Head coverings for women

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by anglican74, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There is no need to be rude, nor is there any need for anyone to do any work for me. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim. I am in fact quite familiar with the primary historical sources, and thus know that your claim above is incorrect. If you wish to maintain otherwise, you’re welcome to cite a source, and thereby bring the discussion back to the realm of facts instead of preferences or presuppositions. So far, you haven’t provided a shred of evidence for any of what you’ve claimed, and you’ve admitted as much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I can imagine congregations and vicars have considerable problems fitting some people in somewhere while trying to prevent them smashing up the theological furniture and turning the assembly of the little flock into a Pharisaical 'letter lawyers' court room.

    How much CERTAINTY can there be that these two verses were actually written by the Apostle Paul, when there were those in Corinth copying his letters to be read in church, who openly declared him a false Apostle and disagreed with his teaching, not accepting his frequent rebukes concerning their conduct.

    And where is the letter Paul mentions in 2 Cor.7:8. (For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it), for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting) Do we have it perhaps in 2 Cor. elsewhere? Some say we may.

    Whatever may be the case, the imposition of headwear on all women in church would be difficult to justify in the light of all the passages of Holy scripture that there is no doubt whatever that Paul was the author of. The imposing of a RULE or 'law' of dresscode upon only one section of a congregation that is supposedly ONE IN THE LORD by forcing the wearing of head coverings on only the women, (what they do voluntarily is their own affair), is unchristlike, unspiritual, unloving, misguided, legalism gone mad.
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    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  3. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    0867760D-F5E0-41DA-A0EC-CADB036FBFF8.png
     
  4. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    “As a Christian, let me undermine the scriptures” BA082666-0AC7-4EF8-8E79-81EB2F9F7BFF.jpeg
     
  5. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Well-Known Member

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    Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
    Matthew 23:24
     
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  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Undermining one's own integrity with one's own art is quite an ambiguous artistic feat though. The speed at which that was produced would astonish even Rolf Harris. :laugh: :biglaugh: :rofl:

    Clearly there are some people Anglicans might wish would go and join a sect. Any sect.
    .
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A good test of whether we want female head coverings because God insists that they have 'something' on their heads in church, when 'prophesying', or just because we have some sort of male prejudice against women generally, would be, to consider what 'kind of' head covering we might think 'appropriate' for women, and which not 'appropriate'.

    Something 'feminine' obviously. But who decides what is actually 'feminine'? Fashions change, what was 'in vogue' for ladies in 1600 Geneva or Madrid is not necessarily OK for 21st century Baltimore or New York. Something acceptable to the whole congregation, yes, but how will that be decided, and on what criteria?

    If the general principle of the necessity of head coverings is accepted, will there be the option for women to object if they consider the headgear 'demeaning', 'unflattering', 'unfashionable' or 'ugly'. Will the men have the final say on whether women can opt to cover their heads with a homberg, stetson, fez, boater, trilby, Mexican 10 gallon hat, mink fur Russian style hat, turban or fedora. On what 'Biblical' grounds could objections to all or any of these be raised?

    Can anyone see the confusion the church is liable to experience if hat wearing for women becomes a disciplinary 'requirement' as some men and women imagine the scriptures to stipulate is essential.

    Isn't there enough theological confusion in the church without adding to it unnecessarily trivial questions of dress and headgear? Surely anything or nothing is OK so long as it is neither offensive, obtrusive, distracting or obscene.

    If this 'rule' is to be generally accepted as essential in any and every 'Legitimate Christian Assembly', do we need to find out exactly what 'style' and 'type' of head covering was actually being referred to in 1 Cor.11:3-16, or can anything which covers the head of our lady folk do OK?

    If it has to be 'Corinthian' then why? What did they wear in Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, (either the one in Asia or the one in the USA) or Ephesus. Do we even know if all the women in those churches wore headdress when prophesying? And even if we suspect they did, what exactly was that headdress like? Can we know? Do we need to Know? Does God really care, as long as all is conducted in good order, without offense?
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I fear that our friend @Classical Anglican has not expressed the grounds for his stance in the best of lights. As someone who still feels somewhat uncertain and unsettled on the issue of female head coverings in church, I am open to further evidence. So I did a bit of searching online and I happened across a writer who makes the case for head coverings in a way I'd never heard before. Some of the thoughts this writer presents are truly thought-provoking to me. I ask our friends @Invictus and @Tiffy to read this page as well and then share their thoughts and potential refutations. The writer suggests that the "culture of the day" narrative is not supported by the physical evidence, and that Tertullian specifically refuted that narrative in a document circa 200 A.D.

