TAMING TEXTS OF TERROR: READING (AGAINST) THE GENDER GRAIN OF 1 TIMOTHY

Gerald West

Abstract


Do texts have ideological grain, and if so, can we read against this grain? This
question lies at the heart of this article. Even those biblical scholars from
interpretative traditions that have emphasized the liberatory character of the Bible
have had to admit that there are some biblical texts that are oppressive. 1 Timothy
2:8-15 is one such text. Using a case study from the field of oral history, the article
examines the effects of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 on the leadership of women in a particular
local church in Malawi. The article then goes on to examine how this text sustains
its patriarchal ideological grain so many centuries after it was written. The article
concludes by analyzing a number of attempts to tame this text of terror, and
reflecting on the public role of the socially engaged biblical scholar.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/86-0-945

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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