:salam2: THE TEACHING OF THE PROPHET JESUS The Jewish Background OLD TESTAMENT In the Old Testament chastity is stressed. One of the ten commandments is :"You shall not commit adultery" (Exod 20:14, Deut 5:18). A woman guilty of illicit sex is to be stoned to death whether or not she is married. A man guilty of illicit sex with an unmarried woman is to be forced to marry her and to stay married to her for the rest of his life while a man guilty of such sex with a woman married or engaged to another man is to be stoned to death (Deut 22:20-29). On the other hand, in 2 Sam 11:1-12:25 we are told that one afternoon King David saw from the roof of his house a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, taking a bath and committed adultery with her. He had her husband murdered and then married her, later begetting Solomon through her. Although condemned by God through Nathan the prophet for these actions, the law of Deut 22 is not at all mentioned. Since Bathsheba was married, both she and King David were punishable by death by stoning. Yet this punishment is not at all considered. This probably means that the law of Deut 22 took shape after King David, that is, centuries after Moses, to whom it is attributed. In any case, it is certain that by the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, adultery became a serious crime in Judaism. The concern for chastity in the Old Testament does not seem to be accompanied by any regulation about modesty in dress. In Gen 24:65, Rebecca covers her head when she sees Isaac, to whom she is to be married. But this is not in any way equivalent to hijab, since earlier she does not cover her head when she meets with Abraham's servant and the party of men with him. Rebecca=s veiling herself represents her reverence and subjection to her would-be husband and not, as in Islam, a means and a symbol of chastity and modesty in general. A traditional Christian commentary on the Bible explains Gen 24;65 as follows: Ashe took a veil, and covered herself The veil is an essential part of female dress. In country places it is often thrown aside, but on the appearance of a stranger, it is drawn over the face, as to conceal all but the eyes. In a bride it was a token of her reverence and subjection to her husband@ (Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary and Explanatory on the Whole Bible). Another interesting text is Genesis 38:15, where Tamar is taken for a prostitute (zonah) by Judah because Ashe had covered her face@. Later in 38:21 she is described as Atemple prostitute@ (kedeshah). In ancient pagan religions prostitutes were employed and their hire was used to pay for the sacrifices (cf. Num 25:1-2, Deut 23:18, Hosea 4:14). It was the custom for such a Asacred@ prostitute to cover her face by a veil. Writing in the 5th century BCE Herodotus (1;199) describes this veil as being like a wreath of string covering the head and face. This veil could signify an attempt to appear respectable or the prostitute=s submissiveness. In the Old Testament divorce and polygamy are permitted. To be sure in Deut 17:17 it is said that the king should not multiply wives for himself, but this is not set as a law against polygamy but rather an advice against luxury. For the same passage says that the king should not multiply horses and wealth for himself. Clearly this does not mean that it is illegal to have more than one horse. Also, when in 1 Kings 11:3-8 and Neh 13:25-27 Solomon is said to sin under the influence of his wives, the issue is not polygamy but having foreign wives. RABBINIC OR ORAL TRADITION From the few references found in the Old Testament, it does not appear that something like the veil or head cover is a well established practice in Judaism. But Jewish traditions are not entirely based on the Old Testament. Rather, oral traditions, many of which were written by the Rabbis at various times, play as much or greater part in determining Jewish beliefs and practices. From these it becomes evident that head-cover was widely practised by the religious Jewish women. According to Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer, Ait was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free.@ Ancient rabbinical authorities said that "it is not like the daughters of Israel to walk out with heads uncovered," "cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen,@ and Aa woman who exposes her hair for self adornment brings poverty." Rabbinic law forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded married woman since uncovering the woman's hair is considered "nudity". During the Tannaitic period (between the advent of Christianity and Islam) Athe Jewish woman's failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offense." But the veil was not always considered a sign of modesty. Sometimes, the veil symbolized a state of distinction and luxury rather than modesty. The veil personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. It also represented a woman's inaccessibility as a sanctified possession of her husband (The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature: A Psychosocial Perspective (Hoboken, N.J: Ktav Publishing House, 1986, pages 139, 316-317, quoted from Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem, AThe Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth & the Reality@). According to Susan W. Schneider, Jewish and Female (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984, pages 237-239), the veil signified a woman's self respect and social status. Women of lower classes would often wear the veil to give the impression of a higher standing. The