Tuesday, September 13, 2016

: How Scholarly are Evangelical Academics? Part 2 of 2

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"The truth is, had some of these expositors been one tenth as broad as St. Paul on the "woman question," and honest besides, we should never have been taught these pitiful, puerile and ego-centric perversions of Paul's meaning." 
--Katherine Bushnell

In Monday's post i talked about Evangelic scholars and I showered there are clearly many good one,s Today I am dealing with issues where evangelical scholarship is lacking. The three issues I will deal with here are inerrancy, pre Mark Passion Narrative, and issues dealing with women. My real focus will be on the latter.

On inerrancy

In models of Biblical Revelation Avery Dulles (now Cardinal) listed several major views on inerrancy.[1] On Doxa and on Religious a priori I published a chart based upon this work:

Dulles Lists Five Versions of Inerrancy. 

*Inerrancy of original autographs and divine protection of manuscripts.
Proponents of this view include Harold Lindsell.

Inspiration of autographs with minor mistakes in transmission of an unessential kind.
Carl C.F. Henry.

*Inerrancy of Textual intention without textual specifics.
Clark Pinnock.

*Inerrancy in Soteric (salvation) knowledge but not in historical or scientific matters.
Bernard Ramm

*Inerrant in major theological assertions but not in religion or morality.
Donald Blosche and Paul K. Jewett 

On the one hand they are to be lauded for diversity of view points, On the other hand, since inerrancy is their major issue and the engine that moves their movement doesn't it seem they would have it more nailed down? The thing about inerrancy is that by definition it requires a sort of unified notion of adherence to God's intention. They start creating diversity and dividing inerrancy into different kinds to support the mistakes in a word of God that should have no mistakes. Witness the diversity above it's all aimed at allowing for mistakes in areas such as science and history while making doctrine unassailable, That is also a problem since doctrine is as much the result of human interpretation as science and history. I think we would fair better understanding scripture as the human account of divine-human encounter. Not "the word of God" but contains divine communication.

Pre Mark Passion Narrative (PMPN)

The PMPN is a redaction of the Gospel story prior to the writing of the Gospel of Mark, It deals with a longer stretch of story than just the passion. It includes Jesus' teachings as well as the whole arrest and trail and crucifixion and ends with the empty tomb. Because it pre dates Mark it proves that Mark did not create the empty tomb or the Gospel story, We don't have a full text of it but we find aspects of it in many different writings. Through this PMPN we can date the Gospel including empty tomb by at least AD 55 in writing and probably AD 40s or earlier as oral.[3] This is a powerful tool for supporting the historical validity of the Gospels even though it's major proponents don't believe in the resurrection; Koester and Crosson are two of it's major proponents along with about eight of it's major textual scholars Koestler draws upon. The view is consensus in the field. [4] 

I do not see Evangelicals lining up to use this knowledge. They can't if they want to be uncontroversial because it does mean saying that Mark was not the fist Gospel and thus probably means giving up the namesake authorship. But it does not mean giving up eye witness authorship. Ironically the one person who pushes this is also an evangelical. The one evangelical I know of who is willing to give up Johaninine authorship that is Richard Bauckham. He attributes fourth gospel to elder John of whom Papias speaks,and who wrote the epistles of John, He's also an English evangelical so more willing to stretch the envelope.[5] Ray Brown was instrumental in establishing the nature of the PMPN as independent of the canonical gospels.I don't think of Brown as evangelical but he was a believer, perhaps we could say Orthodox Catholic. So ideas are  valuable for the believing scholar but I don't see the evangelicals being willing to shed their ideology and stretch the envelope enough to use them.

3. Women

Evangelical scholars flock to back the conventional silencing of women. The new scheme is to give lip service to equality but combine it with double talking spelling out the same old status quo, silencing women,and call it "complementarianism." Virtually every single passage about women has some trick of language to it upon which the conventional silencing is based. Any such example reveals willful slip shod scholarship used to reinforce the regime against women's equality. I'll single out two major examples: (1) Gen 3:16, (2) 1 Cor 11:1-12. Gen 3:16 is the alleged curse on woman commanding her subjugation to the male: "your desire shall be to your husband he will rule over you." 1 Cor 11: 1-12 seems to say that women should cover their heads in church as sign of their husband's authority over them. Since I don't have time to cover the full issue of equality of sexes please read my exposition on the issue as a whole ("Women and Christianity").[6]

Gen 3:16 supposedly establishes female subjection to the male, the wife to the husband as a curse for Eve's sin. But the exact reasons for the punishment have always shifted arouind, Ancient Rabis and 19th century clergymen took the phrase "your desire shall be to your husband " To mean that the wife's sexual desire would be so powerful that she would allow herself to be controlled.[7] The new position I saw stacking up way back in the 80s. I researched it and saw there was no basis for it, I taught agaisnt it and sure enoigh here it is made into the commentaries with evangelical stuffed shirts pretending like it's really a big thing. The idea is that she hasd a desire to control her husband, but because of that he will rule over her, The problem is they are not just including that in a study note they have actually put in the translation. Susan Kirzo says the change is not warranted

