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Featured You probably don't need to cover your head based on 1 Corinthians

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Christ is Lord, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    I believe as Christians we've all came across the topic of head covering especially in light of
    1 Corinthians 11:13-15. However, I want to bring to light another interpretation of those verses based on scholarship. This is mainly based on a podcast episode by Dr. Michael Heiser here (Naked Bible 86: The Head Covering of 1 Corinthians 11:13-15).

    If you don't have time to listen I'll summarize so that we can have a discussion. When Paul implied that it is improper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered it's because Paul had a common view at the time that the hair on a female's head was part of her genitalia. This view is based on the medical understanding of his day. It would be improper for woman to display her genitalia (this case hair) when praying to God in the same way a lot of us don't pray to God when naked.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you. I look forward to your responses :)

    EDIT: I've posted two of the articles that speak to that claim (it being genitalia)

    Paul’s argument from nature for the veil in 1 Corinthians 11.13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering

    This reference can be very "academic" so I'll post a summary of the main ideas in a next post.

    Note: The reasoning for this view is because of the medical knowledge of the time and can be seen in various medical texts from example, Aristotle, Euripedes and
    Hippocrates.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
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  2. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    I think you took it too far going into the genitalia scope.
     
  3. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    If this understanding is correct it really illustrates the point that the Bible wasn't written to us but rather for us. Which means when Paul or any other Biblical writer wrote they were writing to an audience that would seem alien to us.

    It seems obvious to me that if this was the medical consensus of the time (a female's hair being part of her genitalia) then it's very plausible that Paul also had this view in mind when he wrote to the church in Corinth.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  4. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    I am sorry, I probably made it sound like this is an idea that only I have. I'll include some external references so we can have a better discussion.
     
  5. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    If the relationship is as you suggest. Is he supporting the opposite for men? Is exposure acceptable for them?
     
  6. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    Paul said that men shouldn't cover their heads and if a man has long hair it's a disgrace to him. See 1 Corinthians 11:14 & verse 7
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  7. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    From page 78 of Paul’s argument from nature for the veil in 1 Corinthians 11.13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering:

    In summary some scholars believe that Paul had this view (after all this was the medical understanding of his day). This is also why it's shameful for a man to have long hair (see 1 Corinthians 11:14) because that would indicate that he is "less of a man" (i.e retain much of his reproductive fluids).
     
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  8. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    I don't believe Paul was going off of this belief. As Labella pointed out, men are uncovered for glory of the head. You can't make the genitalia comparison then. It would make men exposed.
     
  9. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    But if the correlation of hair and genitalia has been established you can’t ignore the obvious. Either the hair ones head is part of your genitalia or it isn’t. And the man is exposed if his head is bare.
     
  10. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    I am sorry, I misspoke. It should be understand it's part of a female's genitalia only.
     
  11. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    There is an transcript of the episode here: Download transcript

    Question: Why prepubescent girls were not required to wear the veil whereas adult women were?

    Answer:

    Some other points of interest:

     
  12. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    FFOZ's Messiah Journal #100 (spring 09) has a 16 page article on why this is the wrong way to understand what Paul said. Here is an excerpt:

    The answers to all of these questions relate
    to how we understand Paul’s instructions
    to the community in Corinth in 1 Corinthians
    11:1–16. It is a difficult passage that has
    caused a great deal of confusion. It raises further
    questions about hair length, grooming,
    gender roles, the presence of angels, and other
    tangential curiosities. It has implications for
    how we dress and how we relate in different
    cultural contexts.
    The primary difficulty with the passage
    comes from a lack of contextual information.
    In this paper, I hope to provide some missing
    information, thereby enabling the reader to
    draw conclusions for practical application.
    In the process, I hope to shed some light on
    Paul’s communities in general, particularly
    regarding their relationship with greater first century
    Judaism.

