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Published on January 13, 2008

Author: Carolina

Source: authorstream.com

Slide1:  A Headless Woman? A Feminist Exegetical Examination of 1 Cor 11:2-16 Comunicación y Gerencia Gina Messina-Dysert I Corinthians 11: 2-16:  I Corinthians 11: 2-16 11:2 I praise you because you remember my teachings and maintain the traditions just as I gave them to you. 11:3 For I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head. 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing if the woman had her shaved head. 11:6 For if a woman will not cover her head, let her have her hair cut. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off her head or her head shaved, then let her be covered. 11:7 Indeed a man should not have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man. 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man. 11:9 Neither was man created on account of woman, but woman for man. 11:10 For this reason a woman has the right to authority over the head, because of the angels. 11:11 Otherwise there is neither woman without man or man without woman in the Lord. 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so man is born from woman. But all things come from God. 11:13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him, 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 11:16 But if anyone seems to be argumentative, we have no such customs, nor do the churches of God. Slide3:  Thesis I. In 1 Cor 11:2-16 Paul is affirming a woman’s prophetic authority and is requesting a visual distinction between the genders. A. Examine Common Cultic Practices in Corinth and how they are perceived in a Jewish Christian Context B. Demonstrate that verse 10 “Exousia echein epi tês kephalês”, Supports a Woman’s Prophetic Authority C. Demonstrate that Paul’s discussion of coverings supports his statement in verse 10 and refers to hairstyles that fit cultural norms and provides gender distinction. Corinthian Cultic Practices:  Corinthian Cultic Practices Gender Norms within Greek and Roman Society Both Men and Women traditionally wore their heads uncovered. Men wore short hair and no beard (barbering). A head was covered during pagan sacrifice. Women wore long hair either braided or pinned up. Hair unbound and flowing was commonly worn by those who worshipped Isis, Dionysus, and Cybele Jewish Christian Context During Paul’s Time unbound hair was perceived as unclean. Women were shamed publicly with unbound hair as punishment for those accused of adultery (Num 5:18) Loose hair signified the uncleanliness of a leper (Lev 13:45) Hairstyles in Corinth:  Hairstyles in Corinth Neither Male nor Female:  Neither Male nor Female The Creation Story in v.7-9 Paul demonstrates that woman is like man Created from his flesh and bones in order to be his companion. Does not suggest woman was created so man could exercise control over her. Paul is distinguishing man from woman in the creation story. Neither Male nor Female in v.11-12 Paul rephrases the traditional baptismal affirmation that there is “No Male nor Female in Christ” Paul does not want his earlier argument about woman’s place in the creation order to be used to deny her equality “All things come from God” Slide7:  “Exousia echein epi tês kephalês” Verse 10: For this reason a woman has a right to authority over the head. Translator Bias has led to a misleading representation of the text Various Translations: "power on (her) head" (KJV; IB-1a) "a sign of power on (her) head" (Aubert) "a sign of authority on (her) head" (NIV; NEB) "a symbol of authority on (her) head" (NASB; NRSV) "a sign of submission on (her) head" (NAB) "a symbol of man's authority on (her) head" (Williams) "a symbol of the authority over them" (JB) "a sign of the authority over her" (NJB) "a sign of dependence" (IB-2a) "protection" (IB-2b; Conzelman) "a veil on (her) head" (RSV; Clark; IB-1b) (McGinn, 1996) “Exousia echein epi tês kephalês” :  “Exousia echein epi tês kephalês” “Exousia Echein” in other Biblical Texts: Exousia Echein is found in the LXX: Dan 4:17 1 Macc 11:58 1 Esdras 8:22 In each of these cases the phrase “exousia echein” is interpreted as referring to the authority/power of the subject of the verb over others. The subjects in each of these passages are men. This identical phrase in 1 Cor 11:10 refers to a woman and is translated as meaning that the subject of the verb is subordinate to the authority of others. However, the meaning of this text is the woman has authority. “epi tês kephalês” “Kephalês” should be read metaphorically rather than literally Phrase then becomes a reference to a prophetic woman’s authority over the “head” Thus, a proper translation of verse 10 is: “For this reason, the woman has a right to authority over the head.” Gender Distinction:  Gender Distinction Why does Paul insist on coverings? Paul’s discussion of coverings supports his statement in verse 10 and refers to hairstyles that fit cultural norms and provides gender distinction. 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing if the woman had her shaved head. 11:6 For if a woman will not cover her head, let her have her hair cut. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off her head or her head shaved, then let her be covered. Here Paul’s argument refers directly to how a woman arranges her hair. Paul does not want women to wear their hair long and disheveled as those who worshipped in the Hellenistic Cults. According to Jewish Christian context women with uncovered heads were social outcasts. Gender Distinction:  Gender Distinction 11:13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him, 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. In v. 13 Paul urges the Corinthians to use their own judgment in the matter. Paul emphasizes the significance of head coverings in v.14-15 The argument from nature is utilized to demonstrate that it is appropriate for women to have their heads covered. v. 15 Demonstrates that Paul is referring to hair as a covering. A woman’s hair should be arranged in a way that it follows cultural norms and then serves as a covering. Conclusion:  A proper translation of v. 10 demonstrates that a woman has the right to authority over the head. By understanding common cultic practices in Corinth as well as their Jewish Christian context, it can be concluded that Paul’s discussion on coverings refers to cultural norms and gender distinction A woman should not wear her hair long as those who worship in Hellenistic Cults. A man should not cover his head as those who participate in pagan sacrifice. v. 15 Clearly denotes that a woman’s hair is to be used as a covering. Thus, a woman’s hair arranged in the appropriate style provides the covering necessary to pray and prophesy. Conclusion

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