A long story: part I
The notes on my conversation with Dr. Waltke are still under a lot of other stuff and will stay there for a few more weeks. I never really thought of how much mess a bathroom reno could make – a lot! They are down to the joists and still assessing the feasibility of rebuilding the bathroom vs tearing the whole house down.
However, I can share another minor point. I had been reading Al Wolters’ book, The Song of the Valiant Women, which I enjoyed tremendously. Now there was absolutely nothing in that book that was the least bit pro-feminist but it was an excellent read if you like 25 pages on the “distaff” and that sort of thing. I adore that stuff so I really loved the book.
I mentioned Wolter’s book to Dr. Waltke, because he quotes it in his commentary on Proverbs and I wanted to show off that I had read his commentary. Since it is two volumes of about 800 pages each, I hadn’t actually read it, but, well, I wanted to look smart – of course. And, I had read Wolters’, 154 pages, the entire thing, that is more my speed.
Anyway … to make a short story long …. one of the things I really liked about Wolters’ book is where he discusses “wisdom” in Proverbs 31:27,
- She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
צוֹפִיָּה, הילכות (הֲלִיכוֹת) בֵּיתָה;
וְלֶחֶם עַצְלוּת, לֹא תֹאכֵל.
ṣwōfîyâ hălîḵwōṯ bêṯāh
wəleḥem ‘aṣəlûṯ lō’ ṯō’ḵēl:
tzofiyah, hylchvt (halichot) beitah;
velechem atzlut, lo tochel.
Wolters comments that the first word in this verse, צוֹפִיָּה, has an unusual form – it is a participle. It is also an unusual spelling for the participle since both vowels are written in full. Wolters believes, and I can see no difficulty with this suggestion, that the word is intended to be a play on words and is a transliteration of σοφία – wisdom – in Greek.
He also mentions that the participle fits into the acrostic better, since this form begins with the consonant צ. It gives the passage a hymnic style. And it follows on the previous verse,
- “She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
I like this kind of thing and I mentioned it to Dr. Waltke, who responded that yes, wasn’t it interesting and Al is now proposing to demonstrate that Junia is a transliteration of Jechoniah, and therefore, male. All Al needs to do to support this theory is prove that Junia was not that popular a name and that Jechoniah was. Something like that. I don’t have this recorded. We were still at the fetching coffee stage.
So I really should email Michael Burer and let him know that he doesn’t have to defend his “Junia hypothesis”, he can just wait for Wolters’ research. Obviously Wolters feels there is a need for a backup for the previous hypothesis.
However, in a sneak preview, I googled and found that there were approximately 250 ancient mentions of Junia, about 12 for Junius, one for Junios, and none for Junias. As for Hebrew names, Johanna was one of the five most common women’s names and Jechoniah, although I have no reason to think it unpopular, is not among the top ten for men. Also, Jechoniah is already transliterated in Matt. 112 as Ἰεχονίας. It seems highly unlikely to me that this could come out as Ιουνιας as it comes from a Hebrew original יְכָנְיָה which transliterates as either yechaneyah or yəḵānəyâ. I just can’t see it losing the ‘k’. However, I suppose it is possible – anything is possible.
So, that was one interesting part of the conversation between Dr. Waltke and myself. I wasn’t too upset about it because he seemed a little unsure of the details.
A long story: part II
After this discussion I got to thinking that I recognized Al Wolters’ name and that I had been influenced by his writing elsewhere. The truth is that I like the way he writes, and share his interest in language, even if he might not accord me functional equality, female that I am.
Where I first ran into Wolters’ writing was in Evangelicalism and Biblical Truth. Dr. Grudem has included in this book Wolters’ full review of a book by the Kroeger’s. The inclusion of this kind of material makes EF&BT look scholarly.
However, on Adrian’s blog I claimed that “In fact, Dr. Grudem’s entire section on Junia is riddled with factual errors“. (I still think it is but won’t go into the reasons here. I have defended my position and it is in Michael Burer’s court now. There were other reasons as well.)
