Colloquium -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 36:1 (Fall 1973)
Article: Colloquium
Author: Anonymous


I wish to respond to James Hurley’s exegesis of I Cor. 11 and 14 respecting Paul’s teaching on the proper hair-styles for men and women. Hurley holds that headgear was not in Paul’s mind, holding rather that ἁκατακάλυπτος means “with hair hanging loose” (p. 199ff), and that κατακαλύπτεσθαι refers to a hair style in which the hair is “pinned up in a ‘bun'" (p. 196) 1

In opposition to Hurley’s view it is important to notice that it requires us to believe that κατακαλύπτεσθαι means long hair in a bun on top of the head worn both by men and by women. It requires us to believe that this hair style was a practice of such current popularity among men that Paul had to address himself to it. Art and literature do not support this.

To discuss Hurley’s view we must also consider the only passage in the Septuagint where ἁκατακάλυπτος occurs. It is Lev. 13:45 and is the translation of פרוּע in some manuscripts. Following strictly the sense which Hurley gives to κατακαλύπτεσθαι we would understand that lepers were distinguished by having long hair hanging loose. We would expect the opposite of ἁκατακάλυπτος to be used of persons not afflicted with leprosy. This would be a form of κατακαλύπτομαι which according to Hurley’s suggestion would mean with a bun on the head. It is without support from literature or ancient pictures that non-leprous Israelites wore their hair in a bun. Hurley probably does not mean to suggest this, but rather that lepers had loose, disordered hair, and non-leprous men some other style. We must examine the use of ἁκατακάλυπτος in this passage of the Septuagint. It is found in Codex Alexandrinus corrected.2 The original of Alexandrinus, obviously a mistake. Codex Vaticanus had ἁκάλυπτος which, being the original reading of an early manuscript not needing correction, we may safely accept. We can therefore leave ἁκατακάλυπτος out of the discussion as far as the Septuagint is concerned, or at least treat it as dubious, as this is its only occurrence even as an error.3

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