Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Head Covering in Judaism and Christianity: Pre Islamic Head Covering

Hebrew Bible[edit source | editbeta]

Genesis 24:65Numbers 5:18 and Isaiah 47:2 are references in the Old Testament referring to a headcovering for women. Although there is no positive command for women to cover their heads in the Old Testament, there are non-canonical rabbinical writings on tzniut, meaning "modesty" (Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's Stone of Help 115, 4; Orach Chayim 75,2; Even Ha'ezer 21, 2 4).[2]

New Testament[edit source | editbeta]

1 Corinthians 11:4-16 contains the only reference in the New Testament referring to a headcovering for women, and the uncovering of the heads of men. Various early Church Fathers, such as Hermas,[3] Clement of Alexandria,[4] Jerome,[5] Augustine of Hippo[6] and Tertullian[7] also mentioned women's headcoverings.[non-primary source needed] Early Christian art shows women wearing headcoverings.[8]
During the ensuing centuries, women have worn head coverings during the meetings of the church, that is, when "praying or prophesying" take place (1Corinthians 11:5). However, during the twentieth century, the practice of headcovering gradually disappeared from many churches, which dropped their requirement that women cover their heads during worship services. At different points in history, the style of the covering varied.[9]

Catholicism[edit source | editbeta]

The requirement that women cover their heads in church was introduced as a universal law for the Latin Rite of the Church for the first time in 1917 with canon 1262[10] of its first Code of Canon Law. It was not addressed in the 1983 revision of the Code, which declared the 1917 Code abrogated.[11] According to the new Code, former law only has interpretive weight in norms that are repeated in the 1983 Code; all other norms are simply abrogated. There is no provision made for norms that are not repeated in the 1983 Code.[12] Some have argued that it is still obligatory, advancing several grounds for their opinion, including the claim that headcovering for women is a centennial and immemorial custom (cf. canon 5 of the Code of Canon Law)[13][14] It was never universally obligatory for members of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
In some countries where women no longer as a matter of course wear hats when going outdoors, Catholic women do wear headcoverings in church. Traditionalist Catholic women do.[15] The forms range from a mantilla to a hat or a simple headscarf.
For men, the 1917 Code of Canon Law prescribed that they should uncover their heads unless approved customs of peoples were against it. In the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church it is obligatory for bishops to wear the zucchetto headcovering during certain parts of the liturgy, while use of the biretta, once obligatory for all diocesan clergy (as opposed to members of religious institutes), remains permitted for them. In all rites of the Catholic Church, bishops wear a mitre or a corresponding headcovering in church. Nevertheless, the mitre is removed in certain parts of the liturgy, and the zucchetto is also removed during the Eucharistic Prayer, which is always done uncovered, even for bishops, cardinals or the Pope.

Protestantism[edit source | editbeta]

Among the Protestant reformers, Martin Luther encouraged wives to wear a veil in public worship[16] and John Knox and John Calvin both called for women to wear headcoverings in public worship.[17][18][19] Other commentators who have advocated headcovering during public worship include John GillCharles SpurgeonMatthew Henry, A. R. Fausset, A. T. RobertsonHarry A. Ironside[20] and Charles Caldwell Ryrie.[21] In fact, until the 20th century no Reformed theologian taught against head coverings for women in public worship. While Anabaptists, Amish, and Mennonites advocate the wearing of headcoverings at all times, as a woman might pray or prophesy at any time, the Reformed teaching is that "praying and prophesying" refers to the activities taking place in public worship, as the Apostle Paul is dealing with public worship issues in 1st Corinthians, chapter 11. Their proof text is that women are in the same epistle commanded not to speak in the meetings of the church, so the apostle is obviously not addressing a practice women are to observe while they are publicly praying or preaching themselves. Anabaptists disagree and many women in their communities are so concerned with violating what they believe to be a command outside of public worship that they wear headcoverings to bed and in the shower, as they might offer a prayer then as well, and thus be in sin. Reason, however, would dictate that if Christian women were to wear head coverings at all times, then men, who in the same passage are commanded to uncover the head, would always be forbidden to wear hats or cover their heads. The Reformers understood the head covering mandate for women in public worship to be a sign of her submission to her husband, as the Scriptures declare "Christ is the head of man, man is the head of the woman". Anabaptists have argued, however, that a woman is obligated to rebel against her husband if he forbids her to wear the covering at all times, thus placing the order; Christ, woman, man" (1st Corinthians 11:3)

