Philip Payne, οὐδέ, and Galatians 1 vv 16-17


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Sinaiticus οὐδέ Galatians 1 vv 16-17In a paper presented to the Evangelical Theological Society in 1986, and entitled ‘οὐδέ in 1 Timothy 2:12’, Philip Payne argued for a novel understanding of the meaning and force of οὐδέ in that text of scripture. A revised version of the paper was published in the Journal of New Testament Studies in 2008. As its title, ‘1 Tim 2.12 and the Use of οὐδέ to Combine Two Elements to Express a Single Idea’, indicates, he argues that there is only one prohibition in view, not two.

As I showed in my previous post on the subject, οὐδέ serves, when employed after a previous negative, to add another one. According to the lexicons it means ‘and not, nor’. So in 1 Timothy 2:12, we have:

διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω (I do not permit a woman to teach)

οὐδέ (nor)

αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός (to exercise authority over a man)..

and all the translations have a similar structure.

Philip Payne argues for a completely different understanding of the meaning and force of οὐδέ, unknown to previous generations of scholars of both classical and New Testament Greek. He claims that the apostle Paul used it to combine two elements into one in a strong way, so that all that is prohibited in 1 Timothy 2:12 is the combination of the two elements, and not the elements considered separately and individually. It is like putting up a sign saying:

NO RUNNING OR JUMPING IN THE COURTYARD

and somebody running through, and when stopped saying ‘Oh, I thought the word ‘or’ combines two elements into one, and it was only running and jumping at the same time that is not allowed.’

Payne also claims that the verb αὐθεντεῖν means ‘to assume authority’ (for oneself). This seems to be within the range of the meaning of the word, but he is wrong not to consider other options such as simply ‘to exercise authority’.

Here is the abstract (short summary) of Payne’s paper, as it appeared in published form:

Abstract of Payne's 2008 JNTS paper

The bulk of the paper consists of an attempt to prove that  Paul used οὐδέ in this previously unknown way in passages other than 1 Timothy 2 v 12. In some cases, Payne changes the plain meaning of the text to suit his purposes. In this post, I examine his treatment of Galatians 1 vv 16-17:

Galatians 1 vv 15-17 Greek and English

He claims that it is not true that Paul did not consult with flesh and blood, since he consulted with Ananias!! And the scripture should really read something along the lines of:

..I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood by going up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;

or

.. I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, that is, by going up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;

Thus Payne:

Philip Payne on Galatians 1 vv 15-17

This, quite frankly, is dangerous. Paul wrote: ‘I did not consult with flesh and blood’; and Philip Payne says that actually he did consult with flesh and blood, denying the veracity of the scriptures, and changing the meaning of words.

In case the reader may be left wondering whether in fact Paul did consult with Ananias, the word used, προσανατίθημι, was used of consultation for the purpose of instruction, as with a soothsayer or interpreter of dreams. Here is Ernest Burton [‘The Epistle to the Galatians’, ICC, 1920], p.54:

Burton on προσανεθέμην Galatians 1 v 16

and here is the entry from the BAGD Lexicon:

BAGD προσανατίθημι

Προσανεθέμην is taking the dative in verse 16 here (σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι), as in meaning 2. above, so Paul is saying that he did not go to anyone to seek advice. There is no record in Acts 9 of Paul seeking advice from anyone in Damascus, so there is no difficulty in translating οὐδέ in the normal way:

nor did I go up [NASB]; nor did I go up [NKJV]; nor did I go up [RSV]; nor did I go up [ESV]; neither went I up [ASV]; and so on.

Payne cites in his support the New English Bible translation:

‘without consulting any human being, without going up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, I went off at once to Arabia . . .’

but this is not support for his position that Paul did consult a human being. On the contrary, it says that he did not.

Ronald Fung, in the New International Commentary on the New Testament [Galatians, 1988], p.68 gives what appears to be the same translation:

‘When that happened, without consulting any human being, without going up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me..’

and then comments, on the following page:

‘.. vv. 16b-17 emphasize the fact that immediately after his conversion Paul did not consult anyone, least of all the apostles in Jerusalem..’

We can see that existing translations take one of two views. The most common is:

I did not consult with flesh and blood (in Damascus), nor did I go up to Jerusalem to the apostles.

But a few may be reading it as:

I did not consult with flesh and blood (at all); and (in particular), I did not go up to Jerusalem to the apostles.

I think both of these are possible, and do not transgress the boundaries of possible meanings of οὐδέ. The second possibility is not at all the same as Payne’s reading, which is:

I did not [consult with flesh and blood COMBINED WITH go up to Jerusalem to the apostles]; (but I did consult with flesh and blood in Damascus).

If he could prove that this reading is correct, then he would have support for his reading of 1 Timothy 2:12, which is:

I do not permit a woman [to teach COMBINED WITH to assume authority over a man]; (but I do permit a woman to teach, so long as it doesn’t involve her assuming authority over a man).

But it is not correct. It invents a new previously unknown meaning for οὐδέ, and there is no justification for it.

Andrew

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