22 Feb 2013 
#55 How do you make a correction when there are no delete keys to use: a lesson by Paul

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Paul, letting his Jewishness take hold of him (and likely revealing his personal views), starts on the wrong foot by being very discriminating against the female gender, and putting women much lower than men. He will realize the error and, from 11:10, tries to re-establish complete equality between the two genders. Then he attempts to find some other argument (away from Genesis 2:7, 20b-23) but goes quickly into conflict with what he said earlier in 11:5-6. There, an uncovered woman is shameful, as just like having her head shaved, but later, at 11:15, a woman's hair is her covering & glory. An exasperated Paul has to suggest the true reason (11:16): in Gentile Christian gatherings, women with uncovered hair would look bad (for Paul!) if observed by visiting other Christians.

11: 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
[Christ is inferior to God, and a woman is (way) below a man]

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
[Very strong and unambiguous language!]

6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
[Even more explicit: an uncovered woman is to be treated like a sheep with wool!]

[Does what follow represent the personal (Jewish) views of Paul on women? Likely so]
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man [Ge 2:20-23]. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

[At that point, Paul probably understood that, if the previous statements are not "corrected", he will lose the support of many women, including the very generous ones of Philippi. So he starts to be "nice" about women]
10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
[??? which reason? Suddenly, the hair covering becomes a symbol of authority!] 

[And now, it's time for Paul to do some heavy damage control in order to repair what he said in 11:3-9]
11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord [back to equality!]. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman [back to equality again! and opposite of what Paul said in 11:8a]; but all things are from God.

13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
[Now, woman's hair covered or not is a matter of propriety, subject to human judgment]

14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
[Paul likely knows he is contradicting himself (see 10:5-6 "...with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved") and getting trapped into a mess: now the woman's long hair is considered a head covering! Certainly, he is not going anywhere]

[Now the time has come to forget about intellectual arguments using dubious logic & controversial basis and be more direct & plain]
16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
[We have it now: women should cover their hair because it is the custom in other churches]

One more point: does the above verses look to come from a "fabricated Paul"?
According to 1 Cor 16:21, Paul did not write the letter, he dictated it.
And Paul, very likely, did not want to loose face in front of his scribe, probably one of his followers, by asking him to erase several verses or rewriting the letter (if on a scroll) or part of it (if on sheets). That would imply Paul made a mistake (& was not inspired from above!).
However, someone writing in the name of Paul in secret had the luxury to do some rewriting in order to remove any "faux pas".

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {1 Corinthians} {Paul} {woman/women}
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