"A woman" in 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 as an anaphoric reference

August 3, 2010 — 66 Comments

Anaphoric reference in 1 Timothy 2:12 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In a recent blog post there has been some discussion on 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 in the comment section, and the question of whether “a woman” is generic woman or a specific woman.  I always appreciate questions and challenges on my position as it continually pushes me to continue to do research in order to answer the questions that are posed to me.

The question that was posed to me was regarding “a woman” and whether there is any proof that she is a particular woman that Timothy was aware of.  The reason the question was asked is because in 1 Timothy 2:14 “the woman” is referenced and it is clear from the grammar that this is not Eve because “the woman” is still in the after effects of her transgression and her deception and since Eve is dead, her transgression is not on-going.  A similar situation is in 1 Timothy 2:15 where “she” will be saved…if…  The grammar is future tense and again it is impossible for this to be Eve as Eve is dead and gone and her salvation cannot be in the future and conditional.  

The person who challenged me believes that “the woman” in 1 Timothy 2:14 is indeed a woman who is one of the deceived teachers who Timothy was instructed to stop from teaching, but he also seems to be convinced that since the first reference to “woman” in 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 is without the definite article that the first reference to a singular woman must be a “generic” woman while the last reference would be to a specific woman since the definite article is there.  He did say that it is possible that I am correct that “a woman” of 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 was that specific person but he said that there is no real way for us to know for sure.

In doing some research on this issue, I came across a strong precedent for a second reference within the context where the definite article attached to a noun connects to a first noun that is without the article.  It is called an anaphoric reference.  I have an audio clip from Dr. James White who is quoting his agreement on a grammar reference from Dr. Daniel Wallace on the anaphoric reference.  You can hear the audio clip here James White on Anaphoric reference.  Below is the transcript of the clip.

Normally when an anaphoric use is in view, the preceding use of the noun will lack the article. It will not be articled. And if you read Greek then you will know that in James 2:14 when it says that a person says they have faith (ean pistin lege) pistin does not have an article, so this is a classic example where you have a noun, then you have the repetition of the noun later with an article, that article is pointing us back to the preceding use of the noun. This is called the anaphoric use of the article.

The anaphora refers to the way in which a word or phrase relates to other text.  A term associated with anaphora is a cataphoric reference which refers to:

…something within a text that has not yet been identified.  For example, in “Because he was very cold, David promptly put on his coat” the identify of the “he” is unknown until the individual is also referred to as “David”.

The cataphora that co-refers to a later expression is described here:

In linguistics, cataphora (from Greek, forward + carry) is used to describe an expression that co-refers with a later expression in the discourse. That is to say, the earlier expression refers to or describes a forward expression. For example, given: “Finding the right gadget was a real hassle. I finally settled with a digital camera.”  The “right gadget” is an instance of cataphora because it refers to “a digital camera,” an object that hasn’t been mentioned in the discourse prior to that point. Cataphora is a type of endophora and it is the opposite of anaphora, a reference forward as opposed to backward in the discourse.

As a general rule, cataphoras are quite less common than anaphoras in all natural languages; furthermore, cataphoras that are not sentence-internal are typically very uncommon in informal, conversational contexts.

Cataphora is often used for rhetorical effect. It can build suspense and provide a description. For example:

  • He’s the biggest slob I know. He’s really stupid. He’s so cruel. He’s my boyfriend Steve.

In keeping with Paul’s very uncommon one-of-a-kind grammar in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, we find not only a word that is found nowhere else in the Bible (authentein), a unique definite noun (the childbearing) but also a cataphora example of an anaphoric reference.  Paul describes the solution before he describes the problem (let her learn), he describes the solution as a promise (she will be saved…if…) and he describes the woman without the definite noun before he identifies her as “the woman” who is in the transgression.

We now know that Paul’s grammar using an anarthrous noun first and later referring back to the noun through a repetition of the noun but with the definite article is also used in James 2:14.

James 2:14 (NAS)
Faith and Works
14      What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

Is there a grammar usage that assures us that Paul is not talking about all women and forbidding all women from teaching “a man” and “authentein a man”?  Yes!  It is a cataphora which is an anaphoric reference.  “The” woman in 1 Timothy 2:14 is the clear identifier of the specific woman that was the recipient of Paul’s prohibition.  Paul uses the anaphoric reference to take us back from verse 14 to her sin in verse 12 and the solution to her sin in verse 11 and through this grammar reference we can identify the woman who Timothy was instructed to give Paul’s prohibition to.

There you have it.  It is a precedent in a piece of linguistic grammar that makes the furthest reference clearer than the closest reference.  It is just what Paul did with “a woman”.

Cheryl

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66 responses to "A woman" in 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 as an anaphoric reference

  1. Wow. I’ll have to digest that one. You do seem to have all your references in order. Thanks for sleuthing this out.

  2. All I can say is that God is good! He brings things to me and all I can say is Wow! I could never find these things on my own. I give all the credit to God who knows the answers when I don’t.

