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While I have never argued that kephale means "source" I would like to draw attention to the fact that Chrysostom interprets kephale as aitia and Cyril of Alexandria as arche. Both of rhese words can legitimately be transalted into English as "source." So source is one ancient interpretation of kephale. However, other Greek fathers certainly interpreted it as leader.

But there is no example of native Greek use of the word kephale as "superior rank (“head” of family, clan, etc.)." I don't know how Turneer came to this conclusion but he cites no exaples of this.

There are only two occurencees of kephale in Greek used of a person who is the head of a family or clan. One is in the LXX, where Jephthah is called the kephale of the clan. In every other instance, the rosh of a family or clan is translated by some other word.

The other is Shepherd of Hermas, post NT and written in Rome, possibly dependent on the Latin use of the word.

Regardless of one's stance on the subordination of women, I see no purpose in replicating unsubstantiated information.

IMO, the subordination of women goes down with slavery regardless of exegeis, but my love of language protests that Turner has not supported his conclusions with evidence.

J. K. Gayle

Paul leaves the complementarities of his society in place – husband / wife; master / domestic servant; parent / child; more generally, authority / subject – but reorients the complementarities in terms of a set of goals of which Aristotle ... knew little or nothing at all.

This is certainly wishful thinking on your part, John. Paul sounds very much like Aristotle. The Politics make the very "complementarities" you suggest Paul does. The History of Animals, moreover, uses κεφαλὴ in the three senses Turner outlines. Except, as per Sue's comment, the "rank" thing is when Aristotle's talking about how a shepherd will take a male sheep and place it as the "head" of the flock as "leader." Aristotle is assuming some male superiority of course. And when he talks of "head" as source, it's the top (for example) of the testicle. Otherwise, head is the end of an animal that has eyes and ears. Aristotle is trying to argue for natural born slaves, natural born order among husbands and wives too. Paul is not leaving nature better than Aristotle.


As a teacher will place a student at the head of the line. Or when a general places a disposable unit at the head of the army. Like the Canadians and Australians in WWI. The kepahle is that unit which went ahead or to the side, in Arrian's Tactics. It would be a disaster if such a word were confused with a leader.


On second reading, I now see how clearly your post refutes the notion that kephale has the lexical meaning of leader (except as a translation of rosh in a metaphorical sense of things or places in the LXX.) Thank you for elucidating this point.

Mike Aubrey

This is actually the second article where Turner has given us a discussion of this word. The other one is in Joel Green's _Hearing the New Testament_, "Modern Linguistics and the New Testament" (1995) And it sounds from your description that he hasn't said anything new. That in of itself is somewhat disappointing since it has been almost 15 years since his last discussion.

I'd be curious about what he includes in his bibliography for this NIBD article. The one for the 95' article is limited, disappointing, and dated.

Now with all of that said, for the record, I do generally like Turner.


It sounds very much like the same work referenced in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,

Peter Cotterell and Max Turner, Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation. Downers Grove, IL: intervarsity Press, 1989.

Given the fact that they present kephale as meaning "of superior rank" without adequate evidence, I wouldn't give too much credit to the rest of their discussion.


I note that no one takes issue with Turner's linguistic arguments behind his judgment that kephale does not mean source. I have yet to see anyone take them on. They seem unassailable to me, so I'm not surprised.


It sounds like you know the sec literature well. I don't. I just enjoy reading Greek. If Turner published these same arguments 15 years ago, has anyone countered them? Can you give the outline of the comeback?


As I see it, there are ten occurrences of kephale with a figurative sense of superior rank in LXX (Muraoka lists nine), and four in the NT. However, as I've stated before, the figure does not stand alone in the NT occurrences and needs to be interpreted in conjunction with other figures in context(such as soma 'body'), and overall content. Furthermore, though I think authority and hierarchy are part of what is implied in 1 Cor 11 and Eph 5, there is much more to it than that. Finally, the Christological criterion changes the purpose (but not the existence) of domain-based hierarchies.


You might be right that Paul and Peter no less than Aristotle are not interested in leaving nature. However, you are forgetting about grace. Grace transforms nature without cancelling it out. It is like the fire in the burning bush. It burns brightly but the bush is not consumed.

As much as I am content with being an egalitarian, I see the model as in need of redemption no less than complementarianism. In my experience, grace transforms it without cancelling it out, just as grace transforms complementarianism without cancelling it out.


Kephale is best translated as head, no doubt, but what exactly is the connotation that Paul has in mind. Paul is most certainly addressing a problem in 1 Cor 11, but what exactly is that problem. Was the problem that women had mistakenly put themselves as equals to men because they might have misunderstood Paul's early teaching that there was not male or female in Christ and now Paul needed to clarify his complementarian position? Was there some outside influence that was teaching that women were superior to man or preceded man that Paul was combating? Since kephale is not synonymous to authority, in what manner would this 'kephale' superiority be expressed, to be the head servant? So what exactly is the point?

Bryan L

Interesting post John.

If I'm not mistaken doesn't Turner concede that Paul could be using kephale as a live metaphor to mean "source" but that would have to be determined by context alone which he notes that Fee attempts to do in his commentary? I could be wrong but I seem to remember him saying that in either the article that Mike mentioned or in "Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation". I noticed you mentioning the live metaphor option but you seemed to be saying Paul meant "superior rank" by it. Maybe I'm wrong.

Bryan L



I hope you will forgive me for asking if you reopen this matter for the purpose of defending the subordination of women, or for the purpose of furthering our common understanding of the meaning and connotation of the Greek word kephale.

There are several issues that need to be addressed. Although Chrysostom clearly believed that by nature and by the fall women were under male authority, he argued persuasively that kephale meant that God was the "first cause" the aitia, and that kephale meant "first cause" and "organic unity."

Cyril of Alexandria argues that kephale must mean arche, "origin" or "source."

I have read somewhere that although these writers believed in a male-female hierarchy, they did not believe that the emperor should have authority over the bishops. Since, for some early church fathers the emperor was in the role of God the Father, and the bishops were in the role of Christ, they were disinterested in proving that God the Father was the authority over Christ in 1 Cor. 11.

So the polemic of the day influenced certain early writers to posit a non-hierarchical relationship between God the Father and Christ. I have read this discussion somewhere but cannot remember where. However, I find it persuasive.

The main problem with being so focused on the subordination of women is that the actual interpretation of kephale throughout church history has been largely ignored.

What do you think of Cyril of Alexandria's argument for arche, for example. It is of particular interest because of the Orphic hymn to Zeus associated with the cup of libation, that Zeus was the arche (with the variant of kephale) the middle and the telos. Perhaps 1 Cor. 11 bears some similarity to this phrase.

Perhaps the use of kepahle in 1 Cor. can tell us about the continuities and discontinuities of the Christian libation customs with earlier pagan ones.

