Watchman's Teaching Letter #92 December 2005
This is my ninety-second monthly teaching letter and continues my eighth year of publication. With this lesson, we’ll finish up with William Finck’s Open Letter Responding To H. Graber, where Graber makes all kinds of harsh allegations against the apostle Paul. In order to fully understand this last segment, it will be necessary for the reader to have read WTL lesson #’s 89, 90 & 91. In order to get started on this one, it will be necessary to backtrack from where we left off in the last one. H. Graber had just quoted from The History Of the Church, translation by G. A. Williamson, published by Penguin Books © 1965, revisions 1989, pages 195-196 where he didn’t properly identify his source. I had three sources of Eusebius and was fortunate to have the edition from which H. Graber quoted for which he so badly copied, riddling it with numerous errors, and reads from Graber’s Kingdom Courier thusly as <Reference S-2>:
“In their eagerness to find, not a way to reject depravity [sic the depravity] in [sic of] the Jewish scriptures, but a means to explain [sic of explaining] it away, they resorted to interpretations which cannot be reconciled or harmonized with scriptures, and which provides [sic provide] not so much a defence of the original authors, as a foolsome [sic fulsome, which means ‘offensive’] advertisement for the interpretors [sic interpreters]. Inigmas [sic ‘Enigmas’] is the pompous name they have given [sic they give] to the perfectly plain statements of Moses, gloryfying [sic glorifying] them as oracles full of hidden mysteries, and bewitching the critical factor [sic faculty] by their extravagent [sic extravagant] nonsense.” [My God! - Can’t H. Graber read? C.A.E.]
William Finck answers <S-2>: Here is either a purposely deceitful act on Graber’s part, or one of the most idiotic instances in the history of scholarship. Graber has taken a paragraph from Eusebius, and has claimed that these are the very words of the church historian “speaking of Paul”, when in fact Graber quotes a known liar whom most of the early church fathers condemned as such. Yes, the paragraph Graber cites is found in Eusebius, even though Graber could not cite it properly. It is apparent that Graber does not check out the context in which a passage is written, but chooses only a few short lines which he can force to fit his theory, no matter how nefarious the source might be. Yet checking the source itself, perhaps something Graber may have hoped that no one would do, we find the following:
• The words Graber quotes are not Eusebius’, but a quote by Eusebius of an early anti-Christian writer and perverter of the truth named Porphyry.
• Porphyry was not even speaking of Paul, but of another early Christian writer named Origen, who lived from about 185-245 A.D.
• Eusebius considered Porphyry, who Graber is actually quoting, to be but a liar! Graber, the liar, relies upon liars, and lies about Eusebius too!
In order to demonstrate this fully, a larger portion of this same chapter of Eusebius, 6.19, from the same edition mis-used by Graber, that of G. A. Williamson at pages 195-196, but including the surrounding text, exposing Graber’s misapplication of his source, is faithfully reproduced here. In this passage, Eusebius is discussing Origen (and indirectly Porphyry), not Paul:
“19. Testimony to his [Origen’s] success in these endeavours is paid by the Greek philosophers who flourished in his time, in whose writings I have found many references to him. Sometimes they dedicated their works to him, sometimes they submitted their own labours to him, as to a master, for criticism. Far more significant is the case of Porphyry, who in my own time settled in Sicily and in an attempt to traduce the Holy Scriptures published a long treatise attacking us, in which he refers to those who have interpreted them. He finds it quite impossible to bring any damaging accusation against our doctrines, so for lack of arguments he turns to abuse and traduces the interpreters. His special target is Origen, whom he claims to have known as a young man and attempts to traduce, little knowing that he is actually commending him. When he cannot help it, he tells the truth; when he thinks he will not be found out, he tells lies. Sometimes he accuses him as a Christian, sometimes he enlarges on his addiction to philosophic studies. Listen to his actual words [Here is a correct reading of the passage H. Graber garbled]:
“‘In their eagerness to find, not a way to reject the depravity of the Jewish [sic Israelite] Scriptures, but a means of explaining it away, they resorted to interpretations which cannot be reconciled or harmonized with those scriptures, and which provide not so much a defence of the original authors as a fulsome advertisement for the interpreters. ‘Enigmas’ is the pompous name they give to the perfectly plain statements of Moses, glorifying them as oracles full of hidden mysteries, and bewitching the critical faculty by their extravagant nonsense ... This absurd method must be attributed to a man whom I met while I was still quite young, who enjoyed a great reputation and thanks to the works he has left behind him, enjoys it still. I refer to Origen, whose fame among teachers of these theories is wide- spread’.” [emphasis mine, ellipsis in original]
Thus, it is quite evident from this full disclosure that Graber’s source implies quite the opposite that he would like his readers to believe. Not only that, but this reference which Graber cites in Eusebius has absolutely nothing to do with the apostle Paul! The bottom line is: Graber has taken the words of a known liar and presented them as being the truth, and out of context at that. Graber is either hopelessly ignorant, or an accomplished con-artist. Take your pick.
