The Naughty Verses on Women
I should probably explain the word “naughty” in this connection. It comes from my appropriation of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In this epochal book, Kuhn talks about how paradigms—ways of processing reality—try to persist regardless of the data. “Normal science” in its normal operating mode tries to perpetuate its current way of looking at things.
The problem is of course that there is often data that doesn’t fit as well with the prevailing paradigm of the moment. Kuhn suggests that this data has in it the seeds of paradigm change, change that will be vigorously resisted by the prevailing paradigm but that may, in the end, win. For Kuhn, such developments are not about truth or falsity. They are simply social changes.
I am a little more optimistic than Kuhn, but I have dubbed data that doesn’t fit with the prevailing paradigm “naughty data.” We find such data in the Bible no matter what theological perspective we bring to the text. Some verses will fit with our Baptist, Wesleyan, Catholic, etc. paradigm well, while other verses will not fit as well. I have dubbed verses that don’t fit into our interpretive paradigm as well, “naughty verses.”
Here are some of my writings on the naughty verses of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:12-15: