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Article by Gordon Fee - Essay Example

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Read the article by Gordon Fee and answer the following questions: How convincing is Fee in his contentions that (a) this passage is a non-Pauline interpolation and that (b) therefore it is not binding on Christians
Fee provides a convincing argument that this is a non-Pauline interpolation rather than a genuine…
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Download file to see previous pages Thus on the basis of its rarity and illogicality it seems as though the words were not originally written by Paul but were in a fact a subsequent interpolation.
The second major argument that seems convincing is that "one can make much better sense of the structure of Paul's argument without these intruding sentences." This is based upon the idea that Paul's argument should be logical and coherent rather than apparently more impressionistic and illogical. In and of itself the idea that Paul's argument should be logical does not necessarily imply that it is logical in this case. But Fee provides an exhaustive, detailed explanation of how the passage (without the interpolation) is a traditionally Pauline piece in terms of substance and structure. This includes the rhetorical, argumentative question of "or did the word of God originate with you" .
Fee is convincing because he is apparently balanced in his argument. Thus he does allow that "if one were to conclude that vv.34-35 are authentic, they would appear to be best understood as something of an afterthought to the present argument." While Fee does not consider such an "afterthought" very likely, he at least places it within the realms of possibility. Rhetorically, this is an effective device that allows the reader to take on board the main thrust of Fee's argument without believing that he has something of an axe to grind.
More proof is provided by Fee through the pointing out of the fact that "these verses stand in contradiction to II:2-16 where it is assumed without reproof that women pray and prophesy in the assembly." Other possible explanations, such as the idea that Paul is in fact quoting from someone else here, is effectively dismissed by his suggestion that "it presupposes the unlikely scenario that some in the church were forbidding women to speak - and especially that the quotation would come from the same Corinthian letter that is otherwise quite pro-women." Thus even if Paul is quoting, it seems unlikely that he would want to quote from those who are supposedly "anti-women" when his argument actually stems from the opposite point of view. Here Fee implies that Fee is simply too good a writer, with too broad a knowledge of his subject and too great an arsenal of persuasive skills to fall into such a trap.
Thus Fee succeeds in effectively making it both unlikely that Paul actually wrote these verses in the context of other interpolations as well as the fact that the verses would simply not make sense within the context of the writing that surrounds them. Paul is not attempting to limit the role of women in the rest of this Letter, so it seems unlikely that he would suddenly start to do so here.
The idea that the verses are not binding on Christians, because they are, as Fee convincingly suggests, non-Pauline in nature is a perhaps more complex matter. This assumes that Paul's actual writing is the inspired Word of God whereas that of the unidentified, later interpolator is not. If this is the case then these verses need not be binding on Christians.
Fee's argument is based upon the perhaps more sophisticated idea that Bengel's first principle should be adhered to. Thus "the form of the text is more likely the original which best explains the emergence of the others". The verses that in question here clearly do not best explain the emergence of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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