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Saturday, 28 April 2007

A forgotten Patriot remembered


Genealogy starts out with a simple question: Who were my ancestors? For some people, the answers to this question are not important, and they never venture into their family's past. But for those of us who want to get every answer possible, it becomes necessary to probe farther and farther into the past, until every line has reached the end of the historical record and ventured even further into legend or speculation. Only at that point can one's genealogy be considered complete, and I don't know of any living genealogist who claims to know he has reached it.

Having traced (entirely through the research of others) my own ancestry back to many of the first White Men to settle in New England, I have run into a fair share of sloppy work--basically speculation disguised as research. This makes it much harder to know who my ancestors were, but enough probing eventually indicates who a few of them weren't. One common problem (we ran into this with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Khalid al-Masri) is to assume that anyone with a certain first and last name (or given name and patronym) is the same person as someone of the same name, referenced elsewhere. This is a big no-no in genealogy, but it happens time after time. For the benefit of my several millions of fellow descendants of one such fellow, I'll illustrate one such instance, and a little bit about what followed in its discovery.

We start with a fellow by the name of Richard Otis, my ancestor of twelve generations removed who died in the Cochecho Massacre of 1689, along with various of his children and grandchildren. It's certain, given his age, that he had been born in England. But where, and to whom?

In an attempt to answer this important question, we begin our story with Richard Oates (or Otis) who lived in Glastonbury, Somersetshire, England. This information was gleaned from a will dated sometime in the fall of 1611; thus Richard's death dates to shortly thereafter, as people of that culture rarely finalized their wills until they were at death's door. We know from this will that Richard had sons John, Stephen, and Thomas. Of Thomas we admit to knowing nothing more, but for men named John and Stephen Otis there are records in the New World, and amateur genealogists have concluded, on no other basis, that these men were both sons of Richard and Lydia. Richard himself is thought to have been born in 1581 in Barnstable, Devonshire; but evidence does not exist to confirm this. We only know of the Otis family home being in Glastonbury, and birth records in that parish do not predate 1602.

A John Otis was buried in Scituate, Massachusetts, on May 8, 1641, who cannot otherwise be accounted for, and may have been the father--or nephew--of the John Otis next mentioned. But certain it is that he wasn't his brother, and we must look for the father of our Richard Otis elsewhere. We can be fairly sure that it was one of Richard Oates' sons, either John or Stephen.

John Otise of New World fame seems to have immigrated with his wife Margaret and their young children to the new colony of Plymouth in 1635--or was it 1630?--from Hingham, Norfolk. Others from Hingham helped settle this area, formerly called Bare Cove, but henceforth known as Hingham. This information does not endear us to the supposition that he was the John named in Richard's will, but people were on the move in those days, and it's entirely possible. John's wife Margaret died in April of 1653--or was it January of 1654?-- after which he left Hingham and moved to Weymouth, where he died on May 31, 1657–only 4 years later. His will names his children, as John, Margaret, Anna, Ann, and Alice. It also mentions Mary and Thomas Gile Jr., Mary apparently being the heir of a son who predeceased him. Evidence points to this being one Richard Otis, born in February 1616 in Glastonbury. It is this Richard, son of John, who found himself listed on the LDS database as being killed at Cocheco--a simple case of mistaken idententity a la Zerubbabel.

John Jr., John's other son, born in Barnstable, Devonshire on Jan. 14, 1621, married Mary Jacobs in 1652, and moved with her to Scituate in 1661. They moved on to the town of Barnstable in 1678, before returning to Scituate where he eventually died in 1727. His children, as named in his will, were Mary, Elizabeth, John, Hannah, Stephen, James, Joseph, and Job. Inasmuch as he was a man of note in the province, many details on his children are available, but the question is, was he actually the nephew of one Stephen Otis, who died in Scituate in 1637? A Stephen Otis who could well stand in the missing generation linking the two Richards? Proof is hard to come by, but amateur genealogists use a principal here that can be put into play when all the names of a person's children are known; that is, Family Names Tend to be Passed Down. We note the preponderance of the names John, James, and Joseph among early Otises in New England. At the same time we note the presence of a Stephen (with the same name as John Sr's grandson), and, among this Stephen's children, a son named Richard. So we tend to draw the conclusion that all these Otises were in fact related, and that the two Richard Otises were first cousins, named after their grandfather. Even that is tentative, as the Stephen Otis who died in 1637 may not have been the Stephen Otis who was known to be Richard Oates' son, and is thought to be Richard Otis' father. See how confusing this gets? Thus we leave off the uncertainties of the Richards and Stephens, and get back into the well-documented line of the Johns.