fact that the veil was the sign of nobility was the reason why prostitutes were not permitted to cover their hair in the old Jewish society. However, prostitutes often wore a special headscarf in order to look respectable. Jewish women in Europe continued to wear veils until the nineteenth century when their lives became more intermingled with the surrounding secular culture. The external pressures of the European life in the nineteenth century forced many of them to go out bare headed. Some Jewish women found it more convenient to replace their traditional veil with a wig as another form of head covering. Today, most pious Jewish women do not cover their head except in the synagogue. Some of them, such as the Hasidic sects, still use the wig. JESUS= TEACHINGS The emphasis on chastity already found in the Jewish tradition is enhanced greatly in sayings early attributed to Jesus. These consists of the sayings where Jesus stresses the purity of eyes and prohibits divorce. One also needs to consider his presumed celibacy. Jesus and purity of eyes. In a saying recorded only by Matthew among the four canonical gospels Jesus is reported to have said: You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery". But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:27-28). This saying is found in the famous sermon on the mount. While this sermon contains some authentic material, the sermon as a whole cannot be considered reliable words of Jesus. It is even doubtful that Jesus stood on a mount, as Matthew tells us, since Luke in recording some of the parallel sayings says that Jesus stood on a "level place" (Luke 6:17). Matthew it seems brings Jesus on a mountain because he wants to present Jesus as the second Moses who like the first Moses receives or delivers his law on a mountain. Usually the reliable material about Jesus is to be found among sayings which have an independent attestation by another source, especially Luke. The above passage has no independent attestation by Luke or any other source and hence cannot be confidently accepted as Jesus' word. However, it teaches something that Jesus could have said. The above saying, of course, recalls the Qur=anic verse about lowering gaze. But two important differences are worth noting. In the gospel saying only men are addressed, whereas the Qur=an addresses both men and women, thus recognizing that women are as much sexual beings as men (this is also recognized in the New Testament, as in 1 Cor 7:2-5). Secondly, the Qur=an avoids the exaggerated position that a lustful look already amounts to adultery. The gospel saying resembles more closely the hadith in which looking (with desire) is described as a form of adultery (see above). But again a more balanced attitude is shown in that the looking is described as one of the minor sins (lamam) whereas actual adultery is a major sin. Jesus and divorce. Another saying of Jesus which is relevant to chastity has much greater claim to authenticity. This is the saying about divorce which in fact is one of the best-attested sayings of Jesus, being quoted or referred to by varied sources -- Paul, Mark, and Q (the material common to Matthew and Luke but not to Mark) and the Shepherd of Hermas (4.1:6, 10), written about 100 CE in Rome. Unfortunately, the various sources quote the saying in different forms making it necessary to reconstruct the probable form of the original story by a detailed analysis. In addition to the saying, Mark and Matthew also record a controversy story in which Jesus answers a question about divorce. We can begin our analysis by examining this controversy story. Its versions in Mark and Matthew read: MARK MATTHEW Some Pharisees came, and to test him Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, divorce his wife for any cause?@ He answered, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses commanded a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the "Have you not read that the one who beginning of creation, >God made them made them at the beginning 'made them male male and female.' 'For this reason a man and female,' and said 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall joined to his wife,' and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." joined together, let no one separate." They said to him, "Why then Moses commanded us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?" He said to them, "It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. Then in the house the disciples asked And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, him again about this matter. He said to except for unchastity, and marries another, them, "Whoever divorces his wife and commits adultery" (Matt 19:3-9). marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:2-12). Some of the differences between Mark and Matthew are worth noting: 1) In Mark the Pharisees ask the question, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" This question, though understandable in Mark's Gentile church, is strange in the Palestinian context, since every Jew must have known that the law allows divorce. Matthew therefore has added to the question the words: "for any cause." That is, in Matthew the question is about an unqualified permission for divorce. 