At the time Dr. Grudem responded,
- Nor does my section on Junia in Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth have any “factual errors” known to me (it has been out now for two years). I try to be extremely careful in all my citations of fact in what I publish and it seems to me inappropriate for McCarthy to make an unsupported blanket accusation that my work is “riddled with factual errors.” This is intemperate, polemical language rather than argument, and I consider it a false accusation.
I felt a little embarrassed about this actually so let me show you where I got this kind of language from and why I think Dr. Grudem should edit his book Ev. Fem and Bib. Truth – while he is in the mood for such things. In his book, Grudem first quotes Tom Schreiner on the Kroeger’s book I Suffer Not a Woman. Schreiner writes,
- Unfortunately, the Kroeger’s reconstruction is riddled with methodological errors. … The lack of historical rigor, if I can say this kindly, is nothing less than astonishing.” Ev. Fem & Bib. Truth, page 284.
It is possible that there are errors in the Kroeger’s book. I have not read it but Schreiner does not quote any unequivocal error.
However, Wolters’ review is reproduced in toto and he does pinpoint some errors in the Kroegers’ book. He writes
- In fact, it is not too much to say that their book is precisely the sort of thing that has too often given evangelical scholarship a bad name. There is little in the main thesis that can withstand serious scrutiny, and there is a host of subordinate detail that is misleading or downright false. … Their scholarly documentation is riddled with elementary linguistic blunders. page 286
Their argument is a travesty of sound scholarship. page 313
Wolters then goes on to tear apart the Kroegers’ discussion of the word αυθεντειν,
- Ignoring the fact that authentein is attested in New Testament times in the meaning “have authority over”, they take their point of departure in the meaning “originate,”a rare sense of the verb which is not attested before the fourth century AD.
Here Wolters shows himself to be completely unaware of the fact that authentein is not attested as having the meaning “have authority over” in New Testament times, in spite of the fact that Baldwin’s notes are included in an appendix of Grudem’s book. However, the notes are uncorrected and continue to report the false information that authentein had one occurence before the fourth century in which it meant “have authority over”. That was a mistranslation cleared up later by Linda Belleville*.
But what are some of the other elementary linguistic blunders – surely not this. In fact, here is an example of some of the errors Wolters finds in the Kroegers’ book. He complains that they misspell Hygeiea as Hygeia and Aretalogy as Aretology. If Wolters had had google when he wrote this review he would know that these words have two legitimate spellings. What a nitpick! It is possible that some of his other examples are actual errors. I haven’t read the book and I have no idea.
But, here is my point. Grudem’s book does have errors. He quotes studies that are not done rigourously and he doesn’t deal with that. He says things in the main text that counter his footnotes. I point this out. I point out that in his other book he has not checked the lexicon on aner and he misspells Koehler-Baumgartner as Bahmgarter. He should be grateful to me and use this as an opportunity to edit his books.
But no, he says that when I use language like “riddled with factual error” this is “intemperate, polemical language.” When Wolters uses this kind of language Grudem quotes this phrase of Wolters not once, but three times. He quoted the phrase of Wolters “riddled with elementary linguistic blunders” and I was exposed to this kind of language and it lodged itself in my brain to emerge the next time I ran into Dr. Grudem on the internet on Adrian’s blog. There it is – I was influenced by this kind of writing and I gave in to temptation. (Anyway, I am relieved to find that I have imitated a phrase from Wolters and not Grudem.)
What I am wondering is whether there is official sanction for this kind of double standard – that language like this is eminently honourable if you are a guy, and “intemperate” if you are a gal like me. Is this in one of Dr. Grudem’s charts on biblical manhood and womanhood? It is not as if I can’t back up my accusations with facts.
Well, I shall still read Wolters’ books anyway. They tend to have the odd fascinating tidbit in them. I just wish that people would realize that Grudem’s books are somewhat in the category of the accusations which Grudem quotes against the Kroegers. I won’t say anything more myself, I don’t want to be thought of as “unladylike” – oh no.
I just think it is pretty sad that there can’t be a level playing field. It could be a lot of fun if there was.
Kroeger, Richard Clark and Catherine Clark Kroeger, I Suffer not a woman: Rethinking 1 Tim. 2:11-15 in light of ancient evidence. 1992.
PS Day 8 Dog, cat, fish and plumber are all still alive and intact.