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διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω, οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ’ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ.

From what I can tell, this is the only use of any form of this word (often translated "to exercise authority") in the NT. In contrast, ἐξουσιάζω (similarly translated) shows up 3 times as a verb (twice in Paul: 1 Cor 6:12 and 7:4) and 93 times in the related noun form (ἐξουσία - 25 times in Paul.) Is there a different shade of meaning in αὐθεντεω? I don't have a readily searchable LXX, but I'd also be interested to know if/how it is used there.

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I'm aware of an informative set of eight posts (there are two Part 6's) from a few years back. (You need to start from the bottom of that page.) Much of the relevant literature is cited there. Might be worth exploring while awaiting an answer here. –  Davïd Feb 26 '14 at 7:45
A useful link from a deleted answer: A Study of the Word Αυθεντεω –  Susan Dec 21 '14 at 0:43

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I recently read an excellent paper on this subject by Cynthia Long Westfall: "The Meaning of αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2.12", Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 10.7 (2014). It's a long paper (36 pages), but well-worth the read, IMO. I will briefly summarize the paper here.

Westfall looks at 61 of the 317 known occurrences αὐθεντέω documented in Thesaurus Linguae Graecae. (The sample was chosen because previous authors had commented on those examples. All samples come from before the 7th century and commentary of I Timothy is excluded.) She then classifies the sentences by their linguistic characteristics. She finds

  • 18 cases where the actor (person doing the αὐθεντέω) is acting from absolute authority (usually God, but also the pope). These universally receive positive appraisal from the author of the text. She suggests "rule" as a good gloss for these cases.
  • 4 cases where the actor had complete authority in the sphere within which they acted (e.g. a judge of a court case). These also receive positive appraisal. The suggested gloss is "authorize" or "take charge"
  • 4 cases with an impersonal actor (e.g. "the law", an astrological force, etc.). She does not spend much time on these, but suggests a gloss like "master" or "dominate" would work
  • 19 intransitive uses of the verb (i.e. with abstract agents). These received mixed judgement by the author. No gloss is suggested.
  • 13 cases of a personal actor with an impersonal goal (i.e. the object of the αὐθεντέω). These generally receive a negative appraisal, but not as strong as when the goal is personal (see below). "Prevail over" and "invent" (as in make up) are suggested as glosses.

And most relevantly:

  • 13 cases of personal actors with personal goal. This is where I Timothy would be classified (person actor - a woman, person goal - a man). The judgment of author is universally negative in these cases. Westfall says "The recipients of this action are abused and unloved, harmed, coerced, brutalized, destroyed, disrespected/dishonored, killed and arrested... the execution of this action is always ‘bad’ from the perspective of the individual as a goal."

She says the closest parallel to I Timothy is Chrysostom’s commentary on Colossians in which he talks about the roles of husbands and wives. After saying the wife's role is to obey, he says: "Therefore, don’t be abusive because your wife is submissive to you’ (Μὴ τοίνυν, ἐπειδὴ ὑποτέτακται ἡ γυνή, αὐθέντει)"

Westfall comments:

The prohibited action would share the range of harmful unloving application of force/authority that should be characterized as forms of abuse including domination, or other emotional, mental or physical abuse... Though this kind of spousal abuse by a husband was legal and the honor killing of a wife was considered legitimate or even sometimes necessary in the culture, here it receives a negative evaluation and restriction from the Christian sub-culture... The fact that the wife or a woman is prohibited from doing this action to a man is not taken by Chrysostom to indicate that the man is entitled to do it to a woman.

Her suggested gloss is "abuse" or, less likely, "domineer"/"act like a tyrant".

Westfall then looks at a handful of sample texts where αὐθεντέω is used specifically in the context of church leadership. The most compelling example is a complaint by Bassianos lodged at the Council of Chalcedon:

I was appointed as a bishop by violence! ... The Fathers would say, ‘If there is a preferred procedure, it is for holding an election for office, and to not resign’... When this reckless deed was done, they used force and broke into my room and grabbed me.

To which she writes "the referent action of αὐθεντέω was unambiguously the direct opposite of the legitimate appointment and exercise of leadership."

