Feminist Hermeneutics and The Bible

Feminism, Homosexuality, and Hermeneutics: Exercises in Eisegesis

The following paper addresses a critical flaw in modern theological enterprises which are motivated by a particular social agenda. While the paper focuses on feminist theology in particular, the same methodology is used by those advocating a new interpretation of the scriptures towards the practice of homosexuality.
1997 by Jefferis Kent Peterson, I

Feminist Theology may be the most difficult movement to evaluate of all the trends identified in contemporary theology because it runs the gamut of Evangelicalism to radical Gaia worship and Wicca, and it is impossible to classify all these as Christian theologies even though many use Christian symbolism and claim Christian descent. Modern Feminist Theology seems to be more a response to contemporary social trends than something that originated within the Church, and much of the theology within the Church is an attempt to address the social concerns being raised by the broader culture.1 The Old Testament culture highly honored women but also considered them property of a husband.2 That attitude was prevalent in many societies of the time. And so many dedicated Christian feminists have raised the legitimate question as to whether such an attitude towards women was divinely mandated or simply a reflection of contemporary culture recorded in the scriptures. For example, while women were urged to wear a veil as a head covering by Paul,3 few churches today would consider that a biblically normative prescription for modern western culture. While equal treatment of women in life and ministry was evident in the ministries of Jesus and Paul,4 that equality of participation in ministry did not survive the fall of the Roman Empire. Culture reverted to prior patterns and only recently has the role of women been redefined. The greatest push for a change of status in the United States occurred soon after the Second Great Awakening, which spawned such social movements as abolition and women’s suffrage. Since that time, women have gradually gained freedom from identification with property to full equality.

When modern Feminist theologians look at the text of the scriptures, they are quick to point out neglected aspects of the Word and are quick to challenge the “patriarchal” world views and assumptions that many consider to be biblical, but may indeed only be cultural. Evangelical feminists who uphold the integrity of the biblical text as the Word of God have done much to cause the Church to reexamine its views on the role of women in the Church. The challenge has come not from social movements but from the biblical texts themselves. Phyllis Trible’s research on Adam and Eve notes that the Fall created an inequality in the family relationship that had not existed before.5 And if Christ has become a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), that curse of inequality is undone in Him. Feminist theologians have also recovered the neglected feminine references to God in scripture (the word for Spirit, Ruach, in Hebrew, is feminine, and El Shaddai can be translated as the “large breasted one”) and pointed out the roles of women in the Bible as deacons, co-laborers with Paul in ministry, judges of the nation (Deborah), and possibly even apostles (Junia, Rms. 16:7).

Liberal Churches have had no trouble with giving full equality to women in pastoral roles because they were not concerned with biblical authority, while many conservative and Fundamentalist Churches have had the hardest time accepting women in any leadership roles due to their strict interpretations of a few passages. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches claim that Tradition precludes women from the priestly role, using the analogical argument that since Christ appointed only men as apostles, only men are called of God to function as priests. Interestingly, the Pentecostal churches, which are inerrantists in their view of the Bible, had women leaders long before it was accepted among more conservative churches. Other churches have made various accommodations to the roles of women, some being more open to it than others.

While the debate over the changing role of women within the Church has centered around interpretations of the Word, many other expressions of the women’s movement have rejected a Christian heritage all together. Not content just to uncover and call intoJester question certain cultural assumptions which would hinder the freedom of women, radical elements have condemned the Bible as a whole because it is considered rife with patriarchal oppressive structures that cannot be expunged.6 Rather than call God “Father,” these non-Christian groups have identified the Fatherhood of God as part of the sin of patriarchy. Wholesale rejection of Christianity is the only proper course of action for true spiritual movements, according to radical feminists. But what is put in Christianity’s place often are occultic and satanic counterfeits that appeal to the offenses of the wounded, feed their sense of injustice and rage, and which encourage sexual perversions as a mark of true liberation.

These non-Christian Feminist theologians have influenced many in the mainline Church who consider themselves Christian, and as a result the Feminist theologies that result from this cross pollination accept hermeneutical and epistemological presuppositions which are foreign to traditional theology.7 This new methodology is often justified as a reflection of true feminist thinking, and hence becomes unassailable because if anyone objects to the methodology, it is considered damning evidence of one’s patriarchal prejudice and bigotry. In such an atmosphere, no discussion is possible. However, it is the very hermeneutical assumptions of feminist theology which need to be evaluated in order to determine its faithfulness to biblical teaching.

