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25 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2008 :  04:47:00  

Geia sas.

I have stumbled across afew verses that bother me abit:

1 Corinthians 11:5; and 1 Timothy 2:12

Both talk about women, here is the Greek :


Ἐπαινῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι πάντα μου μέμνησθε καὶ καθὼς παρέδωκα ὑμῖν τὰς παραδόσεις κατέχετε. 3 θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ὅτι παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἡ κεφαλὴ ὁ Χριστός ἐστι, κεφαλὴ δὲ γυναικὸς ὁ ἀνήρ, κεφαλὴ δὲ Χριστοῦ ὁ Θεός. 4 πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ. 5 πᾶσα δὲ γυνὴ προσευχομένη ἢ προφητεύουσα ἀκατακαλύπτῳ τῇ κεφαλῇ καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν ἑαυτῆς· ἓν γάρ ἐστι καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ τῇ ἐξυρημένῃ. 6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω· εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω. (Greek and English of 1 Corinthians 11:5)


γυναικὶ δὲ διδάσκειν οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω, οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ' εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ. 13 Ἀδὰμ γὰρ πρῶτος ἐπλάσθη, εἶτα Εὔα· 14 καὶ Ἀδὰμ οὐκ ἠπατήθη, ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἀπατηθεῖσα ἐν παραβάσει γέγονε· 15 σωθήσεται δὲ διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας, ἐὰν μείνωσιν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ καὶ ἁγιασμῷ μετὰ σωφροσύνης. (www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/new-testament/timothy_1/2.asp">Greek and English of 1 Timothy 2:12)

both bother me for obvious reasons i guess, is the corinthians passage saying that women should wear headscarves... and the Timothy saying that women are inferior to men? As "Adam was formed first, then Eve" and "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression"...

Any help in understanding these passages is appreciated.




615 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2008 :  05:02:38  


Hi John,

You must have noticed in our Icons, that Panaghia has her head (hair) covered. Now, imagine her not covering the hair, what would the difference be then? Since women used to (and still use to) have long hair, our attention would focus on that, so that she would appear as just a woman, and not as the Mother of God turning our attention to Him. Even our monks, who have long hair, do not let them free, but they bunch and tie them.

The first passage, of the Corinthians, does not imply an inferiority of women, since it relates their having man as their head, with Christ heaving the Father as His head. Paul was not considering Christ as inferior to the Father, as is evident by all his letters.

That man was created first does not imply an inferiority of women; it belongs to the way of thinking we find in the Corinthians passage. Man is the head of woman, as the Father is the head of the Son.

What Paul says about the sin of the Firstborn, seems to be problematic. I believe we should pay attention closely to the text, which gives all the emphasis to deceit. That both of them sinned, is certain; what Paul says here is that the woman sinned because she was deceived.

If she is more susceptible to deceit, then she is less able to teach, because teaching is precisely helping people leave deceit and know the truth.

Why she was deceived? Was not man deceived too? The only difference is that woman followed the serpent while man followed his woman. Paul can make sense only if we accept that following your woman is not deceit! But then deceit would not be just having wrong views, something like a mathematical / logistic error or just wrong information, ignorance of facts, etc. Then deceit would be something different, more akin to a wrong trust, than to a wrong 'opinion'.

What we are thinking now, trying to understand Paul, is most important to our sense of education, and I think that people of the Church, especially priests, should not pass it over quickly, because, if Paul is right, our sense of education is wrong. If Paul is right, education and teaching is not just a transmission of true opinions or valid knowledge.

If Paul is right, real education is the cultivation of a specific trust, to trust those who we love. If we can not say that man was deceived by following his wife, then our opinions matter very little, if at all; trust to our friends is all that matters.

We are deceived when we trust the alien person; we are not deceived when we trust our own - even if the latter is wrong, and leads us to sin.

Now, do women tend to betray their own? I don't know. If they do, then they have this particular inferiority. But I think, beyond the inferiority talk, much of it coming from our current sense of 'political correctness', what is most interesting is Paul's thinking, his sense of education as education in trust, not in opinions and information.

We know that Paul cared for truth in the sense of true belief and valid knowledge, yet from the verses you quote, is evident that his sense of truth as trust and love is incomparably stronger. After all, what was it, that led us out of Paradise, lack of information, or lack of love and trust?

