Month 8:26, Week 4:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:226 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 21 November 2011
New Aramaic Insights
Over the years I have got into numerous debates with people - mostly women - on the true meaning of today's passage which is a fairly representative English translation of the Greek translation of the original Hebraic text. If you want to see the numerous ways this passage has been interpreted, please see the article by Daniel Botkin, Should a Christian Woman Wear a Headcovering and my own, Tallit: Repenting of Male Head Coverings.
"Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah (Christ) is Elohim (God). Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim (God); but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Master (Lord). For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from Elohim (God). Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim (God) with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonour to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the assemblies of Elohim (churches of God)" (1 Cor 11:2-16, NKJV).
A discovery by James Trimm, who works with early Aramaic manuscripts of the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) - which was almost certainly the original tongue these scriptures were recorded in before being rendered into Greek and thus further into Latin and English - helps resolve the various interpretations that have been applied in order to justify rebellion on the part of both men and women from the true tavnith (pattern) taught by Paul. His recent work (October 2011) focuses on verse 15 which in the Aramaic reads:
There is no dispute regarding the first of the two phrases. The problem lies in the second phrase which has been various rendered from Aramaic as follows:
The impression given is that the hair is a woman's covering. However, the word elj is a difficult word to translate. In the past it has been rendered as the preposition 'for' - however, the word is generally a verb meaning "to exchange" or "to transform" and is often used as a makeshift preposition in the sense of 'instead of', 'in place of' or 'on behalf of', indicating that one thing is exchanged so that it stands instead of another. Thus the correct translation from Aramaic should be:
"...because her hair for a covering was given to her" (Ethridge).
"...for her hair is given to her for a covering" (Murdock).
"...for her hair is given her for a covering" (Lamsa).
"...for her hair is given to her for a covering" (Roth).
"...because her hair is given to her for a covering" (HRV)
In other words, the covering or veil is over her hair such that the veil stands in place of her hair. Instead of praying or prophesying with her hair flowing loose, it its stead a veil is placed over her hair.
"...because of her hair, on its behalf / in its stead / in its place, a covering is given to her".
This confirms the traditionally understood meaning of the text and removes all ambiguity arising from the erroneous translation that the woman's long hair is her covering which appears to contradict what Paul said earlier.
Combining the two phrases we get:
Why? Because "every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head (husband)". In other words, if she wears no veil, she might as well have her hair shorn off altogether, just as a loose, immoral woman (prostitute) did to shame her. An unveiled woman is therefore like a prostitute.
"But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; because of her hair, on its behalf, a covering (veil) is given to her".
Many woman are rediscovering the glory of the veil or headcovering, just as her long hair is a glory to her, both honouring her husband, and the angelic protection that accompanies it when worn in the right spirit, for he is her spiritual covering.
 James Trimm, Women's Head Covering - 1 Cor.11:15 Never Before Understood - Clarified from the Aramaic (Blog)