It would be impossible to evaluate in this short paper all the extreme movements within Feminist Theology, of which Christian Feminist Theology would only be one type. Sheila Collins and many of her contemporaries have rejected Jesus Christ as part of a patriarchal mindset, and so have cut themselves off from Christianity.8 Without the Bible as the norm or authority, all other beliefs become equally valid expressions of religious truth. As a result, lesbianism and worship of the feminine gender, the creation or rediscovery of earth religions, female goddesses, witchcraft, and occultism all become part of the fabric of true “female enlightenment.” In as much as they claim to be doing theology, they fit within the present discussion. However, such a diversity of expression which results from a rejection of historic Christianity makes it impossible to evaluate these non-Christian theologies individually. Since they have cut themselves off from Christ, they forfeit their right to be heard as Christian theologies, no matter what they claim themselves to be.

However, the main theme which pervades both Christian and non-Christian feminism is the agenda of promoting the full humanity and equality of women. There are several means of promoting this agenda which run from conservative to very liberal interpretative methods. More conservative Christian feminists see this agenda aided by the recovery of an under appreciated perspective already inherent within the scriptures themselves, and hence they see their task as creating a more balanced and complete biblical theology.9 Others see the residue of patriarchalism as a cultural relic of oppression which is overcome through a proper biblical hermeneutic. It is at this point that the problem of divergent hermeneutical assumptions must be addressed.

There is no way any believer in the divine inspiration of the Bible, even the most fundamental and conservative, can avoid the confusing demands of interpreting the texts in order to apply the Word of God to the present. Extremely conservative churches may require the women to wear hats and not utter a word in the service, but even that legalistic understanding of scriptures requires a reinterpretation and reapplication of the Bible, since women in the New Testament church did not wear hats, they wore veils. But I know of no fundamentalist churches that require women to wear a veil. Since these churches do not require the wearing of a veil, they have engaged in the process of reinterpreting the texts and have abandoned absolute literalism. They have tried to faithfully reapply a cultural convention of Middle Eastern society to modern Western society through a dynamically equivalent practice. In as much as they have done this, they recognize a key and fundamental principle of contemporary hermeneutics:

The application of a biblical principle may vary from culture to culture and social setting to social setting. The principle is not invalidated by such a variance, but the principle cannot be discovered simply by looking at the specific incident or practice. For example, the presumed principle at work in the practice of wearing hats is that the covering of the head in ancient times by a veil was a sign of godly submission, and hence, women in church “ought ” to wear hats as a contemporary equivalent of that sign of submission. The principle of biblical faithfulness in women is then revealed by this sign of submission and not in the specific shape or type of head covering.

A more moderate or conservative church may look at that same passage, 1 Cor. 11: 1-16, and through an examination of ancient Greek culture, may conclude that during Paul’s day, prostitutes and loose women went without the veil to show they were “available,” and so, rather than being a sign of equality, the absence of the veil created temptation and misunderstandings. Paul then urged women to wear a veil as a sign of humility and integrity. That conservative church may then try to apply the principle of seemly behavior by advising women not to wear micro-mini skirts or skirts with slits up to the hip so as to show godly reserve. BUT that church may not ask women to wear hats at all and would think hats only a cultural example of the principle of reverent behavior.

In both these cases, the interpreters of the Word of God have tried to discover the principle at work within the cultural context of the New Testament writer and then to apply that principle faithfully in a modern setting, not by a literal duplication of wearing the veil but by translating the original intent and teaching of the author to a modern social context. Such a dynamic, equivalent application of the biblical text requires interpretive judgments and decisions. However, both the conservative and the fundamental interpreters agree that the original intent of the writer and the theological principle at stake are the authoritative norms for matters of faith and practice. In short, they seek to be faithful to the intent of what is written because they hold a high view of scripture: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16, RSV).

Post-modern and/or liberal interpreters of the Bible introduce a new hermeneutical principle into the evaluation of the applicability of the biblical texts to the present. And in such a move, the ability of the Bible to speak the present, as the authority for matters of faith and practice, is radically diminished. This hermeneutical principle is to consider that the teaching and the original intent of the Bible itself may be in error because the author of the texts was conditioned by his culture and bound by the limitations of his experiences. While even many conservative exegetes might agree with this principle of interpretation in regards to the author’s knowledge of science and cosmology (i.e., the authors of Genesis believed the firmament to be something like a bowl and the earth to be flat), liberal exegetes want to apply this principle to the moral and theological teachings of the Bible as well. They posit that the cultural limitations of the authors prevented them from understanding the full revelation of the meaning of God’s Word, so in as much as they were limited by their cultural assumptions, even the authors could be wrong in what they teach about morals and theology in the Bible.10 As such, the Bible ceases to be the ultimate authority or guide for the faith, and assumptions of the exegete now govern the interpretation and application of the Word of God for today.

