There is a new article by Jennifer Shack in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, suggesting that the manuscript evidence cannot support the idea that this controversial passage is an interpolation. She concludes:

So where does all this leave 1 Cor. 14.34-35? It leaves it in the text. If it cannot be viewed as an interpolation, what does that mean? It means that we continue to wrestle with the evidence and we continue to do the best we can to accurately understand the text of 1 Corinthians with Paul’s words in 14.34-35 intact.

A few years ago I posted my ponderings about the textual integrity of this passage here – but I haven’t been 100% satisfied with any of the ‘wrestlings’ I’ve seen with the passage. If it is indeed original to the letter, then a face-value reading is so obviously at odds with chapter 11, that it is necessary to press further and attempt other readings. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted my own tentative wrestling with the content of the passage before at some point, but here it is, for what it’s worth – by no means a settled conclusion, but an imaginative attempt…

Could it be that the command to silence is directed to the wives of (male) prophets whose messages are being evaluated?

The broader passage would thus read as follows (from 14:29):

29: The command to allow evaluation of speaking prophets

  • 30-33: The silenced speech of critiqued prophets: control yourself!
  • 34-35: The silenced speech of wives of critiqued prophets: control yourself!
  • 36-37: The subjection of prophetic utterance to apostolic command

To expand (and over-translate, for the sake of elucidating my suggestion; repeated terminology is italicised)…

Let two or three prophets speak, and others should evaluate what is said.

If an evaluative revelation comes to one of these “others” who is seated…

  • the prophet should be silent – for you prophets are all able to prophesy one by one, so that all of the congregation might learn and receive encouragement. And the spirits of prophets are in subjection to prophets – for God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the churches of the saints
  • The wives of such critiqued speakers also must be silent in the churches – for it is not permitted to them to speak (i.e. on behalf of their silenced husbands) – but let their spirits be in subjection just as the law also says. But if they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home – for it is embarrassing for the wife to speak up in church
  • You indignant prophet, did the word of God come from your mouth? Or has it only reached you? If anyone thinks themselves to be a prophet or spiritual, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.

Someone has uploaded my whole monograph, Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal: The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on his Macro-Rhetoric, onto Scribd – so it can be read in full, downloaded, and is entirely searchable – all with proper pagination! You’ll find a number of other full NT monographs there as well.

I Howard Marshall has just given a brief positive review of Horizons in Hermeneutics in Journal for the Study of the New Testament. I have added links to all journal reviews of my resources on the Resources page of this blog. Some links will only work if you’re on a network that carries a subscription to that journal, but others (e.g. RBL) should be visible to anyone.

Matthew R. Malcolm:

I’ve posted this over at Corinthian Matters…

Originally posted on Corinthian Matters:

The two recent reviews of Ryan S. Schellenberg’s Rethinking Paul’s Rhetorical Education: Comparative Rhetoric and 2 Corinthians 10–13, mentioned in the previous post by David, are worth having a look at, for those interested in Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. They take part in a lively ongoing debate about the extent to which the apostle Paul employed, and was trained in, Greco-Roman modes of oral and epistolary rhetoric.

The two reviewers of Schellenberg’s work (Duane Watson and Frederick Long) have both made solid contributions to this debate, arguing that the Corinthian correspondence in particular evidences Paul’s training in formal rhetoric. The book they review suggests otherwise – arguing that the rhetorical features visible in the Corinthian correspondence are sufficiently accounted for by ‘general rhetoric.’

One of the reviews points out that this debate is currently vigorous, with a recent interchange between New Testament scholars Stanley Porter (who argues that Paul’s argumentation exhibits functional…

View original 306 more words

Youtube top 5

I’ve just noticed that I’ve reached 10,000 views on my youtube channel. So, to celebrate, here are the 5 most popular videos I’ve done:

In position number 5, it’s Corinth and 1 Corinthians, a flight through 1 Corinthians, illuminating it with some footage and photos of Corinth.

In position number 4, bizarrely, it’s my video of people saying the Serto Syriac Alphabet. Who would have thought that would get any views??

In position number 3, it’s Thessaloniki and Thessalonians, introducing some of the sights in Thessaloniki that illuminate Paul’s correspondence with the Thessalonians. In this one I sport a fake moustache.

In position number 2, it’s Anthony Thiselton on John Stott. This is a two minute portion of an interview I conducted with Thiselton, discussing John Stott’s impact on evangelical hermeneutics.

So far, so good, right? I’m coming across as quite the academic.

But then we come to position number 1. Sigh

Who is this?

Here’s a little quiz to lighten your day:

Who is this person…


Is it:

  1. A Bond Villain?
  2. Dirk Jongkind?

Answer here.

A review of the book The Future of Biblical Interpretation: Responsible Plurality in Biblical Hermeneutics has appeared in the September edition of the journal Theological Studies, by LJ Topel.

The review comes from a decidedly Roman Catholic perspective, presenting the book as arising from the ‘Reformed tradition’ – by which is meant Protestantism. Topel views the first four chapters (those by Thiselton, Porter, Briggs, and myself) as ‘a fairly tight unit,’ representing ‘a considerable advance in sophistication in the Reformed tradition.’ But Topel is less pleased with what he takes to be an overly swift dismissal of the role of the development of authoritative church tradition from James Dunn. He acknowledges that the book as a whole gives a place to the role of effective history and the development of doctrine; but wishes that it situated responsible interpretation more securely within the tradition of the church’s judgement.


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