Current practice[edit source | editbeta]

Amish women wearing coverings.
Headcovering, at least during worship services, is still promoted or required in a few denominations and among the more traditional Catholics. Among these are Catholics who live a plain life and are known as Plain Catholics. Some Anabaptist denominations, including the AmishOld Order Mennonite and Conservative Mennonites, the Old German Baptist Brethren,[22] the Hutterites,[23] and the Apostolic Christian Church; some Pentecostal churches, such as the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic FaithThe Pentecostal Mission, the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, and the Christian Congregation in the United States, like Congregação Cristã no Brasil; theLaestadian Lutheran Church, the Plymouth Brethren; and the more conservative Scottish Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed churches. In those Protestant denominations which have no official expectation that women cover, some individuals choose to practice headcovering according to their understanding of 1 Corinthians 11.

Eastern Christianity[edit source | editbeta]

Some Eastern CatholicEastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches require women to cover their heads while in church; an example of this practice occurs in the Russian Orthodox Church.[24] In Albania, Christian women often wear white veils, although their eyes are visible; moreover, in that nation, in Orthodox Christian church buildings, women are separated from men by latticework partitions during the church service.[25]
In other cases, the choice may be individual, or vary within a country or jurisdiction. Among Orthodox women in Greece, the practice of wearing a head covering in church gradually declined over the course of the 20th century, and today is only practiced by very elderly women of a particular generation that is now over 80 years old. In the United States, the custom can vary depending on the denomination and congregation, and the origins of that congregation.
The male clergy of the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches often have long hair and untrimmed beards if they are monastics, but married clergy often have standard haircuts. Eastern Orthodox clergy of all levels have head coverings, sometimes with veils in the case of monastics or celibates, that are donned and removed at certain points in the services. In US churches they are less commonly worn.
Bishopsarchimandrites and archpriests wear mitres when wearing their liturgical vestments, which have their own rules concerning donning and doffing.
Orthodox nuns wear a head covering called an apostolnik, which is worn at all times, and is the only part of the monastic habit which distinguishes them from Orthodox monks.

Western Christianity[edit source | editbeta]

In Continental Europe and North America at the start of the 20th century, women in most mainstream Christian denominations wore head coverings during church services.[26] These included many Anglican[27] Baptist,[28] Methodist,[29] Presbyterian[30][31][32] and Roman Catholic Churches.[33] At worship, in parts of the Western World, many women started to wear bonnets in lieu of headcoverings, and later, hats became predominant.[34][35] However, eventually, in the North America, this practiced started to decline,[26] with some exceptions, such as Mennonites, for example.[36] However, in nations in regions such as the Indian subcontinent, nearly all women wear head coverings during church services.[37]

Restorationist Christianity[edit source | editbeta]

Within the congregation, a female Jehovah's Witness may only lead prayer and teaching when no baptized male is available to, and must do so wearing a head covering.[38][39][40] Female head covering is not required when evangelizing or when participating in congregation meetings or Bible study courses being led by another, or any aspect of Christian or family life.[38]
Jehovah's Witnesses males are instructed to remove headcoverings when they represent even a small group in public prayer. A male Witness may or may not choose to remove his headcovering while praying privately or listening to another's public prayer, according to "the dictates of his personal conscience".[41]

References[edit source | editbeta]