For example, liberal interpreters might argue that since Paul grew up in a patriarchal culture, he viewed the Genesis narrative of Adam and Eve through the lens of his particular culture. In so doing, he applied his teaching about man’s head ship (1 Cor 11:3) in marriage improperly.11 It was a reflection of his cultural prejudices, assumptions, and attitudes, but his human views, which colored his interpretation of Genesis, are not normative for today. Thus we may separate Paul’s prejudices from the greater principles at work in the Bible and discard his teachings on women as non-essential, while trying to discover the essence of the Bible’s message in the remainder of his writings.

A subtle but radical difference in hermeneutics has taken place at this juncture. For while, conservatives and fundamentalists may disagree about the meaning of the text, they agree about its authority. Now, however, the authority of the intended MEANING of the text is relativized by appealing to a hermeneutical authority that exists NOT in the text itself, but in the vantage point of the interpreter. In other words, the authority is not in what the text claims to say, but in what the individual interpreter sees as the hermeneutical and authoritative key.

In the case of Christian Feminist Theology, the key by which a reader may evaluate the authority and applicability of the biblical text is by whatever promotes the “full humanity of women.”12

“Whatever denies or diminishes this principle is neither redemptive nor reflective of the divine nature of things, and it does not have the authority of an authentic revelation of truth.”13

Feminists universally appeal to Gal. 3:28 (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28, RSV).) as the canon within the canon – as the highest revelation of God’s truth concerning gender roles and relations.14 They claim that this verse proves that the deepest principle of God’s revelation establishes equality and an end to gender role distinction in the social order. And so, by this verse, the other teachings of the Bible which reflect patriarchal assumptions can safely be disregarded as non-authoritative.15 But using the interpretation of a particular passage (because it seems to support the a priori of egalitarianism) as THE hermeneutical key for evaluating other writings of the Bible creates a logical conundrum:

“If the interpretation of the Bible takes place within the hermeneutical circle where a critical assumption determines the meanings of the texts, there must be the possibility of the Bible critically evaluating the veracity of that assumption. If not, then the principle-and not the Bible- is the ultimate authority.”16

In the case of much of Christian Feminism, the presumption of social equality of gender roles becomes the ultimate authority by which the rest of the Bible is evaluated. The problem raised by such an interpretive method is that there is no control by which we might evaluate the adequacy of the assumptions brought to the exegetical task. This same hermeneutical process can be used to throw out any and all teachings of scripture, based upon the presumptions of the interpreter. For example, Paul’s teachings on homosexuality and fornication as sinful practices could be considered reflections of the social prejudices of his day: “Now in a more enlightened, scientific age, we realize that homosexuality is not a moral choice but a genetic condition; fornication is likewise no longer wrong because the advent of contraceptives has eliminated the need for the social protection of pregnant women through marriage.” Alternate interpretive vantage points for judging the scriptures as inadequate for contemporary society are limitless. And these varied views are possible because the intent of the original text is no longer considered normative nor inspired. The teachings of the scriptures have been relativized to such a degree that higher principles can even be found which contradict the specific teachings themselves. Thus the unity and integrity of the scriptures as the divine Word of God is destroyed, while the authority of the interpreter is exalted. Again, the principle assumed to be the core of the canon becomes the ultimate authority. But who determines what truly is the canon within the canon? It is the individual interpreter, and his or her choice of preferred hermeneutical values, who becomes the ultimate authority, while the text of the Bible itself becomes subject to human discretion.

This same process is at work in the contemporary Jesus Seminar’s search for the historical Jesus. The hermeneutical assumptions of the “researchers” become the eisegetical fulcrum by which scripture is shown either to be probably true or merely the projection of human fantasy.17 It seems whenever the authority of the text itself is subjected to human preconceptions, then it is inevitable that the scripture loses its value for revealing the purposes and plans of God. This is not to say that our patriarchal assumptions, which may have colored our interpretations of selected passages, do not need to be exposed; they do! Anything that we bring to the text must be judged in the light of the text itself. And there are many indications that the conflict over women in ministry may be a reflection of cultural prejudice which influences our interpretation of the Word . And then, by our interpretative assumptions, we support our prejudices rather than allow them to be challenged (see Addendum below) by the text. But here, in this case of the reexamination of our cultural assumptions, it is our hermeneutical prejudices which we are allowing to be judged by the text and not the other way around. It is not we who are judging the authority of the texts, which is what Christian Feminist hermeneutics is doing.

