father, at the end of a long working day, came home at supper time, and directly took his place at the head of the table where all his children sat waiting for him to bless the meal. He bowed his head and closed his eyes and as if answering the phone, wearily incanted, "Maple Dairy."
A woman bent over the kitchen sink and immersed her hands in the warm suds. She started to wash the dishes then stood in quiet thought and slowly withdrew her hands and dried them on her apron. She reached over to the counter and took a kleenex tissue from a box and carefully spread it out on her head. She returned her focus to the sink and quietly worshiped as she washed.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Jewish Women in the Middle Ages
One interesting example of the latter form of publication is the story of Rashi and his daughters. While many know of Rashi's liberal attitude towards his daughters' donning of tefillin, few may have heard that towards the end of his life, as Rashi grew ill, his daughters actually wrote many of his halachic responsa for him. As a battle wages on today over the issue of whether or not women can give halachic psak, this historical precedent is certainly worth considering.
Meanwhile, other learned Jewish women of the time were unabashedly writing works under their own names. Dulcie, the respected wife of Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, was known as a religious poetess. In addition, she would give public lectures on Shabbat, and in this way supported her family. She died in 1215, murdered by two Christian Knights of the Cross.
Then, too, there were women copyists like Paola, the granddaughter of Rabbi Nathan ben Yehiel (1035-1110), who transcribed Biblical commentaries that may still be read today in Breslau archives. While transcription is hardly a form of original expression, it does attest to a level of scholarship achieved by women of this time, as well as the apparent social acceptance of women writing.
Further evidence of this can be found in letters composed by women of this period which survived in the Cairo Genizah. Many of these letters are written in elegant Hebrew and reference various Biblical stories even as they speak of everyday affairs. For example, one letter written by Lady Maliha to her family in Egypt, opens with the following wish:
"May peace from Heaven...be bestowed upon you...and a long life like his who became father of the people, or his who was bound as a victim on a high mountain, or of Jacob, the plain man, or of him who sprinkled blood on the altar seven times."
Maliha's words attest to her knowledge of the stories of the patriarchs and Aaron the high priest. Thus many women at this stage were well-educated and had begun to write on a variety of topics, though none had yet published a halachic work under her own name.
During the Middle Ages, many more women began to write everything from memoirs to epics to halachic teshuvot.. The causes of this increase in authorship are numerous. The first major reason we have more literature from women of this period is simply historical: the more recent the era, the more documents will remain in our possession. Second, technological advances meant that writing implements and surfaces were more accessible.
Third and most importantly, by the fourteenth century, women's education had begun to improve dramatically. In the secular world, particularly Renaissance Italy, all kinds of educational opportunities were opening for interested ladies. The trend spread to the Jewish world, and in 1475, a group of Italian Jewish women began to operate a Talmud Torah for girls in Rome.
Literacy was increasing as well, and while many women still could not understand Hebrew, various Yiddish novels and mussar books were published for their benefit. This development allowed for the cultivation of a larger literary appreciation among women who might otherwise not have opened a book at all.
In the synagogue, where women had trouble reading and comprehending the Hebrew prayers, a tradition began of appointing a zogerke, a woman who would help lead the others through the service. Additionally, in the seventeenth century, Jewish men and women began to compose tkhines, or Yiddish prayers, written for women who felt too isolated by the Hebrew prayers they could not understand. The increasing communal commitment to women's education, literacy, and inclusion in ritual allowed for a dramatic increase in female authorship.
Erasmus Greek-Latin Bible
1516 Erasmus Greek-Latin Parallel
New Testament: First Edition An influential and very early work. We are not aware of any other copies for sale in the world. This edition was used by Tyndale to translate the New Testament into the English language for the first time. It was also used by Luther to translate the New Testament into the German language for the first time. Most scholars consider the 1516 Erasmus Parallel New Testament, in either the 1516 or the 1519 printing, to be one of the top ten most important books ever printed.
ERASMUS, Desiderius, ed. Latin and Greek New Testament
Basle: Johann Frobern: 1516
This is the first edition of this work, which was dedicated to Pope Leo X, whose courteous reply was printed in later editions of the book; nevertheless the publication was a great impetus to the Reformation and Luther's German New Testament was done from the second edition; Erasmus' own new Latin translation, printed parallel to the Greek Text, is different from the Vulgate, which papal authority subsequently declared should be used exclusively.