  3. By the way the clip that I got from Dr. White was on from his Alpha and Omega Ministries web cast today, August 3rd 2010 here http://www.aomin.org/podcasts/20100803.mp3

  4. I am sorry but I am a bit lost on the meaning of all this and its significance.
    Before reading this post, I would explain to someone that the Greek word “woman” in v11,12 can either mean “a woman” (any woman, generic woman or a general policy) or “the woman” (A certain, particular woman). The context determines which it will be. In this case, to me v14b,15 seem to make it clear that a particular woman is in view.
    Are you saying that I can now say that in Greek whenever a noun without a definite article is followed by the same noun with the definite article, it always means that the first noun must be read as “the ……” So there is no doubt that it is “the woman” rather than “a woman”?
    Is this saying it too strongly? Is this a “proof” or just an indication that it is possible to read it this way. Am I totally misunderstanding?

  5. I was wondering if words like “believes…., is convinced….., must be….” is putting things more strongly than Gengwall is saying. I thought he was just putting forward another possible view to consider, that he could see some merit in.
    Correct me if I am wrong.

  6. Craig, 5

    I kinda got that impression also. But gengwall will have to let us know for sure.

  7. @4 Craig,
    You asked:

    Are you saying that I can now say that in Greek whenever a noun without a definite article is followed by the same noun with the definite article, it always means that the first noun must be read as “the ……” So there is no doubt that it is “the woman” rather than “a woman”?

    Yes. Dr. White is arguing this same point in James 2:14 where he is saying that it is the way that it must be read because of the anaphoric use of the article. He argues this way against the Roman Catholic view of the verse to prove that both instances of faith must necessarily have the definite article.

    As far as I knew the context was the key to the interpretation of “a woman” and with the definite article in verse 14 and with the passage taken as a whole including the future results of her salvation in verse 15 which is about one “she”, the weight of the context solidified the conclusion that verses 11 & 12 are about one woman. However I was unaware of the anaphoric use of the article until yesterday. Now I am convinced that it is not just the context that removes any doubt but the exact grammar. Dr. White did not give any exceptions to the anaphoric use of the article and my research on the anaphoric use did not show any exception either so I think it is pretty much a slam dunk.

  8. Craig,

    I was wondering if words like “believes…., is convinced….., must be….” is putting things more strongly than Gengwall is saying. I thought he was just putting forward another possible view to consider, that he could see some merit in.

    You may be right. I have been so busy the last while that I get to read the comments in bits and pieces and often not in order that they were written so sometimes I read a comment that was written earlier that I did not see before. I did not read the comment of gengwall’s about a possible view right away. It did seem to me that he was against the view that “a woman” was only the woman from verse 14 and that he was then giving a possibility for the interpretation of “a woman” since another view was needed if she couldn’t be solely the woman in verse 14. I am sure that when gengwall has his time away and comes back he will be able to correct wherever I misunderstood him thinking that he was in disagreement with me. If we were on the same page then I was passionately arguing my view for nothing I suppose. But then passionate argumentation is what this blog is about as long as it is respectful of the other person. The commenters here have been amazing in their respectful discussions.

  9. I should add that sometimes our passionate debate is even more valuable for the unseen readers who never comment. While they may be silent here, they are important too.

  10. If this is really the way Greek grammar works, then I concede the point. Paul is talking about one particular woman throughout. My real objection had to do with not wanting to read more into the words than were actually there (which is what the comps do all the time). I have always started from the premise that Paul was not only inspired, but an intelligent man and a scholar, and that he worded his letters exactly as he wanted them to read and said exactly what he meant to say. So that’s why I’m careful not to assume that Paul said something unless I’m convinced that’s what he meant to say.
    Question: in the comparison with Adam and Eve, why do you think Paul puts an emphasis on Adam having been created first? Comps say that Paul is “grounding” male privilege in the creation order. I still think it means that because Adam was created first, he had more learning (ie, experience) than Eve and thus was not deceived: hence the instruction that this woman needs to learn [before she can teach]. Is that your understanding too, Cheryl?

  11. Kristen,
    I also think it is good to not make Paul (and the Scripture!) say more than it says and it is wisdom to be careful. That is why I wanted to make sure that we weren’t giving a foothold to the comps who make Paul say waymore than he actually has said.

    I still think it means that because Adam was created first, he had more learning (ie, experience) than Eve and thus was not deceived: hence the instruction that this woman needs to learn [before she can teach]. Is that your understanding too, Cheryl?

    Absolutely! Yes, this is what I believe. Paul is contrasting knowledge with deception hence the need to learn to combat deception. I don’t believe that Paul was saying that she could never teach, but that her error needed to be taken care of first by learning correct doctrine and once she was truly in the faith with a correct understanding then she could be like all the rest who should progress to maturity.