There is no question that the scripture itself reflects the culture in which it was written, and it may reflect social practices which are not normative for all times and places (like wearing veils). And so, knowledge of the culture is required to correctly determine the principles at work in recommending contemporary equivalents. This is especially true when viewing practices that scripture clearly allowed, but did not endorse like polygamy (Jacob’s 2 wives and 2 concubines) and divorce (for hardness of heart):18

“There are two important points here. (1) Because God’s revelation to his people includes civil law, the civil legislation of the OT – like all social legislation – must adapt to the historical situation. As Oliver O’Donovan notes: ‘The social legislator…has to be content to control what he cannot eradicate.’ (2) God showed forbearance, but not approval, of these two practices due to the progressive nature of his revelation.”19

Therefore, it is a legitimate enterprise to separate patriarchal cultural practices from normative, contemporary applications of the Bible to life. That said, there is room for war with Feminist presuppositions on the matter of the text of 1 Corinthian 11, especially in regard to the purpose and function of marital roles. It seems that Paul grounds submission of the wife to the husband as an expression of the order of Creation:

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God….For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) (1 Corinthians 11:3-9, RSV).

Attempts to reinterpret head ship as only indicating the source of life rather than leadership seem fictive and inventive at best.20 I have more respect for the honesty and integrity of anti-Christian Feminists who rightly discern the import of the above passages and reject them on the grounds that they support an implied order of Creation reflected in headship, than I do for those who try to creatively reinterpret New Age Druids?the passages to make them fit within the framework of a supposed hermeneutic of egalitarianism. However, while I do believe that Galatians 3:28 teaches equality of personhood and of value to God of both genders, that does not mean that the text can be interpreted to teach an identity of calling and function. The clearest example from nature is the birthing process, and no man, no matter how willing, could ever fulfill such a function. I also believe that the current social striving for equality of function is striving for a sense of worth and value in what one does rather than in who one is,21 but as such, that striving is contrary to the Grace of God who values us for who we as children created in His image.

For example, I am of equal worth in the eyes of God to the President of the United States, but I would not presume the stature of his office without being elected to fill it. I would stand if he entered my presence and show respect for him and the office (regardless of how I consider his politics). Role and function has nothing to do with equality, and the tearing at the social structures to establish something already given by God is to seek an affirmation from society instead of from the Lord. Whether or not the society recognizes the image of God in us in our diversity of gender, race, or ethnic group, God already affirms us in the way we have been made as a reflection of His glory.

By the same token, the Church should be an agent of social transformation wherever possible, and it is not wrong to work against social prejudices within and without the Church. I believe that there is strong biblical support for the full participation of women in all aspects of the ministry (see Addendum). However, there seems to be a clear indication that family structures, while equal in value and worth, require headship to function under the ordination of God. That does not justify oppression, abuse, or disrespect, but it does require voluntary and mutual acknowledgment of God’s ordination in the household. However unpopular such an opinion might be, there seems to be a telos of gender. And if so, our task, as God’s creatures is not to rebel against the limitations of our purpose, but to find fulfillment in whom God has created us to be.

In conclusion, modern Christian Feminism, is faced with a very difficult task. Is this teaching about the order of Creation a reflection of past patriarchal culture, and therefore time bound and not normative, or is this order of Creation part of the divine revelation of the way God made us? To preserve the hermeneutical agenda of promoting the “full equality and personhood of women,” most Christian Feminists assume a liberal and Post-modern reinterpretation of both New and Old Testament passages, and in so doing, they purposefully disregard the original intent of the writers. Such a procedure guts the Bible of its authority, because all of its teachings become relativized and subject to the presumptive values of the interpreter, who is not at the same time submitting his or her hermeneutic to be judged by the text. Such an independence from the authority of the text negates it as an authority, and it will deprive exegetes of any consensus for interpreting the texts. The method will become the authority and the text will become subject to the method.

