Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fencing with a wet noodle

I know a lot of people think that we can deduce from context that authentein means "to have authority in church" but there is no evidence for this. This could actually be called the “wet noodle” hermeneutic. Here is the Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought, page 123,

    Language is a lever with which we can convey surprising facts, weird new ideas, unwelcome news, and other thoughts that a listener may be unprepared for. This leverage requires a rigid stick and a solid fulcrum, and that’s what the meaning of a sentence and the words and rules supporting them must be. If meanings could be freely reinterpreted in context, language would be a wet noodle and not up to the job of forcing new ideas into the minds of listeners.

So, when a theologian says,

    While what you say is generally true, in the case of the use of didaskein and authentein in 1 Tim 2:12, in conjunction with oude, it does not appear that these verbs are of such a nature that they transparently and unequivocally convey a positive or negative connotation apart from consultation of the context and syntax of the passage.” Kostenberger BF, Nov. 30, 2008


it is evident that he is fencing with a wet noodle.


A.Admin said...

Ironic your blogging about "fencing". I'm putting one up now and I just came in a bit ago because it was getting dark. :-)

Suzanne McCarthy said...

That's funny. I meant fencing as in the sport. But yes, Kostenberger uses the "staying within your boundaries" metaphor a lot. Perhaps he is trying to fence women in with a wet noodle.

A.Admin said...

...fence women in with a wet noodle.

I know from personal experience that's not strong enough.