Here are some thoughts on the subject of how a Lady should (and shouldn’t) wear her hair in public.
The origin of the phrase ‘To let your hair down’….
In Tudor England the ladies wore their hair up, and in ‘wimples’ (those were pointed bonnets you see in paintings).
Beneath, their hair was piled high and pinned. Naturally, in the bed chamber, caps and hats, as well as other garments, were disposed of. It was a time for wanton behaviour and abandonment — but only in the bedroom, and in private.
Hence, letting one’s hair down was a practical as well as a symbolic thing.
It is noteworthy that there is a singular, striking correlation in the modern secular culture between being “behind closed doors” and “[letting] her hair hang down”.
This is particularly and notably demonstrated by the lyrics to a popular C & W song: http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/charlie_rich/behind_closed_doors.html
While I don’t subscribe to everything Piper and Grudem teach and I don’t agree with all their conclusions, I find it interesting that their research led them to the following observation:
“When Paul says that a woman’s hair “is given to her for a covering” (v. 15), he means that nature has given woman the hair and the inclination to follow prevailing customs of displaying her femininity, which in this case included letting her hair grow long and drawing it up into a covering for her head.“
source: Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism
Chapter 2, Section 32
By John Piper, Wayne Grudem
A DIVISION OF GOOD NEWS PUBLISHERS
A final reference from chapter 5 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood….
What is the Adornment for Women in this Passage?
One of the perplexing questions in this passage is this: What custom regarding adornment is referred to here? We cannot treat this complex question in detail, but the two most probable suggestions can be set forth: (1) The custom Paul recommends is for women to wear shawls. (2) Paul objects to long, loose hair that falls down the back; he wants women to follow the usual custom of piling their hair up on top of their heads. In favor of the view that Paul is speaking against women wearing their hair loose and falling down the back are the following arguments:2 (1) There is no extant evidence that full veiling, familiar in Islam, was current in Paul’s time. Therefore, the custom described cannot be veiling. (2) The same Greek word that describes the practice of the Corinthian women in 11:5 (akatakalyptos ) [“unveiled,” according to rsv] is used in Leviticus 13:45 (LXX)3 about a leper’s hair, which is to hang unloosed. The problem with the Corinthian
women, then, is that they were wearing their hair loose and flowing down their backs. (3) The word apokalypto¯ , which is somewhat related to akatakalyptos, is used in Numbers 5:18, where a woman suspected of adultery had to unbind her hair and wear it loosely. The wearing of long, loose hair by an adulteress would support the idea that wearing one’s hair loose was considered shameful. (4) Respectable women in Paul’s time did not appear in public with their hair long and flowing down their backs. They wore their hair piled up on their heads in a bun. Paul wants the Corinthian women to adhere to this custom.
Just a little food for thought….
Pastor Tim D. Cormier
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