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Are the Daughters of Philip Among the Prophets of Acts?

May 1, 2006

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The mention in Acts 21:9 of the four virgin daughters of Philip at Caesarea who prophesy has long intrigued interpreters of the Acts of the Apostles. Who were these women and what role did they play within the early Christian movement? What is Luke's view of these women? Does his brief mention of them highlight or obfuscate their role within the early Christian movement? As we shall see, some have pointed to these women as evidence of Luke's progressive, egalitarian views on the role of women within early Christianity. These interpreters have seen Luke as presenting an approving picture of these women as prophetesses in the biblical tradition of Deborah, Huldah, the wife of Isaiah, and Anna. Others, however, have seen a very different picture. For these, it appears that Luke desires to subordinate the role of women within the church of his day; therefore, he downplays the significance of Philip's daughters within Acts. This study is an attempt to understand Luke's presentation of the daughters of Philip and to determine if he does, indeed, view them as being among the prophets of Acts.      

Prophets in Acts

In order to answer the question as to whether or not the daughters of Philip are, indeed, among the prophets of Acts, we must first examine Luke's presentation of prophets and prophetic activity in general within Acts. Who are the prophets in Acts and what do they do? Some have chosen such broad definitions that nearly every primary character in Acts is said to be a prophet. In his  commentary on Luke, Luke Timothy Johnson, for example, argues that Luke's use of "proof from prophecy" is "his most important literary device" in the Luke-Acts narrative.1 Johnson then argues that Luke presents nearly all the major Christian figures in Acts as acting like prophets. In describing his profile of the prophetic figure in Acts, Johnson says that each leading character in Acts is "filled with the Holy Spirit," is "bold" in proclamation of the "Good News" or "the word of God," is a "witness," works "signs and wonders," and preaches and performs wonders "among the people."2 He concludes, "Taken together, these characteristics point unmistakingly to one image in the biblical tradition, that of the prophet."3 Another contemporary work, Roger Stronstad's The Prophethood of All Believers, commendably recognizes the importance of the prophetic in Acts, but also too broadly identifies the major characters in Acts as prophets.4 Indeed, Stronstad argues for the early church depicted in Acts as continuing the prophetic ministry of Jesus in its establishment of a "community of prophets."5 For Stronstad all the believers are prophets (hence, "the prophethood of all believers").

Such characterizations, however, are too broad. If everyone is a prophet in Acts, then what real significance is there when Luke distinctly labels certain characters within the narrative as prophets or chooses not to label them as prophets? Correspondingly, what does this say about Luke's view of the foundational role of prophet within early Christianity?6 This essay argues, contrary to Johnson and Stronstad, that Luke uses the term "prophet" (prophētēs) in Acts judiciously and particularly. Whom, then, does Luke specifically designate as a prophet within the Acts narrative?

First, there are several Old Testament figures who are distinctly identified as "prophets" in Acts. They are Moses (3:22), Samuel (3:24; 13:20), David (2:30), and Isaiah (8:28, 30, 34; 28:25). In addition, Jesus himself is clearly presented in Acts as the prophet like Moses (3:22; 7:37; cf. Deut 18:15-18).

As for first century Christian prophets in Acts, beyond Jesus, there are only eight individuals who receive the explicit designation "prophet" in the narrative. The first of these is the peripatetic Agabus who stands out among "the prophets who came down from Jerusalem into Antioch" (11:27; cf. 21:10). Agabus is a prophet in the classic Old Testament tradition. He predicts future events, including the Judean famine (11:28) and Paul's arrest (21:11). He also engages in symbolic action, binding his hands and feet with Paul's belt, in order to symbolize how Paul will be given "into the hands of the Gentiles" (21:11). Most telling, Agabus pronounces, "Thus says the Holy Spirit" (21:11), echoing the classic Septuagintal expression tade legei.   

