1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

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1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:10 pm

I think most of you probably have read some of SylvieB's posts over at NC, and the credit for me bringing this up is her signature line on her posts there.
for her signature line, Silvie wrote:Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
Sure
That had me puzzled for a bit until I saw it as a double entendre on "uncovered" and that rather than any head gear or hair the context in which she used it suggested "uncovered = nude". Good one Silvie :lol:

However that once again brought 1cor 11:3-16 into my mind and I went to look into it again. Curiously I found the statement in Adam Clarke's commentary
Adam Clarke wrote:There are few portions in the sacred writings that have given rise to such a variety of conjectures and explanations, and are less understood, than this verse
while he was writing particularly about verse 10, the whole scripture passage is a pretty pretty much "difficult scripture", but then Peter said that was the way with much in Paul's writings (2 Pet 3:16).

So now the passage quoted for your convenience
In 1Cor 11: Paul wrote: 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

But what is Paul really on about here? After reading numerous commentaries (Clarke was right :roll: ) I was trying to distill what Paul was after. Paul takes a lot of heat for being "mysogynist" but I don't really think he was. I am wondering if Paul was really saying here that out in public it is a good practice (but not specifically doctrine) that the marital status of Women, especially, but perhaps also men, ought to be discernable. And that the manner of wearing hair including sometimes adornments/coverings was a clue to such status.
A. --This might well be the case where cultural norms provide this,
B. -- If you are wondering how I got this notion, then just line up a whole bunch of commentaries and start reading. None of them specifically said that, but it was my notion that it seemed to be a plausible theme in them. (maybe I am wrong, I remember being so at least once :wink: ) Nevertheless if that was his message it would be consistent with the status of women that the Gospel seemed to include.

Now to my questions:
1.-- How many different manifestations of this hair/head covering are there among Christian denominations. (the more bizzare may be more entertaining).
2.-- What is your take on the matter.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Petros » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:38 pm

Be advised:
This by me is a much thought on issue with ramifications. I shall weigh in - but not mid-afternoon after the last lawn mowing of the season.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby jochanaan » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:34 pm

Petros wrote:Be advised:
This by me is a much thought on issue with ramifications. I shall weigh in - but not mid-afternoon after the last lawn mowing of the season.
I've also thought about this, especially since my preference is for uncut hair (and beard, but there is nothing in the Bible against beards). But, in addition to this one passage (and it is only one), there is also the instruction concerning the vow of a Nazirite, which included letting one's head hair grow. At least once in the Bible, a man is told never to have his hair cut nor to drink wine from birth, the marks of a Nazirite. (See Judges 13-16.) It was said of John the Baptist that he would never drink wine or strong drink, so it is reasonable to suppose that he also was a Nazirite from birth and never cut his hair. (Luke 1:15) Why, then, does Paul say, "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (I Cor. 11:14)
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:53 pm

jochanaan wrote:I've also thought about this, especially since my preference is for uncut hair (and beard, but there is nothing in the Bible against beards). But, in addition to this one passage (and it is only one), there is also the instruction concerning the vow of a Nazirite, which included letting one's head hair grow. At least once in the Bible, a man is told never to have his hair cut nor to drink wine from birth, the marks of a Nazirite. (See Judges 13-16.) It was said of John the Baptist that he would never drink wine or strong drink, so it is reasonable to suppose that he also was a Nazirite from birth and never cut his hair. (Luke 1:15) Why, then, does Paul say, "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (I Cor. 11:14)
The matter of taking a nazarite vow is the likely explanation. And indeed Paul did apparantly take such a vow as is evidenced by comparing the matter of how such a vow taken for a limited period was terminated.

Acts 18:18 ¶And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

In Numbers chapter 6 Moses wrote: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
.....................
5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
......................
13 ¶And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
......................
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.


And at the end of his separation Paul went with others under a vow where heads were to be shaved as noted in Acts 21:24
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

So it would appear that the long hair of a Nazarite was an exception. In all probability there might be a particular manner of wearing it or other visible indication that the person was under a nazarite vow. If nothing else withabsolutely no cutting of the hair it was likely a bit uneven and not styled at all and hence distinguishable. So when Paul said that it was a shame for a man to have long hair, no doubt he was referring the everyday manner of the average man, and a working man would have good reason not to have really long hair as a woman might

As to long hair on a man, Paul has once again thrown us a curve :
In 1Cor 11: Paul wrote:But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
Paul has left us to guess just what is supposed to be the antecedent when he writes "no such custom" ! :roll: Is the custom:
-- the matter of being contentious:
or is it that
-- neither Paul himself nor the churches of God have any particular custom as to a man's hair length even though the surrounding culture might think of it as a shame?a

It is fair to ask was Paul condemning long hair on Christian men as this passage is often used? Or was he saying that it is no big deal with respect to Christianity but the locals might find it odd, offensive, wrong, feminizing, gender inappropriate?

Is Paul simply saying that it is no big deal but it may not be well received by the surrounding Greek culture if a man has long hair?
--------------------------------
Now then, getting back to the main thrust of the original post :roll: :!: just what is being taught from a doctrinal matter about a woman and a scarf veil,head covering, is her hair an adequate covering?, or what is the real thrust of Paul's somewhat obtuse commentary about those matters with respect to women's heads ???
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Petros » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:12 am

This is probably just a start - there are lots of ramifications.

There are two main approaches:
A
The hair issue is bound to the local culture, and cultures where decent women wear short hair or have shaven head, while the PRINCIPLES apply, need pay no attention to details of hair style. My kouros and these Maasai women, , for example, are not going to be in trouble with God and the angels. This view is implicit in many a painting of Christ, as we weell know.

