Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Michael Kruse on “head” as a metaphor in Greek

Michael Kruse is continuing his long series on Household, in the ancient world and in the Bible, and has now presented his conclusions on “head” as a metaphor in Greek:

First, “head” is not used to signify “rule over” or “have authority over,” although it clearly is used on occasion with regard to people who rule and have authority. It is sometimes used to indicate a differential in these qualities. ... The head is figuratively the summit, not a body part that controls or rules the body.

Second, I believe there are actually three ways the metaphor is employed in the New Testament based on three different ways of perceiving a physical head. We can view the physical head in terms of function, representation, and elevation. ...

The supporting evidence for this position is in his previous posts in the series.

Michael intends to continue the series by applying this understanding of the “head” metaphor to the New Testament passages where the metaphor is used, including (if his series index is accurate concerning future posts) those which are relevant to the complegalitarian debate.

Michael also reminds us his readers of his interesting earlier observations about charis “grace” in the ancient Greco-Roman world as patronage conveying status to the one bestowing it; indeed he defines it as

a process where you did something for someone so significant they could not possibly repay you. You became the patron and the recipient of your gift became your client. ... Status was measured by how big a pyramid of clients you had established for yourself.

Michael shows how God's grace is in some ways similar to this, but also fundamentally different in that the world's concept of status was completely inverted. He concludes by noting that

I believe this inversion of status plays prominently in some head metaphor passages in the New Testament.