From this corpus she concludes:

the basic semantic concept of the word αὐθεντέω can be described as the autonomous use or possession of unrestricted force... outside of absolute authority or full power within a jurisdiction, it will tend to violate laws or social boundaries, rules, commands, or prohibitions.

Westfall compares the usage pattern to "eradicate" in English - when used on an impersonal object, the appraisal is often positive, but when the object is a person, it is almost always negative. (Compare "eradicate illiteracy" to "eradicate illiterates".)

Finally, she suggests why Paul may have used the verb in context. If it is meant in the context of church service women were singled out because they would have authority over the (male) slaves who would administer the agape meal since men would not be involved in such "domestic" matters. However, she says the command is more likely to apply to life in general (due to the allusion to Genesis and childbirth later in I Timothy) in which case:

There were a number of ways that a woman could ‘abuse’ a man according to Greco-Roman culture. It was an honor culture in which gender roles played an important part. If a woman ‘acted like the master’ of her husband by controlling him, it was seen as a destructive challenge to the entire hierarchy of the Roman Empire and the patronage system. Violations of such conventions were taken seriously and potentially could destroy the reputation of the church.

I will close with Westfall's own words:

The most important conclusion of this paper is that... when αὐθεντέω occurs with a personal/animate actor and a personal/animate goal, a negative evaluation is given unless the actor has a divine or ultimate authority. This appears to be because it has a destructive force when applied to an animate goal, and it is an inappropriate action for those who do not have the authority of life and death. There were no examples in the sample occurrences where a man did this to another person in a positive way in the register of church leadership. Forcing a person against their will in a destructive way is inconsistent with pastoral ministry as practiced in the first century or as practiced in the twenty-first century. No person should take this kind of action against another person within a church context, because no one should have the power to harm or force another person in the church, and exercising that sort of power would be abusive by virtually any standards.

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So the conclusion from this study for 1 Tim 2:8 appears to then be for a woman not "to teach or have 'autonomous use or possession of unrestricted force' over a man" or as earlier noted, "domineer" a man. That seems to fit exactly with what has been historically viewed as women not having a leadership role in the church, as such a role is "autonomous" from a human perspective; meaning Timothy was to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim 1:18), remaining autonomous from those lacking faith (1:19-20) and even elders under him (4:12), as he performed as an "overseer" (3:1-7). –  ScottS Aug 5 at 15:18
@ScottS No, Westfall does not believe exerting this kind of authority is appropriate in any church (and I agree). Is it OK for a man to "domineer" another man? I don't think so... Furthermore, she does not believe I Tim 2:12 is even talking about church service, but rather life in general. As such, the command would be culturally based, like much of Paul's teaching. That is, Paul is (often) concerned about believers creating stumbling blocks for the faith - sometimes by imposed Jewish law, other time by being unnecessarily offense to the culture in which they live. –  ThaddeusB Aug 5 at 15:36
I gathered Westfall did not, and knew you did not from the Library post, which is where I will comment further rather than cluttering comments here. –  ScottS Aug 5 at 16:03

Question Restatement: In the general context of the leadership roles of Men and Women, (in 1 Tim. 2), is there significance in the Greek word choice underling "Authority": "αὐθεντεῖν" rather than "ἐξουσία", (from Romans 13:1)?

NOTE: This question is not in the context of marriage, or husbands and wives, but rather in the context of general leadership roles in the Church.

The Difference Between "αὐθεντεῖν" and "ἐξουσία"

Generally, in the New Testament: "Authority, (ἐξουσία)" is a "Passively Granted Legal Right, Imputed, or Governing Authority", to "act out--another's--will".

In Juxtaposition, in the New Testament: "Authority, (αὐθεντεῖν)" is an "Actively Presumed Authority, a Self-Imputed Right, to "act out one's--own--will". See definition at Logeion.

Answer: Textually, it seems as though Paul is simply trying to state that Women, in general, should not Presume to have any implied "Authority, (αὐθεντεῖν)" over Men, but should submit, by "default", to the implicit authority of a man. To make this point, Paul cites the Creation Story, and states that this is already observed, in the law.

NOTE: As an exception, it should be noted that "Authority, (ἐξουσία)", could otherwise be granted, (and not "wrongfully" assumed/presumed)--perhaps given by God himself, (as in the case of Deborah, Judges 4:4), or the "Body", (as "Senators" are given authority by the "People").

