Tuesday, February 06, 2007

1 Timothy 2:11-15 (???)

I would love to read people's personal commentary on this passage from Timothy. I was reading my Bible last night and just opened up to this passage. I thought "Oo, what a blog topic..." but then I realized that there are many perspectives on it. Even in Catholic circles there is some debate. It is one of those areas that sort of makes me think because while we don't have women priests of course, they do teach religion nowadays (like Mother Angelica). So this post I leave up to you, my kind and humble readers.

Comment please. Don't be scared.

1 Timothy 2:11-15

11 Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed; then Eve. 14 And Adam was not seduced; but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression. 15 Yet she shall be saved through childbearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.


Chrissy Joy said...

Oh, my dear friend Matthew. While I have no real comment on the scripture at hand.....it's like Piss Chrissy Off Week.

As the pastor of my new church commented to me, "It is hard to look at a gifted leader (male or female) and say that they cannot use their gifts because of their anatomy."

Again I say...What the HELL?! (that's a good middle ground between my first and second comment yesterday)!

manny said...

dude what is your motivation with this post??? Well, i'll tell you what I think it is...

clearly, this passage is sexist, outdated, oppressive, and flat out wrong. women MUST teach and learn, equal to men, and it doesn't make any difference that they carry children or got "seduced" in this so called garden of eden -- women have just as much right to do all the same as men do.

But that's what you want us to say, isn't it?? Because you probably have some clever retort, citing the "interpretive" spin you have to have to passages like this, and in the eyes of god, it is obvious that women are not subservient and are equal and have rights too. and, to that end, serve a more "important" role, being givers of life and possibly bearing greater significance than men or something like that. thus, explaining people like mother angelica, whose "children" happen to be the people who listen to her teachings and become the disciples of faith and godly knowledge.

I'm sorry my friend, but you just can't pick and choose the parts of the bible you want to take literally and which ones you want to "interpret," even in the name of spirited debate. Believe it all 100% or not at all (dogma and contradictions alike).

btw, I know you're not that stupid to be so sexist, so please explain what your motivation is with this post because it is clearly offensive to women.


there i said it. no fear here!

Matt said...

I have no other motivation for posting it other than what I stated. Just wanted some opinions.

I don't believe the text is outdated, sexist, or flat out wrong. I think it is in need of understanding in a proper context.

But thanks for the comments Manny, its good to hear from you on the blog!

Chrissy Joy said...

oh manny. that gave me a good belly laugh.

Moonshadow said...

Even in Catholic circles there is some debate.

I'm not aware of any debate.

verse 12 speaks explicitly of women's behavior at Christian worship with, perhaps, a more general application intended. (New Jerome Biblical Commentary).

See women praying aloud at worship in 1 Cor. 11:5 and a woman teaching a man in Acts 18:26 where Priscilla and her husband Aquila give Apollos a fuller understanding of the faith.

verse 15 counters the false teachers mentioned later in the letter (1 Tim. 4:3-5) who prohibit marriage. "True faith insists upon the goodness of human sexuality as something created by God. Indeed women are to be saved by the very thing that the false teachers reject!" (NJBC)

Just a rough cut, here, Matt. If I could find my other commentaries, I'd have more to say. But, for now, I'll leave it at that.

Discussing Scripture is always a good blog topic, so I hope that you ask more.

And, gee, I thought you were Catholic already.

Matt said...

Moonshadow -

I think there is debate on the subject of what this passage means for us today, whether or not it is "legitimate" or not is another question. Clearly, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis killed the priesthood argument for women. However nowadays we have women readers and teachers in parishes right? This is the question that stands out in my mind. How about 1 Cor. 14:34, where Paul says women should be silent in the churches? This clears the way for Mother Angelica, and aligns with your note on verse 12.

As far as being already Catholic - I am a candidate for Confirmation this spring (read two posts up from this one). The journey has taken quite a long time due to discerning where to go, how to move forward, priest reassignments, etc etc. But its coming to a head now and I'm pretty excited.

manny said...

word up chrissy, glad you got a laugh!! I was hoping I wouldn't be taken too seriously, and i'm glad that came through. i mean, come on... what kind of scripture expert do you expect me to be??? hehe

but yeah, as far as context is concerned matt, the only context on which i can comment is exactly what's in front of me.... not knowing what comes before or after, i can't speak to. however, when given such a microscopic snippet to analyze, one can't help but interpret it the way that I did.

and somehow, i feel as though even if you did expand the "context" of the selection, the extremely powerful language cant overcome any explanations offered to pacify or soften the severity of the text. so, in context, my interpretation stands. it is sexist, outdated, and flat out wrong.

where's my help on this chrissy???? or do you agree that you should just shut the f**k up???? hehehe

and btw, of course i read your blogs matt! what kind of friend would i be if i didnt??? i don't catch them all the time, but i do make an effort. it's actually nice to get the email, it keeps me in the loop.