2) Just as in Mark the question raised by the Pharisees is strange in a Palestinian environment so also is Jesus' response in the form of the question: "What did Moses command you?" Matthew has taken care of this also. In his gospel Jesus answers the Pharisees' question using Gen 1:27 and 2:24 as in Mark. This answer does not fit with the general understanding of the Mosaic law on divorce and naturally leads the Pharisees to ask, "Why then Moses commanded us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?" Jesus then answers with a reference to the hardness of hearts as in Mark. 3) In Matthew Jesus says to the Pharisees: "but from the beginning it was not so." These words, which are not found in Mark, presumably mean that at some point in history hard-heartedness and/or the permission to divorce did not exit. 4) In Mark the saying about divorce is spoken after the controversy with the Pharisees in a house to the disciples privately while in Matthew it is part of the public dialogue. This is because in his version of the sermon on the mount Matthew has already made this a part of Jesus' public teaching. Also, the words "And I say to you," which are not found in Mark's version are an echo of the sermon on the mount. These are special to Matthew and probably reflect his way of saying that Jesus as the second Moses brings something new. 5) In Mark the saying about divorce is found in two parallel parts, one about men and the other about women: "whoever divorces his wife ... if she divorces her husband ...". In Matthew the part about women is omitted. This is because in the Jewish tradition a woman does not divorce her husband, she only asks for a divorce. But in Roman custom in the New Testament times women could divorce their husbands. Mark probably reflects this Roman custom. It is almost certain that Matthew knew and used Mark rather than other way around. Thus the more original form of the story is to be found in Mark. But the story in Mark reflects the environment of the Gentile church rather than the Palestinian environment in which Jesus lived. Hence it is difficult to attribute it to Jesus. This is further suggested by the fact that unlike the saying about divorce the controversy story is not attested independently of Mark. It seems that the story was composed by someone outside Palestine using legal arguments about the Jewish law concerning divorce that were already going on there among the Hellenist Jews. But even if the controversy story is authentic, it does not amount to an abrogation of the Mosaic law of divorce. For it can be interpreted as follows: The law has to make allowances to all kinds of human weaknesses. What man should or should not do cannot therefore always be determined by looking at the law. The law does indeed allow divorce, but that does not mean that divorce should be practised. Let us now examine the saying about divorce more closely. We have five canonical versions. Mark 10:11-12, Matt 5:32, 19:9, Luke 16:18, 1 Cor 7:10-11. The last of these passages reads: To the married I give this command -- not I but the Lord -- that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Cor 7:10-11). This is of course the earliest reference to the saying about divorce. But since here Paul is paraphrasing in his own words what Jesus was reported to have said, it does not provide any direct help in determining what Jesus actually said. Luke 16:18 and Matt 5:32 probably come from a common source (Q) and may be looked at together: Anyone who divorces his wife and marries Anyone who divorces his wife, except on another commits adultery, and whoever the ground of unchastity, causes her to marries a woman divorced from her husband commit adultery; and whoever marries a commits adultery (Luke 16:18). divorced woman commits adultery (Matt 5:32). Likewise, Mark 10:12-13 and Matt 19:9 are parallel sayings. We have already quoted them, but for the sake of convenience they are reproduced below: Whoever divorces his wife and And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, marries another commits adultery against except for unchastity, and marries another, her; and if she divorces her husband and commits adultery (Matt 19:3-9). marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:11-12). As already noted, Mark's version reflects non-Jewish custom when it refers to a woman who divorces her husband. This together with the fact that other versions do not mention divorce by a woman, makes it highly improbable that Mark has the original saying. Similarly, the exception made by Matthew in favor of "unchastity" which is not found in any other source is an addition made by Matthew. There is another difference between the various versions. According to Matt 5:32 anyone who divorces his wife causes her to commit adultery while according to Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18 anyone who divorces his wife and marries another himself commits adultery. So what did Jesus really say? In the absence of any other indication we can say that the statements found in the maximum number of versions may be accepted as the most original. This leads us to Luke 16:18, which is reproduced below: Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery (Luke 16:18). Each of the two parts of this passage, one highlighted by italics and the other by underlining, is found in at least two versions. Now that we have reconstructed the probable form of the original saying, how are we to understand it? In this connection we need to keep in mind that if authentic the saying was probably spoken in Aramaic whereas we possess only Greek version. As we all know a single word can sometimes make a big difference in meaning. Also, interpretation requires knowing the context in which the original words were spoken. Luke provides us with no context for the saying. He has taken isolated sayings and put them together. Matthew puts the saying once in the context of the sermon on the mount and once in the context of a controversy story, in both