Next, in Acts 13:1 Luke introduces the five "prophets and teachers" of Antioch:  Barnabas, Simeon Niger, Loukios, Manaen, and Saul (Paul). Of these, Barnabas, the "son of exhortation" (huios paraklēseōs) (4:36), and Paul stand out. I have argued elsewhere that part of Luke's intention in Acts is to present Paul as a prophetic figure.7 We also find a literary pattern in Acts in which Luke introduces a group of persons who play a particular leadership role in the Christian community. He then has one figure, or sometimes two figures, emerge as the primary focus. We see this when Peter emerges from the eleven apostles (1:13-15), Stephen (and later, Philip) from the seven ministers (6:5), and Agabus from the Jerusalem prophets (11:27-28). Finally, we see this pattern when Paul emerges from the five prophets and teachers of Antioch to become the dominant character in Acts from 13:1 to the end of the narrative.

The final characters to be distinctly named as prophets in Acts are Judas and Silas: "Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words" (15:32). They are described as "leading men among the brothers" (15:22) who are chosen to aid in delivery of the apostolic decree. Silas, in fact, eventually becomes Paul's prophetic sidekick and missionary associate after Paul's painful parting with Barnabas (15:39-41).

We now see that eight figures are explicitly described in Acts as "prophets."  Notably absent from this number are the daughters of Philip. They are not called "prophets" or "prophetesses." They are, instead, merely said, "to prophesy." Does this mean that they are prophets? Do all prophets prophesy? Are all who prophesy prophets?  To answer this question, we must now turn our attention to the use of the verb "to prophesy" in Acts.

The Verb "to prophesy" in Acts

The verb "to prophesy" (prophēteuō) occurs only four times in Acts (2:17-18; 19:6; 21:9). Two occurrences of the verb "to prophesy" come in Peter's Pentecost sermon as he quotes Joel:

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17-18).

One might expect, with such a bold pronouncement, an immediate fulfillment of this prediction within the narrative. Yet this is not exactly the result. In fact, only much later in the narrative and in only two instances after Peter's Pentecost sermon are believers said "to prophesy," and none of the eight identified prophets are ever described as "prophesying."

The first explicit mention of anyone "prophesying" in Acts is found in Acts 19:6. The setting is Paul's encounter with the twelve disciples in Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John. After baptism "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (v. 5) and the imposition of Paul's hands, Luke says, "the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied [eprophēteuon]" (v. 6). Luke explicitly notes in v. 7 that the twelve are men (andres).

The second use of the verb "to prophesy" is found in reference to Philip's daughters in 21:9. Here the setting is Paul's arrival in Caesarea on his journey to Jerusalem. Luke notes that Paul entered "the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven" (21:8). Luke then adds the intriguing information of v. 9: "Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied" (toutō de ēsan thugateres tessares parthenoi prophēteuousai). It is hard to overlook the "proof from prophecy" motif at work in these passages (Acts 19:6 and 21:9). In fulfillment of Peter's words at Pentecost in 2:17-18 borrowed from the prophet Joel, sons (the twelve Ephesian men) and daughters (Philip's daughters) are prophesying. This is a double fulfillment. The prophetic prediction of Joel and the apostolic prediction of Peter are simultaneously fulfilled.

What stands out in this survey of Luke's use of the verb "to prophesy" in Acts is the paucity of references to it as an activity in which members of the Christian community were actively engaged. Luke identifies eight first century "prophets," beyond Jesus, but none of them are said, "to prophesy." Instead, Luke most often describes the work of those designated as prophets as exhorting (parakaleō) and strengthening (epistērizo) the disciples.8 It would appear, then, to be inappropriate to assume that one is a prophet in Acts, merely because he or she prophesies. 

Three Views on the Daughters of Philip

What have contemporary critical scholars made of the daughters of Philip? We can group the various views into three categories: naïve egalitarian, subordination, and liberation. 