  12. Comps say that Paul is “grounding” male privilege in the creation order.

    This is my thought in response to what you’ve said. Since in the passage the only link of his prioroity of creation made is to him not being deceived, then comps must come to the conclusion that only men are not deceived because Adam was created first. Men then would be privileged to not being deceived and I really think that such a belief is totally lame to be honest.

  13. I doubt very seriously if Dr. White will agree this works in 1 Tim 2. He is very patriarchal.

  14. Kristen:
    I believe that the reason Paul mentions Adam and Eve in the way he does, is because he is addressing a gnostic heresy that was being taught by the woman being discussed in this blog post.

    Gnostics loved to reintepret Bible narratives. In many gnostic writings Eve came first, and even created Adam; and Adam was the one deceived. (In some writings the serpent is viewed as a heroic figure.) Gnostics also loved to combine Biblical accounts with pagan beliefs.

    Gnosticism would become a huge threat to the Christian chuch in the second and third centuries, but it is clear from some of Paul’s references in 1 Timothy 2:12f and elsewhere that an early form of Gnosticism was already being introduced into the church.

    Paul corrects the gnostic heresy by saying that it is Adam who was created first, and then Eve, and it was not Adam who was deceived. Moreover the woman would be be kept safe through childbirth if she continues in faith, love, etc . . . [rather than by putting her faith in Artemis, the goddess of fertility and the ubiquitous deity of Ephesus.]

    I have written about 1 Timothy 2 in the context of the Ephesian culture. http://newlife.id.au/tag/1-timothy-212/

  15. Lydia,
    He is very patriarchal but it exactly fits so he would have a hard time denying it or he would have to reject his own example. One noun repeated with the repetition having the definite article. I doubt that he ever saw it in 1 Timothy 2 because it likely wasn’t a passage he wanted to unravel. But I would be interested in dialogging with him on the anaphoric use of the article. But he is a busy man and I think this subject has little value for him.

  16. Marg,

    Moreover the woman would be be kept safe through childbirth

    This part doesn’t work with the myth as it isn’t women having babies that fits Paul’s grammar for he used a noun and not a verb and it has the definite article so it isn’t many children but a definite One.

  17. Actually, I just sent an email to Dr. White. I may not agree with his reformed theology, but he does seem to have a desire for truth so I am interested to see if he is willing to admit the link.

  18. Hi Cheryl,

    I don’t quite understand comment 16.

    “She will be kept safe” is a (third person, future, passive, indicative, singular) verb.

    And “child birth” is a noun. While it does have a definite article, it does not necessarily mean that it is a one-off occasion of childbirth. As you are very aware, the use and non-use of the definite article in Greek often follows very different rules in English!

    I don’t believe that verse 15 is implying that the woman will be kept safe through giving birth to one child, or giving birth the one time. It just says she will be kept safe through childbirth.

    When I view 1 Timothy 2:11-15 with the understanding that false doctrine was a serious problem in the church at Ephesus, and that there are several verses in 1 Timothy which significantly indicates that this false teaching was an early form of gnosticism; and that Ephesus was famous for it enthusiastic devotion to the fertility goddess Artemis, Paul’s instructions become coherent and make complete sense.

    BTW I think the anarthrous (without a definite article) woman in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is most likely one woman. (The Samaritan woman at the well is also anarthrous in the Greek John 4:7, and she was definitely one particular woman. She did not represent all women from Samaria. Thus in English we say THE woman of Samaria.)

  19. Hi Marg,
    Thanks for your comments!

    I don’t believe that verse 15 is implying that the woman will be kept safe through giving birth to one child, or giving birth the one time.

    Giving birth is a verb. It is difficult for us to get our head around that as our words for birth are verbs. Paul’s use of the word is very unique and I do not believe there is another example of this word in the New Testament that is a noun. And with a noun the definite article shows that it is a definite thing, not a representative of something like a representative birth.

    I have heard a lot about different theories of the kind of false teaching that was in Ephesus. But the words that Paul uses in 1 Timothy 2:13 explain the reason for the prohibition rather than the false teaching. If the reason for the prohibition has something to do with the deception of the woman and the non-deception of the man that correlates with the man’s first creation, then I think we need to think more of a reason for the prohibition rather than what the false teaching was about. Is there not a way that Paul could have worded the post-prohibition to focus on the false teaching rather than just the issue of deception? It seems to me that he could have been clearer that it was a special deception (gnostic teaching) that caused the prohibition rather than just any old deception that is compared to learning. I think this because the emphasis is on Adam’s non-deception and I don’t think that any gnostic teaching can explain that. So we need to answer why Adam was not deceived in order to unravel the prohibition. If a gnostic teaching works in with that, then perhaps it could be worked into the solution as well. But the fact is that Adam’s non-deception was a big part of Paul’s reasoning and we need to ask ourselves why?

    Bravo for finding John 4:7. That is a good example of “a woman” without the article that is about a specific woman. Kudos to you for that!!

