Head coverings for women

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

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The thing that gave me the greatest pause was the quotations from Tertullian's piece, "On Veiling Virgins." It is true that Tertullian felt it was a slam-dunk: all women past puberty should wear a "veil". He goes far beyond anything we find in the Bible, though. Tertullian reasons (without showing much support beyond his own opinion) that the "veil" needs to cover the entire head down to the shoulders, that it should also conceal (at least partially) the face, and that it should be worn at all times when 'out and about' (not just when praying) if not perhaps at home as well! When we combine these extrapolations of Tertullian with the fact that he was not really well-regarded in the church world because of some unorthodox ideas (he even became a Montanist), it seems plain that his writings should be "taken with a grain of salt." Thus, his observation that the use of head coverings was prevalent among church women at that time is a helpful one; but his statement-- that the practice as he envisioned it (which I just described) must be for all times and all places-- takes on the character of an embellishment upon orthodox Christian faith. It's somewhat akin to a claim that all Christians must wear a fringed prayer shawl on the basis that Jesus wore one. Tertullian certainly thought that the practice transcended culture, but does his thinking make it so?

    This leads us back to the sound principle that the essence of our faith lies not in outward trappings but rather the inner inclination of the heart and mind toward Jesus. Just as we are counseled against judging people by what they eat or drink (1 Cor. 10, Col. 2) or by how well or poorly they dress (James 2), we should not judge by whether (or how thoroughly) a woman covers her head. Let the women be guided by their conscience and their understanding of scripture. Let not one Christian look down on another. I don't think God's wrath is stirred by a lack of head coverings on females. (Although I did see a fellow wearing a ball cap all through a church service, and I'm still amazed that lightning from heaven did not strike him dead! :laugh: )
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2022
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this approach to the problem, (if it can be termed that), of some women apparently not complying with an apparently apostolic reccommendation of certain conduct in Holy Scripture.

    This (problem) comes about because of the view of some Christian believers that Holy Scripture being inspired means that every word and sentence found anywhere in the Bible is LAW and are potentially direct commands of God concerning our conduct here on earth as servants of The Lord. Many believe this to be true. Many, including myself, firmly believe it NOT to be universally true of everything we may read into it that might appear to us to be a command.

    St Paul wrote, (in Holy Scripture), "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." The Spirit of the Lord is supposed to be in US.

    The author of 1 Cor. 11:3-16, (whoever we think or believe he might have been), is suggesting a higerarchy within the trinity which conflicts with what Paul clearly states elsewhere in Holy scripture. To my mind this indicates the passage to be suspect, especially considering the state of the church in Corinth, with enemies of Paul and opposers of his teaching causing trouble in the church there, actually condemned by Paul in 1 and 2 Corinthians.

    I believe that Paul would never have implied that Christ is NOT the head of women in the church, but rather their husbands are their head. Neither would Paul have suggested that GOD is the head of Christ. There is no higherarchy in the Trinity, :

    (For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity : to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord ; So we are forbidden by the Catholic Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords. -- and in this Trinity none is afore or after other : none is greater, or less than another.)

    So advocates for the imposition of female only head covering, (that is what I vehemently oppose, not head covering itself, it being merely a matter of personal choice), have to make a choice. Do they insist that 1 Cor.11:3-16 teaches a divine higherarchy in contradiction to the QUICUNQUE VULT, in order to justify their Pharisaical beliefs on male headship and men's precedence and superiority before God, over the women in their congregation.

    In MY opinion: Legally imposed RULES concerning what women or men must or must not wear upon their head in church are a denial of the Rule and Soverignty of The Holy Spirit, in the heart and life of the individual, be they either MAN or WOMAN, and a denial of the FREEDOM the Holy Spirit requires of us and annoints us all with, in the church of Jesus Christ.
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I must take issue with that. I see no mention of any "hierarchy of the Trinity" in that portion of scripture. Christ is the only member of the Trinity that is even mentioned there.

    Beyond that, it is possible for a hierarchy of order to exist between two (or more) without implying any lack of ability or knowledge. For example, only one person at a time can drive a particular motor vehicle; this creates a hierarchy of order between driver and passenger, but either one could be perfectly capable of driving (and perhaps the passenger would be better at it), but order requires that only one be designated as the driver. Similarly, in a marriage God expressed through the Bible that only one (the male) be designated as the leader within that marriage. And in the case of the Trinity, only the Father directed the Son during His earthly ministry, not the other way around; this is a hierarchy of order that in no way suggests any shortcoming or lack in God the Son.
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I believe the passage @Tiffy was referring to is 1 Cor. 11:3:

    But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
    “Head of ___” either connotes hierarchy or non-hierarchy; it cannot mean both at the same time in this passage. This is also not the only passage in 1 Corinthians that could be - and was - read in a subordinationist manner, by ‘orthodox’ and ‘heterodox’ alike, in the first centuries of the Church. There is also, for example, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28:

    Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.​
     
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." 1 Cor.11:3. St Paul would have been quite scandalised to think that believers would take HIS words to mean that Christ is NOW under the HEADSHIP of God, after resurrection, ascention and glorification as the 2nd Person of the Trinity, (-God Himself-), Co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will.

