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,
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’. . .
To access the rest of "Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural
View." click here
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