  20. By the way John 4:9 has the definite article, so John 4:7-9 is another example of the anaphoric use of the article.

  21. Marg,
    You said:

    BTW I think the anarthrous (without a definite article) woman in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is most likely one woman. (The Samaritan woman at the well is also anarthrous in the Greek John 4:7, and she was definitely one particular woman. She did not represent all women from Samaria. Thus in English we say THE woman of Samaria.)

    I agree!

  22. I doubt that he ever saw it in 1 Timothy 2 because it likely wasn’t a passage he wanted to unravel.

    lol

  23. but he does seem to have a desire for truth so I am interested to see if he is willing to admit the link.

    *thumbs up*

  24. I think this because the emphasis is on Adam’s non-deception and I don’t think that any gnostic teaching can explain that.

    Thumbs way up!!

  25. Hi Cheryl,

    The word used in 1 Timothy 2:15, tes teknogonias, is a (genitive, singular, feminine) noun meaning the “act of child birth”. It is definitely a noun. I am not for one second claiming that it is a verb. Perhaps I am misunderstanding something?

    When I was saying what I DON’T think 1 Timothy 2:15 means, I was paraphrasing and I used the participle “giving birth” instead of the noun “childbirth”. (I apologise if this was the cause of confusion.)

    I don’t have a problem with the noun used verse 15. (Although some people do, because it is only used once in the New Testament, and some people have queried its precise meaning.)

    Also, I am very happy for people not to accept what I tend to believe about the fusion of Artemis mythology into a form of gnosticism that was plaguing the Ephesian church, however I still hold that 1 Timothy 2:15 can be translated as “She will be kept safe [or preserved] through childbirth.” (Childbirth being a noun.)

    I am not trying to be contentious . . . just trying to understand . . . I sincerely value your articles. :)

    Comment 20: absolutely! 😀

    warm wishes

  26. Marg,
    Your words were not contentious at all, but extremely gracious. As is often the case when someone questions a understanding that I have, I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to go deeper in this area and I may learn some things myself by listening. So I am going to do a post on this one verse where we can explore it to death (so to speak 😉 ) because I think that may be very valuable. I am not sure when the post will go up but hopefully it won’t take me more than a few days.

    Thanks for putting your finger on an area that can benefit from a closer look with a magnifying glass.

  27. Hi Cheryl,

    An article on 1 Timothy 2:12ff would be great! These few verses are still a huge stumbling block for people who ban women from leadership ministry that involves public teaching.

    I hope you will have a look at my efforts on this subject.
    http://newlife.id.au/tag/1-timothy-212/

    [My site was hacked on the 16-17 of July and some people are still experiencing virus alerts when they try to visit. My site has been cleaned however.]

  28. Marg (14),
    I think I just met another Gnostic! In her book By Design (1994, 1998) comp author Susan Hunt says that Eve “willfully yielded to the tempter’s lie” (p. 26). Doesn’t sound much like deception, does it? More like deliberate, willful sin. And Adam was “influenced” and “his helper became his hinderer.” And there we are, right back saying that it was all Eve’s fault. Adam couldn’t help himself; she “influenced” him to eat. And Eve, well, she “willfully” believed Satan.

  29. Hi all. Just wanted to let you know that I am, neck deep in wedding plans, activities, and chores (3 trips to the airport today alone) and that is why I have been AWOL. I will try to catch up next week, especially on this post because I suspect I might have had something to do with it 😉

  30. Hey gengwall, glad you are alive and well and a big hug to you during this very busy time of yours! Congrats on the upcoming wedding of your daughter and your soon-to-be son in law.

  31. I found the reference to the anaphoric that Dr. White was referencing. It is on pages 217-220 of Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament by Daniel B. Wallace.

    It says:

    The anaphoric article is the article denoting previous reference. (It derives its name from the Greek verb…”to bring back, to bring up.”) The first mention of the substantive is usually anarthrous because it is merely being introduced. But subsequent mentions of it use the article, for the article is now pointing back to the substantive previously mentioned. The anaphoric article has, by nature, then, a pointing force to it, reminding the reader of who or what was mentioned previously. It is the most common use of the article and the easiest usage to identify…Practically speaking, labeling an article as anaphoric requires that it have (sic) been introduced at most in the same book, preferably in a context not too far removed.

    Dr. Wallace then uses John 4:9 (the Samaritan woman) as a reference back to the anarthrous woman from v 7 and says:

    …the article is anaphoric, merely pointing out the fact that the woman mentioned earlier is still under discussion…

    So Dr. Wallace agrees with Marg @18 that the Samaritan woman in John 4:9 is anaphoric referring back to the anarthrous woman in verse 7.

  32. First off – “I was wondering if words like “believes…., is convinced….., must be….” is putting things more strongly than Gengwall is saying. I thought he was just putting forward another possible view to consider, that he could see some merit in.”