    A surface reading of 1 Corinthians 11:1–16
    seems to suggest that Paul was introducing
    some halachic (“legal”) decisions for the Corinthians
    about their apparel and grooming. For
    example, he says that men should have short
    hair and bare heads. Short hair because “nature
    itself teach[es] you that if a man has long hair,
    it is a dishonor to him” (11:14); bare heads
    because “every man who has something on his
    head while praying or prophesying disgraces
    his head” (11:4). Furthermore, “A man ought
    not to have his head covered, since he is the
    image and glory of God” (11:7). Both of these
    propositions are problematic from a biblical
    perspective.
    For example, the Nazarite vow of Numbers
    6 requires a man to grow his hair. Samson,
    Samuel, John the Baptist, and even Paul himself
    are examples of biblical heroes who undertook
    Nazarite vows.1 The testimony of Acts 21
    suggests that Nazirism was popular among the
    Jewish believers. How could Paul claim that
    long hair is a dishonor when long hair is the
    very mark of piety for those who underwent
    the Nazarite vow?
    Moreover, the Torah commands the priesthood
    to wear headgear when they minister in
    the Temple. God commanded the high priest
    to wear a turban and a golden miter, and the
    regular priests to wear special caps.2 Is it conceivable
    that Paul, who frequently visited the
    Temple to participate in prayer and the services
    therein, was dismissing the priestly garments
    as a disgrace to “the image and glory
    of God”? The Torah itself says that the priestly
    garments were given for glory and beauty:
    You shall make holy garments for Aaron
    your brother, for glory and for beauty … you
    shall make caps for them, for glory and for
    beauty. (Exodus 28:2, 40)
    If we take 1 Corinthians 11:1–16 at face
    value, we are forced to concede that Paul is
    indeed contradicting the Torah’s own commandments
    regarding priests and Nazarites.
    A third objection to 1 Corinthians can be
    raised—the Torah commands all Jewish men
    to wear tefillin (phylacteries) on their hands
    and heads: “They shall be as frontals on your
    forehead” (Deuteronomy 6:8). The custom of
    wearing tefillin seems to have been nearly universal
    in Second-Temple Judaism.3 If 1 Corinthians
    11:7 is understood as a general prohibition
    on men wearing something on their head
    in worship, it stands in direct contradiction to
    Torah and Jewish practice regarding tefillin.
    For traditional Christian interpreters, these
    contradictions present no difficulty because
    traditional Christianity has always taught that
    Paul overturned Torah law and established
    the new Christian religion. Taking it even further,
    traditional interpreters often point out
    that because Jewish men cover their heads in
    prayer, Paul forbade the practice to differentiate
    Christians from Jews. 4
    A more responsible reading of Paul’s mission
    and objectives, however, reveals the traditional
    Christian explanation to be deficient.
    Paul was neither overturning Torah law nor
    establishing a new religion.5 In his own words,
    Paul did “nothing against our people or the
    customs of our fathers” (Acts 28:17). Paul
    believed “everything that is in accordance
    with the Torah” (Acts 24:14), and he agreed
    “with the Torah, confessing that the Torah is
    good” (Romans 7:16). Paul “lived as a Pharisee
    according to the strictest sect of our religion”
    (Acts 26:5), and even after becoming
    a believer continued to identify himself as
    “a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees” (Acts 23:6).
    It is difficult to square Paul’s description of
    himself with the notion that he wanted to
    overturn Torah and Jewish custom, especially
    when he begins 1 Corinthians 11 with the
    words, “Be imitators of me.”
    Jewish Tradition in 1 Corinthians 11
    Paul was not attempting to overturn Jewish
    practice in Corinth. The opposite is true. He
    opens the chapter by saying, “I praise you
    because you remember me in everything and
    hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered
    them to you” (1 Corinthians 11:2). The word
    used here for “traditions” is the Greek paradosis
    (παραδσις); it is the same word the Apostolic
    Scriptures typically use for Jewish tradition.
    For example:
    For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not
    eat unless they carefully wash their hands,
    thus observing the traditions (paradosis) of
    the elders. (Mark 7:3)
    Paul was not attempting to
    overturn Jewish practice in
    Corinth. The opposite is true.