Christianity Today shared an interesting article about changes that were made to the English Standard Version this summer and it playfully mentioned how the ESV is now "literally the unchanging Word of God" (Read more here).Changes to translations are necessary as language changes, and our Bibles are continuously being updated for this very reason. But what may have gone unnoticed by the casual reader is that these changes included Genesis 3:16. 
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
This change is not warranted by the original text. Instead it follows current theology, and the new interpretation of the text that now says the woman desires to control the man, as described by Raymond C. Ortlund in CBMW's flagship book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton: IL, Crossway, 1994):[8]
If I remember correctly I think the analysis being added to the new translation originated with Bill Gathard back in the 1980s and has nothing to do with the actual language in the passage; Gathard was not a Bible scholar but an extremely far right wing "teacher" who ran self help seminars. We see the Biblical manhood book is from Wheaten college which is to evangelical scholarship as Rome is to Catholic doctrine. This is a pernicious view because it teaches that woman  is to blame for her subjugation as a  result of her lust for power, Thus feminism and egalitarianism and all woman-freeing ideas are automatically suspect and at the root of woman's grasp for power. There is a perfectly valid interpretation that sees the word "desire" as meaning "turning." That is based upon the Hebrew. She is turning from God to her husband for dependence. Please see my essay on the passage.[9]

The passage in 1 Corinthians 11: "8)For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; (9)for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake.
(10)Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." So because man was made first women must be i subjection, not because of the curse? She must cover her head to signify it? In reality the passage says nothing about covering the head. It actually says "she should have power over her own head," In other words let the woman decide. Paul wants them to cover  because uncovered they look like prostitutes, So  they should, but he's leaving it up to them, The word there is exousion meaning one's own authority, that gets translated totally wrongly as "as a sign of authority."

The word exousian (exousian) means "liberty," "privilege," "authority" but of a kind that is one's own. The Centurian told Christ, "I am a man under authority. I say to one 'go' and he goes and 'come' and he comes." He describes himself as one who must be obeyed, but says he is "under authority," why? Because that is the word exousian. the Centurion's authority was delegated by Rome, but it was his own authority to wield as he saw his duty. It was his privilege to command as he saw fit. The word means one's own power, it does not mean "to be under subjection." It is the woman's own power to veil or not, as she sees fit. Ramsay himself proved this in the Cities of St.Paul. On one of his digs he found a statue of a woman, the inscription of what claimed that she had "three powers on her head." This was Ramsey's rendering, and it was the same word. This meant, she was the wife, daughter and mother of kings.Intermediate Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon (Oxford, 1983) defines the word: I."Power or authority to do a thing. Magestry, the body of magistrates, authorities, powers." II. "Means, resources." It certainly looks to me as though that word is entirely concerned with the ability of the bearer to work by his/her own perogative, and not subjection to the authority of another. The Barclay Newman Greek Dictionary defines it as "liberty, power, authority, to be in subjection or to wear a vile." I showed that to my Greek professor (a Classicist from Yale) who laughed himself silly saying "the Greeks never had a word like that!" This just shows the bias of Christian publications on this topic.

The legendary Sir William Ramsey Translated it as I do and said in speaking of the convention view, that it means to wear a sign of authority, "a preposterous idea which a Greek scholar would laugh at anywhere (except in the New Testament, where they seem to think Greek words can mean anything commentators choose." [10] As my professor actually did laugh.The problem is magnified by every passage dealing with women, The evangelical reference works like Strong's and Vines are virtually worthless when it comes to this topic.In My article on I go into great detail showing how  Grudem's scholarship is biased on this topic and how poorly he deals with the problem of Lexicons.[11] Also see my article on the 1 Corinthians passage, It has been called "eye opening." [12]


all online sources accessed 8/14/16

[1] Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation. Mayknoll New York: Orbis books, Paperback ed. sixth printing, 2001,.19

[2] Joseph Hinman, "The Nature of Biblical Revelation" Religious A Priori on line resource URL

[3] Joseph Hinman, "Gospel Behind The Gospels part 2" The Religious a priori on line resource URL
[4] Helmutt Koester,  Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Developmemt. Bloomsbury: T&T Clark; 2nd prt. edition (March 1, 1992) 215-218

[5] Richard Bauckham,  Jesus and The Eye witnesses: The Gospels as Eye Witness Testimony, Grand Rapids MI: Wm.B. Erdman's Publishing Co. 2006, paperback 2008  420-425

[6] Joseph Hinman, "Women and Christianity" section of Doxa: Christian Thought in 21st Centjury, an online resource (website). URL: http://www.doxa.ws/social/Women/women_index.html

[7] Katharine Bushnell,"The Correct Interpretation of Gensis 3:16" God's Word To Women, Published by council on Biblical Equality 2003. availible on Amazon

free copy

This book was originally written a study guide and thesis not numbered by pages, it was mail order, it was written in the 1920 I believe. At that time it was radical it could not be published but the author was a student of Greek and of Hebrew who studied at Northwestern University, when I studied Greek I read her books and checked her work and found no instances where I found any real disagreement, or any of her views that I could not back up with published scholars. She backs up her point about "desire" (Tesheuqa) meaning turning with massive documentation from ancient sources.

[8] Susan Kirzo, "ESV & the Ever-Changing Genesis 3:16," Suzan Kirzo Blog

9/11/2016 URL:

[9]Joseph Hinman, "curse on Eve?" Doxa Women and Christianity

[10] William Ramsay, Cities of ST. Paul. London: holder, 1907, 203

[11] Hinman, "Meaning of Headship part III battle of thei lexicons" Doxa: Women and Christianity

[12] "Power over her own head," Doxa: Women and Christinaity 

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