    LOL – Thanks for some coming to my defence Craig and TL. The response to Cheryl’s characterization of my position is kind of “it was and it wasn’t”. It is indeed too strong a contention that I believed it “must be” the way I was arguing. But I was arguing rather strongly so a response such as this is warranted and welcome. Especially since it deals so directly with the one area of grammer which was a mystery to me – anarthrous nouns. Like Kristen, I am more comfortable now in that the evidence for a continually definate woman from vs. 11 forward is strong. Still, I have reservations (so don’t give in so easily Kristen – there is more to discuss).

    Using John 4:7-9 since it seems to be a favorite. I don’t think this lines up well with our 1 Timothy passage. In John, the transliteration is “is coming a woman out of the Samaria to bail water” at the well where Jesus is sitting. Jesus then proceeds to address her directly. There is no possible way this could be seen as anything but a specific, individual Samaritan woman. In other words, there is no way “woman” in John 4:7 could possibly be considered a generic. The context does not allow it. So, in John 4:9, when the definate article is used, it does not clear up or reveal anything we didn’t already know.

    That is not true of the 1 Timothy verses. Now if Paul had said something like: “Is a woman coming from the congregation to teach and dominate…” we might have a more parallel passage. But there is no context in verses 11 and 12 that points conclusively to an individual like there is in John 4 so I do not accept the example as applicable.

    Let’s look at one of the other examples quoted in Cheryl’s post:

    “Because he was very cold, David promptly put on his coat” the identify of the “he” is unknown until the individual is also referred to as “David”.”

    To make this parallel to 1 Timothy, the sentence would have to read “Because a man was very cold, David promptly put on his coat”. That, of course, is jibberish. So such an example not only doesn’t fit our passage, but actually supports the idea that a generic must be in use in the first reference because to make it a definate makes nonsense out of the text.

    Another scriptural example of the anaphoric reference was James 2:14: “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?”

    But this is an example of a generic! It is not referring to a specific, individual “he/him”, but to any “he/him” that fits the situation. “he” is not definate here in the true sense of referring to a real individual. In fact, as pointed out in the prior example of David’s jacket, “he” is an unknown reference. The “he/him” of James 2:14 is no more specific or definate than the “someone” of the same verse or the “he” who turned out to be David

    So, I appreciate the instruction on anaphorics but find it lacking an example which fits well with the 1 Timothy verses. Let’s keep digging.

  33. Let’s look also at a couple of verses that seem a better fit both as an anarthrous reference and with 1 Timothy 2;11-15.

    1 Timothy 3:1-2 (transliterated with clarifying additions):

    [1] faithful [is] the saying, if anyone (singular and indefinate) supervision is craving, ideal work he-is-desiring. [2] Must then the supervisor (definately definate) irreprehensible be…

    So, is “the supervisor” referring to a real, specific individual? No. It is definate pointing back to the indefinate “anyone”, so it is anaphoric, but the whole passage remains generic!

    It seems anaphoric references aren’t as clear cut and rigid as we might hope. Context still determines if specific real people or generic representatives are being spoken of.

    Now, of course, it is my task to find an example outside of our passage where a move from indefinate to definate is clearly also a move from generic to specific. I will endeavor to do so within scripture (Kristen has already adequately provided English examples from the business world).

  34. Now here is a curious passage. It begins generic, gets specific about a real person, then ends generic again. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.

    (YLT) [1] Whoredom is actually heard of among you, and such whoredom as is not even named among the nations — as that one (Greek tina – “any” or “someone” – an indefinate reference) hath the wife of the father! —
    [2] and ye are having been puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he may be removed out of the midst of you who did this work (becomes more definate, refers to an individual rather than “any” person), for I indeed, as being absent as to the body, and present as to the spirit, have already judged, as being present, him (Greek ton – “the one” – clearly definate and referencing a real specific person) who so wrought this thing:
    [3] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — ye being gathered together, also my spirit — with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    [4] to deliver up such a one (back to indefinate, refers to anyone who behaves in the same manner as the specific person Paul has been told about) to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    The passage moves from “any” or, in the 1 Timothy sense, “a man” who has had his fathers wife, to “the one” specific real person in the congregation who has done this, to “such a one” as the specific person who does such a thing now or in the future. Clearly such a progression is possible in scripture and it is quite acceptable for Paul to be dealing with a specific real life person and any generic equivalents now and in the future within the same passage.

  35. The thing about the 1Tim. section is that it moves from a clear general note to all women about dress, into a very specific woman about a very specific thing. And that specific thing is that she is to be allowed to LEARN. Everything after that is subject to the facts of her learning and why. If we approach the section as a whole, I see it as quite clear.

  36. My work is still not done. Now I need to find a passage where this pattern exists with the very same noun at each point.

  37. TL – I agree that the transition from plural to singular is quite dramatic and signals a shift to an individual issue as opposed to a group issue. But just because we are now dealing with the behavior of individuals doesn’t mean that Paul can’t be handling that behavior generically and with a specific individual simultaneously. He clearly pulls off such a feat in 1 Cor 5.

