Puritan Board Junior
I copied this here to avoid further broadening the other thread. Since few Christians really know Greek well, it is important that misconceptions of Greek are challenged. Lynnie, I do not know if you read Greek, but your statement is erroneous. I'm not saying your theology is wrong, only your argument from the Greek text. Please allow me to explain below.The only reason people are arguing is because they are speaking English.
Please look at an interlinear greek. The verb for headcoverings being handed down, and communion being handed down, is THE SAME VERB.
Hair and the sign of authority are TWO DIFFERENT NOUNS both translated as "covering", but the one is NOT the other.
We've been down this path a couple dozen times. The minute people see the Greek, they conceed. The Greek is clear. This debate is rooted in English misunderstandings.
First, a bit of a resume from me, since it is reasonable for someone to be skeptical of my assertion. I minored in Greek in college, pushing myself beyond the program. By the time I finished undergrad, I had 15 credits of graduate level advanced Greek. I could have stayed on at the University teaching beginning Greek, but I chose not to. During my studies, I had a class in which I translated and exegeted the entire book of 1 Corinthians. I have discussed this particular passage at length with the Greek departments of several different schools. I have continued to teach myself Greek, reading several Greek grammars cover to cover and translating around 2 chapters per day. I also tutor Greek for ministerial students. I have branched out some to study the Greek of the Apostolic Fathers and early Christian writings, as well as the morphology and pronunciation of the Koine period.
If you will excuse that digression, I'll address the issue you raised, then add a little bit of my own analysis. You spoke about two nouns in the passage. I will examine those. The first is εξουσιαν, translated "power" (KJV) in v. 10. The word generally means authority or ruling power, and whatever it means here must be determined by context. There is no parallel usage of this word for comparison. It does not mean "hat" or "shawl" or "hair" or any particular object. So, in brief, this cannot possibly tell us what the covering is, only that it is related to authority.
The second word is περιβολαιου, translated "covering" in v.15. What is interesting about this word is that it usually refers to a piece of clothing, like a cloak (LXX - Ex. 22:7; Deut. 22:12; Ps.102:26). Since περιβολαιου is the object of the preposition αντι, often meaning "instead of" or "in the place of", those who assert that hair is the equivalent of a cloth covering are doing so by making an exegetical argument from the passage. They are not simply ignoring the text or ignorant of Greek.
There is actually a third term for the covering. It is the prepositional phrase κατα κεφαλης in v.4, literally "down from the head." This verse is rendered quite loosely into English (for good reason), but literally would read, "Every man praying or prophesying having down from the head dishonors his head." The object of "having" is unstated, but "down from the head" describes where it is. This does not bode well for hats, which usually sit on top of (επι) the head.
The verbs used for "cover" throughout the passage are various inflected forms of κατακαλυπτω. This verb is well translated by "cover" and is used in various contexts. Some have no reference to clothing, such as fat covering organs (Ex. 29:22) or the waters covering the sea (Is. 11:9). However, in the two passages in the Septuagint where a piece of clothing is in view, it is in both cases a veil (Gen 38:15; Susanna 32) covering the face. The Greek lexicon BAGD also indicates that in the middle voice (the form in which the 1 Cor. 11 verbs occur), the prevalent secular usage meant to put on a veil which covered the whole face. In other words, a "hat" is not in view. It is the top and front of the head, the face, that is covered.
The adjective translated "uncovered" is ακατακαλυπτος. This is a very rare word, but its single use in the Septuagint of Lev. 13:45 is extremely enlightening. The ESV reads "let the hair of his head hang loose." However, the Greek text would read, if woodenly translated, "His head [will be] uncovered (ακατακαλυπτος)." Here, the word head is used to mean hair of the head. Hebrew does this too, and the Greek is actually following the Hebrew literally. So, the phrase "head uncovered" can actually mean "having the hair unkempt" or something very similar.
It seems to me, reading with my Greek eyes, that there are two possible interpretations of the covering. First, if it is an actual piece of cloth, it is NOT a hat. It is a veil, and the purpose is to cover the face. For some reason, in English, we associate "head" more with the back then the front, but the usage of the verb in the Koine and earlier periods unambiguously points to the face.
Or, it is possible to see the covering as decently ordered hair and the uncovering as indecently exposed or inappropriate hair. Just to give a cultural reference, in the movie Loving Leah, the Orthodox Jewess has beautiful long, red hair. However, she puts it up into something like a bun and wears a wig that is barely shoulder length. She explains that only her husband should see and desire the beauty of her hair.
And, as a confession, I did not always hold this opinion. I was pro hats in college and argued with several Greek professors about it. I didn't change my mind until studying the issue again after college.