50 Women in office. 1Cor.14:34-35.
Is 1Cor.14:34-35 authentic, or a later inclusion? (Possibly a gloss?)
1Cor.14:34-35, Message: “Wives must not disrupt worship, talking when they should be listening, asking questions that could more appropriately be asked of their husbands at home. God’s Book of the law guides our manners and customs here. Wives have no license to use the time of worship for unwarranted speaking.“
In a previous post about “hearing and judgmental errors”, I mentioned the famous Whiley fruitcake, baked every Christmas and for most weddings in my wife’s family. My wife owns the book of recipes in her late grandmother’s own handwriting. But in this recipe someone had written some extra ingredients in the margin. Are these ingredients part of the original recipe, left out by mistake, or do they represent her variation for a special treat. Aunt Ann’s copy includes these ingredients with the previous ingredients to soak overnight in sherry. Aunt Sue is convinced that her version is the original, combining these ingredients together with the next ingredients directly to the flour. How could we solve this mystery? If only we could discover great grandmother Whiley’s original book of recipes!
A word or clause that had been written in the margin of a manuscript and incorporated into the text of a later copy, is called a gloss.
For some time now the position of women in the official offices of the Church is debated in many denominations. Some have claimed that 1Cor.14:34-35 represents such a gloss dating from a time when the position of women had a low esteem, and should therefore be deleted from Scripture to restore the text to correspond with the original as God gave it to Paul to write down.
Criteria to identify a gloss:
1) External criteria concerning the manuscripts.
2) Internal criteria looking at the transfer of the words of the text.
3) Intrinsic criteria, focusing on the author and how great the probability is that he in fact did or didn’t write the words or clause.
1) External criteria:
i) Typically a gloss would be wanting in some, especially the oldest manuscripts. 1Cor.14:34-35 is not missing from any manuscript, or lectionary, neither from any antique translation or even any quote of the Church fathers. In fact our oldest manuscript with the epistles of Paul, Papyrus No.46, from around 200 A.D. contains these words.
ii) A gloss sometimes surfaces in another book of the Bible. This clause is found only in 1 Corinthians 14.
iii) In some manuscripts a gloss might be found not in the usual place, but in some other place in the same book or chapter. 1 Cor.14:34-35 is indeed found after 1 Cor.14:40 in some manuscripts. This we should examine.
Let us look at the manuscript evidence:
|Possibilities||Between 1Cor.14:33 and 36:||After 1Cor.14:40:|
|Witness:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:|
|301-400||א , B||Vulgate, Bohairic, Fayyumic||Ambrosiaster|
|401-500||A||Armenian, 2 Syriac||D||1 Old Latin|
|701-800||Ψ||2 Old Latin|
|801-900||K||1 Old Latin||Fp Gp||4 Old Latin||Sedilius-Scotus|
|901-1000||0243 + 21 Minuscules|
Looking at the manuscript evidence, the following is clear:
The only possible ground to see 1Cor.14:34-35 as a gloss is the fact that this clause does appear in two different places in 1 Corinthians 14, though by a great minority. This is not convincing evidence to render this clause as a gloss on external grounds.
2) The internal criteria
The internal criteria look at the transporting of the text to try and find a possible answer to the reason why a few manuscripts placed this clause after verse 40.
1Cor.14:26-40 concerns the orderly worship. Verses 26-28 handle the speaking in tongues; verses 29-38 prophets and prophecy, while 39 has an encouragement to enhance both. Verse 40 concludes with a note that all “should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” The clause of our attention is found in the middle of the instructions concerning prophets and prophecies. Here two possible interpretations should be taken into account.
i) This clause could be seen as in direct concern with the handling of prophets and prophesies during a worship service. This would mean that women are forbidden to prophecy or ask questions during a service. Any questions should be directed to her husband at home.
ii) The second possibility is that this could be seen as a general rule concerning women during worship, and not directly linked to prophecy.
Without other indications both interpretations are possible. If the first possibility is upheld, it would cause no problem being where it is found in most manuscripts. If however the second interpretation is accepted, this general statement would indeed cause a break within die clause concerned with prophecy, and the matter indicated in verse 39. That could explain why one or more scribe rather transferred it to a position after verse 40.
The internal criteria therefore give a logic explanation for the reasons this clause is found in two different places in this chapter.
Therefore both external and internal criteria do not give any ground to deem this clause as a gloss.
3) Intrinsic criteria.
Let us then consider the intrinsic criteria.
i) First we consider whether this matter as well as the words used, are typical of the author. Both do correspond with the words and subject matter that Paul typically handles.
ii) Next we look whether these instructions do correspond with how Paul handles similar situations. Paul acknowledges that women do prophecy. (1Cor.11:5) In 1Cor.11:1-16 the context clearly shows that her ministering during a worship service should not embarrass her husband or cause marital stress. This corresponds with the clause under discussion.
iii) Lastly we consider whether this clause corresponds with the author’s opinion and statements on this subject. Once more it corresponds perfectly with what Paul instructed in Timothy 2:11-14. Again the protection of the relationship within marriage is a certain undertone.
Looking at the intrinsic criteria, like the external and internal criteria there is no grounds what so ever to deem this clause a gloss.
It is important to consider the implications of this clause. Where it is found at present in all versions of the Bible, it should be accepted that this clause concerns women prophesying during a worship service. It is not a general statement that could be utilized out of context as one sees fit.
There are no grounds to see this clause as a gloss, but it should be understood and applied within context.
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