Perhaps we could also look at the 9 or 10 times that kephale in the LXX supposedly refers to superior rank and see whether that is actually true or not. My recollection is that these occurrences are not so easy to categorize.

I think we do ourselves a disservice as well if we cannot openly discuss whether or not we believe the author of 1 Corinthians and the author of Ephesians are one and the same person.

These are some of the issues that need to be brought into the discussion of kephale.


Hi Jay,

My guess is that the "problem" Paul was dealing with is that a woman who converted to Christianity knew herself to be the spiritual equal of a man before God and before her fellow male believers - thus far Paul was in agreement - and on that basis there was a tendency for the symbols of established social hierarchies to be neglected, bringing shame on Christian communities.

It is illuminating to compare Paul's advice with an earlier Hellenistic Jewish narrative, Joseph and Aseneth, in which Aseneth, upon her conversion, is *ordered* by an angel to remove her head covering, "because you are a holy virgin today and your head is that of a young man" (Joseph and Aseneth 15:1-2). Heady stuff, for sure. Instead, Paul grounds the social hierarchy in the creation order, wants women to retain their head coverings, and implies that angels want it, too.

How Paul is able to do this and maintain that the redeemed status of a believer in Christ makes all the difference even if the believer, for example a slave, remains unredeemed from a social point of view, is clear from 1 Cor 7. Person A in the employ of person B, if person A is in Christ, is a free man or woman, even if he or she is a bondservant (in today's world, a wage slave).

Person A married to person B, even if person B is an unbeliever (for example, a violent man, not an unusual occurrence, then or now), sanctifies person B.

This is an incredibly strong affirmation, and more than a little counter-factual. It was more usual to say that Person A married to person B, if person B is an unbeliever, is defiled by person B.

Was it possible and is it possible for husband and wife to conceive of their marriage in hierarchical terms and love flourish? Absolutely. I've witnessed it often enough with my own eyes, and I imagine Paul did in his day.

I imagine Paul would have been good and irked by elements in Joseph and Aseneth already referred to, if he knew it, but not with the model of the godly, faithful, and enterprising woman Anna represents in the book of Tobit. Anna and Edna in Tobit, who speak their mind and often take the initiative, are literary reflections of women of strength in Judaism of the period.

Tobit was a much-loved book among early Christians, even if it was never considered on a par with the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. The book of Tobit was much loved perhaps most of all because the obedient hearts of Tobit and Anna and Edna and Raguel, like those of Joseph and Mary and Elisabeth and Zechariah in the New Testament, obedient to God, to each other, and to the poor in their midst (note the incredible stress on almsgiving and charity), served as models for Christian couples for centuries upon centuries, to this day in traditional Catholic settings.


Hi Bryan,

I wouldn't be surprised if Turner does not exclude the possibility, in theory if not in fact, that Paul or someone else could have used kephale as a live metaphor for "source" rather than "superiority in rank."

I certainly would not exclude that possibility. Indeed, I have tried to read the relevant NT texts with that possibility in mind more than once, but have come away convinced that the possibility doesn't fit text and context.

In his NIDB article, however, Turner limits himself to demonstrating that in terms of actual attestation, kephale does not mean source.


limits himself to demonstrating that in terms of actual attestation, kephale does not mean source.

I don't think Turner 'demonstrates' this. He simply states it. He also claims that kephale means "head" of a clan or family, although we agree that this is has the meagerest of support - Jephthah.

Regardless of the existance of well fed and educated slaves, and happy subordinated wives, we really shouldn't use this to support something that can cause such severe physical and mental deprivaton and damage. The very fact that one can read of how some complementarian women rejoice in their reduced accountability for their own children should make our blood run cold.


It is not that egalitarians are more moral but they cannot not trace their sinfulness back to a scriptural command in the same way. The psychological aspects of having one's subordination derived from God's love for your well-being feels like being gutted with a hack saw.

There is no excuse for defending the subordination of women and rejecting slavery.



On the contrary, I think Turner *demonstrates* that kephale does not mean source. The demonstration does not depend on the precise wording of his sense #2 (which might be formulated with more care).

It's true that Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria worked into their discussion some very sophisticated notions of kephale, adapted I'm sure from their philosophical milieu. It's all very invigorating though you are also aware that the Fathers upheld the social hierarchies of their culture no less than Paul and Peter, even as they placed them under the judgment and grace of Christ and even as they made the love of Christ the criterion of wholesome relationships.

But I don't see C and C's sophisticated notions of kephale in the background or the foreground of 1 Cor 11 and Ephesians 5.

In the case of the latter, as with other NT household codes, the notions Paul preserves and qualifies are well-known from Hellenistic Jewish and Hellenistic literature. The frame of reference is social hierarchy.

This also seems to be the case with 1 Cor 11, if the background I reconstruct for it (following Robin Scroggs - see above in response to Jay) is correct.

As my post makes clear, I accept Muroaka's conclusions about which passages in the LXX attest to a figurative use of kephale in the sense of *that which has a leading role*, to which I add a passage from Judges. The four NT examples follow the same usage, but must be carefully contextualized - not with references to Chrysostom and Cyril, however interesting, but on the basis of immediate context.

As you know by now, I do not concur with your attempts to minimize the evidence for the figurative use of kephale per Turner's #2.

For the rest, forgive me if I wonder whether you wish to portray me as a despicable human being if I do not do one of two things:

(1) *remake* Paul and Peter into heralds of CBE-style, or some other style, of egalitarianism; or

(2) *disown* Paul and Peter insofar as they are not heralds of CBE-style, or some other style, of egalitarianism.

Intellectual honesty forbids me from engaging in (1). The limits and contradictions of my adopted framework, egalitarianism, not to mention a sense of the hierarchy of truth, according to which 1 Cor 13 is the criterion of 1 Cor 7, Eph 5, and I Peter 3, not the reverse, forbids me from engaging in (2).

No, among acquaintances and in my extended family, I do not go around telling people who have well-adjusted lives in which the wife subordinates herself to her husband's overall decision-making authority so long as the decisions fall within the bounds of Christian conduct, to cease and desist.

That model has worked well for countless couples in the past and continues to work well for countless couples in the present. I think your criticisms of complementarian women are unjust and harsh.

On the other hand, I do not doubt that sick, sinful people exploit whatever they have on hand, egalitarian divorce law and/or complementarianism, to further their selfish and vengeful ends. In and of itself, that is not an argument against egalitarian divorce law or complementarianism.

Ssshhh. Don’t tell anyone. Non-egalitarians and egalitarians are learning from each other and making common cause together. The Tracys and the Spencers show the way. Other positive role models: Stuart and Jill Briscoe and Sarah and Jim Sumner, whose cross-over appeal is well-known. I want to be in that number. It's about building bridges, not burning them.