The first category is a naïve egalitarian view. This perspective sees Luke as holding a progressive view on the participation of women in leadership roles within early Christianity and sees the daughters of Philip unapologetically depicted by Luke as among the prophets of both the Acts narrative and the early Christian community. We see this view represented in Lesly F. Massey's Women and the New Testament, as she offers these comments on the daughters of Philip:

The first clear mention of female prophetism in the history of the early church is the case of the four daughters of Philip. . . . It could be argued that Philip's daughters and Agabus were remnants of Old Testament prophetism, as probably was Anna, or that they were called to some special prophetic ministry such as that of John the Baptist. But evidence concerning New Testament prophecy in general makes it reasonably certain that the daughters of Philip had received the imposition of apostolic hands and were now functioning in the church as inspired proclaimers of the word of God. And the general tone of 1 Corinthians 14 is such that prophets spoke primarily for the edification of the Christian assembly."9

The conclusion that the daughters of Philip were functioning as ordained, local assembly prophets is quite a leap from the slim reference to these women in Acts 21:9.

A desire to find progressive models of women in public ministry in Luke fuels the engine of this view and drives its adherents beyond Luke's depiction of Philip's daughters as women who prophesy (the most literal meaning) to add the interpretation that Luke presents them as "prophets" or "prophetesses."10 Even the NASB, which otherwise follows a literal rendering of the Greek text, translates Acts 21:9, "Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses."11 Clearly, to call these women "prophetesses" is to go beyond the literal meaning to an interpretation of Luke's words.

The second category is subordination. This view, in contrast to that of the naïve egalitarian perspective, sees Luke not as an egalitarian progressive but, quite the contrary, as one who desires to subordinate and deny the significance of the participation of women, in general, and the daughters of Philip, in particular, within early Christianity.12 This view has been championed by Jacob Jervell who argues against a naïve assumption that Luke indicates approval for women in leadership roles within the early church merely because women appear within the narratives of Luke and Acts.13 For Jervell, the women of Acts are Jewish women, daughters of Abraham, who, along with Jewish men, have their proper place within the new Israel. These women, nevertheless, play a subordinate role. Jervell even detects a lesser role for women within Acts as compared to Luke:  "After reading the gospel we are struck by the fact that in Acts women retreat to the background. . . . The women obviously make up the community but do not exercise any leading function."14 Jervell sees Acts as subtly affirming a perspective on the role of women in the church found in what he perceives to be later New Testament writings:  "Luke says nothing at all of subordination. What we find in Paul in 1 Corinthians 14, in the Deutero-Paulines, the Catholic and Pastoral Epistles of women's subordination does not appear at all in Luke.  But it is quite clear that the women in Acts are subordinate, as may be seen from many aspects. Is this accepted by Luke as self-evident, or has he consciously given it shape?"15 The question Jervell asks is crucial. Do women fail to play key leadership roles in Acts because this was the self-evident situation in the church that Luke knew or does Luke shape the narrative to avoid casting women in leadership roles?

Jervell concludes that Luke has indeed subtly shaped the material to reflect an implicitly subordinate role for women: "Without stating it in so many words, the woman is subordinate."16 He argues that no women appear as leaders in Acts. Of Philip's daughters in Acts 21:9, Jervell comments,

The prophets or persons who appear as prophets in Acts are clearly all men; of the women named in Acts, no prophetic activity is reported. The four daughters in Acts 21:9 thus furnish the exception. And of course this does not mean that they are less than daughters of Abraham. First of all, their prophetic activity as such is in accordance with Scripture (Acts 2:17). Second, Luke was probably also aware of Old Testament models, that is, of prophetic women. But in this respect also women are subordinate.17

 Jervell concludes that Acts represents a "retrograde movement" in its attitude toward women: "Luke is not aware of an equal status of women in the church, though he does not at all contest it. What he says of women in the gospel has its continuation in Acts: women constitute the community together with the men. But they have no leading or definite role; they are subordinate."18

According to Jervell, therefore, it would be incorrect, on the basis of 21:9, to conjecture that Luke knew or approved of women serving as prophets in the early church.  Quite the contrary, it may well be that Luke expresses tacit disapproval of women inappropriately serving in the prophetic role. Jervell's subordination view has found support among some contemporary feminist biblical scholars. Gail R. O'Day makes just such an argument in her Acts commentary in The Women's Bible Commentary:

