1 Cor 11: 10 ECHEIN EXOUSIAN EPI KRFALHS
jerker_k at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 26 11:05:33 EDT 2002
Rev. Mark Eddy wrote:
> From the examples above, it is clear that EPI THS KEFALHS on occasion
>"over the head" instead of
>the head." And in a few of these passages "head" connotes more than just >a
>person's physical head. It can
>represent the entire person.
We must not confuse English, or Swedish (!), idiom with Greek. The mere fact
that English idiom requires the preposition Over in some instances where
Greek uses EPI doesnt mean that Greek and English use the same idiomatic
idea to express the same thing.
The most basic meaning of EPI is upon, i.e. placed on top of. The general
meaning of Over, on the other hand, is the direction above.
Consequently, when the English preposition over is used metaphorically as
in power over the line of thought is that of a pyramid where someone on
the top has power over someone at the bottom. EPI, when used to express
influence or power over something, doesnt take on the English idiom of
Over but it preserves its basic meaning of upon. The Greeks both
laughed (EPIGELAW) and ruled (EPIKRATEW) upon instead of at and over.
Regarding the verses you referred to I agree that Judit 8:3 and Jona 4:8 as
well as Psalm 65:12 cant be understood in analogy with wearing on the
head. In 2Sam. 1:16 the translation of DAMAEKA AL-RO´CHKA is a rendering
of a, as far as I know, purely Hebraic idiom. The idea of the expression, I
assume, is that you get tainted with blood as if you killed someone in
battle and thus you are also wearing the stains of blood in your face. In
Proverbs 25:22 the coal on your foes head is naturally a metaphor but the
saying is literal and the syntax follows the letter. In Psalm 139:8 JHWH
functions as a helmet or another type of protective head covering. In Rev.
10:1 the rainbow is quite definitely a part of the angels outfit. In the
three cases were the wearing on the head clearly doesnt fit EPI is used
in a hostile sense with the meaning of something coming hazardously close.
In English perhaps rendered best with come down upon.
The point I wished to make were that the prepositional phrase EPI THS
KEFALHS as well as the verbal phrase EXOUSIAN ECHEIN EPI has a predefined
meaning of its own, that is: wear something upon ones head. This, of
cause, doesnt negate the fact that EPI THS KEFALHS can be governed by a
verb and thus be given a wider range of meanings. Still, the important point
I hope can be made is that the interpretation of 1Cor 11: 10 doesnt
necessarily, or even preferably, run along the line EXOUSIAN ECHEIN EPI.
It can as well run along the line EPI THS KEFALHS. It all depends on
whether you treat EXOUSIAN or EPI KEFALHS as the key to unlock the
verse. The fact that EPI KEFALHS, in almost every instance in LXX and
Novum, denotes a wearing of some head covering either metaphorically or
literally, doesnt speak in favor of an interpretation which takes EPI as
governed by EXOUSIA and thus denoting authority over.
>However, I would like to propose another translation of this verse.
> >"Because of
>this the woman ought to
>have an authority over her head, because of the angels." The "authority"
>she ought to have "over"
>head is her husband (or father, if she is not yet married). I would be
>interested in hearing your
>objections to this understanding of the text. Alternatively, could Paul >be
>saying ""the woman ought to
>have authority over her head," meaning, the Christian woman ought to be
> >able to
>know how properly to
>control what she has on her head, without having to have someone else >tell
>what to wear? I would be interested in hearing your arguments for why he
>does not mean >this.
The problem that comes along if you insist that EXOUSIA should govern
EPI in the sense of authority over is that the whole phrase would take
on the meaning possessing an authority over as it indeed does in for
example Luk. 9:1, Rev. 2:26, 6:8, 13:7, 14:18 and 16:9.
I believe we are arguing for somewhat the same interpretation of the verse
so I wont dispute your conclusion that women aught to wear an authority on
their heads. What I would like to argue is instead that EPI KEFALHS has
authority over EXOUSIAN EPI and therefore the passage means rather that a
woman aught to wear an authority on her head than that a woman aught to have
authority over the head.
I follow Gerhard Kittel and Hugo Odeberg when it comes to the meaning of
EXOUSIA. They have both suggested that EXOUSIA is a metonym inspired by the
Aramaic SCHALOTANAJJA, which means both authority and a head covering. As
far as I can se this is the only explanation of the text that makes sense
both in terms of grammar and meaning. Paul would then be playing with a
double meaning. On the one hand we have the authority women are wearing
literary in the church on the other hand we have the authority women are
placed under in terms of creation.
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