  1. ^ 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
  2. ^ Schiller, Mayer (1995). "The Obligation of Married Women to Cover Their Hair"The Journal of Halacha 30: 81–108.
  3. ^ "Concerning the Trial and Tribulation that are to Come Upon Men"Pastor of HermasAnte-Nicene Fathers.
  4. ^ "On Clothes"The InstructorAnte-Nicene Fathers.
  5. ^ Schaff, Philip (1994). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-116-1.[page needed]
  6. ^ Augustine"How Man is the Image of God. Whether the Woman is Not Also the Image of God. How the Saying of the Apostle, that the Man is the Image of God, But the Woman is the Glory of the Man, is to Be Understood Figuratively and Mystically"On the TrinityNicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.[non-primary source needed]
  7. ^ Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume Four, Book One, Part Three—On the Veiling of Virgins[verification needed]
  8. ^ Shank, Tom (1988). Let Her Be Veiled. Eureka, MT: Torch Publications. pp. 51–8.OCLC 19708234.[unreliable source?]
  9. ^[full citation needed][self-published source?]
  10. ^[full citation needed][non-primary source needed]
  11. ^ Canon 6 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law[non-primary source needed]
  12. ^ Canon 6, section 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law[non-primary source needed]
  13. ^[non-primary source needed]
  14. ^ Michael, Jacob (August 27, 2010). "Still Binding? The Veiling of Women and Meatless Fridays".[self-published source?]
  15. ^ The practice is not universal even among Traditionalists: as can be seen in this video, not all the women attending Mass in the church of St Nicholas de Chardonnet in Paris, which is run by the Society of St. Pius X, wear a head covering, even those singing in the choir.[non-primary source needed]
  16. ^ Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Merry E. Wiesner (ed.). Luther on Women: A Sourcebook. Cambridge University Press. p. 31. "Otherwise and aside from that, the wife should put on a veil, just as a pious wife is duty-bound to help bear her husband's accident, illness, and misfortune on account of the evil flesh."
  17. ^ John Knox, "The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women", Works of John KnoxDavid Laing, ed. (Edinburgh: Printed for the Bannatyne Club), IV:377[non-primary source needed]
  18. ^ Seth Skolnitsky, trans., Men, Women and Order in the Church: Three Sermons by John Calvin (Dallas, TX: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1992), pp. 12,13.[non-primary source needed]
  19. ^ Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (and related passages)[self-published source?]
  20. ^ Epistle to the Corinthians, H. A. Ironside, 1938, pp. 323-340
  21. ^ Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1976, comments on I Corinthians 11:1-16, p.1741
  22. ^ Thompson, Charles (2006). The Old German Baptist Brethren: Faith, Farming, and Change in the Virginia Blue Ridge. University of Illinois Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-252-07343-6.
  23. ^ Hostetler, John (1997). Hutterite Society. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 105.ISBN 0-8018-5639-6.
  24. ^ Gdaniec, Cordula (1 May 2010). Cultural Diversity in Russian Cities: The Urban Landscape in the Post-Soviet Era. Berghahn Books. p. 161. ISBN 9781845456658. Retrieved 27 October 2012. "According to Russian Orthodox tradition women cover their heads when entering a church."
  25. ^ Edwin E. Jacques (1995). The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present. McFarland. p. 221. ISBN 0899509320. Retrieved 27 October 2012. "Poujade (1867, 194) noted that Christian women frequently used white veils. Long after independence from Turkey, elderly Orthodox women in Elbasan could be seen on the street wearing white veils, although usually their eyes were visible. Turkish influence upon the Christian community is seen also in latticework partitions in the rear of the Orthodox churches, the women being kept behind the screen during mass."
  26. a b Kraybill, Donald B. (5 October 2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites. JHU Press. p. 103. ISBN 9780801896576. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "During the 20th century, the wearing of head coverings declined in more assimilated groups, which gradually interpreted the Pauline teaching as referring to cultural practice in the early church without relevance for women in the modern world. Some churches in the mid-20th century had long and contentious discussions about wearing head coverings because proponents saw its decline as a serious erosion of obedience to scriptural teaching."
  27. ^ Muir, Edward (18 August 2005). Ritual in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 31. ISBN 9780521841535. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "In England radical Protestants, known in the seventeenth century as Puritans, we especially ardent in resisting the churching of women and the requirement that women wear a head covering or veil during the ceremony. The Book of Common Prayer, which became the ritual handbook of the Anglican Church, retained the ceremony in a modified form, but as one Puritan tract put it, the "churching of women after childbirth smelleth of Jewish purification.""
  28. ^ Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches 2012. Abingdon Press. 2012-04-01. p. 131.ISBN 9781426746666. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "The holy kiss is practiced and women wear head coverings during prayer and worship."