    Tangential to the webpage doc I've linked to, it occurs to me that all depictions of Mary (Jesus' earthly mother) show her with a full head covering just like Tertullian specifies as the appropriate type. :hmm:
     
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    LOL. As if it were possible to derive facts of history from our own intuition. :doh: And again, there’s no need to be sarcastic. :disgust:
     
  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I also found an interesting article that contains some notable facts on the subject. I’m done engaging with @Classical Anglican on the subject, but for the sake of clarity between myself, @Tiffy, and @Rexlion, I have nothing against head coverings per se. No one disputes that the practice of wearing them was widespread during much of Christian history, and that this is reflected in much of Church art (e.g., iconography of the BVM). At the same time, it’s also clear that it has been the subject of disagreement at different points, which means that the prevailing practice wasn’t uniform. In medieval Byzantium, for example, whether women wore them or not, and where, was as much an indicator of social class and marital status as anything else, and the antecedents for Byzantine practice in this case were pagan rather than Jewish. Furthermore, the data we can derive from the various streams of tradition do not necessarily give us insight into what St. Paul might have meant in his own discussion of the subject centuries earlier. For that, we are dependent on 1st cent. Jewish and Greco-Roman sources to hypothesize what the original context of the epistles to the Corinthians may have been. In our own time, I am sympathetic toward women who wish to wear them, as well as to those who do not. I can think of no compelling reason why women ought or ought not wear them, but I can think of a number of reasons why some women might want or not want to wear them. On the one hand, some might argue that they can have a humanizing and de-objectifying effect in that they tend to direct attention toward the face, but on the other hand, others might rightly point out that they can very much be symbols or tools of discrimination and oppression, in both religious and secular environments. It all depends on the context. In the Orthodox parish I formerly attended, those women who came from Eastern Europe or Russia typically wore them inside the nave, while those from Middle Eastern countries never wore them at all. Given their differing cultural backgrounds, I think that makes a great deal of sense. In the grand scheme of things, given the problems we face today, I don’t think it’s a terribly important issue, and I think we’re intellectually mature enough to concede that the matter is best left to the consciences and preferences of individual women, without interference from men, the Church, society in general, or the State.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    There's a webpage of an Orthodox parish that says in part:
    Early Christian women chose to submit themselves to the Church and not allow their beauty to distract others during worship. St. Paul writes that this form of piety brings honor upon a woman, as her hair is “a glory to her.” Covering the thing that brings her glory in the presence of God is an act of submission and humility before Him. Any woman who submits to God in this way truly is a shining example to those around her.​
    That seems like a valid way to look at it. The other side of the coin is: women in today's society don't want to be submissive to anyone (neither God nor men), so they choose to consider Paul's counsel on the subject as irrelevant and outdated. And no man can change a woman's mind once she makes it up! :laugh: Her outward action reflects her inward inclination.

    It occurs to me that the "custom" argument probably was introduced into seminaries by liberal teachers. This led to a general belief among most clergy that head coverings for women were passé, which caused them to stop teaching that women should wear them (and to actively teach the contrary), which in turn allowed the laity to drift away from the practice. Now we are at a point that it would be extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible, to reintroduce the practice in most western churches.
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    So much the better for those church assemblies that DON'T impose 'RULES' on the issue, on their women.

