Christian Guy--Excellent post! I enjoyed your sound reasoning and learned some new things.
Head Coverings for Women
I never understood the purpose behind that whole Sister must have their head covered Then when there were no brothers there to lead for field service, I would see people like my mother put a paper towel or napkin on top of her head. Now mind you my mother is a very obese white woman with an afro.
That was a lot of effort Christian Guy. I appreciate the effort. I have to say that this passage has been argued and debated so many times and so many ways that if Paul had a point he completely messed it up. The refutation argument you suggest, is popular with modernists but really cannot be taken seriously. There is nothing "obvious" about the author preparing his readers for a quote of false teachers. Nothing. Rather he asserts his authority and their continued compliance before declaring his 3 reasons women must have head coverings. First was the order of Creation, second was so as not to upset or stumble the angels who were believed to be keepers of order, and then third an appeal to nature. It is a mess, and word choice seems particularly clumsy but the message really can't be honestly confused.
As to appealing to psuedoPauline works like 1 Tim, Titus, and the anonymous Hebrews has no value in determining Paul's sexism. Similarly the ProtoOrthodox rewrite of church history in Acts. And an appeal to a woman teacher equated to Jezebel in Revelation? really?
Hi Christian Guy. I too really enjoyed your post. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I just wondered what you thought of the fact that almost all scholars are certain that Paul did not write either Timothy 1 nor 2 ?
Xanthippe I am absolutely certain you are right. Like the hand washing and burial rules and your Hindi example, most of these things began on a practical basis and then folkloric ideas were subsequently added.
Peaceful Pete : second was so as not to upset or stumble the angels who were believed to be keepers of order,
Hi Peaceful Pete I just thought I ought to say that as far as I know it’s only the witnesses who assert this. “Because of the Angels” could equally mean to prevent the Angels from lusting after good Christian women the way they did in Noah’s time!!! There is no specific reasoning given in that (in English) ungrammatical non-clause. It could mean anything.
Diogenesister.....Angels were deemed the keepers of order in Jewish religious services and were even addressed in a prayer at Sabbath mealtime and it seems likely why Paul mentioned them. The JW spin about sexually tempting the angels is a bit silly given they would see them naked everyday. Then again, who knows, he may not have thought the argument through before using it.
“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. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35).
It is interesting that many scholars conclude it was a marginal note inserted into the text and not part of the original author's text. This is because the text interrupts the flow of the surrounding passage, as interpolations often do. And the fact that the comment appears in various places in the text in ancient manuscripts again suggesting the copyists had a problem with the insertion and struggled as to where it should go. This may have happened under the influence of 1 Tim 2:11, 12, which was not written by Paul but someone pretending to be him.
I was raised Roman Catholic and we wore a lace head covering or a mantila when we were in church
However, it wasn’t drilled into my head that it was because women had to be ‘in subjection’, even though this may have been the original reason. The Catholics weren’t as mean about it as the Jehovah’s Witness religion.
Witnesses have a serious issue about women as far as I am concerned and I don’t consider this to be my problem.
I'll engage in some speculative reconstructions. The generally accepted as authentic Pauline writings were favored by sects that opposed the ProtoOrthodoxy that became the Catholic church. Marcionites (as distinct from Gnostic) and Gnostics (many sects) and ProtoOrthox church in Jerusalem, all three had large followings and couldn't stand each other by the end of the 2nd century. The Gnostics had some identifying doctrines such as Docetism and a more feminist view of God and women. The ProtoOrthodoxy gained dominance and unquestionably engaged in quite blatant editing and interpolating of the texts to suppress or refute the opposing sects views. Erhman did a pretty good introduction to this in his book "Forged". Many of the verses were specifically altered to oppose Docetism. I don't recall if he dealt with the a feminine aspect of God/Spirit, but Elaine Pagels did as I recall. Some church leaders such as Tertullian actually denounced Paul as a false teacher and self serving fraud but eventually the orthodoxy had to adapt to include Paul but did so with a revisionist Paul, a Paul they could live with. The book of Acts was then written, multiple edits and additions to Paul's work were made. We can know this with reasonable certainty, however it may just be that we have only the ability to identify a fraction of the earliest interpolations and editing work done.
As part of this assimilating Paul into the family they would have had motivation to introduce misogynist words into Paul. Paul was considered the favored, if not the only, Apostle by both Gnostics and Marcionite churches. The Gnostics seem to have clung tight to the passage in Gal 3:28 "nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." and took that to be a mystical truth. The Gnostics for certain had women in the priesthood..
So, in an effort to be agreeable, I say it is possible that 1 Cor 11 has been altered like chapt 14 was. It could have happened around the time or even by the same hand that penned the Epistles 1 and 2 Tim and Titus. If so then Paul has wrongly been accused of being sexist.
My own personal view was that due to the woman having naturally given a head covering, that they were too wear the scarves to lower themselves among the angels. Since women are above the angels, and this was an act of humility.
As a practical matter, covering up your womenfolk with veils and head-coverings in a time of outright depredation by marauders (and with the coercive power of chieftains and petty rulers to have sex at will with travelers ) would certainly help prevent targeting of daughters and wives.
As a Christian matter today in "civilized" countries, I can only roll my eyes and shake my head. But hey- that's me.
CONTROL of women by exercise of AUTHORITY (religious, domestic, and political) reveals itself in "customs".
Women are taught how wonderful it is from their youth to "submit" and surrender to (cough cough) any male through deference and obedience.
Yeah - well -- those days are fast behind us and it is unfortunate in the extreme how backward Christianity (and it's sects) self-target with pontificated pronouncements of imperious solicitude. To wit: Head covering is STILL important (or else.)
I'm sorry I wasted twenty years in a religious cult of Puritanical pointy-heads.
It's hard to grow up when you find a refuge of empowerment as a man that grants license to exercise dominion and eschew equality. Eh?
But guess what? If it weren't for these compliant Sisters, there'd be no Church at all any longer. Cognitive Dissonance reigns supreme and the well of reason is poisoned I'm afraid.
TO SHOW RESPECT for these practices bewilders me. It galls me.
I have four daughters. You can be quite certain they'd have plenty to gainsay were such customs proposed to them.
In our family, we only respect those who earn our respect sensibly, rationally, and equitably.
Religious Faith is a tenuous tightrope walk of superstition across a chasm of modernity and Civil Rights by indoctrinated victims who see themselves as righteous and the rest of us as --- well --- we remember, don't we? How we regarded people who DID NOT share our view of "THE TRUTH"...