Turner does not mention the Orphic fragment or account for the fact that C and C present meanings that fall within the overall category of "source." Source is certainly in the foreground in 1 Cor. 11. It is hard to deny it. Authority of man over woman is not mentioned in this passage, but origin is. So, by your own argument, source would be better in this context.

I notice, however, that the best Greek classicists find this passage obscure, and frankly I am not ashamed to admit that I find many biblical passages opaque.

"Superior rank" is not a Greek use of kephale, and head of clan or family pre NT is reduced to Jephthah - one occurrence. I am not "minimizing" it, but calling for some accuracy.

I don't think it is relevant what one thinks of Peter and Paul, either of us. We have been given a conscience and we have been given the commandment of Christ.

The difference between egalitarian sinfulness, whether it be domination or divorce, and complementarian, is that the husband cannot tell the wife that God, the scripture and the church teach her that it is all her fault. He may say whatever evil comes into his head, but he cannot bring God into it. He cannot tell her she is going to hell for her rebellion against his misbehaviour. But a complementarian husband does all of this, if the pastor has not already done so. This serious and damaging psychological aspect of complementarianism ought not to be brushed off as insignificant. I don't deny that an egalitararian male can pack the same punch, but the inner damage to the complementarian female is extreme.

The happy complementarian and the happy egalitarian are not our concern. It is the unhappy ones that are a concern.

Read this blog and see this woman twist in the same wind.

The fact is that submission feeds abuse. The teaching of the good of submission to a suffering woman is a lie. It is like teaching that illness is caused by lack of faith. It is damaging regardless of how many happy people testify to you that their faith has made them whole.

I regard it as irresponsible to tell those in hospital that faith will make them whole, and I don't tell women in suffering that submission will make things better. This is in spite of the testimony of some to the contrary.


Let me give an example. One woman is submissive and her husband is kind and good to her. She believes that God has honoured her faith. She tells another woman about this and persuades her that this is what God wants. The other woman is submissive and she barely escapes with her life. She believes that God has not honoured her faith.

The truth is that the first woman married a man who is naturally less abusive in the first place. The second woman did not. The first woman submits and her husband continues to treat her as a human being. The second woman submits and the abuse increases steadily.

This is reality. The first woman needs to understand that her submissiveness has nothing at all to do with the fact that her husband is not abusive, and she has caused the second woman to live in much greater danger than she might otherwise.


I think your criticisms of complementarian women are unjust and harsh.

I appreciate your concern, but here is Beth Moore cited on Rick Warren's site,

"2. God granted women a measure of freedom in submission that we can learn to enjoy.

It is a relief to know that as a wife and mother I am not totally responsible for my family. I have a husband to look to for counsel and direction. I can rely on his toughness when I am too soft and his logic when I am too emotional."

This kind of talk is common.


Thanks for sharing this article, John. As a lay person, I wouldn’t have come across it had you not alerted your readers to it.

Your remarks reminded me of Sarah Sumner’s brilliant analysis of much contemporary complementarianism in her book, Men and Women in the Church.

She points out that the three couplets in Ephesians 5 – head/body, sacrifice/submit, and love/respect – do not support the leadership/submission model advocated by many contemporary complementarians. Rather, the Pauline pairing is sacrifice/submit, a gendered presentation of the basic principle that as Christians, we are called to crucify self for God and others.

All too often, the average Christian in the pew is presented with one of two frameworks for viewing gender and the Church - the male entitlement of the traditional complementarian model or the let's-pretend-gender-is-irrelevant craziness of much contemporary egalitarianism.

Like you, I applaud soft complementarians (who link authority to responsibility, rather than entitlement), non-egal-non-comps like the Sumners and egals like the Bristols.


who link authority to responsibility,

But the reality is that no matter how much a wife and mother is deprived of authority, she simply is equally responsible for her children. This is a moral and legal fact. A woman cannot ever argue to a judge, or to God, that her husband was 'more' responsible than her for what happened to the children.

The doctrine of the dimished responsibility of the mother is morally reprehensible.

Bryan L


I went looking for what Turner said and I came up with the following from his article in "Hearing the New Testament":

"The two remaining places where kephale is claimed to mean "source" appear to rest on mistaken readings, so it must be said that we have no good evidence of kephale meaning "source" in the public domain of Paul's day. Those who wish to protest that "head" as "authority over" is relatively rare should at least be prepared to admit that "head" as "source" is considerably rarer (probably to the point of vanishing altogether).

"In such circumstances it would be unsafe to argue that kephale means "source" in 1 Cor. 11:3 unless there are very good contextual indicators that Paul has been innovative in his use of the word. We would need to be persuaded not only that taking kephale as "source" made sense of the argument in context (and Fee has perhaps made a credible attempt there) but also that Paul has adopted textual strategies that alert his reader to his neologism and that prevent the more usual senses of kephale (already in the public domain if only through the reading of the LXX) from being read into the text. It does not appear to this reader that he has done so. A first-century reader assuming that kephale means something like "authority over" would not find any textual semantic problems created for this sense in 1 Corinthians 11, or any textual indicators to mark that some new sense should be preferred. For such reasons the attempt to read kephale in 1 Cor 11:3 as "source" remains problematic."

I think the only thing I wonder about when reading that is his reference to the reader of the text. I wonder if he needs to take more into account the hearers (if in fact most just heard the letter and didn't read it for themselves) and those who were illiterate and whether that could possibly change the argument at all (I don't know if there are any studies one word meaning in cultures where literate and illiterate live and work side by side and whether that changes anything or not). Either way I come down pretty pragmatic on the issue of gender in the church and home (although I prefer egalitarianism) and so I'm not really all that worried whether Paul mean "authority over", "source", or something else. I think it's possible to have a god honoring marriage in both.

Have you read Fee's article in the book "Discovering Biblical Equality"? I'm a uge fan of Fee so I find everything he says persuasive : )

I've found Turner to be extremely valuable for helping me to better understand language and to hopefully interpret more accurately, and he's made me more interested in the philosophy of language which I hope to study more later. His book "Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation" is one of those rare books where I continue to come back to it as time goes on to refresh myself on it and hopefully understand it better.

Bryan L



Thank you for the excellent summary of Sarah Sumner's exegesis of Ephesians 5. I can think of no better place to start in terms of a fair exegesis of that passage. She is also a model of a theologian who seeks to speak the counsel of God to both polarized sides of the debate. Like her, I am used to being accused of high crimes and misdemeanors by "movement" people on both sides of the continuum.


I notice that for Sarah Sumner, she speaks of complementarianism for women in terms of trauma, indignity and unrelenting shame. I hardly think that I outdo her in reiterating that it is just that. It is sad for me to see so many concur that this trauma and shame is acceptable.



Thank you for your very helpful remarks, and the excellent addition quote from Turner.


Like you, John, I have tremendous respect for Dr. Sumner. There is no more professionally dangerous and lonely place for a young scholar to be than outside the confines of either of the two dominant paradigms in her sub-field.