<Reference T> H. Graber states: “I believe that contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul teaches a doctrind [sic] of socialism and humanism, which establish the foundations for a ‘One World Government’. Paul himself tells us in Heb. 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’ If Paul indeed believes this, how does he justify his divergent doctrine from the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Paul tells us in I Cor. 9:20-22, ‘And unto the Jew I become [sic became] as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, that I might gain them that are without law. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak become I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.’ This is an all inclusive position for any one to take. This includes compromise, this includes ignorant arrogance, for how can a mere man be ALL things to ALL men? And again Paul speaks of saving people: ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN AND DID DO THAT!”
William Finck answers <T>: I have already addressed most of Graber’s statements in these final paragraphs, from the fourth on page 7 to the end of page 8 of his original formatted publication, so I am not going to repeat myself, yet there are a few things left to address.
In the closing lines of the fourth paragraph on page 7 of his original document, Graber criticizes Paul’s remarks at 1 Cor. 9:20-22 (where basically Paul is only explaining that he tries to speak to people on their own terms, not with the pretense of superiority and authority that the jew rabbis and their catholic followers do), and Graber accuses Paul of “ignorant arrogance” and states that “again Paul speaks of saving people: ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN AND DID DO THAT!” And here it can be demonstrated that Graber lies again! It is obvious to me that Graber, while claiming to glean his “spiritual sustenance from ... James” surely hasn’t read James! Let us read James 5:19-20 from the A.V.: “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (the emphasis is mine, of course). Who is a liar, but H. Graber? Why does he criticize Paul, and not James for making a like statement? While it is evident that Yahshua Christ, Yahweh Himself, is the author of our salvation, as Paul attests at 1 Thes. 5:9, 2 Tim. 2:10, Titus 2:11, and especially at Hebrews 2:10 and 5:9, it is also clear that “the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matt. 10:10), and that the children of Israel share in the fruits of their labors, which many parables illustrate (i.e. Matt. 20:1-16, 25:14-30). Graber, like the jews which Yahshua reproved time and again, claims to know the Scripture, but is consistently reproved by Scripture.
<Reference U> H. Graber states: “When we consider the books of the New Testement [sic], written by Luke and Paul, and recognizing that the book of Mark was also tampered with by an unknown scribe, then one comes to consider these works as a conspiracy to subvert Christianity. We know that in the last chapter of Mark, verses 9-20 were not in the original transcript of the apostle Mark, and when you consider these added verses, we see that they do not harmonize with the first eight verses, and are the first indication that Christianity was to be a universal religion, quote, ‘and preach the gospel to every creature.’ I believe that this was part of the betrayal, to justify Paul’s claim that he was commissioned to go to the Gentiles. We know that Jesus Christ never commanded His Disciples to go to the Gentiles, or for that matter to every creature. He commanded to only go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel! And Jesus told His Disciples in Matt. 10:23, ‘But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.’ From this we can conclude, that as of this moment, not ALL Israelites have yet received the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“In conclusion, allow me to simply sum up the gist of this exposition, The Gospel of Jesus Christ versus The Doctrine of the Apostle Paul. I believe I have presented sufficient evidence, that there is a great discrepency [sic] between the Doctrine of Jesus, and the doctrine of Paul.”