  29. ^ Morgan, Sue (2010-06-23). Women, Gender and Religious Cultures in Britain, 1800-1940. Taylor & Francis. p. 102. ISBN 9780415231152. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "Several ardent Methodist women wrote to him, asking for his permission to speak. Mar Bosanquet (1739-1815) suggested that if Paul had instructed women to cover their heads when they spoke (1. Cor. 11:5) then he was surely giving direction on how women should conduct themselves when they preached."
  30. ^ John Knox, "The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women", Works of John KnoxDavid Laing, ed. (Edinburgh: Printed for the Bannatyne Club), IV:377[non-primary source needed]
  31. ^ Seth Skolnitsky, trans., Men, Women and Order in the Church: Three Sermons by John Calvin (Dallas, TX: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1992), pp. 12,13.[non-primary source needed]
  32. ^ Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (and related passages)[self-published source?]
  33. ^ Henold, Mary J. (2008). Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement. UNC Press Books. p. 126. ISBN 9780807859476. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "At that time, official practice still dictated that Catholic women cover their heads in church."
  34. ^ Courtais, Georgine De (1 February 2006). Women's Hats, Headdresses And Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern. Courier Dover Publications. p. 130.ISBN 9780486448503. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "Although hats were not considered sufficiently respectable for church wear and very formal occasions they were gradually taking the place of bonnets, at least for younger women."
  35. ^ Mark, Rebecca; Vaughan, Robert C. (2004). The South. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 175. ISBN 9780313327346. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "The red and orange turban described by the anonymous observer also looks forward to the flamboyant Sunday hats worn by African American middle-class women into the twenty-first century, hats celebrated stunningly by Michael Cunningham and Graig Marberry in Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats."
  36. ^ DeMello, Margo (14 February 2012). Faces around the World. ABC-CLIO. p. 303.ISBN 9781598846188. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  37. ^ Haji, Nafisa (2011-05-17). The Sweetness of Tears. HarperCollins. p. 316.ISBN 9780061780103. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "I went to church, something I'd never expected to do in Pakistan. Sadiq told me that his grandfather's nurse, Sausan, was Christian. Presbyterian. My second Sunday in Karachi, I went to services with her. I was glad of the clothese that Haseena Auntie had helped me shop for, because all the women in church covered their heads, just like Muslim women, with their dupattas."
  38. a b "Head Coverings—When and Why?"Keep Yourselves in God’s Love. Watch Tower. 2008. pp. 209–12.
  39. ^ "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, July 15, 2002, page 27, "There may be other occasions when no baptized males are present at a congregation meeting. If a sister has to handle duties usually performed by a brother at a congregationally arranged meeting or meeting for field service, she should wear a head covering."
  40. ^ "Woman’s Regard for Headship—How Demonstrated?", The Watchtower, July 15, 1972, page 447, "At times no baptized male Witnesses may be present at a congregational meeting (usually in small congregations or groups). This would make it necessary for a baptized female Witness to pray or preside at the meeting. Recognizing that she is doing something that would usually be handled by a man, she would wear a head covering."
  41. ^ "Should You Cover Your Head During Prayer?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1977, page 127-128, "Christian man walking down the street with a hat on might offer a prayer to God. If his own personal feelings urged him to remove his hat, he should do so. But God’s counsel about head covering does not specifically require it. What about prayers in congregational activities or in the family? In line with the principle of headship, if a baptized man is present, he should offer prayer with his head uncovered. That is true in the family even when just husband and wife join in prayer. ...Finally, what about head covering when you are part of a group but not personally voicing the prayer? ...Would a woman present during the prayer have to cover her head? No... If a man felt that he should take his hat off when represented by another’s prayer, he, of course, can follow the dictates of his personal conscience."
  42. ^ Ellison, Renée. The Biblical Headcovering: Scarf of Hidden Power. p. 8.[self-published source?]
  43. ^ McGrath, William (1986). A Biblical and Historical Review of the Christian Woman's Veiling. Amish Mennonite Publications. p. 12. OCLC 14640740.
  44. ^ Elisabet (Spring 1997). "On Account of the Angels: Why I Cover My Head"The Handmaiden.
  45. ^ Merkle, Ben. "Headcoverings and Modern Women". Archived from the original on January 3, 2-11.
  46. ^ Bushnell, Katharine (1921). God's Word to Women. Minneapolis, MN: Christians for Biblical Equality. ISBN 0-9743031-0-0.[page needed]

Further reading[edit source | editbeta]

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