Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hendiadys and 1 Tim 2:12

In a recent article in "New Testament Studies" entitled "1 Tim 2.12 and the Use of oude to Combine Two Elements to Express a Single Idea" Philip B. Payne sets forth an argument in an attempt to bolster the egalitarian viewpoint. He states in his introduction that his paper will show "that the overwhelming majority of the uses of oude in the undisputed letters of Paul combine two elments to expess a single idea" (235).

The term often associated with this idea is "hendiadys" (from a Greek phrase of 3 words "hen" (one) "dia" (through) "dys" (two) or "one through two") which is the idea of two items combined to form a single item or idea.

The classic example of hendidys in the NT is Ephesians 4:11. Here the hendiadys is set up with very blatant grammatical markers. Paul says that God gave (to the church) "some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers". In Greek it's (transliterated):

tous men apostolous, tous de propheitas, tous de euaggelistas, tous de poimenas kai didaskalous

The "men-de" construction common in Classical Greek. There it functioned as a strong adversative, setting up a "on the one hand (men) ... on the other hand (de)". In the NT, some of this is preserved but it can often function simply to group together items in a list. Both "men" and "de" are second-position in a clause as you see above--after the article. The item in question, then is the final word: didaskalous. For it is not joined with the other nouns by "tous de" like the others. Rather it is joined by "kai".

Now in English, we end a list of items with "..., and" to indicate to the reader/ listener that this is the final item. Greek does NOT do this. So if "didaskalous" was meant to round off the list to make it five items, it would have ended this way: "... tous de poimenas,
tous de didaskalous". The final "de" would have linked it in a series with the others and the article would follow the pattern of the previous four. Instead we have "tous de poimenas kai didaskalous". What is this?

This is hendiadys. Here the pattern was set for how the other terms were grouped: by "tous" + "de" following the first "men". Now "kai" has a multiplicity of functions, and hendiadys can be one of them. But the context and grammar must set it up; you can't just take every instance of "kai" and force the pairings into a hendiadys relationship. Here, the obvious break from the grammatical pattern (anticipating "tous de") reveals the purpose of "kai": hendiadys.

Hence, "kai" here is not merely linking "didaskalous" with "poimenas" as part of a list but bonding the two together as a single concept: Pastor-Teachers or Teaching Pastors.

In 1 Tim 2:12 where it says, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to be silent", this, Payne argues, is an instance of hendiadys (though he avoids the term "hendiadys" as it's often disputed as to its meaning).

His argument is this: a majority of uses of the grammatical construction of "ou(k)" + "oude" + "alla" in Paul set up a hendiadys. He goes so far as to argue that a majority of Pauline uses of "oude" alone are a hendiadys. In other words, when Paul uses "oude" you can expect to read it like one reads "tous de poimenas kai didaskalous " from Eph 4:11.

Payne takes a large sampling of Pauline uses of "oude" and argues how, in each case, because they two concepts are related or relatable, they therefore are a hendidys. He even goes as far as to call many of the two elements compared "equivalent" or having "equivalent meanings." He breaks down the Pauline usages of "oude" into five possible "joining" uses: to join into one thought (1) equivalent ideas, (2) natural pairs, or (3) two separateideas, or to express two ideas in order to (4) focus on the same verb, or (5) express separate ideas. He argues that the distribution of these uses are as follows: (1) seven, (2) four, (3) six, (4) four, (5) zero. The point being that in no instance does "oude" link two separate ideas that stay separate.

One example comes from Gal 1:1 "Paul an apostle--not from men nor through man--but through Christ Jesus" (
ouk ap' anthropon oude di' anthropou alla dia Ieisou Christou). To make this one idea, it is to be thought of something like "Paul an apostle not-from-men-through-man but through Christ Jesus".

After citing a grocery list of such examples he believes makes his case, he then goes on to 1 Tim 2:12 and concludes that the same is going on here. Thus, Paul is telling his listeners that he does not permit a woman to "teach-exercising authority" or as some would spin it "teach authoritatively" or "teach with (oppressive) authority". Hence, Paul is forbidding a specific kind of teaching: one with oppressive authority. So then women who don't teach this way can still teach/ preach/ be pastors.

Does this make the case?