That she chose to stand there is a testimony to her integrity. That she has succeeded there is an acknowledgment that she speaks Truth.

It’s a joy to see how God is using her scholarly work, as well as her marriage ministry with her husband.



As you know, Sarah Sumner has strong prophetic words for egalitarians as well. Since I am an egalitarian, a work in progress, I begin with those. I am not in favor of your harshly polemical approach. In my view, it does more harm than good.



I simply cited Sumner. I was in a complementarian space, so when I read the chapters where Dr. Sumner cried over the comeplementarian women who lived for years in a downward spiral of depression, I knew what she was referring to. These are her words, not mine.

You have always been an egalitarian, I presume, and I understand that you take Dr. Sumner's words on that topic to heart. Unlike you, I critique complementarianism because that is what I know.

I just reread the last few chapters of her book and she wrote about the ccmplementarian women who were in a pit of indignity and deep trauma.

You often speak to me as if I have lived an egalitarian life, and ought to critique that. I wouldn't begin to know how to do that. It is an innappopriate comment.

The truth is that I don't think complementarianism and egalitarianims are equal choices. I do think that we are better off in a democracy rather than a dictatorship, in a wage economy rather than slavery or feudalism, in a society where religion is a personal choice rather than state dictate.

I do think that one thing is better than another, and I would not choose to be a slave rather than a citizen. Even Paul asked to have his rights as a citizen respected so he would not be flogged. Are women to do less?

I do think that whatever the downside is, being an egalitarian, as a woman, is better than the downward spiral of depression and indignity Dr. Sumner refers to.

That is my experience of the last two years. I don't have any complaints about taking on the provision for the children and cleaning the gutters and painting the eaves. It is worth it all.

PS I know you persist in believing that I criticized Dr. Sumner, but I think we finally agreed by email that you had me confused with someone else.



It is clear that you have little experience with egalism. If I understand your life story as you have recounted it, you have never experienced the particular joys and miseries of an egalitarian marriage. It seems to me that you whitewash it and are unaware of what a frail reed it is for men and women alike.

Being an egalitarian, as a woman, is not too bad so long as your egal husband is not abusive. Being an egal is not too bad if your partner is not bipolar, an alcoholic, or both.

In an egal marriage, in a traditional marriage, in a complementarian marriage, you don't have it bad if your partner is a healthy human being with an average inclination to altruism.

But if your partner suffers from depression, if your partner has a poor self-image or is pathologically intent on revenge for real or imagined slights, if your partner self-medicates through substance abuse and/or outbursts of anger, it does not matter if the framework is traditional, comp, or egal. The situation is dire.

I know far more than I might wish about the difficulties many young marriages in my parish are experiencing. In terms of framework, they are all egal. I can't tell you how negatively I react to the suggestion that their egalism is of any use to them. It simply is not.

The only chance they have is a transformation of another kind, the kind of transformation of which the Gospel speaks. The Gospel, and by that I mean a life based not on a framework of entitlements and rights, but on the assumption of responsibilities and costly commitments with the priorities of the Lord's Prayer and 1 Cor 13 at the center, is the only hope they have.

Above and beyond the way we handle evidence, and the use we make of scholarship in this debate - here our differences are also grave - that is our fundamental difference. I'm a third or fourth generation egalitarian. I'm a pastor in a setting in which a ton of people are egals. I have learned the hard way, and I learn it all over again every season of my pastoral ministry, that egalism, no less than compism, is a false gospel.

This morning the marriage class was full of solemn earnestness and a sense of shared humility. We are reading Eggerichs' Love and Respect. Everyone in the class is a professional, several are teachers, one teaches family dynamics in high school.

All of them find that their family life, with two or three children each, two full-time professions, is under tremendous stress. They know themselves to be in dire need of coping mechanisms, and they identify without difficulty with the baseline information that men and women are, by and large, *wired differently* with respect to conflict resolution. Why does it take a complementarian to make this the fundamental insight on which to offer marriage advice?

We talked about domain-based hierarchies this morning. Everyone understood the concept on the fly. They all understand the importance of hierarchy without difficulty. Of course. They are professionals. Hierarchy is essential to their work lives.

My task, as I see it, is to help them understand the importance of hierarchy in their family lives, how important it is for the husband to take the lead in some areas, and the wife in others, by mutual consent.

When you know your partner honors your initiative and the direction you give in specific areas of responsibilities, when you see your partner defer to you in some domains even as you defer to him/her in others, love expressed as honor covers a multitude of sins. Even a great deal of sickness.

These are the kind of things that matter. Not whether one is egal or comp or neither. All of our ideological righteousness is no more than a filthy rag in the crucible of real life.

Mike Aubrey

As much as I hate to interrupt you two, I just wanted to pop back in and say that I as far as I know , nobody has responded to Turner's studies - Thiselton on 1 Cor is probably the closest thing to it and he's rather apprehensive about claiming anything.

But here's a link to Turner older article in Google Books:

In terms of interpreting 1 Cor 11, I take my own cue from Gordon Fee's article in Discovering Biblical Equality edited Pierce & Groothuis & Fee.



That's not a good sign if those who have sought to suggest that kephale is figurative for source in 1 Cor 11 are not engaging the arguments of those who argued against the idea. Especially when you hold to a minority point of view, you have to stay in dialogue with the field.

I've read Thiselton on the passage. I think it's fair to say that he, too, like Hays in his commentary, comes out in favor of a position at odds with that of Fee. So it would appear that Fee is a voice crying in the wilderness.

Fee arrives at the conclusion I wish I could arrive at. But scholarship is not supposed to be the same thing as wish-projection, so personally, I'm not going there. That said, I wish you well with the project of taking the hierarchy out of kephale in 1 Cor 11 and Eph 5. It's a narrow road, and few are they that find it.



You were not interrupting us. I had originally only wanted to discuss the linguistic issues, and am not willing to rehash the subordination of women thing.

A great deal has been written on the subject of kephale in which each and every citation is examined. If Max Turner doesn't do that, then he possibly doesn't need to be refuted.

The relevant names are Philip Payne, Berkely and Alvera Mickelson, Clark Kroeger, Gaebelein Hull, Richard Cervin.

My approach tends to be to examine the evidence itself, rather than just discuss who has come to what conclusions.

Kephale clearly means "anatomical head." There is no doubt about that. But how can we intepret it? I think a rewording of the argument should be - how can kephale be interpreted, as "leader" or as "origin" or as both?

I have long favoured a cosmogony framework for 1 Cor. 11. It is closer to origin than authority. I am actually suprised at the fact that there are several words which are found in common between the Zeus fragment and discussions of kephale. Curiously, Chrysostom talked about Christ being the "counsellor," the metis, and that is also found for Zeus. Is 1 Cor. 11 a replacement liturgy for the libation ceremony?


