New Testament Studies


When Men Wore Veils to Worship: the Historical Context of 1 Corinthians 11.4

Richard Oster

1 Corinthians 11. 2–16, because of the social concerns of much contemporary exegesis and theology, has provided a rich vein from which to quarry materials for current feminist agendas. However, exegetes have tended to neglect the ‘male issue’ in this text and the Corinthian context underlying it. The purpose of this article is to reconstruct the most plausible matrix of the practices addressed by Paul in 1 Cor 11. 4 when he refers to S0028688500021093_inline1. Numerous exegetical issues and ancient social practices relevant to a full study of 1 Cor 11. 2–16 do not fall within the purview of this narrow investigation. Questions such as the origin and character of Paul's views of women as well as their apparel, and the question of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish customs concerning the veiling of women in their domestic and street apparel will not be broached here.