cases spoken in public. This is contradicted by Mark, according to which the saying was spoken privately to the disciples after the controversy. Thus we cannot determine the context with any confidence. We would therefore examine the saying within the two contexts provided by Mark and Matthew: the controversy story and the sermon of the mount, keeping in mind that both may be unhistorical. In interpreting the saying the first question is whether it should be considered a legal statement. In the past most Christians interpreted the saying as an absolute legal prohibition of divorce, but while such a legal interpretation of the saying is understandable it raises several difficulties: If we look at the saying in the context of the sermon of the mount, then it cannot be taken literally and legally. For just before the saying about divorce the sermon on the mount records another saying in which Jesus tells people to cut the part of the body which makes them sin. This cannot be taken literally. Most other sayings in the sermon are also exaggerated statements to make people think in terms of morality rather than balanced and practical statements of the law. Hence the saying about divorce should be put in the same category and not be taken literally and legally. If we read the saying in its Markan context, then the categorical prohibition of divorce is spoken privately to the disciples, which may mean that Jesus was only setting a special standard for his apostles rather than modifying the Law for all. Most importantly, there are many indications that Jesus accepted the authority of the Old Testament and the Mosaic law. This is suggested by such gospel passages as Mark 1:44, Luke 16:17, Matt 5:17-20, 23:2-3, 23, Luke 11:42, and also by, where even Paul who abrogates the Jewish law admits that Jesus was under it during his life on earth. When Jesus did say things about the law his tendency was, as the Qur=an also says, to liberalize it rather than to make it more strict. Therefore it is highly unlikely that in this one instance of divorce he overturned the Mosaic law making it more rigid and strict. So we should look for a non-legalistic interpretation. One such interpretation is that Jesus is using here exaggeration to discourage people from leaving their spouses for marrying others whom they desire. Notice that it is not said simply that divorce is wrong. The emphasis is on divorcing and marrying another. If somebody divorced but did not marry another, there would be nothing in the saying to condemn that (cf. 1 Cor 7:10-11). Or, if someone divorced without the purpose of marrying someone else but later met someone and married him or her, still this may not be blameworthy. That is, Jesus is against desiring someone other than one=s spouse. This very desire can be called adultery according to one of the sayings of Jesus considered above. Acting on the desire by divorcing one=s spouse and then marrying the person of one=s desire would be adultery all the more. . Jesus and celibacy. Jesus is often said to be celibate. This is not explicitly stated in the New Testament but is rather a deduction from a lack of any references there to Jesus' wife, marriage or children. One argues that had Jesus been married we would find such references in the gospels just as we find references to his parents, brothers and sisters. But this argument is not conclusive, since the gospels do not concern themselves much with the time between Jesus' birth and childhood and his baptism by John and the subsequent start of his ministry. Mark and John say nothing at all about these years of Jesus' life while Matthew and Luke start their gospels with diverging and sometimes conflicting traditions about the birth and childhood of Jesus and then move to Jesus' baptism and his ministry. The absence of any infancy material in Mark and John and contradictory material in Matthew and Luke show that tradition preserved almost nothing reliable about Jesus' life before his baptism. Consequently, if before his baptism Jesus was married at one time and then was divorced or became a widower, one cannot expect a reference to this in the gospel tradition. Only if Jesus was married during the crucial period after his baptism should we expect tradition to know and preserve some reference to his wife or marriage. Notice that if the gospels have references to Jesus' mother, brothers and sisters it is because they were alive at this crucial period. The references to his father or step-father Joseph are much rarer and this has been taken to mean that Joseph died before Jesus' baptism. Thus from the gospels we can conclude only that Jesus was probably not married when he started his ministry. Outside the gospels, in the New Testament epistles and Revelation, evidence of Jesus' celibacy is again lacking. Indeed, Paul does not seem to know that Jesus was celibate because otherwise we should expect him to mention Jesus' celibacy in addition to his own when he talks to his converts about celibacy: I wish that all were as I myself am. ... To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practising self-control, they should marry ( 1 Cor 7:7-8). If Paul knew that Jesus was celibate, we should expect him to recommend to the unmarried and the widows to remain unmarried as "the Lord was and as I am". But he only has his own example to mention. But the question whether Jesus was single or married is not the real issue. For the word "celibacy" has two meanings: 1) the condition of being single; 2) the condition of being single as a result of a vow or some other religious intention. The really important issue is whether Jesus