Women and silence in church


#1

I did a search on this, and couldn’t find anything, so here goes for my first post.

In 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, women are told to be silent in church. Why is this? I figured, historically, it was because women at the time were so uneducated that they just weren’t qualified to teach, period. That’s not really the case anymore, with more women’s rights movements and whatnot. (And rightfully so- women deserve as much opportunity for education as men, yes?)

So why is this commanded in the NT? I’ve racked my brain, and can’t come up with any response to it. (for the record, it was a Wiccan who asked me this.)


#2

Read the rest of the passage. Paul asks the men if God only gave them wisdom and other rhetorical questions. During a Bible study, my pastor said Paul was actually writing tongue in cheek. He wrote at a time when women had little say and was actually chastising the men who refused to see God’s work in the lives of women.
At the same time, we also read where Paul directs women to teach women. Cursillo separates men from women because of how men and women experience life differently.


#3

Note that St. Paul states in vs. 37 that he received this as a “commandment of the Lord”, so it is not just his own particular thought on the topic. He is saying that he received from the Lord that only men have the authority to teach within the context of the Liturgy. His statement in 1 Cor. 14 (see verse 33) makes it very clear that it is the custom in all the churches of the holy ones that women were to keep silent in the Assembly. In verse 38, he says that if anyone (because of some claim to “Spiritual enlightment”) does not acknowledge this, then he himself is not acknowledged, i.e., Paul is enforcing an episcopal censure of such people. All this goes to the Lord establishing the male-only priesthood.


#4

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