In Tertullian De baptismo 17.5 we read: quam enim fidei proximum videtur ut is docendi et tinguendi daret feminae potestatem qui ne discere quidem constanter mulieri permisit? Taceant, inquit, et domi viros suos consulant.
The issue is with the phrase qui ne discere quidem constanter mulieri permisit. Does constanter go with permisit or discere? In either event, what might it mean? A check of various translations betrays a certain liberty with the text to make sense of it. Thus Evans, for whom I have the utmost admiration, takes constanter with discere and renders: “…he did not allow a woman even to learn by her own right.” I find it hard to assign such a meaning to constanter. Moreover, did Paul really forbid women to learn? It seems a stretch.
There is only one extant MS of the text; the editio princeps used a further MS, now lost, where for discere it reads docere. Is this a better reading? Or might we account for both readings by emending to dicere? As such constanter belongs with permisit, which is more natural, and the entire sentence makes complete sense: “… who consistently would not even allow a woman to speak.”
This issue came up at dinner with friends last night and the possible solution came after a sleepless night turning it over in my mind! My question to them (and you) is whether this is a brilliant emendation or the desperate contrivance of an indifferent Latinist.