Greek Analysis

As this is a particularly controversial topic, I am including plenty of references, New Testament, and Secular, to make a good faith argument about what the TEXT says, and certainly not trying to engage in the general debate.

Polybius' Example: Self-Willed, Presumptive Authority, outside of "Governing Authority"

Histories of Polybius: From Project Gutenburg.

Hilighted, A LOT, to facilitate parallel reading:

Book XXII.18 - They went no further than this in the first interview: but during the next day Appius ordered Philip to send Onomastus and Cassander at once to Rome, that the Senate might inform itself on what had happened. The king was disturbed at this to the greatest possible degree, and for some time did not know what to say; but at last he said that he would send Cassander, who was the actual author/αὐθέντην of the business, that the Senate might learn the truth from him;

Book 22.14.1 - του προβάντες ἔλυσαν· κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐπιοῦσαν ἡμέραν οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἄππιον πέμπειν ἐπέταττον τῷ Φιλίππῳ τὸν Ὀνόμαστον καὶ τὸν Κάσσανδρον ἐξ αὐτῆς εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην [22.14.2] - ἵνα πύθηται περὶ τῶν γεγονότων. ὁ δὲ βασιλεύς, διατραπεὶς ὡς ἔνι μάλιστα καὶ ἀπορήσας ἐπὶ πολὺν χρόνον, τὸν μὲν Κάσσανδρον ἔφη πέμψειν, τὸν αὐθέντην γεγονότα [22.14.3] - τῆς πράξεως, ὡς ἐκεῖνοί φασιν, ἵνα πύθηται παρὰ τούτου τὰς ἀληθείας ἡ σύγκλητος.

ἐξουσίᾳ Connotes an Externally Imputed, or Governing Authority

The following passages serve to affirm that "ἐξουσίᾳ" denotes an existing governing, or hierarchical authority, to direct actions, Connoting a Sense of External Direction/Initiative.

Romans 13:1 -

GRK - Πᾶσα ψυχὴ ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις ὑποτασσέσθω· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἐξουσία εἰ μὴ ὑπὸ θεοῦ, αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τεταγμέναι εἰσίν.

NAS - Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Matthew 21:23 -

GRK - Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς?

NAS - By what authority are You doing these things?

Luke 20:20 -

GRK - τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος

NAS - to the rule and the authority of the governor.

αὐθεντεῖν Carries a Sense of "Self", "Self Originating", (from "αὐθ/αὐτῆς")

The following passages serve to affirm that the prefix, "αὐθ/αὐτῆς" Connoting a Sense of Presumptive Authority, Internal Direction/Initiation.

For example, the etymology of "Authentic", (as in author/initiator), is from this same word.

NOTE: Although these words have the similar prefixes, their "Denotations", (their strict definitions), differ. -- The citation from Polybius serves to clarify the strict definition, and point.