The third John Otis went on to name his son John, but there the story finally ends, as far as John Otises are concerned. For it was the last child of this prominent man of Barnstable who went on to fame as a patriot judge, colonel, and legislator in the last days of the colony. His name was James Otis, and he named his first son James as well. That man's only son was "Jemmy", or James Otis The Third, and with his death on board a British prison ship during the War of American Independence, the line of James Otises went extinct.

All three sons of James Sr. who lived to adulthood were influential American lawyers. James Jr. himself is not nearly as well known as two of his courtroom quotations: "A man's home is his castle"* and "Taxation without representation is tyranny." Yet he gave these quotations in the process of fighting in the courts for what later became known as the Constitutional Rights of Americans; he was a proto-Patriot during the infancy of the American Struggle for Independence.

So why doesn't anyone remember James Otis, Jr? Because by the time of the American Revolution proper, he had gone insane. Brief moments of clarity allowed him, for instance, to sneak off with a borrowed rifle to join the ranks of rebels at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but for the most part he spent the rest of the Revolution as a raving lunatic. Just weeks before it finally ended, he died in exactly the manner he had desired, being struck in the doorway of his house by a solitary bolt of lightning that caused no other damage whatsoever.

What was the cause of James Otis' insanity? Perhaps I am not qualified to say, but based on the fact that he married into a staunch Loyalist family not long before Loyalists and Patriots began to hate each other's guts, it is apparent that the division of his own family into opposing factions of the war took a toll on his already violent temper and drove him over the edge. Once insane, he was finally free of the violent outbursts of temper for which he was famous (the event that caused him to crack mentally was a barroom brawl with political opponents in which his head was cracked physically); thus his insanity seems to have been a subconscious effort to tame his fury, which succeeded when nothing else would.

Nowadays when a person goes insane his first violent act is sometimes to kill as many people as he can before he dies in the attempt. James Otis could be said to have tried to do the same, but he nonetheless emerged unscathed from the Battle of Bunker Hill. Nowadays, a certified lunatic isn't allowed to join or stay in the military, and the controls over the entrance of one-day volunteers into the battlefield are much more stringent then they were in 1775.

But it's interesting that in the eighteenth century, a man with a fractured family life and a history of violence, having been certified a lunatic by the courts, was still allowed to bear arms--and killed no civilians while doing so. Apparently his most violent incident of lunacy, with a most common weapon, was recorded in the following anecdote:

Men and boys, heartless and thoughtless, would sometimes make themselves merry at his expense when he was seen in the streets afflicted with lunacy. On one occasion he was passing a crockery store, when a young man, who had a knowledge of Latin, sprinkled some water upon him from a sprinkling-pot with which he was wetting the floor of the second story, at the same time saying, Pluit tantum, nescio quantum, Scis ne tu? "It rains so much, I know not how much. Don't you know?" Otis immediately picked up a missile, and, hurling it through the window of the crockery store, it smashing every thing in its way, exclaimed, Fregi tôt, nescio quot, Scis ne tu? "I have broken so many, I know not how many. Don't you know?"

So much for the efficacy of background checks.

James Otis died honorably, having lived honorably enough that his mental deficiencies, both pre- and post- the cracking of his skull, were overlooked in his obituary. After his death, Thomas Dawes said of the departed:

Yes, when the glorious work which he begun
Shall stand the most complete beneath the sun –
When peace shall come to crown the grand design,
His eyes shall live to see the work divine –
The heavens shall then his generous spirit claim,
In storms as loud as his immortal fame.
Hark! the deep thunders echo round the skies!
On wings of flame the eternal errand flies;
One chosen, charitable bolt is sped,
And Otis mingles with the glorious dead.

So whence the origin of my interest in the Forgotten Patriot? Well, it all started because one of my ancestors, Richard Otis, entered the history books by being killed in the Cocheco Massacre of June 27, 1689. Richard has been thought to have been a son of the original John Otis, but my research has shown him to more likely have been a son of John's alleged brother Stephen. John himself had a son Richard, whose sole claim to fame is having been confused with the other Richard Otis. In an effort to sort it all out, I followed John's line all the way down to its termination in James Otis, Jr, the Forgotten Patriot.