This notice [21:9] is the only comment Luke makes on these women and their ministry. . . . The prophetic activity of both men and women is a sign of the Spirit at work in the church (Acts 2:17-18), but in telling his story of the church, Luke almost completely ignores women's prophetic ministry. No additional women prophets are named in Acts, even though other New Testament writings attest to women's prophetic activity (1 Cor. 11:5). These four virgin daughters, children of a well-known church leader, may have been so renowned in the tradition that Luke could not avoid mentioning them when he discussed the church at Caesarea. The reality of women's prophetic activities in the church may have constrained Luke from suppressing all mention of it, but he did succeed in keeping this ministry at the margins of his story of the church.19

O'Day also points to Paul's silencing of the slave girl in 16:18 as a reflection of "Luke's discomfort with the prophetic voices of women in the church. The scene can be read as emblematic of Luke's silencing of women prophets throughout Acts."20

It should also be noted that some have claimed that there is a bias against women in public leadership roles specifically in the Western textual tradition of Acts.21 In his commentary on Acts, Justo L. Gonzalez states that "this Western text has a clear anti-feminine prejudice and seems to reflect the general anti-feminine reaction that took place in the Church toward the end of the first century and early in the second."22 To illustrate this supposed tendency, Gonzalez says, "For instance, while the Egyptian text, except in one case where the grammar requires it, speaks of ‘Priscilla and Aquila,' the Western text invariably calls them ‘Aquila and Priscilla.' In 17:12 the Western text changes the words, so that the qualifier ‘of high standing' does not apply specifically to women, as it does in the Egyptian text. In 17:34 it completely omits Damaris."23 There are, however, no major textual variations in Acts 21:9.

The third category is that of the liberationist perspective. This view is a sophisticated modification of both the naïve egalitarian and subordination perspectives. The liberationist view, though acknowledging Luke's apparent marginalization of women in Acts, nevertheless, argues that Luke is actually subverting the patriarchal understandings of the role of women in early Christianity by his presentation of women in Acts. Ivoni Richter Reimer concludes her extensive study of the women of Acts:

The Acts of the Apostles reflects no particular tendency to keep women at home and subject to men, i.e., to their own husbands. Even though it is silent about important women like Mary Magdalene, it is still far from what was written, at about the same time as its composition, in the Pastoral letters and similar works (e.g., Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1; Col. 3:18) regarding the subordination of women and slaves. The example of Sapphira makes it clear that women should not simply function as cooperators and co-conspirators. The flip side of this story, in fact, shows that women were given an example of how they might break with patriarchal and hierarchical structures and, together with others, attempt to build a life dedicated to the preservation of all life.24

Richter Reimer describes the daughters of Philip as "the four prophetic women of Caesarea" and as "the four virgin prophets."25 Though conceding that "the information about them is very sparse," she speculates, "It is possible that they were so well known that Luke could not avoid mentioning them."26 She also notes that she finds "no trace" in Acts 21:8-9 of "the struggle against prophetic women," that "reached a climax in the third century."27 As for the mention of Agabus's arrival in 21:10, Richter Reimer finds, "It is not a case of competition between the two prophetic parties."28

Turid Karlsen Seim argues that Luke-Acts "cannot be reduced either to a feminist treasure chamber or to a chamber of horrors for women's theology."29 Seim recognizes a tension in Luke's narrative between both "strong traditions about women on the one hand, and . . . social and ideological controls that brought women to silence and promoted male dominance in positions of leadership on the other."30 According to Seim, then, "the Lukan construction contains a double, mixed message."31

A Complementarian View

In response to these three perspectives on the daughters of Philip, I would suggest a fourth: a complementarian view.32 This view would reject the assumption of naïve egalitarians that Luke intends to present the daughters of Philip as prophets-that is, as being in a defined leadership role within early Christianity. It would not, however, as with the subordinationist view, assume that Luke desires to suppress, obfuscate, or deny the activity of prophesying engaged in by the daughters of Philip. It would distinguish, as Luke does, between the role or office of prophet (which is limited to men) and the activity of prophesying (which is open to any believer who is directed into this behavior by the Holy Spirit).