Thanks, Sue, for the list of "origin" proponents.


Some of those are not actually "origin" prononents, but are anti-authority proponents. Each one has carved out their own territory. I remember the actual citations much better than everyone's position. There are others - if you were interested I would look them up.


I think that Women in Ministry: Four Views by CLouse, et al would be a good start. It is fascinating to note how Susan Foh argues that kephale does not mean "source" because a better translation of these instances is often "beginning." That is, by splitting up the number of times kephale means "source" into "beginning" and "origin" and "source" she reduces the statistical occurrences of when kephale means "source" and then bases an argument on the fact that kephale means "source" fewer times than it means "leader." Of course, kephale is taken to mean "leader" partly by the number of times Jephthah was called kephale. (I think the LXX translators didn't know what to do with Jephthah and just translated rosh literally in this case.)

I consider the statistical stacking to be rather silly, but incredibly influential, because so many authors both egal and comp, don't do the research but think it has been proven. I just see this kind of game playing as having little to no contribution to the dialogue and would rather debate the occurrences than the "who said what" thing.



I have not been impressed by how you handle linguistic data. Sorry to be blunt about that, but since you like to present yourself as an advocate of accuracy, you force me to express my opinion on your rhetorical style.

As far as who holds to what position on the meaning of kephale, no, it is not a silly question. It is telling that the understanding of kephale in 1 Cor 11 as part of a larger metaphorical complex that has to do with authority and hierarchy is shared by many egal scholars. Conversely, if the only people who hold to the "kephale has to do with source, not authority" thesis are egals who have never found an NT text they cannot use as a proof-text for their position, that is hardly a good sign. I am happy to have a high view of Scripture, but that does not mean, as it does for some evangelicals, that I expect Scripture to presage a view of gender that does not come into its own until after the rise of modern feminism.

It's one thing to say that Paul and Peter, per the norm in their day, took the gender, class, and family complementarities of their day as givens worth preserving and re-orienting. Many egals acknowledge that such is the case.

It is another thing to suggest that Paul and Peter were harbingers of gender-egal, classless society. A number of feminists in particular have debunked this thesis. At some point, you might have to acknowledge their arguments.

One has to decide whether one's exegesis is going to be driven by ideology or not. It's important, as a matter of integrity, and respect for ancient texts and ancient authors.


I have not been impressed by how you handle linguistic data. Sorry to be blunt about that, but since you like to present yourself as an advocate of accuracy, you force me to express my opinion on your rhetorical style.


You insult me without one scrap of evidence or citation. Provide even one linguistic innacuracy on my part, as background to your statement.

J. K. Gayle

"I want to be in that number. It's about building bridges, not burning them."

Sigh. We want that for you too, John.

"If Turner is right that Paul thinks of men as 'head' of women in the sense of having 'superior rank,' where do we go from here?"

Now, that's some rhetoric.

"grace transforms complementarianism without cancelling it out."

So does grace transform human slavery without canceling it out? And I'm asking sincerely. Here's a related quotation:

"The theological 'head' analogy within Ephesians 5 (and its more cryptic expression in 1 Cor 11) has sometimes persuaded Christians toward transcultural conclusions about gender hierarchy. This kind of thinking is certainly understandable, for it would appear that the sociological forms on earth are inextricably tied into the structures of heaven. However, based upon the neutral examples cited above [in this book], these transcultural conclusions are not well founded. The texts of Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 fall into the second set of examples illustrated in the neutral section above. Surely, if we can learn anything from the slavery and monarchy debates of the past (not to mention the other examples cited above), it would be that theological analogy cannot just as easily append cultural-component injunctions in Scripture as it can transcultural instructions.

While the head analogy may contain some elements of authority and rightful ownership of glory*, this does not mean that it has or should have transcultural implications for gender relationships. The theological analogy may simply have been applied to an existing cultural form in order to motivate behavior within the norm. If Paul had been addressing an egalitarian culture, he may have used the very same christological analogy (with its transcultural component) and reapplied it to an egalitarian relationship between husband and wife.

*Paul may also have been drawing upon the Christ as monarch imagery (the one who is head over all)."

--William Webb, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals (page 188).

Notice how Webb has to hedge the "authority" senses so often with "may."

Now notice how Carolyn Osiek sees the whole question as more of an "audience" and hermeneutic issue than necessarily a problem of what Paul must have surely meant:

"Thus, by the time we come to the author's analogy in Eph. 5:23 (that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church), the audience has been prepared to think [by the cultural milieu of the text] in majestic and heavenly terms not only about Christ's reign but also about the boundaries of the community.... Human 'wifely' behavior within the church becomes an indicator of the community's dislocation as an apparently conventional but nevertheless heavenly body." A Woman's Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity, page 127, with Margaret Y. MacDonald and Janet H. Tulloch.

Now notice how Sue provides much evidence to show that "authority" is not a clear or definitive meaning of "kephale."

If Christians are not able in the 21st century to find dogmatic support for slavery in Paul's writings, then how can there be dogmatic support for the notion of the husband as authoritative head over the wife?



There are a number of examples in this thread. You approach the question of kephale in the NT as if its figurative use for "superior rank" in the LXX were not well-attested. But it is well-attested: I provided a full list, not of my own devising, which you ignore.

You choose to interpret kephale in 1 Cor 11 based on decontextualized comments made in homilies and such from the Church Fathers. It's all very interesting, but is not a scientific procedure.

You claim that Turner has no arguments, when even a non-specialist can appreciate the fact that he makes a carefully reasoned argument, which you choose to dismiss out of hand.

You are welcome to scream bloody murder because I point these things out.

The fact is, you believe in destructive polemics. Rather than argue for something, you prefer to argue against something. There is no use denying it, you yourself have brought it to my attention in the past. Your approach is the opposite of scholarship as I understand it.


You change your tune, I notice, every other day. One day you describe Paul and Peter as worse than Aristotle and Plutarch, the next day they are precursors to your beloved 21st century. Make up your mind.

You are not consistent, except in your intolerance for complementarians, pro-lifers, Sarah Palin, Republicans, and whatever broader axis of evil you imagine, to which I, most assuredly from your point of view, belong. That makes you a company man, which I hear is not a pejorative term in some ideolects.

Excuse me if I continue to converse with you as I would with anyone else, pointing out agreements where possible, but also your double standards, illogical arguments, and the whole nine yards, whenever I think I see such.

J. K. Gayle

Huh? Have I ever mentioned Peter or Plutarch, or Paul as a precursor, or this century as my beloved? Huh?

Huh? Have I ever expressed intolerance for anyone? Haven't I always asked about people's ideas? Like how can people hold up Paul as support for husband headship (whatever might he mean) not also hold him up as support for human slavery? Which company, whose, am I a man of? Are you interested in bridge building or in ad hominem attacks? What are you wanting me to make of your exaggerations and your mockery of me? And why are you doing that?


LOL, Kurk.

Are you now trying to say that Paul is worse than Aristotle, something you have suggested on these threads more than once, coming from you about as dire a criticism as anyone could make, but Peter and Plutarch are fine by you? That doesn't make any sense.

All I'm doing is stating the implications of statements you have made.

I'm sorry. I really do have a hard time figuring out what you are up to, beyond cheerleading for your team. In that sense you are a company man.

There is another approach. You might allow Paul and Peter to be creatures of their own time, but not for that reason dismiss their thoughts. Instead, you have some external criterion of truth by which you dismiss the thrust of their teaching as of no transcultural significance.

I struggle with a passage like 1 Cor 11 as much as the next person. As far as I can see, however, your goal is to protect yourself from it. My goal is the opposite. It is a challenging text, and I want to be vulnerable to its message.

You ask sincerely:

Does grace transform human slavery without canceling it out?

If it doesn't, then it cannot be said that the millions of slaves who believed in Christ without ever being freed from slavery were transformed by grace. In short, you deny that they experienced saving grace.

There is a deeper problem here, and that is your implied equation, complementarianism is a form of slavery. Of course there are examples of people in complementarian marriages and examples of people in egalitarian marriages in which one person is a slave to another, in one sense or many.

But that doesn't change the fact that traditional "love-obey" marriages and complementarian marriages, if they are infused with the spirit of 1 Cor 13, are satisfying and happy experiences for those concerned.

In fact, unless they are tinged by grave sin and/or sickness, traditional hierarchical marriages to this day are not too bad if they are characterized by mutual love.

If mutual love is missing, an egal framework cannot make up for that lack.

I've gone over these things before. Surely you cannot be surprised that I bring them up again. Sorry if I offend you. I react negatively to the liberationist myth of egalitarian marriage. I minister to people every day whose lives have been taken away from them by a perfectly egal spouse.

Conversely, I react negatively to the myth that traditional Christian and Jewish marriage arrangements, which are of course complementarian in structure, cannot be just as good for all concerned as non-traditional modern arrangements, like the one I am familiar with in generations before me in my family, and which I myself have adopted.


I wrote:

"But there is no example of native Greek use of the word kephale as "superior rank (“head” of family, clan, etc.)." I don't know how Turneer came to this conclusion but he cites no examples of this.

There are only two occurencees of kephale in Greek used of a person who is the head of a family or clan. One is in the LXX, where Jephthah is called the kephale of the clan. In every other instance, the rosh of a family or clan is translated by some other word.

The other is Shepherd of Hermas, post NT and written in Rome, possibly dependent on the Latin use of the word."

John wrote:

"You approach the question of kephale in the NT as if its figurative use for "superior rank" in the LXX were not well-attested. But it is well-attested: I provided a full list, not of my own devising, which you ignore."


I was quite clear in my statement. I know of only two occurrences of kephale as "head of a family or clan" in Greek literature. One in Judges and the other in Shepherd of Hermas. If you know of any others please mention them.

If you don't know of any evidence for "head of family or clan" that I ignore, then it might be appropriate to acknowledge that you have said something incorrect.

You also say,

"Rather than argue for something, you prefer to argue against something. There is no use denying it, you yourself have brought it to my attention in the past."

If I had lived in the 19th century I would have been proud to be against alavery. Why on earth would I now want to deny that I am against the subordination of women?



I will be patient about this, though I don't expect you to change your mind. Perhaps it will be an interesting exercise for other readers.

Once again, you misconstrue Turner's argument when you make it depend on "head of a family or clan" language. It does not. His demonstration stands apart from that language.

My list references a more comprehensive range of examples in which kephale is a figure for social hierarchy. All of these are germane as background to the relevant NT examples. But you continue to avoid a discussion of the list. This is indefensible from a methodological point of view.

You quote me but do not take the evidence I cite seriously.

It's nice to know about the Shepherd of Hermas example. I was unaware of it. It appears that there are a group of 15 examples all of which use kephale in reference to social hierarchy.

Once again, your choice to limit the purview to examples in which kephale is a metaphor for "head of family or clan" is arbitrary. It is essential to cast one's net wider in dealing with a passage like 1 Cor 11.

With respect to Ephesians 5, that the figure presupposes (but also qualifies and extends beyond) social hierarchy is I think crystal clear. Very few deny it. Critical feminist scholars are the last to deny it, in my experience. What makes you doubt their judgment?

In the realm of politics, if you wish to define yourself in terms of whom you oppose, I won't follow you, but you are of course welcome to be an opponent of whomever you choose, and engage in relentless negative attacks along with the rest: you will be in excellent company.

But that mode of argument has no place in the realm of exegesis. In that realm, it is not good form to define your position in terms of what you oppose. It's important to develop a thesis and argue it.

It's fine to have a pars destruens. But if there isn't a pars costruens, it's not responsible scholarship. In particular, you cast doubt on your own arguments when you dismiss those of others out of hand, or resort to identifying someone's ideological location as a substitute for argument.

Paradoxically, for someone who is so attentive to ideology, you continue to avoid the implications of the fact that many egal scholars support kephale = a figure for social hierarchy in the relevant passages, whereas it is difficult if not impossible to name a non-egal scholar who rejects that thesis.

That is telling. You choose not to address the issue.

More generally, you fail to engage with critical feminist scholarship on these passages, scholarship which recognizes the patriarchal presuppositions of the texts in question. It has to be remembered that meaning is located at the discourse level, not the word-level. It's a principle the best feminist scholars are cognizant of. I honestly believe that you miss the wood for the trees in your interpretation of 1 Cor 11.

I am the first to criticize conservative scholars when they fail to take the arguments of feminist scholars seriously. I don't see what excuse you have for ignoring their arguments.

I would ask you to rethink your claim that Turner has no arguments, when even a non-specialist can appreciate the fact that he makes a carefully reasoned argument, which you choose to dismiss out of hand.

I am happy that you do not insist on interpreting kephale in 1 Cor 11 based on decontextualized comments made in homilies and such from the Church Fathers. As I've already pointed, it's all very interesting, but is not a scientific procedure.

But perhaps you continue to believe instead that your chosen method of interpretation is probative. Only you can clarify if that is the case.


"Once again, your choice to limit the purview to examples in which kephale is a metaphor for "head of family or clan" is arbitrary."

It is Max Turner's own definition. Arbitrary or not, it was his stipulation. Please point out to me where you tell me that I was not to follow the leading of your post. I missed that part.

I know very well what the other citations include.

There are in the LXX four examples of a "head and tail" metaphor.

David is head of the gentiles.

Pekah, the son of Remaliah, is the head of Samaria.

And then there is "Be glad and neigh for the head of nations."

Since none of these fit into the pattern which Turner had stipulated, head of a family or clan, I did not discuss them. They also appear to be very literal translations of Hebrew metaphors.

