NTiR: Sexism, thy name is Paul… (1 Corinthians 9-12)

By | July 15, 2010

Bible and magnifying glassI have to say, 1 Corinthians is turning out to be much more entertaining than I expected. Mostly because the last four chapters pertained to Paul not having sex. That explains a lot about Paul’s character and general disposition. I am able to re-frame my view of Paul. I understand his writings a little better.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean that I like what Paul is writing any more than I used to. But I at least understand why he’s so bitter.

Chapter 9Every now and then, Paul has a chapter where he covers a number of random topics. It’s like a cornucopia of arcane musings. This is one of those chapters. First off, Paul proclaims it is perfectly okay for the church leaders to collect money from the church members. Food, too. Televangelists, rejoice! Then Paul says that he refuses to be paid because it makes him stronger in the lord. Then he says that he becomes who he preaches to. e.g. a Jew when he preaches to the Jews, weak when he preaches to the weak, etc. Good to know that Paul isn’t above deception to get more people into his church. Oh, and he finishes up with self-flagellation. I know what chapter Dan Brown has been reading!

Chapter 10Paul starts using his knowledge of scripture again. It is the Pharisee in him that is most interesting. He lists the trials and tribulations that the ancient Israelites went through, and tells the believers that they must also resist temptation. In a counterpoint to Romans, Paul says that a person can resist, and that god won’t give you more temptation than what you have the strength to resist. I call bullshit on that one.

Oh, Paul is also still hungry. Was gluttony his biggest weakness? Paul repeals the scriptural ban on pigs and shellfish, saying that everything is allowable, as long as it doesn’t lead one into idolatry. So no Golden Calf cereal. 🙂

Chapter 11Let’s see: a man should not have long hair, a woman should keep a hat on, people shouldn’t eat and drink without sharing, and people should eat at home if they are going to be meeting for Communion later that night. What an odd chapter.

I was going to just gloss over 1 Corinthians 11, but I actually feel like I need to say more. Because this is one of the more obviously sexist/misogynistic chapters in the bible. The whole woman/hat thing specifically shows this sexism. A woman should cover her head, either with a hat or with hair, to give glory to her man. The man gives glory to god. Or even more starkly, in verse 3: “Now I want you to realize that Christ is the head of every man, and man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

Man is the head of the woman. WTF?

Sexism, thy name is Paul!

Chapter 12God has given everyone different abilities, but none are more important than the other. I am still chuckling over one line: “the foot says, “’Since I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body.’”

Up next: Paul keeps chucking the first stones

New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.