B
Paul is literally with divine warrant condemning short hair for women and long for men, and setting us up for extrapolation of what kind of cloth covering [though he seems to say the MAN is the covering] a woman must wear to satisfy God.

Surprising I suspect few, I am not convinced of either view - though A is a bit cl;oser to my sese of it.

So: C:

The KEY as I see it is verse 14:
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
My highlight.
Paul is a scholar, well trained in Jewish analysis of the law and in Greek philosophy and rhetoric. He prides himself on being "all things to all men". If he needs to make a point to learned Jews, he will use these arguments and this style of argumentation. On the Areopagus, with well-schooled Greeks, he will make those points and use that approach. He sizes up his audience as a good debater or motivater or lecturer must, and tunes it to them.
NATURE. The Corinthians are not hicks. They know that no cultural attitude or behavior is universal, thugh some are quite widespread. Paul does not present this as the custom of the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, or even as part of the evolving Christian culture.
NATURE.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Petros » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:49 am

So. NATURE.

Paul is not naive, He has travelled, seen, met, dealt with, heard of a variety of cultures. Egyptians, Parthians, Romans, with so many different styles of gender-specific dress.

I cannot believe that he reads "nature" as endorsding any one style. I do not believe he will assume that even his personal preference equates to nature.

My reading: he is making here a point about what he sees as a hierarchy of relationships. Speaking to a an audience which is not asvanced in rigorous logic, he is making that point in a way which is not technically well formed but will work with this group.

How was it - "beware the leaven of the Pharisees" - OH, he is upset, we forget to bring bread.

Putting literal headdresses on - unless we mean it as symbolic - id, I suspedct, the same style of interpretation.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby jasenj1 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:17 am

I shall submit a link and citation from the excellent "Naked Bible Podcast" as my contribution to the discussion.

"Naked Bible Podcast Episode 70: Q & A" You can listen, download the audio, or read the transcript from that page.

"in a nutshell, Paul's vocabulary for the head covering in 1 Corinthians 11 shows up in Greco-Roman medical texts and in those texts, the term refers to genitalia, context of sex and reproduction or infertility versus fertility, that kind of thing. So Greco-Roman medical texts like Hippocrates, the Hippocratic oath, this kind of thing. The actual term for the head covering shows up in this literature and there's really something to that. In the first of these three articles, the author basically says this is how we need to understand what Paul's talking about.
He is using this term to refer back to something sexual, something that has to do with genitalia and whatnot to argue for modesty and sexual fidelity in that sort of thing. But you could never go through this in church and really make the points that need to be made because it's pretty explicit language in the article but in a medical context. So the point of the head covering with that backdrop is sexual modesty and fidelity in marriage."
...
"But this is what you see in Greek medical texts using the terminology Paul uses here. They believe that the longer a woman's hair was helped draw the semen after sex into the place where it needed to go so that the child deposited, they don’t know anything about genetics or any likeness of that, so that after sex the woman had a greater chance of conceiving if her hair was longer. And since hair was associated with conception, you don't want to leave your head uncovered. It's really hard to explain without going through the terminology and going through the discussion. But it's quite explicit because they had this wacky scientific, prescientific idea of the role the woman's hair played in her ability to conceive and how it helped the semen do what it needed to do. It’s really difficult to try to explain this without going through all the data but it's fascinating."

Dr. Heiser cites an article discussing this in detail, but he did not post a link to it. The discussion about the head covering is at the very end of the podcast, so you can fast forward to the last 10 minutes, or jump to the end of the transcript.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Petros » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:16 am

NATURE:

If we look at Romans 2:14, we spot: 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Clearly here we are talking not about custom, but some sort of inborn natural law sourcing for a behavior. Physis in the Greek in both cases. Not the Law, not custom, not individual illumination. That is what Paul is claiming. And that surely does not fit if hair and headdress are read simplistically literally.

Let us read in 1 Corinthians 14:34 - Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. Mind you, I would not be surprised to find a group here or there which applies THIS simplistically literally. But - really? I am reminded of the old Inn sign - the Silent Woman - portraying a woman decapitated. Not really fair comment, of course. But does this mean "women must not utter a sound in the meeting" - or does it mean "any not up to speed on the sermon topic should hold their questions for a less solemn moment"?

No, folks: I have to compare Ephesians 5:31-32 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,
and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

Is Paul saying they physically merge? Is he proposing they visit a surgeon and be literally joined at the hip? Here he tells us it is a non-literal handling of a mystery. He does not always specify that; we need to use our judgement.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby nakedpreacher » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:31 am

I have heard it explained that "long Hair" is really a mistranslation of Greek idiom and that what it really refers to is a woman's hair style. Then Paul seems to be saying that this is something not worth fighting over. By referring to custom he may be pointing out that this is a cultural illustration and not to be taken as an absolute rule. It is interesting to me how many times I heard the first part of that passage quoted without the second.
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby Petros » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:53 pm

Paul is indeed a bit strange here. "Nature" says hair thus, and it is a useful symbol of spiritual reality - but we have no such rule.

Of COURSE that stops no one from making a rule!
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Re: 1cor 11:3-16, A Hairy Topic or not Really

Postby jochanaan » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:08 am

I wonder if we have neglected to consider the verse with which Paul begins this particular discussion: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you." (11:2) What he talks about here was apparently something the Corinthian church was already doing; he was merely reminding them of the arguments in favor of it--very unlike the next section, about communion, which begins "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not..." (11:17) Perhaps Paul, a master communicator, was merely adding a little "positive feedback" to the Corinthians as a break from the heavy discussions about meat sacrificed to idols, communion, and the man doing sex with his stepmother...
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