Original Research - Special Collection: Mag in die Nuwe Testament

Gen(de)red power: Die Macht des Genres im Streit um die Frauenrolle in Pastoralbriefen und Paulusakten

Annette Merz
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1185 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1185 | © 2012 Annette Merz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2011 | Published: 20 April 2012


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Abstract

Gen(de)red power: The power of genre in the debate about women’s roles in the Pastoral Letters and the Acts of Paul. Two texts that contributed to the discussion on gender roles in formative Christianity, 1 Timothy and the Acts of Paul, are investigated. In both cases the emphasis is on the much-disputed role of women. Power plays a role on different levels. On the one hand power relations between the sexes are depicted or directly addressed by the text (‘gendered’ power), while on the other hand the power of persuasion is brought to bear on both male and female readers to legitimize the patriarchal, videlicet the encratitic model of gender. This is done by rhetorical means that are text-specific, but also make use of genre-specific persuasion strategies. This ‘genred power’ is still mostly unchartered territory in exegetical discussions and is therefore the focus of my investigation. Especially important in both genres are intertextual allusions to authoritative texts. Fictive self-references which enable the author (’Paul’) to correct himself are one focus of interest. Narrative strategies (i.e. character and plot development) which also have an intertextual dimension are a second focal point. The take-over of the role of Peter who denies Jesus and repents by Paul in the Acts of Thecla turns out to be of major rhetorical significance.

Keywords

Power relationships; gendered power; power of rhetorical persuasion; male and female readers; 1 Timothy; the Acts of Paul; early Christianity

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