However, if exegetes wish to remain faithful to the text as divinely inspired and suitable for matters of instruction, correction, and reproof, then they are faced with the uncomfortable fact that an order of Creation is seemingly taught and reiterated throughout the Bible. They have a choice of throwing it out as hopelessly patriarchal or dealing with it as the authority for matters of faith and practice. But there is hope for the Feminist within the text. For, yes, equality is taught and the oppression of Eve and of women after the Fall is revealed as a product of sin. But at the same time, the restorative work of Christ does not eliminate all hierarchy, headship, or authority within the family, church, and society. In fact, much of the NT teaches that a proper attitude towards authority in society and in the Church is required by both men and women as “unto the Lord, ” ( Romans 13; Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 2: 13-18 & 5:5). And I suspect that in part, our unwillingness to submit to any authority other than ourselves is at work in this resistance to the Lordship of Christ through his government in the Church and home. As Americans, we value our independence as much as we do the Bible (and often more so), and the Protestant tradition has an inbred hostility and suspicion of all who claim God’s authority on earth, even if that authority seems to be the Word itself. We would rather keep our own opinions than submit to God.

However, if the exegete can expose contemporary abuse and prejudice in the use of the texts, revealing that the consequences of the Fall have perpetuated the oppression of women even by means of the Word itself, then she may serve the cause of Feminism within the bounds of faithfulness to scripture.


ADDENDUM: Consideration of Scriptures regarding women in ministry, in response to a query:


Dear Friends,

Coming from a committed, evangelical with a high view of scripture as the Word of God, sufficient for guidance in matters of faith and practice, I will offer my thoughts as a way of helping Ruth.

First of all, we have precedent in the scripture for women as leaders/judges/governors/prophetesses: Isaiah’s wife was called a prophetess. And Deborah was a Judge, like Samuel, and a prophetess in Israel, (Judges 4). So first of all, any proscription against women as leaders must take into account the testimony of scripture itself, which, as indicated, does not forbid such “head ship.” The only role that women never fulfilled in the scriptures is that of a priest, and there is no record of Deborah offering sacrifices or acting as a priest. Although the scriptures do not say that she didn’t… that is a debatable point.

We also have the example of Priscilla and Aquila teaching Apollos (Acts 18:26). It says both of them “instructed” Apollos in the more accurate way. So, even if Priscilla is under the authority of her husband, she is still teaching a man.

Most of the other scripture passages mentioned in Corinthians however seem to be relating to a specific social context. The women are told to keep silence on one hand (1 Cor 14:34), yet are told to prophesy during the church services only when their heads are covered (1 Cor. 11:5). So there is an obvious dichotomy here. How can the prophesy if they can’t speak? Apparently, the first admonition to silence was based upon the fact that traditionally during worship services, women were separated from the men by an aisle or low wall. And when they had a question about part of the service or message they did not understand, they were being quite rude, shouting their questions to their husbands across the room during the middle of the message. Women by and large were not as educated or trained, so they would have more questions about basics as well. Therefore Paul says, “Come on, be QUIET and show respect the other people trying to listen! Don’t disrupt the whole service. If you’ve got a question, ask your husband when you get home.”

The second scripture which is usually taken as a mandate for women not teaching or having authority over men (no leadership position) is

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Timothy 2:11-14, NIV).”

For all the fighting over this issue, I think it is a red herring, having nothing to do with roles in the church but with marriage relationships.

Paul is instructing people that it is not right for the wife to boss her husband around and try to be head of the household. That would be an inversion of God’s order for the home. And we have seen how unnatural it appears when a man is cowed and hen pecked and reduced to weakness by a domineering wife. (By the same token- the scriptures say a husband should love, honor, and cherish his wife, not be abusive in his authority – Ephesians 5: 24-29). Apparently the order in the household is a divine order that should be honored and not cast aside.

Now the key words here are: I permit no WOMAN to teach….over a MAN. The words, in Greek, are gune – (woman/ wife) and aner – (man/husband). These words are used interchangeably, and depending upon context mean either wife or woman, husband or male.

That would mean to treat this passage as a generic instruction on church leadership, the context would have to indicate that it is talking about church government and not home life. However, the next verse seems to indicate that he is indeed talking about the home:

“But women will be saved through (the dangers of) childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:15,).”

What is more, three verses later, we have the same words being used again, not to describe generic church government and leadership positions, but the relationship of husband and wife:

“Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband (ANER/MAN/MALE) of but one wife (GUNE/WOMAN), temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” (1 Timothy 3:2).

So why have the translators translated it here as domestic relationships and a few verses earlier used the generic terms of woman and man? Tradition I think… but no necessary biblical mandate to apply such a reading to church government.