Since Greek and Latin were printed side by side, I contend that no Bible lacks influence from Erasmus Latin paraphrase/translation. We know Tyndale was influence by Luther's translation and Coverdale mentions Pagnini. Do we really think that Tyndale was uninfluenced by a translation that was directly under his nose?
Monday, May 12, 2008
- Observant Judaism has a rich tradition of women teachers. Any list of the top ten Bible teachers of the twentieth century would certainly include the great genius Nechama Leibowitz. Nechama was a deeply observant Orthodox Jew. She won the highest award granted to Israeli residents, the Israel Prize, very soon after it was created. She trained both men and women, and taught at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University. Her studies on the Torah are deep, and are still popularly consulted. (I consult them regularly -- and although I never met her, I consider her to be a deeply influential teacher to me.) Some of her gilyonos in English translation are collected here and in Hebrew here (HT to Gil Student for the Hebrew link).
(Note: while many of her materials are online, I recommend buying the multi-volume edition of her works -- this page sells her sets in both Hebrew and English.) Read the rest here.
Oh, this was my diagnosis. I think this is accurate enough.
You scored 27% = Tragic, 39% = Comic, 39% = Romantic, 30% = Historic
Hey, wait a minute. I am way more historic than that. What gives? Just post it, Suzanne, post it.
I did leave church.
I had attended a variety of fundamentalist assemblies and churches throughout my life, ending up at an evangelical Anglican church. It has increasingly come under the influence of the Sydney Diocese in Australia and Bishop Barnett was frequently invited to teach during the summer.
I finally left that church and did not attend any church for a full year. I did meet for Bible study in a variety of ways, but I did not attend a church per se. I wanted to be protected from the teachings of "church." My experience was that church had a combative atmosphere, and consisted of narrowing the perspective on a variety of issues, including women.
However, in the time that I did not go to church, I was unable to replace my previous negative experience with something better. Recently I have started to attend a local church which I appreciate very much.
Four passages of scripture are read every Sunday, communion is celebrated every Sunday, the sermon was surprisingly evangelical, and the priest is also a skilled cantor. That rather took me by surprise. I hadn't heard a service conducted like that before.
There is a strong focus on serving the local community, graduating new candidates for the priesthood and growing as a community. I enjoy the after church coffee, too. Actually they serve particularly good coffee.
There is also no powerpoint, no modern choruses, no handwaving, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The sanctuary is quiet throughout the service, which seems to be a combination of the nature of the service and the acoustics. Hmm.
I even took communion without making sure that I did not have to receive communion from a male. I always used to avoid the men during communion in the other church because I would not receive communion from a person who treated me as one of that special class of humans that are not of his class of human, if you know what I mean. In that church, although women were not allowed to preach they could pass out communion. I was always grateful for small mercies.
This isn't very focused but I want to record the feelings that I had in church this morning. I felt safe for a change. I am thankful for this community and grateful to be somewhere else and not where I was. These are just thoughts on my particular situation. Just anecdotes. I am sure other people have their reasons for leaving church. And going back.
Friday, May 09, 2008
To dictate to
Here is the verse,
- διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός ἀλλ' εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
- authenteo, (Philod., Rhet. II p. 133, 14 Sudh.; Jo. Lydus, Mag. 3, 42; Moeris p. 54; cp. Phryn. 120 Lob.; Hesychius; Thom. Mag. p. 18, 8; schol. in Aeschyl., Eum. 42; BGU 1208, 38 [27 BC]; s. Lampe s.v.) to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to w. gen. of pers. (Ptolem., Apotel. 3, 14, 10 Boll-B.; Cat. Cod. Astr. VIII/1 p. 177, 7; B-D-F §177) avndro,j, w. dida,skein, 1 Ti 2:12 (practically = ‘tell a man what to do‘[Jerusalem Bible]; Mich. Glykas [XII AD] 270, 10 ai` gunai/kej auvqentou/si t. avndrw/n. According to Diod. S. 1, 27, 2 there was a well-documented law in Egypt: j, cp. Soph., OC 337-41; GKnight III, NTS 30, ’84, 143-57; LWilshire, ibid. 34, ’88, 120-34).—DELG s.v. authenteo. M-M.
