Now I can consider whether Paul himself actually wrote 1 Cor 14:34-35 — a passage that tells women they are not allowed to speak in church — or if it was, instead, inserted into his letter by someone else later.  It’s an important issue: if Paul did write the passage, and if he also wrote 1 Timothy (widely thought to be written by someone else *claiming* to be Paul) then by modern standards, at least, he would not be considered to have a, well, liberated view of women.

I begin with a paragraph that ended my post two days ago, to set the context for the rest of what I have to say:


Paul’s attitude toward women in the church may strike you as inconsistent, or at least as ambivalent. Women could participate in his churches as ministers, prophets, and even apostles, but they were to maintain their social status as women and not appear to be like men. This apparent ambivalence led to a very interesting historical result. When the dispute over the role of women in the church later came to a head, both sides could appeal to the apostle’s authority to support their views. On one side were those who urged complete equality between men and women in the churches. Some such believers told tales of Paul’s own female companions, women like Thecla, who renounced marriage and sexual activity, led ascetic lives, and taught male believers in church. On the other side were those who urged women to remain in complete submission to men. Believers like this could combat the tales of Thecla and other women leaders by portraying Paul as an apostle who insisted on marriage, spurned asceticism, and forbade women to teach.

Which side of this dispute produced the books that made it into the canon?  Consider the Pastoral epistles from this perspective. These letters were allegedly…

To find out more about Paul and his potential misogyny, you need to belong to the blog.  You can join fast and cheap.  And every bit of money that comes in to the blog goes out to charity.  So JOIN!!!