Weird Logic?

head covering 1

Q. Isn’t Paul illogical when he argued that women should have their head covered while men shouldn’t? As Christ is the head of everyman, and the man is the head of a woman (v 3), why is it that every man who has his head covered while praying or prophesying disgraces his head (v 4), but every woman who has her head uncovered while doing the same thing disgraces her head (v 5)? This is especially so since man is the glory of God, and woman is the glory of man (v 7). It doesn’t make sense!

A. I have touched on the subject before in https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/head-coverings/
On the surface it does look strange, as:

1 Co 11:3
Christ is the head of man
Man is the head of woman

1 Co 11:7
Man is the glory of God
Woman is the glory of man

There is symmetrical parallel. So why should there be a discontinuity requiring a woman to cover her head while praying or prophesying but not for a man?

There is a discontinuity for two reasons. The first is that Paul was contrasting man and woman, rather than comparing their similarities:
• Origin: man does not originate from woman, but woman from man (v 8);
• Purpose: man was not created for woman’s sake, but woman for man’s sake (v 9). So there is no need to assume everything to be similar.

The second is the meaning of the covering, as a symbol of authority on the head (v 10). God made man first, then woman as his helper suitable for him (Gen 2:18). Though both are equal before God in terms of their essence, man was given the role of “head” and woman wear long hair/covering as a symbol of authority over her.

Then why doesn’t man wear long hair or covering, as Christ is his head? For two reasons:
• Man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God (v 7), and God is invisible (Col 1:15). A visual symbol is not necessary.
• Nature itself teach that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him (v 14).

While the logic may appear baffling to contemporary thinking, it is consistent with the rabbinic style of argument.

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One thought on “Weird Logic?

  1. That’s one way of looking at it, but here’s another: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/07/01/paul-subverts-male-authoritarianism/
    Some of the verses are quotes from and references to the letter that the Corinthians wrote to Paul asking him to clear up the confusion which Paul either directly or indirectly refutes. There’s a strong possibility that there were those in one of the Corinthian factions (my guess is the Judaizers) who believed that women were subordinate to men because a corrupted teaching from Genesis. Woman is man’s equal, she is just as much the glory of God as he is, therefore she has the right to control what she wears on her head.

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