Monday, April 23, 2007

Paul and Gender

I'm currently writing a chapter for my new Paul book and the chapter is called: Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts. It is honestly one of the hardest things I've ever written on (Jesus and the Law is # 2) and I am continuing to plow throw it with great caution and care. But I very much liked this quote from Judith Gundry-Volf:

"In sum, Paul seems to affirm both equality of status and roles of women and men in Christ and women’s subordinate or secondary place. He appears to think that sometimes the difference between male and female is to be expressed in patriarchal conventions and that sometimes these conventions should be transcended or laid aside."

Judith Gundry-Volf, ‘Paul on Women and Gender: A Comparison of Early Jewish Views,’ in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on his Life, Thought, and Ministry, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 186.


David said...

Michael, sounds like a great book in the offering. For this chapter you are, of course, interacting with Bruce Winter's recent book, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities, (Grand Rapids, MI, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003).

Michael Pahl said...

Hey, Mike. Sounds great. I've been thinking that Paul's approach to this and similar social issues reflects the eschatological tension he felt. The "in Christ" of Gal 3:28 is an eschatological sphere of existence, something already present but not yet fulfilled until the parousia. This creates a very practical tension in Christian living: we are to be content in the social sphere in which we have been called (1 Cor 7:17-24), but strive to work out the full implications of Gal 3:28 whenever possible without creating social anarchy.

David Shedden said...

Mike, thanks for this. Why do you think this issue continues to cause such problems? I think it's an area - unlike other controversial things - which is a real test for any doctrine, and hermeneutical theory, of scripture. Best, Dave Shedden

Michael F. Bird said...

The problem with 1 Tim. 2.11-15 is the cultural influences upon the context and the cultural influences upon the interpreters. It is a good test case for how one does interpret scripture.