Christopher Rollston on the ‘Biblical View of Women’

Chris has a new essay in the HuffPo.  Among other truths he notes

From Mesopotamia to Egypt, women in the ancient world were considered property — valuable property, but property nonetheless. And it’s true of the Bible’s view as well. Yes, there were biblical women who flourished in spite of the patriarchy, women like Ruth, Esther, Lydia and Priscilla. But women in the Bible were normally viewed as second class, if even that.

A fine piece of work.  Enjoy it all.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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1 Response to Christopher Rollston on the ‘Biblical View of Women’

  1. I don’t claim to be a theologian, but I also do not claim to be a meteorologist; however if water is dripping down form heaven, I can reasonably say: It is raining, i.e. I can voice that I perceive a meteorological precipitation without being sued or, worse, mocked.

    I find the article excellent and it makes me proud of my “Paulinist” approach to ecclesiastical issues and proud to label Paul’s teaching: “The crown of all revelations” and affirm that I believe that disputed “revelations” must be checked with Paul’s revelation before we deem them “undisputed”… I am that kind of rebel or, “heretic.”
    As such, allow me to weigh in on these two texts
    ” Within the “Household Codes” of the New Testament, husbands are commanded to “love their wives” and to avoid treating them “harshly,” but women are commanded to “submit to” their husbands (Colossians 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:22-25).”
    In Ephesians the “writer” (if not Paul) tells us in the verse prior to 5:22, or verse 21: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Then Paul instructs that married women in the Church should not be under the rule of submitting to “one another” but to her husband only. Anyone who construes this as Paul teaching superiority of men (in this text at least) forgot to consider verse 21; also they forgot to read how the submission is conquered: Death! As Christ died for the Church and gave Himself for Her. So, if this is a text about men’s superiority, men’s superiority conquers the inferiority of women’s submission by suffering and dying for her, which is not much gain here.

    ” The New Testament Paul was quite progressive for his time, as he considered Phoebe to be a “deacon” and Junia to be “preeminent among the apostles” (Romans 16:1, 7). He also wrote: “there is no longer male nor female” (Galatians 3:27). But these voices were the exception, not the rule.

    This is why I say that Christianity is not a Jewish sect! Paul’s received revelation is such separation. Forgive me those who think it is. Maybe originally, but Christianity separated from Jewishness. Christians stopped meeting in Synagogues, started to have household meetings and. although some Ebionites, who spread hatred for the Apostle Paul even today, some of the “Messianic Jews” who claim Paul does not always speak for God, perhaps a group which started with “some troublemakers from the company of an unidentified man called James” working against Paul.

    Oh, I know that if I take the Pastorals to be written by Paul, then Paul contradicts himself and the author cites the scriptures to Timothy, but, at least this much I learned in Bible College: there were reasons in Greek culture (the Hellenistic world, if one desires) for Paul to want Christian women not to look or act like pagans. Whether these apostolic commands are applicable today in the Church, let me say that there are many other, unrelated to the battle of the sexes that are not, so what else is new? Any church or group grabs whatever Pauline command brings them more “dough” to their offering plate, but treating women as “inferior” beings for whatever reason is a sin in my not-so-scholar view.

    I am glad the author gives due credit to Paul for being at least a “voice of exception.”


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