  38. Let’s look even closer at 1 Cor 5. Paul uses ton twice. This is the definate article and transliterates as “the one” in this case where there is no noun associated. When Paul uses it in vs. 3 he says “…’the one’ who has done this thing” and is clearly referring to a specific person. When he uses it in vs. 5 he says “…’the one’ such as this…” and is clearly referring generically to any individual who acts like “the one” from vs. 3. Here, the definate article is being used both specifically and generically. I’m afraid we have to consider the context and surrounding text – there is no hard and fast grammatical rule, that makes it always one way or another. Even anaphoric references can be to a generic and generic and specific references can be tied directly together.

    Now, I think the surrounding text of 1 Tim 2:14 makes it clear that “the woman” is a specific human being. There is no support for a generic interpretation – no “such as this” or anything else. The only possible generic would be “the woman of the species”, but again, there is no surrounding support for that conclusion. I have no problem with “the woman” being a specific woman that Timothy was dealing with.

    The next question, since the topic is anaphorisms which entail looking back, is what do we do about the indefinate woman of vs. 11. I have no problem seeing her linked to “the woman” in vs. 15 and no problem disassociating her from the “women” of vs. 10. And I see some support to believe she is anaphoric and therefore the same specific woman as “the woman” in vs. 15. But I also see no problem with her being a generic representation of “the woman” in vs. 15. I will now search for an example to rebutt Cheryl’s contention that EVERY instance of indefinate “x” followed by definite “x” is an anaphoric reference (even though Cheryl’s own examples rarely follow that pattern in terms of the nouns being the same). If I can’t find a good example, there is more weight to Cheryl’s argument. I am comfortable with that. On the other hand, if I do find an example that clearly supports my generic-to-specific pattern, i.e. that is not an anaphoric reference, I think we have more to discuss.

  39. I don’t know gengwall. That doesn’t make sense to me.

    How can one go from plurals, to singular plurals? One CAN go from plurals to singular though. But to say Paul went from an obvious plural (read generic) to an obvious singular, but really still meaning generic plural doesn’t make sense.

  40. A generic is not a “singular plural”. This is the same misunderstanding Cheryl seems to be falling victim to. A generic individual is an individual “model” or example. There is nothing “plural” about it. When Paul says, in 1 Cor 5:5, “the one such as this” he is being generic and he is being singular. If “a woman” in 1 Tim 2:11 is generic, she is not a group. Like Cheryl always says, and I agree, “she” can not be “they”. “A woman” is an individual generic woman, not a group of women.

  41. Let’s look at a common expression: “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”. This expression is not referring to a group of men. It is referring to an individual generic man. There is nothing plural about it. The same may hold true for vs. 11’s woman.

  42. From my view a generic person applies to all persons. Therefore in its application, it is plural. The way I read the section, Paul is addressing one specific woman and the application of what Paul is saying is to be applied ONLY to that one specific woman, not all women in a generic example.

  43. So, you see that since generic applies to all women, then it wouldn’t be necessary for Paul to switch to a generic, since he was already speaking generically to all women. He would have continued on saying let all women learn, and learn in quietness and submission without domineering men. But the fact that the switch is so out of place and obvious says to me that we cannot ignore it, that it has a purpose. To further that thought Paul CONTINUES with the singular, even citing a singular woman, Eve (with her husband Adam), as an example. Paul stays with this singular deliberately until the very end, when he switches deliberately into a plural.

  44. Now let’s expand the expression. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. That is why George went bungy jumping at age 65”. Here we move from a generic to a specific even though the generic and specific are tied together (George is a real life example of the generic man doin what he has to do). This is a common pattern in speech. What I am suggesting is not some crazy, out of left field, grammatical gymnastics.

  45. Your example of George doesn’t work, because it’s regarding the same subject. Paul switched subjects from dress and modesty to one woman and teaching with dominance.

  46. Oh, and gengwall, I don’t think what you are saying is crazy or left wing. :) It just doesn’t fit with what Paul is doing in 1 Tim. IMO.

  47. “From my view a generic person applies to all persons.”

    Well, that is simply wrong. A generic example refers to individuals of which there may be none, one, or many. But each is addressed individually. The generic does not refer to the collective. If it did, it would be plural.

    “He would have continued on saying let all women learn, and learn in quietness and submission without domineering men. ”

    Well, first of all, that is a true statement. But the difference between vs. 10 and 11 is that in vs. 10, Paul was addressing a group problem or dynamic and in vs. 11, he was addressing an individual problem or dynamic. The change in number is mandatory because of the change in subjects. The women of the congregation in vs. 10 were being immodest. But a woman was involved in false teaching and domineering. So Paul changes the number appropriately. And he has a real life example who he deals with in the end. But he also wants to address other individuals who may be similarly deceived. So he deals with it generically.