    I grew up in a church where the ladies competed with each other to see who could pile the most artificial fruit on their sunday 'hat'. Some of them were fierce old bats who I wouldn't class a particularly nice people, let alone devout worshippers. One woman wore a full black face veil with dense black spots all over it. Looked like she had a disease. Only uncovered her face to actually receive communion at the altar rail and was always the centre of attention wherever she walked or sat in church. These man made 'traditions' are as much irrelevant distractions now from what we should be concentrating upon in worship, as the bare headed Corinthian women were becoming, (according to the writer of this possible interpolation), to 'The Angels'. (Which incidentally might simply be referring to the messengers who took church gossip from one church to another throughout the Roman Empire, comparing one church with another, sometimes stirring up dissent and disunity). This would make more sense than the notion that angelic beings are 'turned on' or 'offended' by some women's hair styles, so women should be made to cover up in church and 'Christian' men, (not Jewish ones), should stay bare headed during Christian worship. Such nonsense was almost certainly never written by St Paul himself, or perhaps those who interpret what he wrote have got hold of entirely the wrong end of the stick. They also miss the obvious contradiction between having to wear head coverings when prophesying and being told they must remain silent and only the men should be allowed to prophesy. Supposedly written by the self same person in the self same letter, now 1 Cor.
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2022
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    My question is, what concrete evidence do we have that shows it was a man-made tradition for women to cover their heads when praying? And what evidence exists to prove that the practice was merely a cultural issue rather than an instruction from God to the Church? Is it possible that we've been taken in by the "everyone says so nowadays, therefore it must be true" fallacy?
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Who do we suppose enforce the 'traditional' wearing of head coverings of Muslim women? Men or women? Who do we suppose codified the rules that Jewish women had to comply with in 1st century Palestine? Who therefore most likely drew up the dress codes of women in the Corinthian church? It was certainly a man who was insistent on silencing them and men in control who Paul was writing to criticising their behaviour in the Eucharist. Paul actually got a LOT of opposition frm 'MEN' at Corinth.
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    So in other words, there is no evidence; there is only supposition? "Who do you suppose..." :) Can the Church overrule 1 Cor. 11 based on supposition?

    I'm not sure why you are so focused on "enforcement." The Church does not "enforce" adherence to the Bible; let's not confuse Christianity with Islam and its Quran. The Church teaches truth from the Bible and people either obey God or they don't. The issue at hand is whether we've been teaching the truth lately about head coverings. That is worth discussing... hopefully in a nonconfrontational, rational, non-emotional way. If a large chunk of the Church has veered from the truth in this (admittedly small) matter, it's worth talking about and perhaps nudging the Church back on course; or if the Church actually had it wrong for 1900 years, it's worth exploring how to deal with the evidentiary details presented by the pro-headcovering folks.

    The writer of the article I linked to seems to have made a couple of points that sound valid to me. He maintains that it is God's will for women to wear head coverings when praying because 1 Cor. 11 shows it is an outward symbol of their acceptance of the role and position God gave them in this life. He points out that the reason given for wearing a covering is not a cultural reason but a reason that pertains to grace before God ("they disgrace themselves" by not wearing one). He says the pagan religions and the general culture at that time did not have a head-covering expectation, which means it was not part of the culture then, so it had to be specifically a Christian practice. He further offers evidence that the early Church understood it thusly by quoting Tertullian: "This observance is required by truth. Therefore no one can impose any condition on it. No space of time, no influence of persons, and no privilege of regions." And the writer points out (in agreement with other sources I've now viewed) that secular art from the period shows women with no head coverings, while all of the Christian frescoes and art depict godly Christian women with head coverings; this seems to refute the popular modern notion that 1 Cor. 11 was written as an admonishment to maintain cultural norms, because by the wearing of head coverings the Christian women were readily distinguishable from most other women.

    I would like to enlist the forum members' help in knowing if those points are fallacious or erroneous. If they are, great! If they are not, then I must allow the Bible and 1 Cor. 11 to inform and re-form my opinion. But suppositions are tenuous, while actual evidence is much more persuasive to me.
     
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    You might find this brief survey helpful.
    https://wp.geneseo.edu/masks/2021/0...face-coverings-ancient-to-contemporary-times/
     
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  18. Br. Thomas

    Br. Thomas Active Member

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    In our small mission-parish of the Anglican Catholic Church, we have some women that wear a head-covering (veil) and many that do not. The priest's wife does not, yet his daughter does. The same practice holds for some of the other families. Grandmother does, mother does not, grand-daughter does. I see or hear no one admonishing the other over wear of the veil or not. Some do and some do not. No one "enforces" the head-coverings for women, but some still do practice it. The split in persons using veils is about the same for those that use a rosary in their worship. No one says to do so or not.
     
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  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    To me what you describe is as it should be, unity rather than uniformity!
     
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  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think this shows that the pro-headcovering folks have somewhat overstated the case regarding the customs and usages back then. There is some visual evidence and historical info that can be interpreted to support their case, and some that can be interpreted in opposition of it. In other words, it's not really definitive.