From Consensus to Chaos
An Historical Analysis of Evangelical Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 from 1945-2001
|Institution:||University of Wales|
|Advisor(s):||Drs John Colwell, Stephen Motyer & Harold Rowden|
Evangelical interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 (certainly at the level of detail) has, in the period from 1945 to 2001, changed from one of received consensus to confused plurality. This thesis provides an explanation of this phenomenon by identifying and analysing the influences within evangelical interpretation that contributed to and shaped it.
The first part of the thesis (Section A) is foundational. It establishes the validity of using the term Evangelical as an heuristic concept and provides, by means of a wide-ranging and unique analysis of published discussions of 1 Timothy 2:8-15, the necessary evidence to demonstrate the changes that took place. The major part of the thesis (Sections B and C) provides, for the first time, a detailed investigation of these changes. This is undertaken with a view to establishing:
(i) the factors that contributed to establishing the early consensus,
(ii) the circumstances which acted as catalysts to review and on-going change, and
(iii) the developments which shaped the manner in which discussion subsequently took place and which contributed to the plethora of contemporary interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:8-15. In doing so it adopts a methodology which self-consciously combines both diachronic and synthetic approaches and is thus able (a) to isolate more effectively major trends and their development and (b) to provide a framework for a more rigorous analysis.
The resulting study concludes (Section D) that evangelical interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 for the period from 1945 to 2001 was embedded in and shaped by contemporary social and ecclesiastical changes and by its own internal dynamics as it responded to these developments. In particular, differing responses to emerging theological, linguistic, historical and cultural discussions and to contemporary hermeneutical debates have proved decisive. While two broadly distinguishable (and conflicting) approaches developed, they spawned a plethora of different exegetical options and variant interpretations.
Stephen Dray is minister of Ferndale Baptist Church, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England and Visiting Scholar at Sarum College, Salisbury. He is Old Testament editor of the Crossway Bible Guides and Editor of 'Evangel': the British Evangelical review. He is the author of a number of books and e-books and many journal articles.