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Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul's Letters Paperback – November 21, 2009
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“Philip Payne’s work has always been characterized by careful, detailed exegetical study of the biblical text. In Man and Woman, One in Christ, Payne brings decades of meticulous research to its proper culmination in a compelling and thoroughly biblical demonstration that Paul the apostle to the Gentiles was a wholehearted supporter of women serving in any and all sorts of ministerial roles they are called and gifted to undertake. Indeed, he demonstrates at length that Paul should no longer be seen as the “party of no” when it comes to women in ministry or their equality in Christian marriage. This book deserves the highest commendation.” -- Dr. Ben Witherington III
“Philip Payne’s treatment of New Testament manuscripts and textual criticism, especially in 1 Corinthians 14:34–35, is meticulously formulated, cogently argued, and of lasting significance.” -- Eldon J. Epp
From the Back Cover
Does Paul teach a hierarchy of authority of man over woman, or does he teach the full equality of man and woman in the church and home? In Man and Woman, One in Christ, Philip Barton Payne answers this question and more, injecting crucial insights into the discussion of Paul's view of women. Condensing over three decades of research on this topic, Payne's rigorous exegetical analysis demonstrates the consistency of Paul's message on this topic and its coherence with the rest of his theology. Payne's exegetical examination of the Pauline corpus is thorough, exploring the influences on Paul, his practice as a church leader, and his teachings to various Christian communities. Paul's theology, instruction, and practice consistently affirm the equal standing of men and women, with profound implications for the church today. Man and Woman, One in Christ is required reading for all who desire to understand the meaning of Paul's statements regarding women and their relevance for Christian relationships and ministry today. This work has the potential of uniting the church on this contentious issue.
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Despite the fact that there is some evidence that may make one wonder about the authenticity of 1 Cor 14:34-35, I didn't end up agreeing with Dr. Payne on these verses. It was because of the lack of enough manuscripts with theses verses totally absent, and because very early writers, like Tertullian, knew about these verses and commented on them. However, it seems that writers earlier than Tertullian did not know or wish to comment on these verses, wish lends credibility to the idea that they viewed them differently than later writers (or to those inclined to believe in interpolations, that they weren't there at all.)
I'll be honest, I can't accept his view because I believe God promised to keep His Word intact. I can't imagine Him allowing spurious material to continue to exist in the Scripture since the early years of Christianity to the present that would change Church doctrine so radically without really, really compelling evidence. The other verses commonly asserted to be "interpolations" do not change doctrine like 1 Cor 14 would if it was not original.
So although I wish Payne had taken a different stance on these verses, and instead of taking these verses out of Scripture I wish he had vigorously defended a view that most inerrantists like me could accept, as he did many of the other verses about women, the book was still worth it (and I realize it's probably not proper to defend a position that you don't actually believe is right). His research alone, even divorced from his conclusions, is enough to buy this book. This book did help change my mind on several things, and gave me a lot of verses to think about that seem to rule out or cast doubt upon some Complementarian positions that I used to think were the clear Biblical Truth.
Furthermore, Dr. Payne painstakingly backs up most of his assertions with citations galore, and you can even visit his website for more articles and bibliography. He even gives out his e-mail for more questions, and I've seen him thoroughly defend his research in the comment sections of other websites discussing his book or work, which I have rarely seen others do. You can tell this man is both very learned, very passionate, and very thorough, and his arguments seem to always have something relevant that even the unconverted can adopt some part of (he argues his case very convincingly, point by point usually).
I recommend reading this book supplemented with other material, like Egalitarian apologist's blogs and articles (Women in Ministry is helpful, Equality Central forums, and CBE's material, among others). I would definitely also read the Complementarian side of things as well.
I'm still re-reading parts of it and appreciate the work he has done on these subjects, and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
If you are wondering which books to buy on Egalitarianism or women's roles in Christianity, this one is a must buy. I would say it is the overall best, all things considered, even if it isn't perfect in my own opinion. I would also recommend getting the books "Discovering Biblical Equality", "Why Not Women?", and "I Suffer Not a Woman".