    It is exactly the same pattern as 1 Cor 5 as I note above. Do you think when Paul said “a man who has his fathers wife” he was referring to all men? And when he said “the one such as this” he meant all men are collectively “such as this”? I sure hope not. Paul used generics to address individual sinners, then dealt with the specific real life sinner from whom he drew the generic model, then went back to addressing all similar individual sinners. There is no group, no collective, no plural involved. It is all on an individual basis.

  48. Why do you tie my example to the plural of verse 10? It has nothing to do with vs. 10.

  49. “Paul switched subjects from dress and modesty to one woman and teaching with dominance.”

    I totally agree, but I don’t know what your point is. Nothing I have said disagrees with this statement.

    If I said “Men should not were dark socks with sandles.” and then went on to give my example, it would be clear that the “men” I referred to in my first sentence, and that sentence as a whole, have nothing to do with individual male bravado, bungy jumping, and George’s participation in it.

  50. “Your example of George doesn’t work, because it’s regarding the same subject.”

    EXACTLY! And that is why it does work. Paul is addressing the same subject in verses 11-15 and it is a different subject than verses 8-10. Just because it is the same subject doesn’t mean Paul can’t deal with it both generically and specifically. I’m not sure why y’all can’t see that.

  51. Let’s go back to Kristen’s example. Although I don’t remember the specifics it is easy enough to replicate because I am a manager.

    TL – if I am a manager and you are a supervisor under me and you are having a problem with an employee, we’ll call her Cheryl, you might come to me and say something like “I’m having trouble with Cheryl – she is doing ‘X'”. Is it not a legitimate reply for me to say “well, nobody should be doing ‘X’.”? Is it not also legitmate for me to say, “as for Cheryl, she can fix her record if she does ‘Y’.”? I have moved from generic to specific. The generic “nobody” is directly related to the specific “Cheryl” because of ‘X’. The subject is the same and yet the generic to specific pattern is perfectly legitimate.

  52. “EXACTLY! And that is why it does work. Paul is addressing the same subject in verses 11-15 and it is a different subject than verses 8-10. Just because it is the same subject doesn’t mean Paul can’t deal with it both generically and specifically. I’m not sure why y’all can’t see that.”

    yes, but! :)

    We all know that any subject, any Scripture, any event can be applied to a person or persons that fit the subject matter. It doesn’t need to be worded in a special way for that to happen. If a woman today were to do today what “the woman” referenced in 2:11-15 was doing, then it would be a good idea to consider telling her to learn, in quietness and submission, just as Paul is admonishing Timothy to do. So in effect, it CAN be dealt with both generically and specifically … even when Paul is addressing just one person. Which I still think he is.

    :)

  53. ” Is it not a legitimate reply for me to say “well, nobody should be doing ‘X’.”? Is it not also legitmate for me to say, “as for Cheryl, she can fix her record if she does ‘Y’.”?

    I can agree with all of that. It’s just not what Paul did. !Shrug!

  54. OK (# 52), now we are getting somewhere. That is a legitimate question to ask me. To what end would Paul need to be generic since Timothy could assume that what applies to “the woman” applies to any subsequent woman like her. Very early on in these discussions I dealt with that. Timothy was young, needed encouragement, and obviously felt he needed to rely heavily on Paul for instructions. Moreover, this was a very dicey situation. I suggest that we can NOT assume Timothy would take the instructions as generic if Paul had been exclusively specific. I suggest that Paul was letting Timothy know that his instructions absolutely could be expanded to other cases through the intentional use of the generic at first. Then Paul finished by dealing with the specifics of Timothy’s test case.

    Simlar situations are not necessarily identical. Although general instructions can apply to a point, each case has its unique circumstances as well. Paul developed a general guideline for similar situations so that Timothy had the confidence to move foward (he did this repeatedly in 1 Timothy), but then provided specific encouragement for the specific case that Timothy wrote about and that Paul, quite probably, knew far more details of then we will ever know.

    In our work example, it is true for me to say the “nobody should do ‘X'” (a prohibition). But it may not be true for me to say “everbody can fix things if they do ‘Y'”. That solution may only apply to Cheryl.

  55. “I can agree with all of that. It’s just not what Paul did. !Shrug!”

    LOL – Why not?!? “Just because”? I agree that that might not be what Paul did. But you seem so sure.

    Remember, I am not trying to convince you that it “has to be” my way. Frankly, without Timothy’s letters, I don’t know that we will ever know for sure. Unless it is grammatically impossible for it to be my way (a distinct but as yet unproven possibility), I think it is a very reasonable interpretation. Put simply, it works. So does Cheryl’s BTW – I think her interpretation has a lot of merit, especially when Adam and Eve come into view. But I believe it is an open question.

  56. I’ll take a breath now and wait for Cheryl to respond. I’m sure she’ll be typing furiously when she sees that I have not given up. (seems the right spot for an evil laugh – buwahahahahaha!)

  57. catching up …..