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25 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2008 :  07:48:13  


Thank you for your reply george,

If i am understanding you correctly, i agree that in the case of the icon of Panaghia her hair being covered puts more emphasis on Christ, and distinguishes her as the Mother of God.

But the verse from Corinthians is saying that a woman who prays with an uncovered head is disgracing her head. Correct me if im wrong, but a woman'a hair cannot be taken as this 'covering' as then Paul goes on to say that if she prays with her head uncovered, it is the same as if she were shaven. This implies that she wasnt shaven when she was 'uncovered', and hence that women should pray with their head covered by something other than their hair.

Paul then goes on to explain this, giving the reasons:

οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀνὴρ ἐκ γυναικός, ἀλλὰ γυνὴ ἐξ ἀνδρός· 9 καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἐκτίσθη ἀνὴρ διὰ τὴν γυναῖκα, ἀλλὰ γυνὴ διὰ τὸν ἄνδρα. 10 διὰ τοῦτο ὀφείλει ἡ γυνὴ ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους.

The last sentace is particularly intersting.

Just as earlier in this Corinthians passage, the word κεφαλή is used when describing that:

"the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God"

As we esthablished that the use of the phrase doesnt imply superiority (as then Paul would be saying God is superior to Christ) then could there also be a possibility that here the word κεφαλή is not meant to be taken symbolically some way?

"if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."

Someone needs to ask the question:

Is it really a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven?

Maybe in our society and culture. I would imagine not in others.

At the end of the day, what difference should the length of our hair, (not) covering our heads when praying, or whether we're male or female have with our relationship with God?

Now to the Timothy passage.

The idea that 'womean betray their own, but men dont' still bothers me greatly, considering that in our modern society (from what i have seen anyway) the opposite is more frequently seen.

Is Paul here literally saying that, because man was formed first, and woman was decieved by the serpent, man is superior?

Although "women are saved in childbearing". Is this end statement also saying the salvation of women is rest upon whether they bear children or not?


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615 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2008 :  10:02:54  


Dear John,

First of all, you have to do something with your English. As you decided to learn Greek, consider also learning some English, since you use it. I don't say that you should not make any mistake at all, but reading you causes pain, because almost each and every of your phrases suffers from grave mistakes. Consider also writing slowly and carefully, paying much attention in the structure of your thinking. Then re-read what you wrote several times, and apply any corrections you might find necessary. All of this will help you in your Greek too, because your thinking will improve.

Your questions prolong a discussion on a very interesting subject; I'm glad that you have them.

We must distinguish in the Bible (and in other texts) elements that belong to an epoch, temporary customs, from permanent realities. Hair in women, at least in Paul's time, was connected with beauty and self adornment. I believe that in our age too women tend to 'decorate' themselves more than men. The essential here is 'decoration'; if that is achieved with a hairdressing or with lipstick, etc., it doesn't matter. You can not pray while you are painted like a clown, because to pray means to forget about you, to pass over your narcissism. The same is true in the other example, about Panaghia. She doesn't cover her hair in order to help us. Of course she is helping us too, but her covering comes out of her own, internal, departure from herself and devotion to God.

Let me repeat that the problem is not in hair only, but in any way by which we are attached to ourself and to our image, instead of God. This means, that a girl, in Paul's time or in ours, with long hair, without caring for that, without caring for herself, of course such a girl could pray truly. The same from another point: a woman can have her hair covered, and still be unable to pray. Paul doesn't give hairdressing rules! He just says "say a true prayer", "don't come to the church in order to show your beauty", etc.

The same way we can understand better the "deceit" issue. You say that, as far you have noticed, men betray more than women. I tend to agree with you. Recall that in the Old Testament Israel is God's people. Then Israel denied God. These things change. What was true for women, may now be true for men. The crucial for us is to keep the meaning of the deceit, the meaning and importance of the betrayal, the meaning of education and trust.

The Bible doesn't say that man is superior to woman. The Bible says that anyone who has trust and love, is superior to those who lack trust and love. This 'anyone' may be now a man, then a woman.

Paul doesn't say that man is superior because he is created first. He says that there must be an order in education (this is self evident, because in education there is by definition a teacher and a student), and in this order the teacher is he who is created first - i.e. he who has more immediate relationship with God.

The same to your last question. A woman can have children, without getting help from that. Usually, to a woman her children is what she loves most. Having children will get her out of herself and her 'decorations'. This is why Paul says that she will be saved by bearing children. If a woman can have that love and more without even getting married, of course she will be saved.

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