Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuesday's Trivia.

A great hat speaks for itself! ~Anon

It is a fact that from the 1st century until the early 1960s respectable women of the western world covered their heads when they ventured out in public, usually in the home as well & most certainly when they attended church services ~ & on the whole the Christian community is aware of Paul's controversial statements about coverings & long hair. So not going there.

You may, however, be as intrigued as I was with the varying fashion statements that may account, in part, for Paul's rather robust viewpoint.

The Greeks, for example [& Paul had quite a bit to do with them] had a habit of running about starkers [oh my!]. Men on the prowl for an *initiate* would ogle the available young men at their schools & gymnasiums. It was a highly regulated system with strict penalties for violations but a tad icky just the same. The more questionable male habits have pretty much overshadowed what Greek women were up to. Certainly their everyday dress was much more modest, particularly for the married women, & they sometimes did, & sometimes didn't, cover their heads in public & about the home. However, in the context of Pagan cultic worship [Demeter, Dionysius, Andaria] women were not allowed to cover their heads with anything but a laurel chaplet. Usually their hair was loose & uncovered. I don't think we'll discuss what actually took place at some of these rituals but it makes Paul's point look far more reasonable. In essence he was asking the Christian women to be distinct from their heathen counterparts.

Roman women did cover ~ some of the time. Just like now those who could get away with it broke with accepted custom until Tertullian complained there was no distinction between matrons & harlots. Any reading of Roman history turns up some very unsavory women amongst the men.

Jewish women did cover ~ all the time ~ & the removal of her covering was such a shameful thing that if she was charged with adultery she was judged bareheaded that if she was capable of shame it was apparent.

I'm not sure Paul really understood women though because most women have a fashion streak wider than the Indian Ocean & any covering was going to fall, sooner rather than later, to the dictates of fashion. Even the Elizabethans covered ~ & they were the numbskulls who made wigs so elaborate & so plastered with lard to hold them together they bred mice & cockroaches & required special wire cages at night to keep the rodents at bay. The thought of having that on my head would have me haring off to Bedlam [the local nut house].

Not unnaturally, over time, the spiritual reason for covering fell by the wayside & coverings became more & more of a fashion statement, more elaborate & far less about modesty ~ as anyone who has witnessed the Melbourne Cup Race Day's monstrosities will testify. Serving neither a spiritual purpose nor a practical application even hats were eventually ditched.

Besides, if this was the result when in 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats, I can't imagine anyone would want to wear any sort of a covering.


seekingmyLord said...

In some ways, it all depends on the "coverings," doesn't it?

Amanda said...

My dear friend, I thought you had gone awol!! LOL

This must be one of those posts that requires a bit of research... you presented all the facts well. I don't know much at all about this sort of topic but it was interesting... thank you!

Ganeida said...

Seeking: witty lady. ;P

Amanda: Don't you love how *conversations* transpose from blog to blog! ☺ But yes, although I knew most of this I like to check my facts ~ & the spelling of those words I just know spell~check is going to have a spac attack over. lol I can waffle all day on certain aspects of history though the Greeks, on the whole, make my blood curdle. Ick!

Ruby said...

You were up at 4am reading that?
"they bred mice & cockroaches & required special wire cages at night to keep the rodents at bay."
That is just too much!

But interesting...very interesting:-)

Ganeida said...

Ruby: Disgusting as it is I cope quite well with the mice & roaches in the hairdos. lol It's the Greeks do my head in & I never could figure out how they got the *height of civilization* tag. EEW! I do not like the Greeks.

Ruby said...

You were tactful enough not to elaborate on their behaviours for us. So glad we descend from that other decadent place else you might hate us :-( But then it is fallen man and not any particular race whose heart is deceitful and wicked. No?

Ganeida said...

Um, Ruby, I don't think you want to know what I knowbut it does prove your point rather nicely. lol

Jo said...

When I was at school I wasn't allowed to leave the school yard with out my hat firmly on! And no sitting on buses without that hat on - and this wasn't that many years ago! Great post:)

Ganeida said...

Jo: Yeah, the school I went to did the hat thing too; a silly velour thing that was merely decorative & served no useful purpose. I hated mine.