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Is Calvin's interpretation eternal truth?: Research of Calvin old testament comment about Women’s text

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2018, 24(1), pp.104-136
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2018.24.1.104
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : January 18, 2018
  • Accepted : February 1, 2018

Youmee Park 1

1안양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article aims to reveal how Calvin interpreted the so-called female texts found in the Old Testament from a hermeneutic perspective. Its primary purpose is to see if Calvin’s hermeneutic view is still applicable to the present churches. For this I examined all the so-called female texts included Calvin’s Old Testament commentaries. Based on such examination, I found Calvin’s eight principles of interpreting the so-called female texts as follows. 1. Men and women were created in the same image of God. 2. Women were created as assistants of men. 3. Both Adam and Eve are responsible for the original sin 4. Monogamy is a biblical principle. 5. Lies as thoroughly sinful. 6. Calvin’s male-centered, patriarchal position. 7. A interpretation in terms of male supremacist. 8. Calvin’s non-recognition on women's public leadership. In sum Calvin's interpretation of the so-called female texts in OT was doubtlessly to be a step forward in the human rights and equality of women than his own contemporaries’ ones. Calvin well acknowledged that women have the same image of God as men do and that they have the equality relationship with men. Nevertheless he interpreted still from some male-centered and patriarchal point-views and in terms of the male-superiority, reflecting typical thoughts on women of his own age. From this it is concluded that it is not appropriate to apply his interpretation to the modern church as it was. That is to say, Calvin's interpretation of the so-called female texts in OT and his understanding of women should not be regarded to be timeless. Instead, Calvin’s interpretation is also be interpreted in the light of Bible itself. Thus it is not reasonable to limit the women's equality or limit women's leadership based on Calvin’s interpretation of Bible.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.