Editor's Reflections | Winter 2018 (32.1)

by Jeff Miller | January 30, 2018

Well-known New Testament scholar and friend of CBE International, Scot McKnight, in his Jesus Creed blog entry on July 19, 2016, mentions three measures of biblical “teaching about male-female relations.” One of the three is how often the Song of Songs is mentioned.

The following pages add significantly to what Priscilla Papers has already published on Song of Songs (see, for example, the articles by Arthur Lewis and Aída Besançon Spencer in volumes 11.2 and 28.3, respectively). We open this issue with an article by Havilah Dharamraj which demonstrates that Song of Songs bolsters a wife’s right to expect fidelity, among other virtues, from her husband. Sara Barton then describes the healthy sexuality Song of Songs promotes—sexuality in which both women and men benefit from knowledge, embodiment, and agency. Following are tandem sermons by Dawn and Elizabeth Gentry, a mother and daughter who bring their skill as interpreters and their experience as ministers to the Song of Songs. Christine Marchetti then summarizes and evaluates three prominent commentaries on this unique Old Testament book.

In addition to an emphasis on the Song of Songs, you will find two additional items toward the end of this issue. One is Denise Cooper-Clark’s review and recommendation of a recent book by Kevin Giles, The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrine of the Trinity (Cascade, 2017). The other is an important article by Kirk MacGregor on 1 Corinthians 14.

MacGregor describes Paul’s words about women’s silence and shame as a quotation-refutation device. That is, Paul first quotes a statement and then refutes that statement. MacGregor agrees and disagrees with aspects of the arguments of Phil Payne, well-known from Payne’s influential book, Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan, 2009) and his 2017 article, “Vaticanus Distigme-obelos Symbols Marking Added Text, Including 1 Corinthians 14.34–5,” published in the journal New Testament Studies and available online through CBEInternational.org. MacGregor’s interaction with Payne’s scholarship reminds us of a central purpose of academic journals—to foster scholarly discussion and thereby move toward the truth of important and difficult matters.

Finally, allow me to introduce an addition to our Peer Review Team—the group of scholars who give of their time and expertise to help ensure the quality of our articles. Karen Strand Winslow teaches biblical studies at Azusa Pacific University in southern California. She holds a master’s degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Washington. In addition to extensive experience in the field of biblical studies, her academic interests also include early Jewish Christianity, sociology of religion, and women in religion. Dr. Winslow is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church.

I am writing this editorial during Advent, and I pray for our readers all the blessings of this season of joyful anticipation of Christ’s first and second comings.