Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2 Men on HairDos

Aristotle and then Paul/Saul write about hairdos. I'll spare you their Greek (and won't bother you with which hairdressing schools they went to either).

"The front part of the head goes bald because the brain is there and man is the only animal to go bald, because his brain is much the largest and moistest. Women do not go bald."
--Aristotle, DE GENERATIONE, 784a (translated by A. L. Peck, 1943)

"Again, one quality or action is nobler than another if it is that of a naturally finer being: thus a man's will be nobler than a woman's. . . Things that deserve to be remembered are noble, and the more they deserve this, the nobler they are. . . So are the distinctive qualities of a particular people, and the symbols of what it specially admires, like long hair in Sparta, where this is a mark of a free man, as it is not easy to perform any menial task when one's hair is long."
--Aristotle, RHETORIC, 1367a (translated by W. Rhys Roberts, 1954)

"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head -- it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels. (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.) Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering."

--Paul, I CORINTHIANS, 11:1-16 (Revised Standard Version translators, 1946)

1 comment:

J. K. Gayle said...

At BBB, there's a post and comment-conversation on instruction about these matters.

"And why remain sitting on this tomb, [line 890] wrapped in this long veil, oh, stranger lady?"
--Eugene O'Neill, Jr., translator, 1938AD:
Aristophanes, playwright, 411BC:

The line is delivered by the character, Euripides to his aged Kinsman (probably Mnesilochus), who is veiled like a woman (and pretending to be a priestess) at the altar of Demeter, the Athenian's goddess of agriculture. The play is Thesmophoriazusae (aka "Women at the Festival" or "Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria" or "Poet and the Women"). Men in Greek cities just were not supposed to wear veils, and women in holy places were. So the comedy is full of Greek humor, and sexist Greek humor too.