Sex Bias in the New Testament – The “Veil” – Part 1

veilUnderstanding the impact that these seemingly minor changes in scripture have had upon women is vitally important. Women everywhere suffer bondage and abuse because of these changes made in translation. This is why I continually point out the changes that translators made due to Sex Bias.  The wrongs that have been done to women are huge as a result of these changes. They have affected every woman worldwide for centuries. Because of the many changes that translators have done, the Bible has become a weapon used to abuse women without recourse to the abuser.  It’s time for people to wake up to these changes and give women their proper authority, equality, honor and dignity back– as men stripped these things from us through translation. In the following passages of scripture that are used to subjugate women, Bushnell exposes the changes made by translators to write women out of equality, power and authority. There are a total of EIGHT changes that will be covered in subsequent articles that unveil the truth of what these passages really mean and how men’s changes in translation, give them all power and control over women.

Exousiathis word occurs 103 times in the N.T. It is rendered “authority” 29 times; “power” 69 times; “right” twice; and once each “liberty,” “jurisdiction,” and “strength.”

Its meaning is patent; there is no mystery about the word. But in one single instance it happens to be used exclusively of woman’s power. Here at once its sense is called into question. It cannot be possible that women should have power! (sarcasm intended) In the margin the translators write the longest note to be found in all the Bible (see A.V.) to explain how Paul means that this “power” must be abdicated by woman, in order that her HUSBAND may assume it instead.  How typical of men to do this in scripture. Let’s talk about this misfit, and others, that rob women of power and gives that “power” over to their husbands. These are only small changes in translation, BUT, with HUGE consequences for women everywhere.

1 Cor. 11: 1-16 – The usual sense (not ours) put upon these words by expositors, beginning with verse 3, we give in the language of Dr. Weymouth’s Modern English translation:

(3) “I would have you know that of every man, Christ is Head,  that of a woman her husband is the Head, and that God is Christ’s Head. (4) A man who wears a veil praying or prophesying dishonours his Head; (5) but a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her Head, for it is exactly the same as if she had her hair cut short. (6) If a woman will not wear a veil, let her also cut off her hair, but since it is a dishonour to a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her wear a veil. (7) For a man ought not to have a veil on his head, since he is the image and glory of God: while woman is the glory of man. (8) Man does not take his origin from woman, but woman takes hers from man. (9) For man was not created for woman’s sake, but woman for man’s. (10) That is why a woman ought to have on her head a symbol of subjection, because of the angels. (11) Yet, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man nor man independent of woman. (12) For just as woman originates from man, so also man comes into existence through woman, but everything springs originally from God. (13) Judge of this for your own selves: is it seemly for a woman to pray to God when she is unveiled? (14) Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a dishonour to him, (15) but if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because her hair was given to her for a covering? (16) But if anyone is inclined to be contentious on the point, we have no such custom, nor have the churches of God.”

THE FIRST MISFIT

Now please note, first of all, that at verse 10, first clause, Dr. Weymouth substitutes something totally different from what the text says. The text reads, “ought to have power,” while Dr. Weymouth, following the usual interpretation, says, “ought to have . . . a symbol of subjection.” The original word for “power,” here, is exousia, meaning authority, right; the same word for “power,” and preposition for on, epi, (often translated “over”), with the same construction, will be found in many places,– for instance, Rev. 11:6, “They have power over waters to turn them to blood.” and likewise in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the sentence, “The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” Furthermore, the original text here has never been called into question; the reading is as simple as it could possibly be, “The woman ought to have power over [rendered “on” in the English Versions] her head.” No scholar questions this.

At this place, the Authorized Version (KJV) introduces the longest Marginal Note to be found in the whole Bible. Where Paul says, “ought to have power,” the Note reads, “That is, a covering in sign that she is under the power of her husband.” This is certainly a most extraordinary substitute for the words of Scripture. Had it read merely, that she was to be “under power,” even that would have been a contradiction of the explicit statement of St. Paul; but they add to this contradicting thought: The woman is not only expected to yield to authority, instead of wielding authority, but also to “wear a sign” that she renounces the authority Paul gives her. and not only is she to renounce that authority, but to renounce it in favour of a particular person, — her husband. The BIBLE–St. Paul–says nothing of this sort, but the Marginal Note, and the Bible Commentators teach it.

For our part, we think it suspicious because that husbands, not wives, have discovered this extraordinary meaning for St. Paul’s words. If indeed a woman should wear “a sign of subjection” (and scholars can produce no Scriptural proof that a veil is a sign of subjection), then why should it not rather be a sign of subjection to God, whom she serves in prophesying, or whom she addresses in prayer?  Why is the husband thrust in by husbands, at this point? Dr. J.W. Thirtle makes the sensible remark here, “The context puts in no plea for anyone outside of the woman: it is THE WOMAN’S OWN AUTHORITY that is in question, and the Apostle defends it with his decisive OUGHT.” [The capitals are Dr. Thirtle’s.]

This phrase in verse 10 is manifestly a conclusion–ergo–of all the foregoing arguments of the passage. . . Paul was a highly intelligent person who knew how to argue a point. To pretend that he could not express what he wanted to say here in plain words is quite ridiculous. Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit. These commentators are not. For this reason, we must yield at once that verse 10 means what it says, and we dare not reject its teaching for the “vain traditions of men.”

[But this is not the end of the misfits in these passages of scripture! Let’s look at two more:]

THE SECOND MISFIT

As to the clause of verse 10, “because of the angels,” a very common explanation, given by Dean Stanley for instance, one of the Translation Committee that produced our Revised Version, is that the angels and women fell into sin together, and therefore, he says, “Women ought not to part with the sign that she is subject, not to them, but to her husband. The authority of the husband is, as it were, enthroned visibly upon her head, in token that she belongs to him alone, and that she owes no allegiance to any one else besides, not even to the angels who stand before God’s throne.” This teaching (1) contradicts  Heb. 2:2. “The word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward.” (2) It assumes that angels are MALES, whereas they are sexless,–Mark 12:25. (3) We have already disposed of the superstition that angels sinned with women. (4) Christian women belong to Christ, who purchased them with His own blood,– not to their husbands.

THE THIRD MISFIT

Verse 4. Commentators set forth two or three views here: Men dishonour their own heads by wearing “a token of subjection.” If so, then Christ dishonoured His head when “He took on Him the form of a servant.” Why are not men called upon to imitate Christ’s humility? Another view is, that BECAUSE Christ is man’s Head man must not veil in His presence. This is more nearly correct. But if man must unveil before Christ, because Christ is man’s Head, in the same sense Christ is woman’s Head, and therefore she will dishonour Him unless she unveils in His presence. And if it is because of “headship,” then, since man is woman’s head, she should, for the same reasons, unveil before man. Here then is a double reason why women should unveil.

But next, in verses 5 and 6, we come to a clear statement which has given occasion for the assumption that Paul is arguing for the veiling of women, not against their veiling. Can we get an explanation for the words, “Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered, dishonoureth her head.” which can be reconciled with St. Paul’s logic for unveiling? We promise a satisfactory explanation in due course. Please note that the penalty, “Let her be shown or shaven.” is softened to “let her cut off her hair,” by Dr. Weymouth, though it is not at all what the words mean. It is too much, even for these hardy expositors, to claim that Paul actually commanded the church to punish unveiled women after this fashion.

— Katherine Bushnell, 1923

(to be continued)

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