William Finck answers <U>: Mark can not be blamed that the end of his gospel was lost, or maybe never even completed. And Mark certainly can not be blamed that long after his death certain men (there are three spurious “endings” to Mark’s gospel extant, not just one) attempted to pollute his gospel by supplying their own endings. Mark’s gospel is sound and there is no valid reason to reject it once the spurious ending is removed. John’s gospel was added to (for John 7:53 through 8:11 is surely a late interpolation) and so was one of his epistles (the end of 1 John 5:7 and the beginning of 5:8), and we certainly don’t want to reject those for such reason! Now if Graber does not seem to reject Mark’s gospel in this last paragraph at reference <U>, he certainly did in the last paragraph on page 1, (or here at reference <C>), even calling Mark a “professed apostle”, as he also calls Luke and Paul, as if they were not worthy of the title. H. Graber is little but a lying duplicitous hypocrite!
Graber also insists here, and at the top of page 8 (the second paragraph [of his original document] there), that Paul brought the gospel to “gentiles.” An examination of Paul’s letters, of Luke’s gospel, and of the Acts clearly shows that Paul only brought the gospel to those nations (Gen. 17:6, 35:11) which were colonized by Israelites of the Old Kingdom, or founded by Israelites of the Assyrian deportations. This message is obfuscated in many places by all ‘mainstream’ translations, which is the reason for my own work in Paul in the first place. I will begin an article highlighting certain mistranslations and misconceptions in Luke and Acts sometime this winter. Luke 1:67-80 alone vindicates his gospel, for Luke knew perfectly well that the New Covenant applied only to the true Israelites. Note also Luke 1:54-55.
Language in Romans proves that Paul knew that the Romans were Israelites. Language in 1 Corinthians proves that Paul knew that the Dorian Greeks were Israelites. Language in Colossians proves likewise! History and archaeology support these claims fully. Galatians and Scythians and the Iberians of Spain are also Israelites, Paul knew it, and he went to them, just as he was supposed to! H. Graber is not only a liar, but a man of little understanding! Paul did not go to gentiles, but to Israel! It can even be demonstrated, or rather should be evident to one who studies, that at Acts 17 Paul even treats the Japhethite Athenians differently!
“1.Jesus said, go not to the Gentiles, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Paul proclamed [sic] himself the apostle to the Gentiles, and compromised in the Jewish synagogues. [see Finck’s comments at <U> and <H>]
“2. Jesus said that He was the Messiah, and He and the Father are one. Paul claims messiahship for himself, and does not attribute this recognition to Jesus untill [sic] after the resurrection. [see Finck’s comments at <L>]
“3. Jesus was reckoned by geneaology [sic], the same as all the seed of Adam, throughout the Old Testement [sic], many times. Paul negates the reckoning by geneaology [sic]. [see Finck’s comments at <I>]
“4. Jesus said, not one jot or tittle of the law would pass, even untill [sic] heaven and earth shall pass. Paul negates the Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments of God, by the stroke of his pen, upon the cross. [see Finck’s comments at <J>]
“5. Jesus instructed His Disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Paul teaches and preaches a gospel of salvation, an event that was finished on the cross for all true Israelites. Paul tells us many times that he is preaching his own gospel. [see Finck’s comments at <V>, <M> & <O>]
“6. Jesus gave us many scriptures, admonishing us not to lie. Paul admits to lieing [sic], if and when it serves his purpose. [see Finck’s comments at <E>]
“7. There is NO evidence given by the words of Jesus Christ, or His Disciples, concerning the miraculous conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and certainly there was ample opportunity to do so. [see Finck’s comments at <P>] Therefore, we have only the words of Paul himself, that have established him as ‘The Great Lion of God’. (Here we should be aware of the historic promotion by Jews, and Gentiles, that catapulted Paul into prominance [sic].)”
William Finck answers Graber at #5 <V>: Here Graber accused Paul of not following the command of Yahshua to preach “the gospel of the Kingdom.” As I said at <O> of my reply, Paul’s letters are NOT his gospel, which is surely found in Luke. We don’t even have all of Paul’s letters (i.e. 1 Cor. 5:9), but probably only a small percentage of what he wrote. Nearly everyone I’ve ever read who criticizes Paul seems to neglect these facts.
Now at Acts 19:8, Luke says that Paul in Ephesus “... spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” See Acts 20:25, 28:23 and 28:31. See then Romans 14:17, 1 Cor. 4:20, 6:9-10, 15:24, 50, Gal. 5:21, Eph. 5:5, Col. 1:13 and 4:11, 1 Thes. 2:12, 2 Thes. 1:5, 2 Tim. 4:1, 18, and Heb. 1:8 and 12:28! So who is a liar, but H. Graber?