This verse was translated over the centuries as a synonym for the Hebrew mashal "to rule" or "be a tyrant" in Gen. 3:16. So how does this look, if we put Gen. 3:16 and 1 Tim. 2:12 together?
- καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει LXX
διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός GNT
et sub viri potestate eris et ipse dominabitur tui Jerome's Vulgate
ocere autem mulieri non permitto neque dominari in virum Jerome's Vulgate
und dein Verlangen soll nach deinem Manne sein, und er soll dein Herr sein. Luther
Einem Weibe aber gestatte ich nicht, daß sie lehre, auch nicht, daß sie des Mannes Herr sei Luther
and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. KJV
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, KJV
Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." ESV
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; ESV
So where did the switch come from? Erasmus, in 1516, paraphrased Jerome's Vulgate and wrote, "authoritatem usurpare" instead of "dominari" and then Tyndale, in 1525, translated the Latin of Erasmus as "to have auctoritie" and the KJV, 1611, as "to usurp authority."
There never has been any evidence that authentein meant "to have authority" in a positive sense, or it would be quoted in articles, I would assume. In fact, I believe that Tyndale simply misunderstood how usurpare was to be translated.
It is also worth noting that Erasmus did not translate the Hebrew scriptures so he may have been unaware of how Jerome had made the Hebrew mashal and the Greek authentein synonymous in his translation.
There is good reason for Jerome doing this. Each of these words are used for astronomical bodies.
- And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule (mashal) the day, and the lesser light to rule (mashal) the night; and the stars.
Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos III.13 [#157] (second century A.D.): "Therefore, if Saturn alone takes planetary control of the soul and dominates (authenteō ) Mercury and the moon ..." Gen. 1:16
I hope others can make use of this. I am tired of knowing that those who read the scriptures in English see something different from what I see. It makes me feel alone.
I have written more about the lexical evidence here.
Monday, May 05, 2008
I wrote about Cathie Nicoll the other day, but it was absorbed into the larger context,
- In the local church that I attended women had also been welcome in the pulpit. One occasional speaker was Cathie Nicoll, a long-time Inter Varsity worker who received the Order of Canada. She was a mentor of my mother and a much respected Bible teacher.
However, about 10 years ago the local congregational climate changed toward women. The priest was from the diocese of Sydney and Jim Packer was an honourary assistant.
After Cathie Nicoll passed away, I believe that no other women ever stood in the pulpit on a Sunday morning. This was a deliberate decision of the priest although I am not sure that the congregation was ever consulted on this practice. It is contrary to the expectations of Canadian Anglicans.
- I just read your post about Cathy Nicoll. Interesting. She led my late mother in law to Christ as well. My late mother in law grew up in Winnipeg. She became a believer while in college (nursing) and was a great dear friend of Cathy Niccol.
We also talked about Cathie's sermon planning before she came from Calgary to preach at St. John's Shaughnessy for the last time. My friend was in Calgary and discussed the sermon before hand with her and I was in Vancouver to hear her sermon. It was well accepted. I missed hearing women preach after that.
Cathie worked with Inter-Varsity and Pioneer Camps all her life. She mentored many young people, both men and women, and preached with the bishop in the audience.
Here are a couple of links for Cathie Nicoll. Leading Women, and Imago.
- Cathie Nicoll, or “Nicky”, as she was known to thousands of students and friends from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, left us peacefully on May 3, 2004. Born of Scottish missionary parents in Chefoo, Shantung, China. In September of 1930, Noel Palmer, Inter-Varsity’s first full-time General Secretary, hired a half-time secretary to assist him in the office for the grand sum of $10 a week. And so, Cathie began her half-century of work with Inter-Varsity, a fledgling student mission. Cathie was instrumental in beginning Inter-School Christian Fellowship, Varsity Christian Fellowship and Teachers’ Christian Fellowship in Jamaica. As mentor and Bible teacher, she influenced a generation of students and campers. In 1987, her remarkable role among youth in Canada was recognized by the Rt. Hon. Jeanne Sauve when she received the Order of Canada. Her contribution to Inter-Varsity’s work and her profoundly biblical leadership principles were demonstrated in the 1990 video “This May Be Your Life’s Work”.