This view would first acknowledge that the daughters of Philip are not presented in Acts as prophets. From Luke's perspective, the role of "prophet" is a leadership office in the early church that is held only by certain men. Luke is careful and clear to identify only eight figures within Acts who are labeled as prophets. Both men (the Ephesian twelve) and women (the Caeserian four) may prophesy, but this does not mean that they are prophets. In fact, Luke presents the prophesying of both men and women as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy! For Luke, the primary task of prophets is not prophesying, per se, but exhorting and strengthening the disciples.

Women are not absent from the Acts narrative. Among the notable women believers mentioned in Acts are Mary, the mother of Jesus (1:14); Sapphira (5:1-11); Tabitha (9:36- 3); Mary, the mother of John Mark (12:12); Rhoda (12:13-17); Lydia (16:14-15, 40); the slave girl of Philippi (16:16-19); Damaris (17:34); Priscilla (18:1, 26); and Philip's daughters (21:9). From the beginning, the apostles gather in Jerusalem and "with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (1:14). Those who come to believe in Jesus include "multitudes of both men and women" (plēthē andrōn te kai gunaikōn) (5:14). Widows play an important part in the early church (see Acts 6:1; 9:39). In Acts 9:36 Tabitha (Dorcas) is described as a mathētria, a woman disciple. Saul imprisons and persecutes both men and women who are followers of the Way (8:3; 9:2; 22:4). Luke notes that both men and women responded to the gospel as proclaimed by Philip and were baptized: "But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike" (8:12). In Philippi, Paul and Barnabas go to the place of prayer on the Sabbath and speak "to the women who had assembled" (16:13), and Lydia is converted (v. 14).

Women, as well as men, can also deny the gospel, as did Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-11). Both women and men may be stirred up to oppose the preaching of Jesus, as did "the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city" in Pisidian Antioch (13:50). On the other hand, they may also be persuaded as were "a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women" in Thessalonica (17:4) and Berea: "Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men" (17:12). At the end of Paul's Areopagus speech in Acts 17, Luke mentions the response of both a man named Dionysius and "a woman named Damaris" (v. 34). For Luke, women are equal in essence to men as participants in the Christian movement, and yet they serve in distinctly different roles or functions within that movement.

It must be acknowledged, for example, that Luke does not depict women as serving in leadership roles in which they exercise doctrinal or teaching authority over men. Women do not teach or preach in Acts. Like Dorcas, they are known for being "full of good works and almsgiving" (9:36) which might have included skillful sewing for the widows (9:39). Luke presents women who open their homes for the meetings of the church, as did Mary, the mother of John Mark (12:12). Like Lydia, they extend hospitality to the itinerant prophets (16:15, 40). It is true that Priscilla "explained" to Apollos the "way of God more accurately" (18:26), but only alongside her husband Aquila. It should likewise be noted that the four prophesying daughters are clearly "in the household of Philip" (eis ton oikon Philippou) (21:8). The implication is that they exercise this ministry under their father's authority. It is difficult to find any liberationist models of women overtly engaged in leadership within the Christian movement in Acts. Richter Reimer's effort to find a redeeming feminist message within the Ananias and Sapphira story (Acts 5) or in the brief mention of the daughters of Philip reveals how difficult, and indeed futile, the search is. Yet this need not mean that Luke represents a "retrograde movement" in early Christianity with respect to the place of women in early Christianity. The most satisfying conclusion that one may draw upon reviewing Luke's depiction of women in Acts is the complementarian perspective. Luke affirms women as equal participants in the Christian movement and yet he also clearly affirms that certain offices, like that of prophet, are limited to men only. As for the daughters of Philip, once again, Luke can affirm the fact that they prophesy, this does not mean that they serve as prophets. 