Do we look forward to the establishment of Yahweh’s law? So did Paul (Romans 3:31). Do we look forward to the destruction of Yahweh’s enemies? So did Paul (Romans 16:20). Do we assert a knowledge of the identification of the “lost” sheep which Yahshua Christ established a New Covenant with? So did Paul (Romans 1:25, 1:31, 4:16-18, 1 Cor. 10:1-13, Eph. 1:4, Col. 1:20-21, etc.) Do we look forward to His return and the fulfillment of the establishment of His Kingdom? So did Paul (2 Tim. 4:1). Is this not the hope of Israel? Of course it is, which is also Paul’s hope (Acts 28:20)! Notice Paul said “Israel”, not “Israel and the Gentiles” (to borrow a phrase from Clifton Emahiser). Don’t blame Paul that some deceiver read “τὰ ἔθνη” 1550 years after Paul wrote, and translated “gentiles” rather than “nations”!
As for the law, all good Christians should seek to follow the laws of Yahweh! But remember that James’ opinions of the law – which must have come from Yahweh Himself, and the prophets agree also – is fully cohesive with Paul’s opinions. We being Israelites of the Faith are not going to be judged by the law. But our enemies the jews (and arabs) will be! Although the written law is good and is holy (Rom. 7:12) and we seek to establish it, desiring to be obedient (Rom. 3:31), do not “put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10). Note Matt. 11:25-30. We are to separate ourselves from unrepentant lawbreakers (i.e. 1 Cor. 5:9-13, Rev. 22:15 et al.)
If I have not demonstrated that H. Graber is a liar and a fraud, manifold, then explain such to me. I will resign from writing anything of this sort again. If I have uttered a lie and attempt to deceive, explain it to me. I will resign from writing anything of this sort again. No liar should ever be allowed to be a teacher, and escape condemnation.
Either I am a liar, or H. Graber is a liar. There is nothing in between. He is a deceiver, or I am a deceiver. There is no compromise. There are many opinions in the world, but only one Truth. If I have built upon a foundation of sand, say it before me, and I will resign from building. Yet if H. Graber is found to be a liar, I adjure the reader: Study again Luke’s gospel, Acts, and Paul’s letters, and in a new light make a new determination. I also adjure such a one: please share my reply to Graber with anyone also who may have read H. Graber’s document from his misnamed Kingdom Courier, December, 1985, that they may have the opportunity to see his many lies. Even share it with Mr. Graber himself, if indeed he still lives, his document being just short of 20 years old.
With this I will close, only reiterating one thing: that those who criticize Paul of Tarsus and question the validity of his ministry seek only the ultimate division and destruction of Christianity itself. Do not be deceived by their devices!
Graber closes his Kingdom Courier, December, 1985 thusly: “This subject deserves a volume of documentation, and I hope such research and writting [sic] shall be forthcoming. In light of what has been presented in this bulletin, it becomes an indavidual [sic] readers [sic] option to accept or reject the obvious disputatious evidence presented herein. You may elect to put your head in a pile of sand, and hope it will go away. Finally, we are all indavidually [sic], the captains of our own eternal destiny! [see Finck’s comments at <A>]
“For myself, I shall reject Mark 16:9-20, and ALL of the works of the professed apostles Luke and Paul! I shall glean my spiritual sustenance from Matthew, John, Peter, and James, the SURE Disciples of Jesus Christ, and this will remove for me, all the confusion and contradiction I encounter between the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of the professed apostle Paul!” [see Finck’s comments at <A>]
End of critical response to the entity and its executive director calling itself Kingdom Courier Published by Dr. H. Graber, 5393 Carleton Road, Mariposa, CA 95338.
I last spoke to the original recipient of this letter concerning its contents in December 2003. At that time my friend only stated it was “good”, and that he would pass it on to one of the other anti-Paulist Israel Identity pastors in his congregation, who will also go unnamed here. Yet sadly, my friend continues in the camp of the anti-Paulists to this day. It is now July of 2005, and despite my pleas and my challenges duplicated heretofore, I have never been answered by this letter’s original recipient and those whom he shared it with. Rather, my friend ceased sending me any more of the anti-Paul material which he or his congregation still produce and circulate! To me this is a sad situation, but a perfect example of a peoples’ willingness to believe a lie, rather than undertake the more difficult journey necessary in order to arrive at the truth. For my part, I shall not become exasperated, but rather hope to continue that I may more fully manifest the folly of all those who speak against Paul of Tarsus. [End of William Finck’s letter to his friend. Now back to Clifton A. Emahiser.]