2 Corinthians 8:3 -

GRK - παρὰ δύναμιν αὐθαίρετοι

NAS - beyond their ability, [they gave] of their own accord,

2 Corinthians 8:17 -

GRK - σπουδαιότερος δὲ ὑπάρχων αὐθαίρετος ἐξῆλθεν

KJV - but being more forward, of his own accord he went

2 Peter 2:10 -

GRK - τολμηταί αὐθάδεις δόξας οὐ τρέμουσιν βλασφημοῦντες,

NAS - Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,

Titus 1:7 -

GRK - ὡς θεοῦ οἰκονόμον μὴ αὐθάδη μὴ ὀργίλον

NAS - as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered,

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The examples you’ve given in the second section are using αὐθαίρετος and αὐθάδης; is there reason to believe these can be used to determine the meaning of αὐθεντεῖν (a hapax within the NT to my knowledge)? –  Susan May 21 at 7:03
@Susan I hope I addressed your concern. (A.) When I did this research, I had to go outside the New Testament text for clarification, (which I think you agree was necessary). (B.) I settled on bringing this quote in from Polybius as a very clear example of self-will vs. the authority of a king. (C.) For the sake of brevity, and time, I omitted a lot of other references. –  e.s. kohen May 21 at 17:13
The words cited from 2 Corinthians 8:9, 17; Titus 1:7; and 2 Peter 2:10 have nothing to do with the meaning of αὐθεντεῖν found in 1 Timothy 2:12 (and only there in the NT - and only very rarely outside the NT before this NT usage). –  Davïd May 21 at 18:01
@David (A.) Thank you for your comment. I heavily edited the note before those passages, to clarify that I am referring to the prefix only, connoting a sense of "self-will". (B.) In that sense all of those passages are related. –  e.s. kohen May 21 at 18:33
Well, I suppose that's a help to the same extent that grouping "autodidact", "automatic", and "automobile" -- all starting with auto- -- mutually inform the meaning of those terms. I appreciate your industry, but I'm afraid this isn't very illuminating. –  Davïd May 21 at 19:00

Here the Authority is Defined by God

Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: (Numbers 30:1 NKJV)

When a Man prays/prophecies

If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:2 NKJV)

Note: Here we see how important it is that what the man says should happen.

Here a woman prays/prophecies without her head covered

Or if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand. (Numbers 30:3-4 NKJV)

Note: The agreement is now bound to her. The agreement now has authority to afflict her soul. If the agreement fails the disgrace falls to the woman.

The Father prays/prophecies against the word.

But if her father overrules her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will release her, because her father overruled her. (Numbers 30:5 NKJV)

Note: This scenario the woman is saved from disgrace, but disgrace is given to the father, because he prays/prophecies against the word. The shame is similar to that of a woman who is forced to get her head shaved. {Numbers 30:15, 1 Cor 11:5}

Here a woman has a current binding when taking a husband

“If indeed she takes a husband, while bound by her vows or by a rash utterance from her lips by which she bound herself, and her husband hears it, and makes no response to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her agreements by which she bound herself shall stand. (Numbers 30:6-7 NKJV)

Note: Here the new husband may void a verbal binding, yet with silence it can still afflict her soul.

Here the new husband voids the womans binding

But if her husband overrules her on the day that he hears it, he shall make void her vow which she took and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound herself, and the Lord will release her. (Numbers 30:8 NKJV)

Note: This scenario the woman is saved from disgrace, but disgrace is given to the father, because he prays/prophecies against the word. The shame is similar to that of a woman who is forced to get her head shaved. {Numbers 30:15, 1 Cor 11:5}

Here a woman prays/prophecies without her head covered

Also any vow of a widow or a divorced woman, by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. (Numbers 30:9 NKJV)

Note: The agreement is now bound to her. The agreement now has authority to afflict her soul. If the agreement fails the disgrace falls to the woman.

Here a woman prays/prophecies without her head covered

“If she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an agreement with an oath, and her husband heard it, and made no response to her and did not overrule her, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement by which she bound herself shall stand. (Numbers 30:10-11 NKJV)

Note: The agreement is now bound to her. The agreement now has authority to afflict her soul. If the agreement fails the disgrace falls to the woman.

Here the husband voids the woman's binding

But if her husband truly made them void on the day he heard them, then whatever proceeded from her lips concerning her vows or concerning the agreement binding her, it shall not stand; her husband has made them void, and the Lord will release her. (Numbers 30:12 NKJV)

Note: This scenario the woman is saved from disgrace, but disgrace is given to the father, because he prays/prophecies against the word. The shame is similar to that of a woman who is forced to get her head shaved. {Numbers 30:15, 1 Cor 11:5}

Dishonor and Bearing Guilt

Every vow and every binding oath to afflict her soul, her husband may confirm it, or her husband may make it void. Now if her husband makes no response whatever to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all the agreements that bind her; he confirms them, because he made no response to her on the day that he heard them. But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.” (Numbers 30:13-15 NKJV)

Every man who prays or prophesies against the word dishonors his head. (1 Corinthians 11:4 Decoded)

Note: After making void an agreement the man has heard means that he shall bear her guilt. The shame is similar to that of a woman who is forced to get her head shaved. {Numbers 30:15, 1 Cor 11:5}

As Commanded by the Lord

These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, and between a father and his daughter in her youth in her father’s house. (Numbers 30:16)

What is this head covering referring to?
It means to be in agreement with the man before the prayer or prophecy. His OK means she is covered. That way he does not need to dishonor himself by making it void causing himself so much dishonor. A shame that is similar to that of a woman who is forced to get her head shaved. {Numbers 30:15, 1 Cor 11:5}

What Does it Mean To Exercise Authority Over

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Tim 2:12 NKJV)

The woman is not to suffer the shame of make void the saying of a man. The man is built to suffer that shame. Neither should a woman have to suffer through the experience of teaching a man. So in both teaching and in usurping authority the woman has been saved of this responsibility.