Do you still wish to use this as an example of my linguistic inaccuracy? Is it a linguistic innacuracy to abide by the express definition used in the text in question?


The Shepherd of Hermas example is kephale tou oikou - head of the house. I think this should demonstrate that I am not trying to hide or ignore anything. I am commenting here in good faith.

But perhaps this example is influenced by the Latin expression caput domi, or caput familiae. All I can say is that this is the only time that this expression or any like it appears in Greek literature, and afterall, the concept of head of the house is natural to Greek philosophy, but it is always expressed in other words - "master" of the house.

J. K. Gayle

Your previous comment here is very important. The second century Shepherd of Hermas gives a later, and increasingly common "reading" of kephale as applied (perhaps from Paul) to "the" male of the household. Carolyn Osiek points us, likewise, to the fourth century funeral oration (Oration 8.8) by Gregory Nazianzen for his sister Gorgonia, whose relationship to her husband gave rise to the brother's eulogizing "echoing [of] Pauline teaching in I Cor. 11... and Eph. 5" (A woman's place, page 143).

You say to me this about what you are doing, and all you are doing: "All I'm doing is stating the implications of statements you have made." And then you say my statements imply "Peter and Plutarch are fine by" me. And then you say my statements imply that I'm on a team and/ or are cheering for one.

And then you say my statements "implied equation, complementarianism is a form of slavery."

By far, the best thing you said about me, about my "statements," and about their implications as you see them is this:

"I'm sorry. I really do have a hard time figuring out what you are up to"

Apology accepted, John! Maybe you have a hard time because I'm asking more question than making statements?

Now, wonder no more. Haven't I been asking questions about the implications of Max Turner's statements? Haven't I asked us all to consider how William Webb and Carolyn Osiek read the very same words Paul wrote?

Do I myself think complementarianism is slavery? Would you believe me if I said, No of course not? Would you believe me, however, if I thought it extremely important to ask whether the bloody Civil War in the USA didn't get mired in biblical hermenuetical questions about Paul's statements on slavery? Would you fault me for wondering how 21st post-slavery Christians can pick and choose the statements of Paul? Can't we listen to parables like King David did, and not get hung up on "teams" and "companies" and such? Isn't asking questions different from making equations? Can't we better build bridges and not burn them by focusing on the words of Paul and what lots of people with various viewpoints think? And not badger the imagined implications of the words of your blog readers whose questions are hard for you to figure out?



I will be patient again. You continue to misread Turner. You are fixated on certain elements of his wording, but ignore the word "etc." in his formulation, which takes in the other examples on the list I provided. Your criticism of Turner is off-base. It quite simply misses the point.

The entire list I provided is relevant to the exegetical question at hand. Until you give it due weight, yes, your approach is linguistically inaccurate. You cannot escape that.

Nor have you given due weight to the arguments of feminist scholars who note the patriarchal suppositions of texts like 1 Cor 11 and Eph 5. Their arguments are based on more than linguistic details, but they include linguistic details.

You have yet to discuss their arguments. Until you do, your approach to an understanding of the texts in question is an exercise in sterile polemics. Critical feminist scholars interpret the NT texts against the background of authors like Josephus and Philo, not just Aristotle and Plutarch. I have not seen you give this background due weight. It's not about looking up words in a dictionary. It's about getting a sense of cultural currents and shared understandings on a global level.

Your avoidance of the arguments of critical feminist scholarship is the kind of error conservative scholars often make. But I don't think of you as a conservative scholar. If I'm not mistaken, you are a recovering fundamentalist. Why you practice the same politics of exclusion with respect to critical feminist scholarship is unclear to me. It undermines your approach.

You fail to address my arguments. A small detail in the larger scheme of things, but this is, after all, a discussion I began. It is irksome when you come onto my blog, ignore what I say, except perhaps to question my motives, and spend your time unfairly criticizing the work of someone else, in this case Max Turner.

Exegesis is not a game of chess with an opponent. The object of the game is not to defeat another interpreter, question their motives, or assign guilt by association. This is the kind of thing you do, and which you have done on this thread. It is a tiresome routine for third parties listening in, and uncharitable to your designated opponents. I remain convinced that you are perfectly capable of a more equitable method.

Exegesis is a collegial effort. It cannot and should not involve suggesting that the work of a colleague should be suppressed, no matter how much you disagree with it. This you have done in the past.

Exegesis involves noting strengths, not just weaknesses, in the work of colleagues, and a commitment to elucidating the text itself above all.



Feel free to ask as many questions as you want. But you might be a little less coy about your opinions.

You might take Carolyn Osiek as a role model. She carefully qualifies her conclusions, but that's what she does: she develops theses, and offers conclusions.

This is different than asking a string of questions. In short, stop punting all the time. It puts a scholar in a vulnerable position to step out and make a statement, but that is what you need to do.

For example, put 1 Cor 11 or Eph 5-6 through its paces, linguistically, culturally, and theologically, in a post no longer than two or three typewritten pages. Interact with previous scholarship, not just a range of feminist scholarship, which you cite to the exclusion of everyone else, but with a truly representative range of opinion.

Develop and argue a thesis, a global interpretation. I suspect you might be good at it.


I will apologize for ignoring the word "etc." Let me address it now. "Etc" can be assumed to complete a list in a similar pattern. For example, "apples, oranges, etc." would suggest "bananas" but not "asperagus."

I would assume that "etc" in this case would mean "head of a tribe, nation, or even army." But, other than Jephthah, whom I acknowledged, I did not find any of your examples which fit the pattern. They do not, any of them, include the possibility of a "head" and "body" relationship.

I did not intentionally ignore them, but seeing they did not fit the pattern which Turner set out, I simply went on to discuss other things.

In fact, I discussed each and every one of those citations in Greek on the Better Bibles blog some time ago. If you had presented these citations in full, rather than just as a list of references, I might have realized that you wished them to receive greater attention.

I came to your blog because I did not think that the excerpt of Turner's article presented "laid to rest" the notion that kephale could be interpreted as "source." I am sorry that I did not "address your other arguments." Sometimes your flowery verbiage makes them somewhat opaque and in need of elucidation for ordinary mortals like myself.

As to 1 Cor. 11, because of verse 8, I remain persuaded that "origin" is a better metaphorical sense for kephale than playing a "leading role." Because of 1 Cor. 7, I do not find it persuasive that Paul has now made man the authority over woman.

If you want a really honest opinion, let me quote a recent email from an experienced Greek exegete, "These verses have never really made sense to me."

Not me, but someone whose knowledge of Greek outstrips us both.

I finally decided that I must do the right thing and that is reject the subordination of women regardless of the exegesis of 1 Cor. 11.

I don't think it is appropriate to go back and rehash whether Paul meant for slaves to stay submitted, and I don't think we should do it about women either.

