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Kenneth E. Bailey, Th.D. is a research scholar and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament Studies   After university and seminary studies, Dr. Bailey completed degrees in Arabic Language and Literature, Systematic Theology and finally a doctorate in New Testament.  Ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Bailey spent 40 years (1955-1995) living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus.

For 20 of those years Dr. Bailey was Professor of New Testament and Head of the Biblical Division of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute of Middle Eastern New Testament Studies.  From September 1985 to June 1995 Dr. Bailey was on the faculty of the "Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research" in Jerusalem with the title of Research Professor of Middle Eastern New Testament Studies.

Starting in June of 1990 the Bailey's accepted an additional responsibility as "Theologian in Residence" with the Episcopal Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf with residence in Nicosia, Cyprus where in 1992 Dr. Bailey was installed as a Canon of the Cathedral.  During his years in Cyprus he spent a third of each year teaching in Jerusalem at the Institute.

Dr. Bailey's area of specialty is the cultural background and literary forms of the New Testament.   He has authored the scripts for two professionally produced feature length films.  He has also professionally recorded over 100 video lectures on a variety of New Testament themes.  He has taught as an adjunct professor at Pittsburgh and McCormick Presbyterian Seminaries as well as at Fuller Seminary in California.  He has lectured in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol), Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Jerusalem.  He is active as a Bible teacher (in Arabic and in English) for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.  His writings have been translated and published in more than 20 languages.  He is a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas and is listed in Who's Who in Biblical Studies and Archeology (Washington: Biblical Archeology Society, 1987, 1992).

In December 1995 the Baileys officially retired and now reside in New Wilmington, PA.  Dr. Bailey continues his ministry of lecturing, writing and recording in the field of New Testament.  In June, 1997, he was installed as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, PA, USA. 

Mrs. Ethel Bailey was a research assistant to Dr. Jonas Salk at the time he discovered his polio vaccine.  She taught microbiology (in Arabic), raised a family, and typed all of Dr. Bailey's manuscripts.  In Beirut she was the recording secretary for the school board of the American Community School.  While in Jerusalem, she was active in the leadership of daily ecumenical worship at the Tantur Institute and in various other aspects of the life of the community.  The Baileys have two children, Sara and David.

Dr. Bailey has kindly given permission for us to offer his article "Women in the New Testament:  A Middle Eastern Cultural View."   This article was written in 1995.  The truth about God's view of women is not new, it has been clearly stated over and over.  Dr. Bailey shows through careful consideration of scripture that biblically there is no ground for discrimination against women.  It is amazing, that in the church, the tradition remains so prevalent.

"Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View"

by  Kenneth E. Bailey, Th.D.

The broader topic of the place of women in the family, in society and in the Church is now discussed over much of the Christian world across a wide spectrum of opinion.  Few topics have held as much promise and pain, hope and despair, change and deep uneasiness about change as this topic and it is clear that the New Testament is critical to it.  This essay focuses on the New Testament.  Yet regarding the biblical witness there is a strong tendency to see Scripture through the eyes of traditional interpretation of it, or through the eyes of current ideologies.  Here, a rigorous attempt will be made to allow Scripture itself to control and correct our understanding of it. 

As is known, the NT is deeply influenced by its first century Middle Eastern cultural setting.  Trying to discern the fabric of cultural assumptions that underlie the NT has been my life-long focus in NT studies.  As a supplement to other historical concerns, this lens will be utilized as we examine our topic.

We will first expose what appear to be two opposing attitudes in the New Testament towards women in the
church.  We will then see if these two ‘opposites’ can be reconciled.  The problem is simply this: one set of NT texts appears to say ‘yes’ to women while a second set appears to say ‘no’.  .  . 

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