There are quite a number of core problems with this approach and how it is carried out. They will be listed here in no particular order:

(1) Lack of Secondary Source Support: Hundreds of commentaries and exegetical sources have been published on the Pauline literature that delve deeply into the Greek text. Payne offers almost no corroboration of his conclusions with any of the major works. Now this does not necessarily discount the possibility that he has discovered something brand new. But such newness raises suspicion as it seems to assert that everyone else has missed this point, one that he has cleverly ferreted out. Or it could mean that everyone else considered and dismissed it for obvious reasons.

(2) Imprecise (Possibly Loaded) Categorization: It seems either cavalier or ignorant for Payne to suggest trot out the idea of "equivalence" in words or phrases without some serious discussion as to its justification. Many scholars with an expertise in grammar and linguistics have vigorously argued that such "equivalence" simply does not exist. True synonymy is rare. Even words commonly interchanged in the same expression can have shades of different meaning in different contexts. Obviously, by labeling pairs as "equivalents", it makes it easy to argue for a hendiadys. But this also betrays a tautology and a front-loading whereby the initial parameters are set up to lead naturally if not inevitably to the assumed conclusion. It is like setting up an experiment so controlled and manipulated as to force a result that leads to a preconceived, intended conclusion rather than allowing for an experiment to proceed inductively in order to see and accept what results occur. In short, this is poor scholarship.

(3) Blurring of Distinction: Emerging from the above point, what Payne attempts to do in every instance of "ou(k)... oude" (with our without "alla") is to blur or eliminate the distinction between the paired expressions. But this cannot be justified, and Payne seems to know this as he contents himself with a minimal amount of demonstration coupled with a bold conclusion. So in the Gal 1:12 example
when Paul speaks of his apostleship as not sourced "from men" nor "through man", these are not the same things at all. Yes, they are related but not the same. They share the idea of "man" being the source (in contrast--alla--with Jesus Christ, the God-man) but they are not "equivalent" ideas. This is seen in the distinct uses of the preposition. The "apo + genitive" seems to have a source sense to it, sometimes emphasizing the source being a person not a thing (cf. Matt 6:13). That it's plural may also point to a body of people, commissioners. And the "dia + genitive" has more agency in mind not source. And the singular may emphasize the idea of "man" (vs. God) or "any man" or a single, man despite his position in this life (like a priest, king, or rabbi). In any case, there are two distinct elements here--related, yes, but not to be blurred into a single thought. Paul is likely saying that his apostleship did not come through a body of commissioners nor did it come from a single person occupying a high level of authority. No human agency was involved: it came rather from Jesus Christ, from God. The two elements cover the range of possibilities and Paul means to cover both which are distinct though related.

(4) Assumes Without Sufficient Proving That Relationship = Hendiadys: In the end, Payne takes related but distinct words/ phrases, shows that they are related, blurs any distinctions, and concludes that they are one-thought (hendiadys). Attempts to do this border on the absurd, but they must be done to keep the arguming flowing. The classic bungle is with Romans 9:16 where it says that God's mercy does not (ou) depend on the man who desires nor (oude) the man who runs but (alla) on God who has mercy. Here he struggles to argue that desire and effort (run) are conceptually one idea by arguing for a conceptual parallel to "pursued the law" in vv. 31-32. This is hardly an argument since there is nothing lexically of "desire" here. Only "dioko" which can mean "run" can have some parallel to "trecho" of v. 16. Payne, again, merely assumes that "desire" is in there (after all every action comes with a desire to do it, right?) and concludes that v. 16 means "desire combined with effort". Now this goes against any sensible thinking. Verses 31-32 do not parallel "desire" and "effort", only "effort" if anything. It does not exemplify a pairing-into-one idea that Payne hastens to argue. And conceptually, it misses an important point he is making in making the distinction: salvation cannot be the result of what one wills or what one does. This conclusion is drawn from the prior examples shown. Paul makes the point that Jacob and Esau were determined before any had done any works (effort). Esau, Hebrews 12 tells, us sought for the blessing with tears but was refused (effort). Paul then after v. 16 gives the example of Pharaoh which is not an example of works/ effort but will/desire. For it was Pharaoh's heart that was hardened, hindering his will from choosing to set Israel free (desire). The two pack a powerful punch precisely because they are distinct. No option for boasting is allowed here. Paul short-circuits any argument for human contribution to salvation: no works, no will. You don't earn or merit salvation, neither do you choose it. God works and wills it for you. This perserves a full doctrine of grace.

