About Philip B. Payne Man and Woman, One in Christ Philip B. Payne, and the cover of his latest book, Man and Woman, One in Christ
February 16th
2011
written by phil

I was in the midst of a delightful conversation with Dr. Teresa Okure of the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, at the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta in November, 2011, when she noticed my SBL exhibitor badge and asked “Are you the Philip B. Payne who wrote Man and Woman, One in Christ? I just wrote a review of that fine book.” The review was published in the Review of Biblical Literature 2/2011 and can be read in its entirety at http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7420. Concise highlights of Dr. Okure’s review are included on the Endorsements page of this site. When I emailed Dr. Okure with thanks for the review, she emailed back on Feb. 11, 2011, “I have already introduced your book to many colleagues and have made it a required reading for my students on the course on Sex and Gender in the Bible. Congratulations again on your excellent book on Man and Woman, One in Christ!”

Following are highlights from the review:

“From his rich and multidimensional analyses (Old Testament, Septuagint, and Hellenistic, Jewish, Roman, and patristic authors), Payne concludes that, contrary to his contemporary practices, ‘Paul Consistently Champions the Equality of Man and Woman in Christ’ (461–64).”

“Throughout the work Payne takes pains to show that many previous readings missed the point of the passages analyzed, especially 1 Cor 11:2–16, due either to lack of attention to the original contexts, presuppositions from the readers’ contexts, and/or the limitations of the English language imposed on the texts (e.g., the use of gendered pronouns in translations where none exist in the Greek). A special feature of the book is its very readable though analytical style. At the end of each unit analysis, at times very lengthy (e.g., it takes twenty-three pages [117–39] to argue that kephale in 1 Cor 11:3 means ‘source,’ not ‘head/leader, authority’”), Payne states how the given passage should be translated.”

“The key role that faith played in the biblical authors is gradually returning to scholarship. Payne’s book is the testimony of a personal faith journey, which he tags ‘My Odyssey’ (27–30), traceable to his family upbringing and the struggle to come to grips with the truth (‘inerrancy’) of Scripture. Beginning with the book title itself (Man and Woman, One in Christ), through the unit titles and followed by the conclusion, Payne takes a consistently unambiguous stand concerning the internal consistency of all of Paul’s teachings on the inherent equality of man and woman. He believes his faith-rooted life context helped him to discover many insights in the texts themselves. Critics who prefer more neutral, noncommitted approaches may fault this approach. Others who feel that ‘God’s word’ should not be treated as ‘a definite maybe’ will welcome it.”

“The work covers some thirty years of research, painstaking analysis of the texts, and [an] impressive array of contemporary evidence. [It is] well-researched, faith-based, and highly commendable work. Scholars and students will find fresh insights in this book, especially in the rich references to ancient authors.”

Thank you Dr. Okure for your thoughtful and fair review.

Leave a Reply