Why Did Paul Ask Men Not to Cover Their Heads while Asking Women to Cover Their Heads?
This passage is used as a key building block in theologies portraying gender hierarchy as God’s will. This is while the exegetes offer very contradictory interpretations of the text, typically concluding that Paul was not very logical in his argumentation or alternatively parts of the challenging text are simply ignored. In this workshop, an interpretation is presented that assumes that Paul is logical in his argumentation. The passage starts to make sense, when a) the conflict in Corinth is understood as one between social classes – also among different classes of women, b) we realize that the head-coverings and hairdos showed the social status of the person – and status conflicts were the big issue in Corinth overall, c) we notice that the punctuation marks have been added much later and can be ignored. The text is given a natural interpretation as Paul’s Christ-centered response simultaneously to all the conflicting parties, that consist of women in conflict amongst themselves, men in conflict amongst themselves, and conflicts between genders. The workshop offers the participants an opportunity to discuss themes according to their interests relating to the details of the passage, its meaning, the culture of Paul’s time and even Paul’s theology or challenges of exegetical research more widely, also regarding the women’s passages.