Two texts that contributed to the discussion on gender roles in
formative Christianity, 1 Timothy and the Acts of Paul, are investigated. In both cases the
emphasis is on the much-disputed role of women. Power plays a role on different levels.
On the one hand power relations between the sexes are depicted or directly addressed by
the text (‘gendered’ power), while on the other hand the power of persuasion is brought to
bear on both male and female readers to legitimize the patriarchal, videlicet the encratitic
model of gender. This is done by rhetorical means that are text-specific, but also make use of
genre-specific persuasion strategies. This ‘genred power’ is still mostly unchartered territory
in exegetical discussions and is therefore the focus of my investigation. Especially important
in both genres are intertextual allusions to authoritative texts. Fictive self-references which
enable the author (’Paul’) to correct himself are one focus of interest. Narrative strategies (i.e.
character and plot development) which also have an intertextual dimension are a second focal
point. The take-over of the role of Peter who denies Jesus and repents by Paul in the Acts of
Thecla turns out to be of major rhetorical significance.
This article was initially presented at the NavNUT Conference ‘Mag in die Nuwe Testament’, 16–19 January 2011 at the University of Stellenbosch.