H. Graber was a close follower of W. G. Finlay from South Africa, and on audio tape #87 Finlay identified the source of his conviction. Finlay based his tenets on a book Popes From The Ghetto by Dr. Joachim Prince, president of the American Jewish Congress, and chairman of the Conference Of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.” Finlay also referred to Prince as “The learned rabbi, who still serves in the Temple Beni-Abram of Newark in New Jersey.” Finlay further stated:
“Dr. Prince, who in common with most theologians both Christian and Jewish, claims that Saul of Tarsus was the real founder of the Christian Church, and the ,sans-serifspan style=true architect of Christian theology. He prefaces his work, which provides the documentary evidence, indicating that three popes during the Middle Ages were Jewish, was a very illuminating statement. He wrote, ‘Early Christianity, which should be called ‘Jesusdom’ for it is still intimately connected with Jesus of Nazareth, and not with the Church, or with a set of doctrines is a religion of the last days of mankind.’ Now, this statement, when placed side by side with what Dr. Prince had to say about Paul being the founder of the Christian Church ...” Questions: Were we not instructed by Christ Himself, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, Matt. 16:6? Were we not told that those who did not believe Christ are Anti-Christs? And that there is no truth in them? And that they are of the synagogue of Satan? Thus, anti-Paulists are hypnotized by the “Jews.”
[Now back to William Finck on an article concerning the apostle Paul’s attitude toward women.]
PAUL WAS NOT A MISOGYNIST!
Many today accuse Paul of Tarsus of misogyny (hatred of women), and no doubt because of some of Paul’s remarks concerning the place of women in Christian society. It does not surprise me that in today’s liberal feminist society, where even ideas generally perceived as being moderate or centrist are actually skewed far to the left, that this is a prevailing view amongst the jew-controlled, jew-media dominated jew-led and fed masses of the populace. That feminism is a jewish cause and a primary jewish-led movement is easily demonstrated in the identities of its leaders, such as Emma Goldman, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, et al., and also by their own testimony, which is published regularly by their media outlets. For instance in the Wall Street Journal, in an article entitled How Do You Mark 350 Years in America? by Naomi Schaefer Riley, which ran on p. W13 on Sept. 9, 2005, it is boasted that “... there is much to be gained from studying Jewish life in America after the mass migrations from Eastern Europe. Jews were among the most prominent voices pushing for liberalized immigration policies, a strong labor movement and rights for women ... Nor were Jewish efforts always on behalf of other Jews. The end of [an exhibit at the Center for Jewish History in New York] the exhibit explores Jewish participation in the civil-rights movement.” Paul was certainly at odds with jewish thinking! What we see as a problem (“we” being aware Saxons), the jews see as an accomplishment, and take full credit for it!
The New Testament accounts show beyond doubt that Paul could not have been a misogynist, a hater of women, and here I shall endeavor to elucidate such in a simple manner; for it is plainly nothing which needs to be examined too deeply.
In Acts 16, Paul along with Timothy, Silas, and surely Luke who wrote the account, are at Philippi in Macedonia where they congregated by a river for prayer, and spoke at length to women there who did likewise. There a certain woman Lydia, and her household, were apparently the first Greeks of Europe to become Christians (lost Israelites returning to Yahweh, as Paul teaches in all his epistles). This woman later assisted Paul and his companions, after the brief imprisonment at Philippi (Acts 16:40).
At Berea, as at many other places, Paul preached to “honorable women” as well as to men (Acts 17:12).
Of the converts at Athens, a women named Damaris merited particular mention (Acts 17:34).
Paul met Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth, and every time the couple is mentioned it is obvious that the woman is respected by Paul every bit as much as her husband, and is even mentioned before him in most places where the two are mentioned (Acts 18:1, et al.).
Paul entrusted a woman, Phoebe, to bear his epistle to Rome, and recommended her highly to the Christian assemblies there, also praising her for her assistance to him (Rom. 16:1-2).
Of the people Paul specifically greeted in his epistle to the Romans, many were women, including Priscilla, Mary, Persis, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, the mother of Rufus (and Paul) and the sister of Nerea. Some of these were further lauded for their labor in the faith or for their having assisted Paul in some way.