What impact might this perspective have on understanding Luke and his portrait of Paul in relationship to the Paul of the epistles? Modern critical scholarship has found it fashionable to drive a wedge between the Paul of Luke and the Paul of the epistles. This contemporary distrust of Luke's Paul is rooted in the denial of traditional authorship claims.  Many no longer believe that Acts was written by a certain Luke, who was a companion of Paul (cf. Col 4:14; Phlm 23-24; 2 Tim 4:11). Our study of Acts 21:9, however, may serve as a countercurrent to this trend, if we are able to find continuity between Luke and Paul's views on prophesying women.

First, it will be helpful to examine Paul's writings for information on the activity of "prophesying" and the participation of women in that activity. In 1 Cor 11, Paul discourages a woman from praying or prophesying with her head uncovered (v. 5).  Later, he insists that a woman ought to have "a symbol of authority [exousian]" (v. 10) on her head. In 1 Cor 14:33b-35, however, Paul admonishes that women should remain silent in the churches. Many have been puzzled by what appears to be a contradiction in Paul's thought.33 How can he encourage a woman to pray or prophesy in chapter 11, albeit with the proviso that her head be properly covered, and then seemingly reverse himself in chapter 14 by urging women to remain silent in the churches? Some have even resorted to the argument that 1 Cor 14:33b-35 is a later addition to the text and have literally removed it from consideration.34 This is untenable.

More acceptable is Wayne Grudem's suggestion that Paul is not offering a blanket prohibition on the speaking of women in the assembly in 1 Cor14:33b-35; rather, he is admonishing that women be silent during the judging or weighing of prophecies by the prophets.35 Paul tells the Corinthians that the prophets are to regulate their fellow prophets. In 1 Cor 14:29, Paul sets these guidelines to maintain order: "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgement" (propētai de duo e treis laleitōsan kai hoi alloi diakpinetōsan). In 14:32 he says, "And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets (kai pneumata prophetōn prophētais huptassetai). Any believer might prophesy, if he or she has that particular gift (see 1 Cor 14:31). However, not all who prophesy are necessarily prophets. The following dictum might be fairly applied to Paul's thought:  "All prophets might prophesy; not all who prophesy are prophets." The prophets have the distinct duty of weighing what is prophesied. Women may prophesy in the church, and, indeed, the fact that they do so is a fulfillment of scripture (Acts 2:17-18). They do not, however, fill the role or office of prophet within the early church, since this role requires the authoritative teaching and regulation of doctrine (see 1 Tim 2:11-12). Both the essential equality of men and women and the distinctions in their roles are rooted in the created order (see 1 Cor 11:7-12; 1 Tim 2:13-15). Far from being inconsistent, Paul's thought is imminently coherent.

We can also see how Luke follows Paul's model. Acts reflects this pattern exactly. Luke, like Paul, sees prophesying as an activity that may be done by both men and women, as they are led by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, only men serve in the role or office of prophet. This points to continuity between Luke and Paul and argues both for the traditional assertion that Luke is a protégé of Paul and that Luke's portrait of Paul is valid.


1 Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1991), 16. 

2 Ibid., 18.

3 Ibid.

4 Roger Stronstad, The Prophethood of All Believers:  A Study in Luke's Charismatic Theology (Sheffield, England:  Sheffield Academic, 1999).

5 Ibid., 71-84.

6 A role referred to in 1 Cor 12:28-29; Eph 2:20; 3:5; 4:11.  Like the foundational role of apostle, which it accompanies in the above citations, it apparently has a terminal duration.

7 Jeffrey T. Riddle, "Paul as Prophet in the Acts of the Apostles," (Ph.D. diss.; Richmond, VA: Union Theological Seminary-PSCE, 2002).

8 Barnabas exhorts the Antioch believers (11:23); Paul and Barnabas strengthen and exhort the new disciples of Lystra (14:22); Judas and Silas exhort and strengthen the Antioch believers (15:32); Paul and Silas strengthen the churches of Syria and Cilicia (15:41); Paul and Barnabas exhort the brothers at Philippi (16:40); Paul strengthens the disciples in Galatia and Phrygia; Paul exhorts the Ephesian disciples (20:1); and Paul exhorts the Macedonians while traveling to Jerusalem (20:2).  The only exception in Acts is the apostle Peter in 2:40 who "exhorts" but is not identified as a prophet.  Otherwise, this activity is limited to the prophets.