English uses a similar construction to "ou(k)... oude" with "neither-nor". Suppose I say, "As a pastor, he is neither knowledgable nor skilled." Am I saying, "As a pastor, he is not knowledgable-skilled"? or worse "knowledgably skilled"? or worst "skillfully knowledgable"? No, I am saying he does not possess either of the two attributes of "knowledge" or "skill". If I wanted to say "knowledably skilled" I would have and could have said so that way. For the "neither-nor" in English has very much the same function as "ouk ... oude" in Greek: to bring two related but distinct ideas together. Sometimes the two ideas are VERY related but still distinct. Few terms in Greek are truly "equivalent" and the use of "ouk ... oude" certainly does NOT make them so.

(5) Assumed Negative Meaning of authentein: In his introduction, he states that his argument seeks to show that this hendiadys "is the most natural way to interpret 1 Tim 2.12 within its context and identifies many instances where oude joins an infinitive with positive connotations to an infinitive with negative connotations." (236) He cites BDAG who defines it as "assume a stance of independent authority". Here again is a kind of logical tautology. As a hapax legomenon, there are no other NT examples of using this word. So how is its meaning derived? From the context. So what about the context justifies a negative use? Are there descriptions of negative surrounding the context? Are there examples of this? Does Paul employ any negative adverbs or adjectives to describe the situation as negative? If anything, the admission that "to teach" is a "positive" word only corroborates the context as a positive one. What is going on is that those who have assumed the meaning of the texts have imported an artificial context into the passage and concluded its usage as negative. This filters into a lexicon where others can point to as determinative of its "meaning".

If Paul is truly attempting to identify a narrow, specific group of women who are wrongfully exercising authority (vs. the rightful way), how Paul does it in 1 Tim 2 is certainly the most confusing if not inept attempt. Paul has made it very clear in ch. 1 that there are a group of false teachers. Paul knows how to identify and pick out a specific group, telling Timothy to discipline such teachers. None of that language is present in 1 Tim 2. Rather than Paul saying, "Timothy, command such women to not exercise their authority in this ungodly fashion, for it distorts the way of godliness" or something like that. Instead we get Paul saying, "I do not permit a woman to..." a general statement devoid of specificity. Indeed, the entire context is one of "all-ness". 1 Tim 2:1-7 is a clear command for all to pray. Verse 8 segues into a command for men to pray. Now unless one seeks to argue that this is some-men not all men, this is not justified in the text. No where does Paul specify a select group of men who are to pray. Predominantly, v. 8 is taken universally to apply to all men, and rightly so. But then v. 9 connects with v. 8 in two grammatical ways. First with "hosautos" (similarly). This means that whatever was said in v. 8 applies to v. 9. But what is the parallel? Prayer? No, since the text goes to talk about how a woman dresses. The natural conclusion is that since v. 8 applied to all men, similarly, v. 9 applies to all women. The connection is forged second by the absence of a main verb in v. 9. Only an infinitive is present. This is because the infinitive is grammatically linked to the main verb in v. 8: boulomai. Paul says in v. 8, "I wish for men..." and this carries to v. 9, "similarly, [I wish] for women to order themselves..." If one argues for vv. 9 ff to be limited to a particular group, one must argue the same for v. 8. Again, this will only betray eisegesis, the vain attempt to make the text say something that it fails to naturally says--to push and tweak the text to fit a preconceived and passionately held position.

In the end, Payne juggles and bungles his use of Greek in an attempt to bolster a preconceived conclusion. Reading the article feels like watching a scene where a newly minted private is brought to a battlefield and told, "It's not dangerous here." He is led by the hand hastily through the best parts of a blasted out town. The guide quickly points out the streets that are devoid of fighting, though gunfire can be heard in the distance, sometimes not so distant. A flurry of activity sometimes is seen in the streets but before he can stop to assess the situation, he is hastily told everything is fine, there is no fighting and told to move on. He is led finally to a safe compound, a garrison well-walled and protected. "See?" the guide says, "it's not dangerous here at all!" The private frowns, unconvinced.

A similar reaction results from reading this article.


Rob said...

Very interesting Dr. Yosh...

This is kind of like what we talked about that one day in class last semester (only much more "scholarly-sounding!")...

Still an egal, but this is a great read! ;)

Love Jessie Carlson

P.s. hope you are having a good summer!

Andrew Chapman said...

οὐδέ, being formed from οὐ δέ, is much like δέ in that it adds something new and distinct to what has gone before. So all the grammars. So it is contrary to its very nature to 'join two ideas into one'. Andrew