Friday, May 02, 2008
The LCMS report on authentein
- In the Commission’s view the English Standard Version accurately translates 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
In fact, of 82 examples of authentein in the Baldwin report, only one precedes the epistle to Timothy. (The next occurrence is one century after the epistle, and refers to astronomy.)
- BGU 1208 (first century B.C.): "I had my way with him [authenteō ] and he agreed to provide Calatytis the boatman with the full payment within the hour."
However, on his blog, Biblical Foundations, in this post, 1 Timothy 2:12—Once More, 06-16-06, Kostenberger writes,
- the likelihood was suggested that “exercise authority” (Grk. authentein) carries a neutral or positive connotation, but owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.
- 41These two references are: Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”;
and BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.” For full Greek texts and translations, see Baldwin, “Appendix 2” in Women in the Church, 275–76. (in the PDF page 13)
For Kostenberger, the second piece of evidence, BGU 1208, has the phrase "exercise authority." This is a strange thing to say if you are an average citizen without any official capacity, but you made sure that someone else did something within an hour. The letter that this line is taken from is one of a collection of family letters with no reference to official capacity. It would be best to understand that authentein means simply "made him" or "compelled him" as even Grudem admits in Ev. Feminism and Biblical Truth.
So, in sum, the one piece of evidence is rather negative, and not, as Kostenberger says, "neutral or positive." However, Kostenberger does admit that, "no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone." I conclude that Kostengerger's research does not offer sufficient basis for agreeing that authentein could mean "to exercise authority over" in a neutral or positive sense.
Another important study quoted by the LCMS study is that of Al Wolters. However, his study covered the cognates of authentein and only referred summarily to authentein. Because of the vagueness of Wolters' conclusions in that study I emailed him and received this response,
- I've puzzled long and hard over authentew in BGU 1208 and in the Philodemus fragment. Although most of the lexicographical authorities seem to give it the meaning "have authority over" in those contexts, I don't think anyone can really be sure. Most people ... are too sure about their conclusions in this regard. I do think it's quite well established that authentes and its cognates often have to do with mastery and authority.
One study which was not considered by the LCMS report was "Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11-15" (Ch 12) by Linda L. Belleville in Discovering Biblical Equality, 2004, ed. Pierce and Groothuis.
In this study Belleville provides the information which I used to find the original publication of the Philodemus fragment and establish that it is not readily translatable. She examines the translation of authentein through the centuries and concludes that Jerome's choice of wording seems most appropriate. The Vulgate translates 1 Tim. 2:12,
- docere autem mulieri non permitto neque dominari in virum sed esse in silentio
- So there is no first century warrant for translating authentein as "to exercise authority" and for understanding Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 to be speaking of the carrying out of one's official duties. Rather the sense is the Koine "to dominate, to get one's way." The NIV's "to have authority over" therefore must be understood in the sense of holding sway or mastery over another. This is supported by the grammar of the verse. If Paul had a routine exercise of authority in view, he would have put it first, followed by authentein as a specific example. Given this word order, authentein as a specific example. Given this word order, authentein meaning "to dominate"or "gain the upper hand of" provides the best fit in the context. Discovering Biblical Equality, page 216-217
It appears from a careful review of all the evidence that there was no connection between the word authentein and the holding of church office or exercising leadership functions. Therefore, this verse should not be quoted, as it often is, to keep women from leadership roles, or to place women under the authority of their husbands.
When assessing a matter of accuracy in Biblical studies it is important to review at least a sample of the evidence independently in order to determine its reliability. Do not depend on the conclusions alone. I feel that pastors should keep up with the best of current scholarship on gender issues, and I would highly recommend Discovering Biblical Equality by Pierce and Groothuis.
I appreciate that many people bring a hermeneutic to the scriptures which accords equal function to women. However, others do not. We are in the best position to serve the church well if we start off with an accurate assessment of the evidence. There is no sense in which this review of authentein is intended to go against the rest of scripture. It is clear that Paul welcomed "leading women" into the early church, and so should we.
- And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. Acts 17:4 ESV