So how should we read 1 Cor. 11:1-16? 

Half a chapter is devoted to it so the problem isn’t trivial.

It’s written by the Paul the exalted apostle of Jesus Christ so it cannot be a trivial issue. 

It’s written to an assembly living in a hotbed of idolatry and where the most popular mother goddess in the Greco-Roman world was worshiped. Isis! She was originally from Egypt but worshiped everywhere in Paul’s day. She was worshiped in Corinth along with Aphrodite whose images now and then were male and female (Google).

It is written to a congregation where Isis (“the goddess of many names,” was worshiped with stories, stage-plays that told she raised her brother and husband, Osiris, from the dead and gave him immortality. This was Isis of whom the Oxyrhynchus Papyri said, “she made women equal to men” and empowered them.”

(See https://search.aol.com/aol/search?s_it=webmail-searchbox&q=isis%20goddess&s_qt=ac (accessed 2/1/2022)

1 Cor. 11:1–16 was written to a congregation where men attended idolatrous feasts and lay with the prostitutes there (1 Cor. 6).

It was written to an assembly that enjoyed the debate, sought the limelight and the flamboyant gifts and especially the miraculous gift of speaking various languages and did it even at the expense of the  assembled Christians (1 Cor. 14)..

It was written to an assembly greatly troubled with how Christians should live in relation to eating food that was left over after idolatrous feasts and sold to the city butchers—(Chapters 8–10). The entire 10th chapter is devoted to idolatry and the public engagement at temples that fostered the support of demons (junior gods) and then we chapter 11.

All this to say the Church (temple) of God lived in a city super-saturated by goddesses and Zeus worship. This situation was very like the situation in Ephesus (see Acts 19) where the mother goddess was Diana/Artemis and there too there was a problem in the congregation that included both women and men. There were men who enjoyed the debate, there was a problem with authority and there were widows who were abused by younger widows and Paul vigorously speaks on  behalf of the widows and has Timothy to see to the matter. Numerous other things needed to be set in order by appointed leaders. See Paul’s commission to Timothy in 1 Timothy!

It’s particularly interesting that Paul sends the Ephesian readers to the same text (Genesis 1-3) he sent the Corinthians to much earlier. 

I think the problem in Cor.11 is a problem involving idolatry and is nothing as trivial (of course) as an exhortation to women to abide by dress customs in Corinth in case they offended local customs. I think idolatry is seducing women as it was and had been seducing men; a glance through the entire book will show. I think the forsaking of head-coverings by women in public gatherings where they prophesied and led in prayer was an expression of a growing desire to align themselves with Isis and to reject the truth about GOD in the Genesis 1-3; truth about creation and humans seeking ‘godhood’ rather than living in the image of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:1; Gen. 1:26-27). This I believe is why Paul opens this chapter with 11:1-3 and makes use of the Holy Scriptures at Genesis 1-3. See what you think.

To be continued,  d.v.  

jim McGuiggan

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About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.

2 thoughts on “HEAD COVERINGS & SHORT HAIR (3)

  1. Verne Weir

    Hello Jim,

    Rick Oster has written an article entitled “When Men Wore Vails”, or something similar to that. He also believes that the issue isn’t just custom, but men appearing to be in subjection to women within the worship service. You might find it interesting. I appreciate your input; I agree that there is more to the question of veils and long hair than custom, which Paul states the church does not have regarding hair length.


    1. Jim McGuiggan Post author

      THANKS VERNE.I’m acquaited with RO’s piece. We move in different directions but I do think it true that everything in !! revolves around liturgical gatherings. I’m currently persuaded it’s about God against the gods and creation (with Genesis) is is embedded in “But all things are of GOD.”


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