            It should be noted that we also find a joining of the verbs "to exhort" and "to strengthen" in the Pauline corpus (see Rom 1:11-12; 1 Thess 3:2; and 2 Thess 2:17).

9 Lesley F. Massey, Women and the New Testament: An Analysis of Scripture in Light of New Testament Era Culture (Jefferson, NC:  McFarland & Co., 1989), 81.

10 In fact, the noun "prophetess" (prophētis) appears just twice in the New Testament.  Anna, in the pre-Christian sphere, is mentioned in Luke 2:36.  Jezebel, in the anti-Christian sphere is mentioned in Rev 2:20.  The latter merely "calls herself a prophetess."  No Christian prophetesses appear in Acts or in the New Testament canon as a whole.

11 Emphasis added.

12 Those who take this position often point to the memory of the daughters of Philip recorded in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (3.11; 3.39; 5.24).  If the influence of these women was significant enough to have these traditions persist to the time of Eusebius, why does Luke give them such passing treatment in Acts? 

13 Jacob Jervell, "The Daughters of Abraham: Women in Acts," in The Unknown Paul:  Essays on Luke-Acts and Early Christian History (Minneapolis:  Augsburg, 1984), 146-57.

14 Ibid., 150.

15 Ibid., 151.

16 Ibid., 152.

17 Ibid., 155.

18 Ibid., 157.

19 Gail R. O'Day, "Acts," in The Women's Bible Commentary (ed. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1992), 308.

20 Ibid., 310-11.

21 See Eldon J. Epp, The Theological Tendency of Codex Bezae Catabrigiensis in Acts (MSSNTS 3; Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1966).

22 Justo L. Gonzalez, Acts: The Gospel of the Spirit (New York:  Maryknoll, 2001), 12.

23 Ibid., 12, n. 19.  Cf. also W. A. Strange, The Problem of the Text of Acts (MSSNTS 71; Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1992), 156-67.  Here Strange points to the Western textual variation at Acts 24:27 where it is said that Felix kept Paul not only to placate the Jews but also "because of Drusilla" (dia Drousillan).

24 Ivoni Richter Reimer, Women in the Acts of the Apostles: A Feminist Liberation Perspective (trans. Linda M. Maloney; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 267.

25 Ibid, 248.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid, 249.

28 Ibid.

29 Turid Karlsen Seim, The Double Message: Patterns of Gender in Luke-Acts (Nashville: Abingdon, 1994), 249.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid.

32 The complementarian perspective is described in John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton: Crossway, 1991).

33 See, for example, Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians (Interpretation; Louisville, KY: John Knox, 1987).  Hays comments on this passage, "One of the strongest reasons for regarding these verses as an interpolation is that their demand for women to remain silent in the assembly stands in glaring contradiction to 11:2-16, in which Paul teaches that women may in fact pray and prophesy in church as long as they keep their heads appropriately covered.  It is hard to imagine how Paul could have written those instructions and then, just a few paragraphs later, have written that ‘it is shameful for a woman to speak in church' (14:35b)" (246). 

34 See Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 699-708.

35 Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (rev. ed.; Wheaton:  Crossway, 2000), 183-192.  Grudem counters charges of inconsistency in Paul's thought:  "Is this passage, then, consistent with the rest of the New Testament teaching on men and women?  It appears to be so.  In this passage, though it has specific application to the judging of prophecies in the church service, Paul is arguing from a larger conviction about an abiding distinction between the roles appropriate for males and those appropriate to females in the Christian church.  As in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, this distinction comes to the focus in the prohibition of women from exercising doctrinal and ethical governance, even from time to time, over the congregation.  Therefore, 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 fits well with a consistent Pauline advocacy of women's participation without governing authority in the assembled church" (191).

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