Other women mentioned are Chloe at 1 Cor. 1:11, and the text there infers that she is head of a household, and so probably a widow and a woman of means; Euodia and Syntyche at Ph’p. 4:2; Nympha at Col. 4:5 (although the A.V. and some early mss. have “Nymphas” as a man) and Apphia at Ph’m 2.
Furthermore, in Paul’s letters to Timothy, he spoke especially well of Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and must have known them personally (2 Tim. 1:5.) Paul also sent Timothy greetings from Priscilla, and from Claudia whom history shows is the wife of Rufus, and whom Paul is staying with at Rome when he wrote Timothy (2 Tim. 4:19, 21).
All of this shows that Paul certainly had all due respect for women in general, and had warm and Christian relationships with many of them.
The opinions which are formulated in and acted on by society today are not correct simply because a majority of people here are persuaded by them. Christianity is not a democratic institution, but rather a Theocratic one. A woman’s place was to be subject to her husband, as with Paul (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23; Col. 3:18), also with Peter (1 Pet. 3:1-5) and so with Yahweh (Gen. 3:16). A woman’s place was to keep the household, as it was in Greek society (i.e. Euripides’ Alcestis 304 ff., Electra 54 ff.) and so with Paul (Titus 2:5), and so in the Old Testament, i.e. Proverbs chapter 31. Those who doubt the validity of Paul’s instruction here contend not with Paul, but with the entire Bible!
Paul instructs that a woman is never to have authority over a man (i.e. 1 Tim 2:12), and in the Old Testament at Isa. 3:12 we see that it was a reproach for women to rule over men in that time also. Whether it was the noble Deborah, or the wicked Athaliah, doesn’t matter. Neither situation says much of the men of those times. Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Janet Reno, Diane Feinstein, et al. are certainly a reproach to all Saxon men today, along with the millions of women who have forsaken childbearing and normal household life for love of lucre and status. Those who feel otherwise contend not against Paul, but against Yahweh! And Judi Nipps and Nellie Babbs are among their number.
Only men participated in the “democracy” of Athens. Women were excluded from politics, did not speak publicly, and as Euripides’ character Aethra in his Suppliant Women says at lines 40-41 “It is proper for women, if they are wise, to do everything through their men.” So Paul’s admonition to women, not to speak in the assembly but to learn and inquire by their husbands (1 Cor. 14:34-35), was surely not a novel contrivance, but already a part of Hellenistic culture! In fact, Athenian life was stricter yet: For in Euripides’ Hecuba at lines 974-75 the title character states that “custom ... ordains that women shall not look directly at men.” The word translated “custom” in the Loeb Library edition of Euripides is νόμος, “law” everywhere in the New Testament. Paul’s admonition against women “wandering from house to house ... idle ... tattlers ... busybodies, speaking things they ought not” was a normal concern long before Paul wrote such words, and in Euripides’ Andromache lines 930-953, the poet through his character Hermione expressed very similar concerns.
I have cited Euripides here, having his writings at hand and having recently read them, yet may refer to a plethora of Greek writers, even those closer to Paul’s own time, to show that Paul was not being novel to the Greeks concerning treatment of women. Strabo, speaking of the Cantabrians of Iberia and some of their customs, where women have influence over their kinsmen, says: “The custom involves, in fact, a sort of woman-rule – but this is not at all a mark of civilisation” (Strabo 3.4.18, Loeb Library edition). Diodorus Siculus, speaking of the mythical Amazons, says “The men, however, like our married women, spent their days about the house, carrying out the orders which were given them by their wives; and they took no part in military campaigns or in office or in the exercise of free citizenship in the affairs of the community by virtue of which they might become presumptuous and rise up against the women”, and so of course in reality, in the Greek world women kept the home, having no voice in the community, nor role in government. The very role described in Proverbs 31!
As in the book of Numbers, so in Matthew (14:21, 15:38), women were not counted. It is not that women do not count, Yahweh forbid! Yet the woman’s role in a proper Christian society is clearly defined, and Paul explains that role properly. Pity those who doubt the truth of such matters. Nothing Paul says is contrary to Old Testament instruction or practice. Can the anti-Paulists make such a claim for themselves? W.R.F.
More on Paul of Tarsus in the upcoming lessons.