    “Neglecting the commandment of God,
    you hold to the tradition (paradosis) of men.”
    He was also saying to them, “You are experts
    at setting aside the commandment of God
    in order to keep your tradition (paradosis).”
    (Mark 7:8–9)
    I was advancing in Judaism beyond
    many of my contemporaries among my
    countrymen, being more extremely zealous
    for my ancestral traditions (paradosis).
    (Galatians 1:14)
    Paradosis literally means, “something handed
    down.” It is the normal, New Testament word for
    Jewish “tradition.” Most commentators refuse
    the notion that Paul might have been referring
    to the norms of Jewish tradition in this passage.
    Instead, they suppose that Paul was referring
    to a distinct Christian paradosis. Witherington
    says, “It is difficult to believe that [Paul]
    would impose a specifically Jewish custom on
    Christians … [The Corinthian believers] were
    to model new Christian customs.”6
    I find it far more difficult to believe that
    Paul and the Apostles were in the business of
    inventing new customs and traditions simply
    for the sake of making a distinction from
    Judaism. That kind of thinking is anachronistic.
    Paul and the early believers—even the
    Corinthians—believed they were a sect within
    greater Judaism.
    The first assembly of believers in Corinth
    was right next door to the Corinthian synagogue.
    7 The first members all came from the
    synagogue, including “Crispus, the leader of
    the synagogue … with all his household” (Acts
    18:8). Though the Corinthian community was
    a mix of Jews and Gentiles, it was born of a Jewish
    synagogue and existed in the context of a
    Diaspora Jewish community. As Paul sought to
    bring correction to the Corinthians regarding
    their mode of dress and grooming, he appealed
    to the authority of apostolic tradition and the
    broader authority of Jewish tradition, saying,
    “if one is inclined to be contentious, we have
    no other practice, nor have the [assemblies] of
    God” (1 Corinthians 11:16).
    The term “assemblies of God” does not
    refer to other congregations of believers.8
    Instead it stands in antithesis to the congregations
    of the believers who are represented
    as the “we” of 11:16. With all due apologies
    to the Assemblies of God denomination, the
    term “assemblies of God” is best understood
    as Jewish synagogues in general.9 I understand
    the verse as follows:
    We [the believers and apostolic communities]
    have no other practice, nor have the
    [synagogues] of God. (1 Corinthians 11:16)
    Therefore Paul was not overturning
    Jewish practice or tradition (paradosis) in
    1 Corinthians 11. Instead, by admission of
    his own argumentation, he was reinforcing
    Jewish tradition and bringing it to bear on the
    Corinthian community. This is consistent with
    his opening words: “Be imitators of me, just as
    I also am of Messiah” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
    We have already seen that Paul was an
    observant Jew who kept both Torah and Jewish
    tradition. The same was true of the Master.
    Paul imitated Yeshua, an observant Jew, and
    the Corinthians were expected to imitate Paul.
    That being the case, how can Paul urge the
    Corinthian men to go bareheaded unless that
    was the norm of Jewish tradition in the days
    of the Apostles?​
     
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  13. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    Commentary from Dr. Heiser:

     
  14. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Hair is "genitalia?" That is beyond ridiculous.
     
  15. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    Hi Dave, of course we would say it's ridiculous to us today. That's because we know better but 2000-years ago this was medical "science". ;)
     
  16. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    No it was NOT.

    Neither in Jewish culture OR Greko-Roman culture.
     
  17. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    Are you sure about that? There are passages from people in Greco-Roman culture that ascribed to that idea.

    For example, Hippocrates "the father of medicine" or one of this disciples

    "According to Hippocrates, hair was a product of the congealing of sexual fluids such as semen. Hair was primarily hollow and absorbed semen. Men's warm bodies allowed for hair to grow prolifically all over their bodies while women's cold temperatures limited growth to the head."

    Why Women's Hair Is Sexy, According to Hippocrates


    However for those that want a more academic resource see

    Male and female bodies according to Ancient Greek physicians
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  18. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    I spoke about my experience wearing a head covering for a time. Although the practice is common for Orthodox married women. Some single Jewish women do so as well.

    The Holy Spirit’s direction was not in relation to genitalia, headship, or modesty. He was allowing me to experience life from a different perspective. I needed to know that to minister effectively to women.

    Personally speaking, I felt the absence of hair diminished my beauty. I was attractive but lacking in a way I couldn’t deny. I prefer my hair.
     
  19. Ricky M

    Ricky M Member Supporter

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    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar
     
  20. Christ is Lord

    Christ is Lord Active Member

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    I would like to quote some more sources from Greek writes (very prominent ones at that e.g.
    Aristotle and Euripedes). However, some the these texts are behind academic paywalls and I can't post them freely.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
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