The work done - grounded within a range of disciplines – with associated lines of evidence - is important as the book is essentially a scholarly work – but attuned to illuminating the contemporary debate about women in the church. The context however is not about what contemporary scholars may say, but rather framing and embedding what can be excavated from the text and the social milieu of Paul and his contemporaries in the first century AD.
Although I am not in any sense a biblical scholar – more a student over the decades, anyone who has studied this domain or has taught about it and is serious about the Bible needs to re-baseline, or at least “submit their views" and their understanding to the “acid tests” of this book.
Not to do so would suggest that one’s position is polemical or cultural rather than grounded in careful study on the scriptures and the accumulation of authoritative sources and evidences that for me unlocks a coherent and compelling review.
It is not the sort of book where you feel you can say “I agree with Payne” or “I disagree with Payne”. I am at the point where I feel I can say I understand his approach and method in assembling this detailed – and startlingly clear – view of the world of Paul. In itself, this is a masterpiece assembled from many masterstrokes.
I now have a greater appreciation for the toolkit of the modern, thorough New Testament scholar and how it should be used. Payne has taken a “completeness” approach to the word studies that underpin his conclusions, rightly, since the words and their context are the building blocks for understanding the "difficult passages".
He also examines and decodes the sociological and archaeological background, for example, to explain the issue of “head coverings”. This allows him to come to a rigorous treatment, with conclusions that are novel (at least to me), but after reflection they seem obvious. This is very helpful to those who want substance to drive understanding. After the hard work of following Payne through “the times and the text” I experienced a lightness and sense of liberation – rather than a more mundane sense of relief.
He engages in scholarly critique of “authority figures” work without descent into ad hominem rhetoric. This is helpful: it allows the careful work that he has done stand, in many cases, in stark contrast to less rigorous assumptions that underpin some complementarian positions.
Overall this is a book for people already engaged in this debate – and who have an appetite for some work. I have no Greek and therefore needed Google and other tools to help me get through some of the chapters. This in itself was enjoyable as I could start to see how secondary sources used in other books repeat old assumptions and very seldom get back to the text itself - key lesson!
We have to let go of the caricature of the “misogynist Paul” – which will take some time I suspect. We also have to let go of the “plain meaning” of some of these texts as Payne has now given us the more fundamental plain meaning – which should allow a new consensus to form in relation to a normative approach to these texts
Of course, I can now see the “plain meaning” in the English translations is itself socially constructed, particularly, it seems in the NIV - this is a bit of an eye-opener. How long will it take to “mark-up” 1 Cor 14:34-35 as an interpolation (or at least as a possible interpolation)? Maybe a long time, but the evidence is now very clear that this cannot be relied on as part of the original text.
The reader is a beneficiary of careful work, annotated and developed, based on the huge textual resources that we now have at our disposal.
I enjoyed the book and was enriched by is balanced tone and evident deep reflection and study.. For me this was a "holiday read" as theology and exegesis at this level is not my day job.
Payne sums it up: “...man and woman are not separate in status and privilege from each other in the Lord...”
Demonstrated, but will we listen?
Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ – An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters. Zondervan, Grand Rapids. (2009)
- Finally, a work that gives 1 Cor 7:4 and 1 Cor 7 in general its proper place in the gender debate.
- It is absolutely appalling that Thomas Schreiner says the following about Payne's book in his review: "I suspect that Payne's book will not have a great impact. Most of what he says is not new, and I have argued that his interpretations are unpersuasive at point after point. Surely he will convince some, for many in our culture today ardently desire egalitarianism to be true. But it
will not hit the scholarly world like an avalanche. It is closer to being another drizzly day in Portland, Oregon" (JBMW 15:1, 2010). What a desperate attempt at covering up the reality! Sorry Schreiner, but egalitarianism - as a biblical teaching, stemming from the gospel itself - is doing nothing but growing, and making fun of the greatest defense of egalitarian exegesis to date by blatantly dismissing only reveals the complementarian overconfidence. Like it or not, the flood is rising.