In 1 Tim 2:12, how does αὐθεντεῖν (αὐθεντεω) differ from the more commonly used ἐξουσιάζω?

γυναικὶ δὲ διδάσκειν οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός ἀλλ' εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ

Here we see that αὐθεντεῖν is used instead of ἐξουσιάζω. But Why?

What does αὐθεντεω Mean
831 authentéō (from 846 /autós, "self" and entea, "arms, armor") – properly, to unilaterally take up arms, i.e. acting as an autocrat – literally, self-appointed (acting without submission). (Source).

What does ἐξουσιάζω Mean
Cognate: 1850 eksousiázō (from 1849 /eksousía, "delegated power," see there) – having authority to act; "empowered because authorized." See 1849 (eksousia). (Source)

To Unilaterally Self Armor vs. Empowered Because Authorized
We can see that the topic of 1 Tim 2:12 is in the presentation of a woman to a man. Let us create a context to fill within.

  • When teaching a man not to unilaterally self armor
  • When teaching a man not being empowered because authorized

What does Unilateral Mean
(of an action or decision) performed by or affecting only one person, group, or country involved in a particular situation, without the agreement of another or the others.

What does οὐδὲ Mean
[Regardless of how 3761 (oudé) is translated, it means: If "A" (the preceding statement) isn't true (valid) – then "B" (which extends from it) is also not valid. As in the previous example: If 100 is not enough (valid), then automatically neither are 90, 80, 70, etc.]. (Source).

Without Agreement Self Armor
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. To teach however, a woman if not permitted then neither (Armor/Authorize) a man instead to be quiet.

What if ἐξουσιάζω was used?
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. To teach however, a woman if not permitted then neither (being empowered because authorized) a man instead to be quiet.

Here we see why it is not used because "Not Being Permitted" she is "Not Authorized" as the nature of the Greek word οὐδὲ declares.

Another Way to Say 1 Tim 2:12

If a woman is not permitted to teach, then she is not authorized to teach a man and should instead remain quiet. (1 Tim 2:12 Decoded)


For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:13-14 NKJV)

Since the risk of falling into transgression, why should the man suffer the shame making what she says void?

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Regarding the last paragraph - note that "suffer" meant something different in KJV English than it does now. (This is translating a different Greek word, but it makes fairly transparent use of the English word "suffer".) –  Susan Aug 8 '14 at 20:18
Thank you God for correcting my error. Is any more error in this text? –  Decrypted Aug 8 '14 at 20:25
I appreciate the effort you've put into this. I'm having a hard time understanding what these "decoded" translations are. Are these your translations? In 1 Cor 11:4, where does "against the word" come from? (I see where you get "against", but it says "having against head" which just means "having the head covered.") For 1 Tim 2:12, I don't understand where the "if...then.." construction comes from, nor do I understand how the entire sentence lost the "I do not permit/suffer..." context. –  Susan Aug 9 '14 at 12:02
I am writing the decoded translation slowly with the help of God. The Head of Man is Jesus. Jesus is the Word. To have against the Head for a man, is to be against Jesus who is the word. So it means to against the word. The construction "having the head covered" comes only from textual interpretation, not the actual Greek words. The reason for the If Then Construction is because of the nature of the Greek word "οὐδὲ". Which is explained in the answer. –  Decrypted Aug 9 '14 at 15:56
Being as how the nature of the word "οὐδὲ" meaning: If "A" (the preceding statement) isn't true (valid) – then "B" (which extends from it) is also not valid. The Text reads as "To teach | however/but | a woman | not | permit" this first not is ouk. ouk is used before smooth breathings and oux before a rough breathing. This means a "soft no" not a "sharp no". "οὐδὲ" can be understood as "if not". So (permit if not authority). To teach | however/but | a woman | soft no | (permit if not authority) | Man | but to be quiet. We see Authority comes from man. –  Decrypted Aug 9 '14 at 16:15

I liken the meaning of exousia to having a driver’s licence. When you have a driver’s licence you have the authority, right and freedom to drive a vehicle on public roads.

