This is a great question. Another answer touches on a controversy known as "feminism", though the article does not claim to be from a "feminist" perspective. I don't use the term as a stereotypical, but as a description of a known and often self-identified school of values, with many variants within that school. Some things need to be said about this as a matter of understanding hermeneutics.
Essentially, this article lacks any mention of historical context and presumes many fallacies about how gender is used language. Word like "past", "history", "context", "setting", and "situation" don't appear anywhere in the article.
This article stands in judgment over ancient languages, assuming that historical grammar is sexist, primarily on the grounds that many languages default to the masculine gender for words. Today, other languages still do the same, including Spanish. This has mainly been a problem in English within the last century, where only pronouns have gender. In the past for English, and today in many other languages, masculine pronouns are not seen as specifying the sex of the audience, but merely are necessary in grammatical syntax.
For instance, the words "son" and "daughter", "man" and "woman" have near identical spelling in many languages, only having an "a" or "o" near the end of the word to specify gender. In English, the entire word is spelled differently. This is a problem that native speakers to those languages may not even consider. The article in the question would be a likely shock to those audiences.
How sociopolitical and economic causes can affect hermeneutics
There is a reasonable concern that the arguments presented in the article come from a sociopolitical cause similar to if not self-identifying as "feminism". It happens throughout history that people and groups with a social, political, ideological, economic, or objectives other than accurate Bible interpretation will use eisegesis, slightly bending the meaning of the Bible to suit their goals, then presenting a convincing list of hermeneutical terms to make it seem like it is exegesis and not eisegesis. Be careful of this and don't be fooled. That could is probably what is happening here. For some reason, the Bible seems to attract a lot of this, probably relating to the Bible's sway in government through the medieval Holy Roman Empire, and that religion is a powerful tool in both the economy and Western elections.
The article does not provide any information as to the author's other beliefs or where the author may stand on other potentially "feminist" -related issues. So, I want to avoid categorizing what other beliefs from that author may be. Albeit, many statements are in line with other ideas and literature often promulgated by people who hold at least an affinity for some "feminist" values.
Politically, socially, or economically -motivated "science", and in our case "hermeneutics" are common throughout human history. This comes from all sides and all opinions. It is human nature to argue with logical fallacies. We often learn this as children negotiating with rewards and punishments from adults. This is not specific to any ideology. So in Bible study, we must remain alert to the appearance of purported "hermeneutics" which may actually mask some undisclosed motive. This applies no matter who is presenting the argument.
Why the 'why' matters
In fact, I have found that many people grow up believing one line of thought in a church or religious circle, but then have a "crisis of faith".
Crisis of faith (East Carolina University)
A crisis of faith is a painful experience in a Christian's life when he or she begins to doubt his or her beliefs, causing grief and confusion for the individual, as well as a sense of disconnection from God.
A crisis of faith may have been essentially caused by that person's Bible teachers giving "the right answers" without explaining "the right reasons". This is one reason why, as a moderator, I focus on "the explanation" of understanding a Bible passage and almost fully ignore "the conclusion" of what it means. I welcome any religious belief, especially those contrary to my own. But, I am very unwelcoming toward any process that doesn't show a clear, concise, objective process for understanding.
I believe that is the case here.
This is not any kind of objective or academic article from the liberal-leaning Huffington "Puffington" Post. The article is predisposed to be biased against the Bible. Here are some quotes from the article, (emphases added):
There's even more evidence, linguistic in nature. Hebrew has four distinct forms of the word "you" and these are gender and number specific. The form of "you" in every single commandment is masculine singular. The text assumes its readers are men.
No, it is not clearly addressing a male audience. This is a clear linguistic fallacy, playing "demagoguery" games, playing on normal unawareness of the masses. In fact, in the writing itself, the term "men" refers to "humankind" if we look at writings from the Declaration of Independence. This author presumes that "men" does not mean "humanity", but "male humans", showing the presumptions from which the article is written.
Women are marginalized in the book of Proverbs as well. Quite a number of times Proverbs uses the phrase "my son." The phrase "my daughter" does not occur. And the commands in Proverbs are consistently second person masculine, never second person feminine.
The same fallacy again about language. The phrase "women are marginalized" is merely asserted with this language fallacy as the only evidence.
The New Testament contains texts that marginalize women as well.