    This sentence at 1 Cor.11:3 was, I'm quite confident, not written by St Paul but by some Corinthian misogynist copyist or even by an untrustworthy scribe that Paul was giving his dictation too. The former is the more likely though because Paul would probably have checked that the original was actually what he would have spoken. I prefer Occams Razor method of resolving difficult theological connundrums to the multitude of clever and imaginative 'explanations' for the blundering complexities and contradicting, ill explained, nonsense found between 1 Cor.11:3 and 1 Cor.11:16.

    What is most convincing to me is the FACT that IF 1 Cor.11:3-16 is removed from 1 Cor.11:1-20, not only does it still make perfect sense but it also makes MORE sense than if 1 Cor.11:3-16 are included, because the possibly interpolated verses break the natural continuity of logical meaning between 1 Cor.11:2 to 1 Cor.11:17 onwards.
    "2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. - - 17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk.
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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2022
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    John Chrysostom’s exegesis of this passage is a good example of what became the traditional approach to ‘squaring the circle’ in the attempt to reconcile equality with subjection in their reading of the Pauline corpus.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay, thanks, I overlooked that.

    Heb 2:6-9 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    Philp 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    I think the scriptures clearly show a divinely appointed order (a hierarchy, if you will, but one that is assumed voluntarily, willingly, and to superlative advantage & effect) among the Persons of the Godhead. Jesus certainly showed submissiveness to the Father, and even now the victory won by Christ does not simply glorify Him but accrues to the Father's glory. It's somewhat akin to Christ saying, "Father, you have the wheel; drive on!" If Jesus had not been obedient unto death on the cross, where would we be? And why should we be amazed if we cannot yet see clearly the full mystery behind His continuation of action in a role of obedience until all things (including death) are placed under His feet? Let us not "place God in a box" of our own devise by saying He must act in the particular way which comports with our personal mental image of what He should be. :hmm:

    I disagree, for I think Paul penned it. Yet the important takeaway for all Christians is the fact that this statement is part of the Canon of Scripture and is as divinely inspired as all the rest of Scripture.

    Well then, get your trusty scissors and cut out that verse straightaway from your Bible. While you're at it, snip out all the other parts you don't think belong there. It will be interesting to see the swiss-cheese effect once you've finished. :p

    Speaking of cutting, I believe I am "inspired" to head to the refrigerator and cut myself a chunk of that Irish oak-smoked cheddar I bought yesterday. Mmmmm. :popcorn:
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2022
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The problem with the Pauline corpus in general, and 1 Corinthians in particular in the case at hand, is that we know the answers, but not the questions. He says “I commend you for following the traditions I have handed on to you” (though he doesn’t say which ones), but then says “but I want you to understand”, etc., as though they had attributed a false meaning to one or more of these traditions. I don’t think we can infer merely from our own lack of more precise knowledge as to its background that the passage in question is an interpolation, or that this epistle had more than one author.
     
  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    This is one of many attempts to reconcile the inherent, (not inerrant), theological conclusions many have wrongly deduced from this statement, (PRESUMED to have come from Paul, an apostle, therefore particularly inspired and weighty. Indeed accepted in the canon of scripture), with other Pauline and other apostolic statements concerning the nature of The Trinity and relationships therein.

    I still think this kind of theodicy would be unnecessary if this diversion in the discourse and apparently abrupt discontinuation of the more important discussion of the way in which The Eucharist is celebrated in the Corinthian church, is seen as an interpolation set in by someone of less theological intellect and much greater misogynistic prejudice than St Paul's.

    I agree that the fact remains that it is actually THERE in holy scripture and therefore 'inspired' with the rest of scripture, and therefore cannot simply be 'cut out' or 'removed', but it can also legitimately be regarded as somewhat LESS than a direct command of God which only pertains to the conduct of WOMEN (and what they must wear upon their heads), when attending worship in Christian assemblies, for all time.
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  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I actually demonstrated the effect of removing the 'offending' passage from the free flowing, uninterrupted reasoning of St Paul to the Corinthians, on the specific subject of their current abuse of the Eucharistic feast when they met together for worship. There appears to be as little evidence of a void of substance as you will find in your excellent Irish-smoked cheddar. Imported I assume, but NOT from Switzerland. Swiss cheese has holes called 'eyes' in it. American cheese, (yeuch), is famously 'blind'. No wonder though that you have to import cheese from countries that can make it taste decently. :laugh: Try the veritable King of cheeses, a good strong Stilton.

    Indeed, no holes. Nothing of any value can be found in a void. :laugh:
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  11. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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