Paul and Gender

Reclaiming the Apostle's Vision for Men and Women in Christ

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In this volume, respected New Testament scholar Cynthia Long Westfall offers a coherent Pauline theology of gender. Westfall interprets passages on women and men together and places those passages in the context of the Pauline corpus as a whole. Her inclusion of the entire Pauline canon enables her to address the issues effectively, and she reads the texts in light of their own claims of authorship, recipient, and circumstances. She also gleans new insights by making sense of the passages in the context of the Greco-Roman culture.

Paul and Gender includes fresh perspectives on the most controverted texts, offering viable alternatives for some notorious interpretive problems in certain Pauline passages. The author reframes gender issues in a way that stimulates thinking, promotes discussion, and moves the conversation forward. As Westfall explores the significance of Paul's teaching on both genders, she seeks to support and equip males and females to serve in their area of gifting, regardless of social status, race, or gender.

This book is a call for all who study Paul and gender to learn to distinguish between their assumptions and the presuppositions they use to make sense of the texts. It will be of use to New Testament scholars, professors and students in courses on Paul, and pastors and church leaders.

Contents
Introduction
1. Culture
1.1 Paul's Hellenism and Palestinian Judaism
1.2 The Pauline Relationship with the Church and Greco-Roman Society
1.3 Contrast between Rhetoric and Practice in the First Century
1.4 Gender and Greco-Roman Values
1.5 Gender and Public and Domestic Spheres
1.6 First Corinthians 11 and the Head Covering

2. Stereotypes
2.1 Male Metaphors Applied to All Believers
2.2 Feminine Metaphors Applied to All Believers
2.3 Feminine Metaphors Applied to Men

3. Creation
3.1 Gender and the Image of God
3.2 The Glory of God and the Glory of Man
3.3 The Purposes and Destiny for Gender in Creation
3.4 Gender and the Order of Creation
3.5 Creation and Headship
3.6 Woman Created for Man

4. The Fall
4.1 Gender and Deception
4.2 Gender and the Origin of Sin and Death
4.3 A Woman Is Saved through Childbirth

5. Eschatology
5.1 Pauline Eschatology and Transcendent Norms
5.2 Eschatology and Creation
5.3 Eschatology, Resurrection, and the Representation of Christ
5.4 Eschatology and the Destiny of Humanity
5.5 Eschatology and Life in the Christian Community
5.6 Eschatology and the Household
5.7 Eschatology and Galatians 3:28
5.8 Is There a Problem with Overrealized Eschatology?

6. The Body
6.1 Gender, the Flesh, and the Body in Paul
6.2 The Body as Male/Female
6.3 Sexuality
6.4 Marriage and Singleness
6.5 Sex and Children
6.6 Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage
6.7 Sexual Immorality (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:12-19)

7. Calling
7.1 Gender, Call, Service, and the Priesthood of the Believer
7.2 The Relationship between Marriage and Calling
7.3 Women in Service or in Silence?

8. Authority
8.1 Gender, Authority, Power, and Status in the Greco-Roman Culture
8.2 Paul's Theology of Authority, Power, and Status
8.3 Men and Authority
8.4 Women and Authority

9. 1 Timothy 2:11-15
9.1 Broad Exegetical Choices
9.2 The Purpose of the Letter
9.3 Antidotes to False Teaching (2:1-15)

Conclusion
Indexes


Endorsements

"Westfall provides much-needed clarity for those of us who are often perplexed and even alarmed at the apostle Paul's remarks about men, women, authority, and gender roles. She introduces readers to ancient views of marriage and family, provides solid exegesis of key Pauline passages, and instructs us on what Paul is and is not saying in these controversial texts. This book is guaranteed to inform and challenge readers to think of gender and sexuality in light of a genuinely biblical worldview."

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"This is not another book about the 'women's issue.' In Paul and Gender, Westfall breaks new ground in Pauline studies by attending to gender concerns in light of sociohistorical context, formal and semantic features of the text, and literary constructs. She tackles the tough passages head-on, providing clear and at times provocative arguments as she builds her case that Paul upends his culture's gendered stereotypes in light of the gospel mission."

Lynn H. Cohick, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"After the deluge of literature on gender roles in the Bible, can anyone add anything distinctive and persuasive to the discussion? Cynthia Long Westfall has demonstrated that the answer is a resounding yes. This is one of the most important books on the topic to appear in quite some time, and all Westfall's proposals merit serious consideration. The approach does not replicate standard contemporary complementarian or egalitarian perspectives but charts a fresh course in light of first-century cultural history and informed linguistic and discourse analysis. A must-read for anyone serious about understanding Paul on this crucial topic."

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

"Context is the key to interpretation, as Cynthia Westfall makes abundantly clear in this important book, which is essential reading on Paul and gender. She provides insightful, contextually sensitive readings of the major biblical passages that are too often used against opponents in cavalier and potentially harmful ways. I highly commend this book to both egalitarians and complementarians as both will benefit greatly from Westfall's numerous insights."

Stanley E. Porter, president, dean, professor of New Testament, and Roy A. Hope Chair in Christian Worldview, McMaster Divinity College

"In this wide-ranging study, Westfall draws on her expertise in linguistics and ancient sources to offer new and intriguing perspectives and insights on Pauline texts concerning gender. This work will prompt many of us to revisit these passages with fresh questions and challenge all of us with new and well-argued interpretations to address."

Craig Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary


The Author

  1. Cynthia Long Westfall

    Cynthia Long Westfall

    Cynthia Long Westfall (PhD, University of Surrey) is assistant professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. She is the author of A Discourse Analysis of the Letter to the Hebrews: The Relationship between Form and...

    Continue reading about Cynthia Long Westfall

Reviews

"A refreshingly balanced and erudite study that transports readers from the contemporary scene into the world of the New Testament, and back again. . . . Westfall manages to navigate these turbulent waters with both skillful analysis and lucid prose. Primary sources comprise her chief tool in laying out the landscape for the first-century context, and readers are never lost in trying to discern her main contributions, contentions, and reflections. Readers familiar with the topic will also find a level-headed methodology that gives priority to thorough, sound exegesis--not being plagued by the apologetic overtones so common in other works. . . . Paul and Gender is a hurricane of fresh air blowing away the chaff of rare and unlikely interpretations, unbridled theological agendas, and half-hearted treatments of Pauline theology. The quality of the book and scholarship is solid, resulting in what will probably become the standard work on the subject for decades to come."

Jamin Hübner,

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism

"[Westfall] provides a thorough analysis of passages in Paul's letters in an attempt to reach a fresh understanding of the apostle's view of gender. . . . Key to her study is a careful gauging of the specific socio-historical context of each passage and alertness to flaws in some of the assumptions that undergirded traditional interpretation of these problematic texts. . . . This is a respectful and informative contribution to a topic of great importance for the contemporary church."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"Paul and Gender is superb. The book does not contain rehashed ideas or tired arguments, rather it contains new insights presented with intelligent discussions, supported by impressive research. It's the work of a seasoned New Testament scholar who has thought long and hard on the teachings about men and women found in Paul's letters, and all the pertinent passages are thoroughly covered. . . . Her book is a must-have for anyone, academic or not, wanting to explore the subject of 'Paul and Gender.'"

Marg Mowczko,

New Life blog

"The issue of gender, especially as a follower of Christ, is not only important but one that requires all of us, especially in privileged positions to think over our positions. And this book is just the right place to start."

David I. Yoon,

Domain Thirty-Three blog


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