Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)

Committee Chair

James McConnell


This thesis argues that in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul asserts most centrally that women should wear head coverings while praying and prophesying in the Corinthian Christian assembly. I examine the honor and shame value system of the Greco-Roman world, both generally and in specific reference to head adornment, since head coverings and hairstyles were connected to honor and status. Then I look at Paul's treatment of honor and shame throughout 1 Corinthians, which denounces the worldly value system of status seeking in favor of the value system of the cross. Paul's stance leads him to subject cultural norms to gospel values in the advice he gives the Corinthians. Turning to 1 Cor 11:2-16, I argue that Paul's advice that the women cover their heads comes out of his concern for the gospel value of unity among believers. By covering their heads, the women will avoid self-promotion, acknowledge the value of their male human counterpart, and honor God. Once I establish this thrust of 1 Cor 11:2-16, I demonstrate how the passage fits into the theme of 1 Corinthians and the flow of the letter.