was celibate in the second sense: that is, whether Jesus was celibate with a religious intention. For one can remain single for many reasons: for lack of sufficient income or time, inability to find a suitable spouse, some disease or psychological problem. Since the New Testament does not mention Jesus' celibacy, we cannot expect it to give us his reasons for it, assuming, of course, that he was celibate. We can only determine his attitude towards celibacy from his recorded sayings. Only in one passage in the gospels does Jesus support celibacy. Matthew, after recording the controversy about divorce and Jesus' prohibition of it, gives the following dialogue between the disciples and Jesus: His disciples said to him, "If such is the case with a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can" (Matt 19:10-12) . In this passage living as a eunuch (i.e. being celibate and avoiding all sexual activity) for the sake of the kingdom of God is considered the highest ideal. But for two reasons this passage must be regarded as a later creation possibly of Matthew himself. First, this dialogue is missing from the parallel Markan material (10:1-12). Second, Paul provides us with a positive evidence that Jesus never recommended celibacy. In 1 Cor 7:25-31 we read: Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife do not seek a wife. ... I mean brothers that the appointed time has grown short ... For the present form of this world is passing away. Here Paul is recommending that virgins and other unmarried people should remain single while married people should not divorce. He then states explicitly that in his recommendation he has no command of the Lord, i.e. Jesus. In prohibition of divorce Paul does know of the command of Jesus. Consequently, what he does not have is any words of Jesus that speak about the desirability of celibacy. It may be noted in parentheses that Paul gives a reason for why divorce and marriage both should be avoided: the end of the world is near. From other parts of the New Testament we know that this "near" means within the lifetime of the first generations of Christians. Since, however, many generations have passed since Paul without seeing the end of the world, Paul's reason for celibacy are clearly proved to be wrong. The practice of the most prominent eyewitness apostles also does not seem to favor celibacy. Thus Peter, who is said to be the rock on which Jesus built his church, was married during Jesus' ministry. Mark tells us that Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law who was sick with fever. This took place in the house of Peter, so that his mother-in-law either visited him or was actually living in his house, which leads us to the probable conclusion that Peter was married at the time. Indeed, long after Jesus we see Peter still married and even travelling with his wife during missionary journeys, as we learn from Paul in 1 Corinthian, a letter written more than two decades after Jesus: Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife [literally, a sister as wife], as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas [=Peter]? (1 Cor 9:5) Here Paul mentions Peter specially but his reference to "other apostles and the brothers of the Lord" shows that many if not all the apostles and brothers of Jesus were married, that is, the men who had sat in Jesus' company and held the highest positions in the Jerusalem church. It is, of course, possible to argue that Peter and the apostles married before Jesus started to teach and stayed married because of the prohibition of divorce. Had they been not married before they became Jesus= disciples they would have stayed celibate. But we have no positive evidence to support this argument. Thus if Jesus was celibate it is very unlikely that it was because of any religious reasons. It was for some of the other reasons mentioned above. At least one of these reasons was present in Jesus' life and that is lack of sufficient income. Thus during his ministry Jesus travelled constantly and was dependent on the support of those who believed in him. There were times that this support was not available to him so much so that he did not even have roof over his head, as we learn from the following saying in Q: Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but this one has nowhere to lay his head (Matthew 8:20=Luke 9:58). The Greek behind our translation "this one" literally means "son of man" which is a translation of the Aramaic bar nasha. This Aramaic expression really means "man" and could be used by a person to refer to himself. The expression in this saying should not be understood in terms of the apocalyptic Son of Man, for what have holes and nests and the homelessness of Jesus to do with that figure? In any case, for our purposes the saying provides evidence that Jesus' economic situation was probably not such as to enable him to marry. Jesus and hijab. Jesus does not give any practical guidance to help the community preserve chastity. In particular, he does not talk about modesty in dress. The saying attributed to him in Matthew talks about the Ahijab@ of the eyes but not of the clothes. However, it should be noted that Jesus taught within a Jewish environment and assumed many of the Jewish laws and traditions. We should not expect his teaching to confirm explicitly every single Jewish law or tradition that he accepted. Since, as appears from what we said above about the Jewish background, Jewish women covered their heads and Jesus does not anywhere condemns the practice, it is quite possible that he took the practice for granted. If so, it is impossible to