The author of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus argues in favor of a “traditional” Greco-Roman gender ideology: that because men and women are biologically different, they ought to behave differently in the family and society. His gender-specific beliefs carry over into his teachings for the house churches, where only free married men are eligible to serve as leaders, teachers, and preachers, while women are expected to take up the subordinate female domestic roles of wife, mother, and household manager. This volume encourages a deeper engagement with the difficult issues—gender, race, and power—raised by these letters. By studying the Pastoral Letters with our minds sharpened and our hearts turned toward a generous freedom, we can struggle most productively with the influences of their teachings, past and present, and we can create a future church and a future world that are more just, truly inclusive, and indelibly marked by God’s grace.
Annette Bourland Huizenga serves as assistant professor of New Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (Dubuque, Iowa). Her research interests include the Pauline letters and communities, women in the early church, households in the Roman Empire, and ancient moral-philosophical education. These subjects all come into play in her first book Moral Education for Women in the Pastoral and Pythagorean Letters. She has written several articles about the expectations for women’s behavior, clothing, and virtues in the ancient world. In 2015, the University of Dubuque awarded Dr. Huizenga with the William L. Lomax Award for excellence in Teaching and Advising.
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"Huizenga has written an extremely insightful, richly informed, and very readable commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Her searching analysis defines the patriarchal tenor of the letters with cutting precision, showing how this ideology once worked and works still. This study is an impressive example of feminist biblical criticism, well attuned to the rhetorical cast of the epistles and their socio-historical location. The commentary also features nicely integrated excerpts from other women commentators, which enrich the discussion and symbolize a collaborative interpretive method. I highly recommend this commentary to both students and teachers."
Charles H. Cosgrove, Professor of Early Christian Literature, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"Professor Annette Huizenga clearly situates the Pastoral Letters within their ancient Greco-Roman context, demonstrating how they mirror the patriarchal society out of which they emerged, thus allowing the twenty-first-century reader to understand the epistles on their own terms. With great pastoral sensitivity, she is able to help readers discern how these texts might be liberative for both men and women today."
Laurie Brink, OP, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union
"Annette Huizenga invites us into a difficult conversation about the Pastor's instructions regarding slavery and gender roles. Huizenga's interpretation, joined by the voices of numerous others, is a provocative starting point for contemporary appropriation of the Pastoral Epistles. Accessible and clearly written, this book will be a useful resource for years to come."
Susan Hylen, Candler School of Theology, Emory University