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New Testament Studies

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The Voice of the Manuscripts on the Silence of Women: The External Evidence for 1 Cor 14.34–5

Curt Niccuma1

a1 (927 S. 25th Street, South Bend, IN 46615, USA)

The prohibition of women's speech at 1 Cor 14.34–5, in a letter which elsewhere presumes female prophetic activity, has intrigued scholars. Although some attempt to resolve this apparent inconsistency by interpreting the text as it stands, others resort to interpolation theories. Of the latter, the large majority employ only a few of the traditional text-critical criteria. For example, Hans Conzelmann relies solely on intrinsic probability to dismiss 1 Cor 14.33b–36 as a later insertion,2 despite the external evidence which recognizes no omission. Gordon Fee, a noted text critic, has recently examined this passage employing all the text-critical criteria. Surprisingly, Fee still considers vv. 34–5 an interpolation.