Moonshadow said...

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis doesn't draw upon 1 Tim. 2:11-15.

How about 1 Cor. 14:34 ...

"It is difficult to harmonize the injunction to silence here with 1 Cor 11 which appears to take it for granted that women do pray and prophesy aloud in the assembly. Hence the verses are often considered an interpolation, reflecting the discipline of later churches ..." NAB footnote

Fr. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P. considers the post-Pauline interpolation of verse 34 to be a contradiction of 11:5 and a reflection of the "misogynism" of your initial pericope, i.e., 1 Tim 2:11-15 (NJBC).

I have yet to observe the impact of 1 Cor. 14:34 on a women's missionary organization's parish appeal.

Lay readers, women in particular, may be an outgrowth of a renewed appreciation for the "priesthood of all believers" ( 1 Peter 2:9, familiar from your Presbyterian days? ) and the recognition that all are called to evangelize.

You've invoked Mother Angelica twice already so I ought to mention that she is more of an exhorter than a teacher ( Romans 12:8 ).

Yet, there are women teachers, some teaching men in formation in seminary ( I think of Sr. Maria Pascuzzi, specifically ). As the prejudices relax and the support improves and the opportunities materialize women become better qualified.

It's about gifts ... to a point. The difference wrt teaching is that no one is obligated to listen to Mother Angelica or Sr. Pascuzzi or you or me. Teaching with authority is different from teaching. And there is that whole mandatum business.

You've struck upon one verse, a single verse, Matt, but there are verses to the contrary. And, obviously, the practice of the church is to the contrary. So, who are you going to believe?

Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.

Matt said...


Who am I going to believe?
The Church of course my friend. :-) There isn't any doubt about her pre-eminence in the matter of scripture interpretation in my mind. The only reason I pointed out 1 Cor 14:34 is because it was footnoted in my Douay-Rheims bible and it did seem pertinent to the discussion.

And yes, there was a sense of priesthood of all believers going to the max as a presbyterian, as we were all our own personal Popes.

Viewing Mother Angelica as an exhorter rather than a teacher is interesting. I'll think on that one.

I plan on diving into this passage with my priest on Saturday. He has a copy of the Cantena Aurea and some other commentaries which will probably shed even more light on it. I will probably do a follow-up post. Your comments have been quite helpful.

@Manny -
Your candor, my friend, does make me chuckle. And yes, if I saw this passage written somewhere out of context I would have pretty much the same reaction you did - that it was wrong etc.

But as Christians we believe that the Bible is inerrant but in need of interpretation. The Church is the highest interpreter we've got. As you can see by the back and forth, we're working it out with the Church's teaching - which is exactly what I meant this to do.

I came across a passage which I already knew the Church's practice on the matter, and to an extent her teaching, but because the verse taken plainly seems to conflict with it somewhat, needed to reconcile it in my head. I chose this forum to do that, and I'm glad I did.

manny said...

dude, you should become a religious scientist, studying in scientific fashion the history of the church -- you should teach religious studies at a university!!!

please do this. otherwise, just bite the bullet and become a friggin preist already! those are your only options my friend.

Matt said...

Teaching Church history or the priesthood are my ONLY options?!

You certainly know how to work a guy into a corner don't you? :-)

Moonshadow said...

"there was a sense of priesthood of all believers going to the max as a presbyterian, as we were all our own personal Popes."

In the context of worship. I'm speaking only in the context of worship.

That is, no one mediates. Each believer stands before God on the merits of Christ alone. There is no priest, no sacrifice.

I'm not talking about the practice of private interpretation. I do not know how much that actually happens.

You sound as if you were PCUSA.

I'm more familiar with the PCA where the interpretation of Scripture is a little more standardized and institutionalized. Whether or not they admit that is a different matter!

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton