Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Deeseis, Proseuchas, Enteuxeis, Eucharistias

 Therefore I beg, first of all, for there to be made petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, on behalf of all humanity, on behalf of rulers and all in authority, so that we may pass time in a quiet and still life in all piety and probity. This is splendid and welcome before the face of our Savior, God, who wishes all humanity to be saved and to come to discernment of truth; for 'one God, therefore one intermediary between God and humanity', the human Christos Iesous, who having given himself a ransom on behalf of all, the witness for each one's opportunity, for which I was appointed town-crier and delegate -- I speak truth, I lie not -- instructor of nations in faith and truth. 

I therefore want men in every place to pray, raising holy hands without wrath and argument. And women, likewise, in decorous attire with modesty and temperance, should not decorate themselves with plaits or gold or pearls or expensive clothing, but with what is proper to women announcing godliness through good works. Let a woman learn in stillness, in complete submission. However, I do not allow woman to teach or dominate man, but to be in stillness. For Adam first was made, then Heua, and Adam was not deceived but woman became thoroughly deceived. But she will be saved through maternity, if they abide in faith and devotion and purification with temperance.

[1 Timothy 2:1-15, my very rough translation. This was very difficult, and I still don't really know what is meant by the phrase I translated as "the witness for each one's opportunity"; my best guess is that it is saying that Christ is the evidence (martyrion) that each will have their chance (kairios) to be saved. The last part, on women, is very obscure, because he seems to keep jumping around. The entire passage occurs after Paul has been noting some serious behavioral problems and abuses, charging Timothy to war against those who have caused 'shipwreck' through some kind of blasphemy. Thus I don't think anything this passage can be regarded as a general guide; he is explicitly laying down instructions for bringing order back to a church that is apparently in chaos. Despite the seriousness of the subject, I am slightly amused that Paul's diagnosis of the problems that immediately need to be addressed is that the men are arguing angrily and the women trying to lord it over (authentein, dominate, pull rank on, take up arms against, act domineeringly toward) the men; this is not an unheard-of problem in churches that are breaking down, even today. I remember when I was young, the Southern Baptist church that my family attended underwent a break-up (this is not uncommon in Baptist churches), and the tumult is described by Paul to a T. 

It's important, I think, to see that his recommendations at the end go together and are not (as they often are treated in how this passage is divided) distinct -- the men are guilty of orge (wrath, passionateness, heatedness) and dialogismos (reasoning, argument, debate), which in context are clearly sins against the virtue of sophrosyne (temperance, self-control, self-restraint), which is explicitly mentioned twice as what the women need to cultivate. In both cases, Paul's admonition is, more or less, "Get a grip on yourselves, people!" And while it's perhaps not immediately obvious, it's not the women alone who are being told to be 'still'. The whole passage insists right at the beginning that everybody needs to pray for a quiet and still life, and the men are criticized for acting inconsistently with that, just as much as the women are.

The words for prayer at the beginning are interesting. Deeseis is related to the word for 'need', so it is sometimes translated as 'entreaties'; proseuchas is a fairly straightforward word for 'prayers'; eucharistias, of course, means 'thanksgivings' and is the word that gives us the term 'Eucharist'. Enteuxeis is a little trickier; it literally means something like 'interventions', but seems also to have the meaning of approaching an authority to get them to intervene, so it is often translated as 'intercessions' or 'supplications'. The words Paul applies to himself are also interesting; he is keryx kai apostolos, "herald and apostle", as it is usually translated, didaskolos ethnon, "teacher of nations". I think it's plausible that these are intended as a deliberate contrast to what follows, as Paul pulls out his full authority to quell the opposition: the men keep arguing, but Paul proclaims the salvation of Christ Jesus as Jesus's own ambassador; the women keep wanting to teach the men, but Paul teaches the nations.

The beginning of this passage, 1 Timothy 2:3, is often used by universalists, but Paul is not being rosy-viewed here; the passage is sandwiched between saying he has handed people over to Satan to teach them not to blaspheme by false teachings and putting strict restrictions on everyone else. The claims are also not unqualified in context; God wishes all to be saved and to discern the truth, and this clearly connects with what Paul describes as his mission, to teach the nations in faith and truth. God wishes all to be saved and to know the truth and therefore he sent Paul (who in the previous chapter noted explicitly talks about having been saved by Christ). Thus it really identifies the guiding principle of his intervention: the false teachers, the dissentious quarrelers, the presumptuous status-seekers, are all interfering with the kind of salvation and knowledge God wishes all to have.]

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