Not a misogynist

FOR several centuries, Christians have grappled uneasily with The Paul Problem.
The old bachelor’s 2000-year-old New Testament edicts such as “Women should be silent in churches” and “Wives, be subject to your husbands” have been effective weapons against the rise of women in many churches.
But feminist Christian writers claim Paul is a product of his times. And that he wrote specifically for congregations of the early Christian church between 50 and 80 AD.
His style is in what is known as the Talmudic tradition of Judaism, which encourages continuing interpretation of teachings.
Feminists point out that in the same letters to the early Christians, Paul also asked Christians to be obedient to questionable political authorities of his day, and admitted sending an escaped slave back to his master.
Yet the same Paul sometimes wrote with great love and respect about women. In Romans he sends greetings to Phoebe, a female officer in the church.
He was not, despite the rumors, a bitter misogynist.


12 thoughts on “Not a misogynist

    • Hi Mon honey,
      Thanks so much for those fascinating discussions of the Blasphemy question. Some very welcome homework for me it was, I must say. Fundamentally, I would say that they verify the essence of what I’ve been saying about the Jewish religious law. The important point about the ‘fence’ issue was explained to me some 40 years back by my Jewish scholar friend. I notice that your authority there did not mention (admittedly it was irrelevant to his discussion) the other basis for Blasphemy which was practice or promotion of Idolatry. Clearly no one can really suggest anything like that in the words or practice of Jesus as recorded in the Bible.

      Now the writer has not PROVEN his case about the condemnation of Jesus, but has offered a very sensible sort of rationale for it, however complex. It was another quite ingenious rationale that old PG suggested a few months back. He said that just maybe when Jesus was asked for his name by the High Priest (under Oath as he and Proph. had always insisted, though what exactly that had to do with it, I cant imagine) he answered that his name was ‘Yeheshua ben Yahweh’. (hope I’m spelling that reasonably right!)

      When I first argued the Blasphemy laws with PG he dismissed my suggestions, and sneered at me since I had offered no evidence or reference for them. I promptly detailed my three scholarly Jewish authorities on the matter and once more he dismissed what I said completely. But just a couple of weeks later, obviously having checked on the matter, he came back to me, clearly now agreeing with my details. And he came up with that remarkable but completely absurd idea I described there. I can detail if anyone wishes, just why it is not rational.
      I must say it was gratifying to see that the writer of your articles did not quibble over the ‘Christ’ accusation by Caiaphas, but he substituted the unambiguous word Messiah.

      Anyway, once more I shall be cheerfully adding your quotes to my files for future reference. Thanks again.
      Love and Cheers, Rian.


    • This seems to add strength to the theory that Jesus planned his own crucifixion. Earlier he had the betrayal agreement with Judas. The three days to rebuild the temple also looks like a forknowledge of the three days to be taken for the resurrection.


  1. So where does one stop with this “But feminist Christian writers claim Paul is a product of his times. And that he wrote specifically for congregations of the early Christian church between 50 and 80 AD.”
    Just about everything written in the Bible can be ignored using this statement as an excuse. And they call themselves Christians! Not only that but Jesus had a number of female followers that helped support his ministry without being included among the apostles.
    Seriously, the way some people practice their Christianity is like someone practicing engineering without having been through university, no degree, and blatant disregard for the standards, codes of practice and engineering judgment.


    • In this instance I too believe that Paul’s injunction for the women to keep silent was specific to his times only:

      “Thus it is clear that the reason for addressing the women at this point in the book is that the women were also involved in interrupting and wrangling. In the first century the women usually sat together rather than with their husbands in Jewish synagogues. Paul copied extensively in the area of structure and practice from synagogues, apparently including this practice. One source of evidence for this seating arrangement is the passage we are studying in I Cor. 14. It seems that the women were sitting together when they heard a point being made that they did not agree with. Following the general pattern of things in Corinth, they would begin to fuss with each other about it–possibly even calling out refutations and heckling the speaker! Otherwise, how could Paul’s informants have witnessed division in the meetings? See I Cor. 1:11, and 11:18.
      Again, this is the context in which Paul says, “let the women
      Again, this is the context in which Paul says, “let the women be silent.” Seen in this light, the statement is nothing more than a rebuke to the women for the part they were playing in the general atmosphere of confusion and hostility. “Tell the women to shut up as well!” would be the sense of what Paul is saying.

      The language of vs. 34,35 supports this interpretation. When Paul says, “If they desire to learn anything let them ask their own husbands at home. . .” he implies that they were currently asking their questions in the church meeting. In other words, as the speaker made his points, he (or she) might be interrupted with a barrage of questions which likely included challenges to the position being taken, but were in any event, disruptive of the meeting. Therefore Paul says (so to speak), “tell them to wait until they’re at home to ask their questions.” (vs. 35)

      The question of why only women asking their husbands is mentioned, but not husbands asking their wives, is probably best explained by the cultural norm (especially strong in the Jewish community) of educating men, but not women. It is also likely that since the women were the ones that were causing a problem in this situation, they were the ones who were addressed.”


      • Assuming that your interpretation is correct, what is to stop any feminist disrupting a church service today, on the grounds that the verses you have quoted were written for Paul’s age and culture? What is to stop a feminist arguing that heckling the speaker in church is her right under women’s lib?

        I also notice that your defense is strong on words like likely probably, etc. In other words whoever wrote the article does not know. S/he is merely making an assumption based on his/her prejudice instead of reading what the Bible actually says about the issue.


  2. I often think that maybe Paul might have been divorced. No real evidence except cultural norms. But I often wonder why he gives such detailed advice about Christians married to nonChristians. It makes me wonder if he speaks from experience, not only from religious enthusiasm.


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