If this reading and interpretation is accepted, then the whole house of cards that is used against the ordination of women collapses because the supposed order of creation has to do with head ship in marriage and not in the public functioning of ministry.

The only other arguments against it are analogous: Christ chose only men for his apostles, and pastors are the inheritors of that office; only men could be priests. However, these arguments are weaker than scriptural directive. Christ had close support from many women; the first evangelist was a woman (John 4 – the Samaritan woman); and there were cultural limitations on women in a segregated society then that no longer apply now. And Christ fulfilled the priesthood and its function, and we have now all become a kingdom of priests to God. The ritual law about uncleanness in menstruation, which made a woman unable to serve, has been abolished in the Cross, so the prohibition based upon ritual law has been removed. Finally, as has been noted, women in the NT served as deaconesses, prophetesses, co-laborers with Paul in evangelism and the work of the ministry (Priscilla & Lydia).

The only other argument that could be advanced that I can think of is that the maleness of Christ represents something in God that is linked to head ship. The Fatherhood of God is expressed through MAN who is the image and glory of God, while woman is the image and glory of man…(1 Cor 11: 7). Yet that in itself would not be a deterrent to a woman functioning in ministry unless we conclude that it somehow violates the purpose of our creation. Yet as is common where I am, wives function as co-pastors, whether in title or just in practice, as they minister to women, prophesy, minister to the whole body by healing gifts or word of knowledge or even teach classes where men attend and sometimes give sermons. But these same wives are submissive to their husbands and not rebellious or haughty in their marriages. So the harmony of the home leads to freedom to ministry in the Church.

Jefferis Kent Peterson


1 “Androgyny and Popular Culture,” by Jefferis Kent Peterson, /didache/AndrogynnPOPC.html, (esp. the section on Sociological Roots which charts the devaluation of the diversification of labor in modern society as it changed from agrarian to industrial. The role of women in agrarian culture was an essential division of labor necessary for the survival of the family and tribe. Whereas in industrial society and with labor saving devices, the role of the wife/mother was increasingly seen as non-essential and hence of less value. Such devaluation helped create a climate where the role of women in society was increasingly questioned.).

2 “Patriarchy as and Evil That God Tolerated: Analysis and Implications For the Authority of Scripture” by Guenther Haas, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sept. 1995, pp.322-323

3 see the discussion in 1 Cor. 11 regarding head coverings as a sign of submission and respect for existing social standards, and confer: I & II Corinthians, F.F. Bruce, The New Century Bible Commentary, Wm. B Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1971, pp. 106-108.

4 The Samaritan woman was the first female to preach Christ as the Messiah (John 4:29), Paul’s considering of females who worked along side him in ministry as co-laborers in the Gospel, especially Priscilla (often named before her husband, Aquila), Junia (Rms. 16:3 & 7)

5 God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, by Phyllis Trible, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1978. p. 128

6 see A Different Heaven and Earth, by Sheila D. Collins, Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1974.

7 A Feminist Theology for the Church, by Rebecca S. Chopp, Quarterly Review, Spring 1996, Journal of Theological Resources for Ministry, Vol. 16#1, pp. 3-22. In this article, Chopp emphasizes the legitimacy of the uniqueness of women’s experience as a starting point for the theological enterprise. While there is merit to her point that all theology starts from some context and that neglected aspects of feminine perspective ought to be incorporated into the theological tapestry of the faith, there is the inevitable problem of authority and truth raised by the elevation of experience to an interpretive key. Since all experience is relative, who or what is to determine which experiences are normative?

8 Collins, p. 143.

9 Hass, p. 324

10 Ibid., p. 326; Man as Male and Female, by Paul K. Jewett, Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1975, p 140.

11 Jewett, op cit.,p. 136 -137, also 109-110

12 Haas, p 325.

13 Ibid.

14 Jewett, p. 140.

15 Haas, pp. 330-333.

16 Ibid., p. 334.

17 “Can the New Jesus Save Us? Scholarship’s Challenge to Believing Christians,” by C. Stephen Evans, Books and Culture, Nov/Dec 1995, on Christianity On Line, on America On Line.

18 Ibid., p. 328

19 Ibid.

20 see “The Pauline Rationale for Submission: Biblical Feminism and the hina Clauses of Titus 2:1-10,” The Evangelical Quarterly, Jan. 1987, pp. 39-52.

21 see again Peterson, “Androgyny

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