Archive for August 5th, 2010

August 5th
written by phil

Susanna Krizo wrote comments based on thinking that 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 addresses women in the church in Corinth who were cutting their hair off and men who were growing long hair, both of which Paul opposes. I explained that if Paul were trying to keep women from cutting their hair off, it does not make sense that he would give the command in 11:6 “If a woman will not cover herself, then she should cut off her hair.” I believe our correspondence may be helpful to others since it sheds light both on various [mis]readings of 1 Cor 11:2-16 and how my interpretation answers these questions.

The key insight of this discussion is that Paul gives the proper answer to the question of 1 Cor 11:13, “Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God uncovered?”  in verses 14-15, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that it is degrading for a man to wear long hair, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory, for her hair is given to her as a covering.” By conjoining these questions, Paul associates “uncovered” with hair and explicitly states that “hair is given to her as a covering.” Consequently, Paul here defines hair as a woman’s covering and explains that if she wears it “as a wraparound,” it is her glory. Since verses 14-15 identify long hair as degrading to a man but the glory of a woman, they also answer the question raised by 11:4 regarding men’s head covering: “What ‘hanging down from a man’s head’ is disgraceful?” Long effeminate hair is disgraceful. (more…)