I won't elaborate on the entire article, only to state that the writing has a clear tone of bias and should not be taken as an academic piece. It is intended to influence a audience that knows little about the Bible, or it could likely serve to give the feeling of "having support" to readers who already wanted to hold that opinion anyway. We humans often do that too, from every sector and social opinion—hiring writers and speakers to tell us what we already want to hear.
Historical context and the Bible's slow move toward Human Rights
This is a very good subject for Biblical study concerning women's rights and the Bible. I don't avoid this subject.
This part of historical context is essential to the topic of the article itself. However, the article makes zero mention of the historical dilemma or any historical context at all.
In the article, many of the Bible verse references throughout the article appear out of Biblical order, which runs contrary to good Bible study authorship. It almost seems that the Bible verses were sloppily searched for by someone not very familiar with the Bible. While I disagree with the author's conclusion and poor writing, the quotes below are a very well-worded summary of the dilemma: (Bible links are added because the author of the article did not include them.)
...there are even more difficult texts, with men said to be willing to surrender women to horrendous violence. ...Genesis says the patriarch Lot was willing to force his two daughters out the door to be raped, and the book of Judges says a Levite actually did force his concubine out the door to be gang raped, and after she died he cut her corpse into twelve pieces (Genesis 34; Judges 19-21). And an unmarried woman could be compelled to marry her rapist, as long as the rapist could pay the standard bride price and the woman's father was comfortable with the marriage (Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Exodus 22:16-17).
...and this came after a mention of the New Testament, but again refers only to matters in the Old Testament. This further demonstrate that the article itself is rather poorly organized and certainly not academic. Nonetheless, this is also an important point...
Within the "Household Codes" of the New Testament... And the custom of a marital "bride price" (money given by the groom's family to the bride's family) reveals that marriage was, at least in some respects, a property transfer, as payment had been made to acquire the bride (Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:16; 1 Samuel 18:25; Genesis 24:53).
With matters like this, the Bible does not condone nor prescribe these pre-existing customs of that ancient culture. The Bible came after these customs were long in place. By the time we get to the New Testament, Jesus is friend to many oppressed women (Luke 7:36-50, John 8:1-11), and Paul even urges the release of a slave while the law of that time would condemn the slave to death:
Philemon 16 (NASB)
no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother
This criticism from the article is blind to the historical danger a women could have been in:
And a woman's religious vow could be nullified by her father or her husband (Numbers 30:3-15).
Remember, Israel had no government and no king. A family's father was the closest thing to a judge and sheriff that most people had access to. The time of "Judges" comes after the time of Joshua, which comes about 40 years after this law came from God. Even in that time of "Judges", only one judge settled disputes through all Israel; there was no government until Israel demanded "a king like other nations" (1 Samuel 8:6-20).
This law actually served to help protect the woman if she married "with a knife to her back" so to speak. It keeps the family as a kind of "escape clause", assigning both a judge and sheriff, if she finds herself in an abusive marriage so that her husband cannot essentially use a marriage as an excuse to kidnap her from her family and make her into a slave. Given the pre-existing customs of that culture, this would not be unheard of. So, we see more evidence that the Bible is slowly and surely moving more towards women's rights and rights toward all people.
As a final example, this criticism from the article addresses the idea that a man and women do not have interchangeable roles in a marriage:
Within the "Household Codes" of the New Testament, husbands are commanded to "love their wives" and to avoid treating them "harshly," but women are commanded to "submit to" their husbands (Colossians 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:22-25).
This is more of having a "master of ceremonies" to keep a meeting focused. It never states that one sex is more important than the other. If anything, more duty is placed on the husband. Moreover, this passage acknowledges that different sexes are indeed different, while each retains both rights and moral obligation to others.
So, it is essential in Biblical hermeneutics to understand that:
- The culture was indeed oppressive
- The God's direction through history in the Bible slowly and surely moves us away from that oppression toward equal rights for all people
What to think of this
I am not really worried or bothered by this article, though I certainly don't agree. Others may be understandably bothered and disconcerted because any socially-motivated "science" (and exegetical hermeneutics are an objective science, while eisogesis is more of a subjective art) can mislead people who are seeking knowledge and may not know how things are so hotly debated.
As a moderator, I would say that the article's content itself would not be on-topic because it is highly opinion-filled and does not explain the process of hermeneutics nor where those hermeneutics originated.