tell what interpretation he gave to the practice. From what was stated above about the Jewish background it seems that head covering could have both a negative connotation of women=s subjugation to men or a positive connotation of respectability and dignity. To summarize, we conclude, therefore, that in all probability the Prophet Jesus ** did not practise celibacy with a religious understanding and did not teach that celibacy is good or desirable. The examples of eyewitness apostles, some of whom were appointed by Jesus himself, shows furthermore that to be priests, if at all priesthood is consistent with the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, celibacy is not a necessary condition. ** he did not prohibit divorce in a legal sense; but condemned divorcing one=s spouse out of a desire to marry another. ** he took the Jewish practice of women covering their heads for granted. LATER DEVELOPMENTS After the departure of Jesus traditions related to some of the topics touched above underwent in the church considerable development, which we now briefly trace. Divorce. At some point the main church came to understand Jesus= saying about divorce as an absolute legal prohibition of divorce, as the Roman catholic church still does. The exception given by Matthew was understood by the main church to refer to those situations which make the marriage itself invalid, e.g., marriage with a blood relation such as a parent or sibling or an incontinence on the part of the wife discovered after marriage. Until quite recently this last rule did not apply to incontinence on the part of the husband. Celibacy. As already noted Paul, who himself was celibate, taught Christians that celibacy is an ideal state (1 Cor 7:7, 25-31). After the time of Paul there further developed the idea that there should be priests in the churches and that they have to be celibate. Head covering. We earlier saw that neither the Old Testament nor the gospels enjoin the headcovering although it was enjoined in oral and rabbinical tradition. It was again Paul who for the first time made not only the headcovering but also a very negative interpretation of it a part of the Christian scriptures. Thus he wrote: Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head - it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection [or glory] of God; but woman is the reflection [or glory] of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman was made from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have [a symbol of] authority on her head, because of the angels (1 Cor 11: 4-10 in New Revised Standard Version). Despite the fact that some have understood "authority on her head" in the sense of "freedom of choice regarding her head" and despite the obscurity of the words "because of the angels," it is clear that head covering is viewed in the above passage as a symbol of woman's inferior position in relation to man and of man's authority over her. This becomes even clearer when we recall some background from the Old Testament. Regarding the female slaves, the book of Deuteronomy says: "suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry, and so you bring her home to your house: she shall shave her head ..." (21:12). It is this type of tradition in which shaving the head was some kind of indication of a man taking possession of a woman slave as a wife that probably lies behind Paul's words: "For if a woman does not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil." Such a view of the head covering existed in Judaism before Paul (see our earlier comment on Gen 24:65). But in Judaism along with this type of understanding there was also the other interpretation which regarded head cover as a symbol of chastity and dignity. In another epistle purportedly written by Paul we read: I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. Let a woman learn in silence with full submission, I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (1 Tim 2:8-15). Here, again, the reference to modesty in dress is followed immediately by a reference to the prohibition of women from teaching which in turn is related directly to the moral inferiority of women and their subjugation to men. In the third century, Tertullian in his famous treatise 'On The Veiling Of Virgins' wrote, "Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church, you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers..." From this it seems that wearing a veil out on the streets was a very common practice among young Christian women. Tertullian=s exhortation is that they should also wear a veil inside in the churches, as laid down by Paul. In view of the New Testament passages and the views of Tertullian cited above it is hardly surprising that among the canon laws of the catholic church today, there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church (R. Thompson, Women in Stuart England and America, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974, p. 162). These official statements have been reflected in actual practice. To this day many Christian women, especially in more traditional Christian countries, go to church services with their heads covered. And of course catholic nuns have been covering their heads both on the streets and inside the churches. Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites for example, keep their women veiled most of the time. The reason for the veil, as offered by their leaders, is "The head covering is a symbol of woman's subjection to the man and to God," the same logic introduced by Paul (Mary Murray, The Law of the Father, London: Routledge, 1995, p. 67).