procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

blokes and sheilas in Galatians 3 (reprieve)

thinking and chatting some more about Galatians 3:28,
οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
i wrote about it previously here.
basically the greek says there is no, because of Jesus, all who are baptised into him are one: no more Greek/Jew, slave/free, male&female.
the problem is most translators translate it male/female. which seems directly contrary to the difference in the pattern.

it's like telling a joke where the Englishman, Irishman and Scot all do precisely the same thing. it doesn't make sense and isn't funny (unless you dislike all 3 nationalities!). this is not to say Paul's telling a joke here, but he's obviously doing something by saying no more "male and female".

whilst happy to be convinced, following conversations this week i think it's saying that although there is no place in God's new Kingdom for the slaves/master dichotomy, nor for the divides over who is in the covenant and who is out based on their nationalities - for we are all one in Christ.
what clearly does not happen is that maleness and femaleness is dissolved (cf the Gospel of Thomas 114*). rather, maleness and femaleness is part of God's good creation, there is nothing sinful or fallen about being male and(/or!) female.
what it may mean then is the complete opposite to the pseudepigraphical Gospel of Thomas! that there is no gender basis on which your importance, your ranking, your importance to God, the depth of his love poured out for you in Jesus, is judged.

i don't think this is all, but i do think it preserves the innate goodness of God's creation, and the maintenance of that in the new, but it also does away with the false way that these things are seen in the eyes of sinful people, who constantly look for ways to push others down, to identify with the in-crowd, or to despise the authority figure(s) - the common love of your group, the common hatred of the other.

* 114) Simon Peter said to Him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

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