Here is a sample of most of the verses from 1 Corinthians (NABS) of exousia which demonstrates a range of usage. (I have italicised the English translation of exousia.)

The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife (1 Cor 7:4.) [Compare this translation with the very good NLT translation.]

But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well (1 Cor 7:36).

But be careful that by no means does this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Cor 8:9).

Have we no right to eat and to drink? (1 Cor 9:4.)

Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord,and Cephas? (1 Cor 9:5.)

Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? (1 Cor 9:6.)

If others partake of this right over you, don’t we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ (1 Co 9:12.)

Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power (1 Cor 15:24).

As to what authentein means? That's a whole other ball game.

Most lexicons give the meaning of the verb authenteō as something like "domineer". But authentein is not a verb. Albert Wolters 1 notes that the cognate nouns authentēs and authentia are used in texts about Gnosticism that date from the 1st and 2nd centuries (as well as in other contexts.) But authentein is not a noun. It is in the infinitive.

In the TLG, a data base of all known ancient Greek literature, authentein occurs only 19 times, 15 of those times are references to 1 Timothy 2:12. So we don't have much to go on there. However, I suggest, based on what we do know, that exousia and authentein are very different as far as "shades of meaning" go.

Furthermore, cognates of authentein do occur in the LXX. In Wisdom 12:6 authenta is used describe parents who murder their children. A cognate also occurs in 3 Maccabees 2:29.

It is important to note that the English word "authority" is not etymologically related to "athentein".

I hope this helps.

  1. Albert Wolters, “A Semantic Study of authentēs and its Derivatives” in the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1/11, Spring 2006, p44-65.
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Thank you, and welcome to BH.SE! There's some interesting information here. A couple questions: 1) Which lexicons? I'm looking at BDAG which doesn't say that; 2) I don't understand what you're getting at with "it's not a noun...it's not a verb." As far as I'm concerned, it a verbal noun, but I don't see where this is going; 3) You conclude that there are very different shades of meaning, but you don't say what the shade of authentein is other than "most lexicons say..." and the reference to the "murder" usage which I would need to be convinced is relevant... –  Susan Jul 22 '14 at 9:06
And finally, I would be interested to know more about how it's used in the 1st/2nd century texts about gnosticism. Sorry for the nitpicky questions - this is one I've been trying to get an answer to for a long time and I appreciate you taking it on! –  Susan Jul 22 '14 at 9:09
Hi Susan, the lexicons I used include LSJ, Louwe & Nida, Sophocles, as well as BDAG. BDAG, however, does not give the meaning "domineer". The type of authority given in the lexicons, including BDAG, is not the kind of authority that I believe Jesus would want in his church (e.g. Matt. 23:8-12). Cognate nouns and verbs don't always match in meaning. So knowing the meaning of a verb does not always mean we know the meaning of the noun, and vice versa. That was my point. I don't give the shades of meaning for authentein because I don't know what they are, except in Classical Greek useage. –  Marg Mowczko Jul 22 '14 at 10:42
Wolters cites his sources in his paper about the nouns authentia and athentes. Albert Wolters, “A Semantic Study of authentēs and its Derivatives” in the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1/11, Spring 2006, p44-65. –  Marg Mowczko Jul 22 '14 at 10:51
@Marg, The same paper seems to contradict your point that this is not a verb: "Consequently, a good case can be made for the thesis that all these ancient versions (with the possible exception of the Peshitta) reflect an accurate understanding of αὐθεντέω in 1 Tim. 2.12 as a denominative verb based on αὐθέντης ‘master’. Furthermore, it is to be noted that all these versions (with the same possible exception) understand the verb in a non-pejorative sense." (Wolters, pg. 51). See theriveroflife.com/wp-content/plugins/…. –  e.s. kohen May 28 at 3:40

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