1 Timothy 2:12 "Domineering?"

Steven R. Lo Vullo slovullo at mac.com
Sat Jan 11 18:26:17 EST 2003

On Friday, January 10, 2003, at 07:56 PM, Joel Thomas Banks wrote:

> "It is easy to understand how 2:12 could be read in English with the
> conclusion that a woman is never to teach a man or be in a position of
> authority over a man.

It's also easy to understand how it could be read in Greek with the 
same conclusion.

>  However in the Greek text, the verb "domineer" (NEB,
> "have authority" RSV NIV) qualifies "teach" and specifies what kind of
> teaching is prohibited.(102) It is not that these women are "teaching" 
> per
> se, but specifically that they are "teaching domineeringly" that annoys
> Paul.
> Footnote 102 states: When two Greek verbs are joined in this way, the
> nearer qualifies the farther, i.e., "domineer" qualifies "teach." See
> Herbert W. Smith, Greek Grammar (rev. G. Messing, Cambridge: Harvard 
> Univ.
> press, 1956): 364-365.

It's Smyth, and I have no idea how his comments on pp. 364-365 support 
the idea being proposed. I assume Osburn has sections 1634-1635 in 
mind. The heading over these two sections is "TWO VERBS WITH A COMMON 
OBJECT." I further assume the author is referring to Smyth's comments 
in section 1634. If so, this is a **very** sloppy and misleading 
handling of the section. While Smyth does use an example that indeed 
contains the same "neither ... nor" construction as 1 Tim 2.12 (OU ... 
OUD'; cf. OUK ... OUDE in 1 Tim 2.12), he uses it to illustrate the 
principle that "[t]he case of an object common to two verbs is 
generally that demanded by the nearer," i.e., the verb nearer the 
object. All this means for 1 Tim 2.12 is that we would expect the 
common object of DIDASKEIN and AUQENTEIN to take the case demanded by 
the nearer verb, which is AUQENTEIN, a verb that takes the genitive. 
This is indeed the case in 1 Tim 2.12, where the object of both verbs 
is ANDROS, the case demanded by AUQENTEIN, the nearer verb. Smyth goes 
on to say, "The **farther** [i.e., from the object] verb **may** 
contain the main idea." Smyth says nothing about the verb nearer the 
object **qualifying** the farther verb. What he says is that the verb 
farther removed from the common object of both verbs "**may** contain 
the main idea." The example he uses is EPITIMAi KAI APODOKIMAZEI TISI 
("he censures some and rejects them at the scrutiny"). All he is saying 
is that, in this case, EPITIMAi (which takes the dative), though the 
verb farther removed from the common object of both verbs, nevertheless 
determines the case of the object and is therefore the verb that 
contains the main idea, since it seems to be dominant. He is **not** 
saying that APODOKIMAZEI **qualifies** EPITIMAi! In that case we would 
have, "he rejectingly censures some"! TISI, the object, is dative, as 
demanded by EPITIMAi, but because APODOKIMAZEI is the closer verb, we 
might have expected the accusative. This is why EPITIMAi, though the 
farther verb, is seen as the verb that contains the main idea. This 
section from Smyth lends no credence at all to the idea that AUQENTEIN 
adverbially qualifies DIDASKEIN, yielding the sense, "to teach 
domineeringly." What is so bizarre about Osburn's handling of Smyth is 
that 1 Tim 1.12 follows the convention of the nearer verb determining 
the case of the object, and does NOT follow the pattern of the farther, 
dominant verb determining the case, which is what we would expect from 
Osburn's comments, since they seem to be based on what Smyth says about 
the latter construction! This is just silly. Osburn doesn't even seem 
to understand what Smyth is saying.

For another example of this construction in 1 Tim 2.12, with a main 
verb that also pertains to "permission," cf. the following:

"and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us to accept or 
practice, since we are Romans"

Presumably, no one would want to take this to mean, "customs that are 
not lawful for us to receivingly practice."

Steven R. Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

More information about the B-Greek mailing list