    “I suggest that we can NOT assume Timothy would take the instructions as generic if Paul had been exclusively specific. I suggest that Paul was letting Timothy know that his instructions absolutely could be expanded to other cases through the intentional use of the generic at first.”

    hmmm. I didn’t think of Timothy taking the instructions as generic. I would think that Timothy would take them as specific to the situation. However, even for Timothy if a similar situation arose in the near future, I would think he could think back to Paul’s instructions and not feel he needed to ask Paul again but apply the same wisdom. This is the way we do it today. So, again, Timothy wouldn’t need a generic to know that if a similar situation arose, it is possible (though not absolute) that he could respond in a similar way.

  58. “I’ll take a breath now and wait for Cheryl to respond. I’m sure she’ll be typing furiously when she sees that I have not given up. (seems the right spot for an evil laugh – buwahahahahaha!)”

    Actually, this was fun. You’ve been a good man to dialogue with.

    Part of the problem with taking it as generic is that it is then even easier for the hierarchal minded person to step it up to ‘all women should be eternal learners, in ‘silence’ and submission and not ever teach or “lead” ‘men’.

  59. Hi Cheryl,

    As you know I am not convinved that “the woman” is an anaphoric reference, but I’ve just come across the idea that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 may have been written as a chiasm, with Eve as the climax. (A.C. Perriman,Tyndale Bulletin 44.1, 1993, p129-142.)

    If these verses do form a chiasm then “the woman” is an anaphoric reference. (Chiasm is a common literary device in the scriptures.)

    A 11 Let a woman in quietness learn in all submission. . .
    B 13 For Adam was formed first,
    C then Eve,
    B’ 14 and Adam was not deceived.
    A’ But the woman, having been deceived, has come into
    transgression.

    Interesting!

  60. Hi Marg,
    That is indeed interesting! It appears to be just another puzzle piece that fits. Thank you so much for sharing that!

  61. Marg, that does make Eve the comparison for ‘the woman’ and as a woman who has been deceived. Putting the whole section into place, then the deceived woman needs to learn in the manner of a student, and live a holy life with her husband who may not have been deceived.

    I still think the reference to bearing children has something to do with the false gnostic idea that for a woman to be spiritual she needs to live like a man and not bear children. That may have been one of the things the woman was deceived in. Verse 15 may even be a double intention of referring both to ‘the child’ who was certainly a spiritual happening and that the woman can be spiritual while bearing children.

  62. TL,
    The thing that puts a damper on that idea that Paul is talking about our own spirituality is that Paul didn’t use the word for spiritual but he used the word for “saved”. It is also future and not present tense (for those who already had children). The coming of Jesus was miraculous rather than something that made Mary spiritual. It is possible that Paul had more in mind than the connection between deception of the first woman and the deceived “issue” at Ephesus, but I would think that if he did he would have used more words like “spiritual” rather than just deceived and transgression. I am just unconvinced that there is something further there without something to hang onto. It also seems to me that Paul was more interested in going from the place of deception to salvation than he was in explaining what the specific deception was about.

    I have been trying to carve out some time to fill out my last post, but haven’t had that kind of time yet, but hopefully soon.

    TL, Marg, and others here, I wish you a very blessed Christmas and a joyful time in the Lord with your families!

  63. “The thing that puts a damper on that idea that Paul is talking about our own spirituality is that Paul didn’t use the word for spiritual but he used the word for “saved”. “

    The sense I’m thinking of is not that Paul is directly addressing the idea of gnostic spirituality but that he is hinting at it while directly addressing the true spiritual miracle that heals and saves us all. IOW it’s an underlying message, only likely because of the fact of the woman’s deception and that her deception may well have been gnostic misinformation among other things.

  64. and Merry Merry Christmas everyone. :)

  65. I think that it is VERY important to use a hermeneutical approach to this. It is very important to read the introduction that Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Tim 1:

    As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

    His purpose of the letter is to comment of what CERTAIN people are teaching. Note that in all of his letters he is very careful to not put to shame publicly those that are in fellowship (notwithstanding those he has already kicked out of fellowship). All of the letters were read aloud in the gatherings. It would have been very embarrassing for a particular person to be outed publicly for offenses that were not necessarily worthy of removal from fellowship. You can see this same tactic in 1 Cor 5 when Paul speaks of ‘an immoral brother’. People knew who this person was but Paul was not one to publicly embarrass people knowing that the letters were circular. He is writing to tell Timothy what to do with this ‘certain person’- in this case ‘a woman’- and her teachings of female idolatry/origination/or Artemis keeping women safe during childbirth.

    Also if this was not the case and all women are to keep silent in the church, why then does Paul allow women to pray and prophesy publicly and out loud in the church (1 Cor 11:5)? This does not make sense.

    It is important to understand who the epistle is written to and what the reason for writing it is. Epistles should never be read as if they are verse for verse applicable to every gathering of believers. This is why all letters to all churches were different depending on the particular issue or praise.

  66. Sarah, excellent comments!

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