I guess the good news of the week, for me anyway, is that the blog Submission Tyranny has been added to the biblioblog list. There is a growing group of women bloggers on this topic. I am not alone. We bear passionate testimony to the fact that the subordination of women leaves painful scars.


It's nice to see, Sue, that you are now a happy and contented biblioblogger. Thank you, furthermore, for your compliments on my writing style. I receive them often, but rarely with a bouquet of flowers attached.

I notice that you give me no reason to withdraw my criticism of your construal of Turner's position. You continue to miss his points. It seems as if you have no intention of giving his arguments a fair shake.

This statement on your part is quite striking. You say:

"I don't think it is appropriate to go back and rehash whether Paul meant for slaves to stay submitted, and I don't think we should do it about women either."

But that is exactly what exegetes can and must do.

If they don't, they stop being exegetes.

Why should exegetes be interested in your viewpoint, given that you suggest that they should cease and desist from their task?

Both of the issues of which you speak, and others just as difficult and just as important, will continue to be rehashed by scholars for the forseeable future.

Critical feminist scholars have done important and provocative work in this sense. The fact that you do not acknowledge their contribution to the issues at hand is a striking omission on your part.

You give us to understand that it is not a particular rehashing of the issues that bothers you - that of Turner, my own, or someone else's - but the rehashing itself.

It reminds me of the attempt on the part of some to ban language in which God is addressed as Father, on the grounds that this is hurtful to someone who has had an abusive father. Little do the "banners" realize that address to God as Father is a form of healing for many people who had an abusive father.

Likewise, you do not seem to realize how healing it can be for someone to acknowledge that yes, Paul and Peter supported gender complementarities and class complementarities in accordance with "mainstream media" opinion of the time, both within Judaism and within Hellenism, but oriented them on the basis of a new set of goals, and qualified them on the basis of a Christological standard. In so doing, they accomplished an inner transformation of a structure, rather than a destruction of the structure itself.

If that is what they did, we might do likewise, allowing in our day for a plurality of different frameworks in which people, intra-culturally and cross-culturally, distribute responsibilities across gender and class lines in different ways. In this scenario, all the ethical issues remain on the table, but their discussion is marked by an acknowledgment that each framework has strengths and weaknesses.

But that acknowledgment means the death of a coercive, legalistic attitude, which I fear is contained within your viewpoint.


Could someone correct this overconfident ignoramus

John Hobbins

Eric, the content in the link you provide was not written by an ignoramus. The presentation could have been more nuanced, but the basic point is sound, the same point that Max Turner makes. Or am I missing something?

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    insightful comment by Darrell Pursiful, editor at Smyth & Helwys Publishing, on the New Testament faculty of Mercer University
  • Dust
    A diary of Bob MacDonald's journey through the Psalms and other holy places in the Hebrew Bible
  • Eclexia
    The heart and mind of this Bible and theology blogger sing in unison
  • Eat, Drink, and be Merry
    The journey of a grad student with a love for ancient languages at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (archive)
  • Elizaphanian
    Rev Sam tussles with God, and limps away
  • Emerging from Babel
    Stephen investigates the potential of narrative and rhetorical criticism as a tool for expounding scripture
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism
    A group blog on NT and OT text-critical matters
  • Evedyahu
    excellent comment by Cristian Rata, Lecturer in Old Testament of Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea
  • Exegetica Digita
    discussion of Logos high-end syntax and discourse tools – running searches, providing the downloads (search files) and talking about what can be done and why it might matter for exegesis, by Mike Heiser
  • Exegetisk Teologi
    careful exegetical comment by Stefan Green (in Swedish)
  • Exploring Our Matrix
    Insightful reflections by James McGrath, ass't. professor of religion, Butler University
  • Faith Matters
    Mark Alter's place
  • Ferrell's Travel Blog
    comments of biblical studies, archaeology, history, and photography by a tour guide of Bible lands and professor emeritus of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, Temple Terrace (FL)
  • Fors Clavigera
    James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, thinks out loud.
  • Friar's Fires
    an insightful blog by a pastor with a background in journalism, one of three he pens
  • Gentle Wisdom
    A fearless take on issues roiling Christendom today, by Peter Kirk, a Bible translator
  • Giluy Milta B‘alma
    by Ezra Chwat and Avraham David of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem
  • He is Sufficient
    insightful comment on Bible translations, eschatology, and more, by Elshaddai Edwards
  • Higgaion
    by Chris Heard, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University
  • Idle Musings of a Bookseller
    by James Spinti of Eisenbrauns
  • if i were a bell, i'd ring
    Tim Ricchiuiti’s place
  • Imaginary Grace
    Smooth, witty commentary by Angela Erisman (archive). Angela Erisman is a member of the theology faculty at Xavier University
  • James' Thoughts and Musings
    by James Pate, a doctoral student at HUC-JIR Cincinnati
  • Jewish Philosophy Place
    by Zachary (Zak) Braiterman, who teaches modern Jewish thought and philosophy in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University
  • kata ta biblia
    by Patrick George McCollough, M. Div. student, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
  • Ketuvim
    Learned reflection from the keyboard of Jim Getz
  • Kilbabo
    Ben Johnson’s insightful blog
  • Kruse Kronicle - contemplating the intersection of work, the global economy, and Christian mission
    top quality content brought to readers by Michael W. Kruse
  • Larry Hurtado's blog
    emeritus professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Law, Prophets, and Writings
    thoughtful blogging by William R. (Rusty) Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies as College of the Ozarks and managing editor for Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
  • Lingamish
    delightful fare by David Ker, Bible translator, who also lingalilngas.
  • Looney Fundamentalist
    a scientist who loves off-putting labels
  • Menachem Mendel
    A feisty blog on rabbinic literature and other Judaica by Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator at the Academy for Jewish Religion and adjunct instructor at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • mu-pàd-da
    scholarly blog by C. Jay Crisostomo, grad student in ANE studies at ?
  • Narrative and Ontology
    Astoundingly thoughtful comment from Phil Sumpter, a Ph.D. student in Bible, resident in Bonn, Germany
  • New Epistles
    by Kevin Sam, M. Div. student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon SK
  • NT Weblog
    Mark Goodacre's blog, professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Observatório Bíblico
    wide-ranging blog by Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica/Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, Brasile (in Portuguese)
  • Observatório Bíblico
    Blog sobre estudos acadêmicos da Bíblia, para Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica / Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, SP.
  • Occasional Publications
    excellent blogging by Daniel Driver, Brevard Childs' scholar extraordinaire
  • old testament passion
    Great stuff from Anthony Loke, a Methodist pastor and Old Testament lecturer in the Seminari Theoloji, Malaysia
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
    A weblog created for a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, by James Davila (archive)
  • On the Main Line
    Mississippi Fred MacDowell's musings on Hebraica and Judaica. With a name like that you can't go wrong.
  • p.ost an evangelical theology for the age to come
    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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