I learned an important lesson or two from studying the life of this sixth cousin seven times removed.

First, be careful whom you marry; family ties last a long time. James Otis Jr. died twenty-three years into the Revolution he helped start, with his wife and half his surviving children still supporting the other side.

Secondly, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Overcome anger, or it will overcome you.

*This expression, however, was not original to Otis, but part of English common law, having been cited as far back as the judicial decisions of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634).

Saturday, 14 April 2007

The Legend of a "Primitive Cell"

I was at the shop the other day when a technician arrived to fine-tune a complicated new piece of equipment I'd purchased. He introduced himself as John. We chatted as he went to work, and it soon became apparent that this was a man committed to materialistic naturalism, and proud of it. Not being of that persuasion myself, I decided I'd try to see just how rational was his attachment to this particular philosophy. I knew what he charged for his time, but I figured that this conversation might just be worth it in eternal value.

"So, do you believe that every cell in your body descended from a single cell that formed at the moment of conception?" He readily admitted that he did. So did I, but this is where our views were about to diverge.

"Do you also believe that the single-celled organism floating in a warm, watery environment that once was you, was itself ultimately descended from a similarly floating primordial single-celled organism, and that all life on Earth has likewise descended from that single primitive cell?" Yes, he admitted that he did, and with as much a sense of the obvious as he had displayed in the first answer he gave me.

"Well, that's very interesting." I responded. "It reminds me of something that happened to me back when I was a boy growing up on the farm. We had dairy cows, and it was my job to go and bring them in from the pasture every time we milked. Well, I didn't exactly have to bring them, I just had to go out there and sort of let them know that it was milking time, and they took it from there.

"You know, it's an interesting thing about cattle; they always walk right behind the cow in front of them, and before long there's a narrow path worn haphazardly through the pasture which they continue to tread until somebody fences it off before it can turn into a gully. Well, this one summer morning I was following the cows in to the barn when I noticed something very odd in the path. It was dark and kind of oval-shaped, and at first I thought it might be a cow pie. And I suppose it might have started off as one. But when I first noticed it, the cows were all carefully stepping around it, which they wouldn't have bothered to do with a cow pie. It was all foamy in the middle and frothy around the edges, and seemed to seethe and bubble as I watched it.

"Well, the cows were halfway to the barn by this time, so I had to leave behind that interesting blob and hurry in to help with the milking. But that evening I looked for it, and sure enough, it was still there--and the cows were all still carefully stepping around it. It looked about the same as when I had first seen it, but it was hard to tell for sure as I could see it still seething and churning before my very eyes. I watched for it every day after that, wondering all the while just what it could be. The cows never stepped on it, and a patch of grass began to grow up around it. By the end of the summer, it was barely visible.

"That was my last summer at home, and in all the excitement of leaving home the next year I kind of forgot about that little black foamy mass out in the cow path. In fact, it wasn't until years later that I thought to go out and look for it, and by then the cow path had been fenced off and was all grown up to weeds. I had a good idea of where to look for it, but it just didn't seem worth the bother. But two years ago when our family farm went up for sale, I decided to track down that spot once and for all. With my dad's help and using some of his old photographs, I was able to pinpoint the spot were it had been, and I headed down there with a shovel and a rake.

"After a few false starts I found the spot and dug it up. I was so amazed at what I found that I put it right in my pocket, and I've carried it with me ever since. Would you like to see it?"

Well, his answer to this third question was just as positive as the first two had been, so I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. The screen lit up as I flipped it open, and John turned his gaze upward to look straight into my eyes with an expression of pure incredulity.

"Pretty interesting development from a piece of pasture plop, wouldn't you say?"

"BULLoney!" he sputtered. That's a cell phone!"

"Cow pie, what you said, whatever," I went on. "I suppose you could call it a "primitive cell". And it is primitive, all right. It holds more information in it than all of NASA's computers did put together back when they sent Man to the Moon, but that is still a minuscule amount of information compared to what was contained in the one-celled organism floating around in a warm, watery environment that once was you. In fact, it's far more primitive than any one of the trillions of cells in your body right now. It can't repair or replicate itself, and it doesn't contain any information whatsoever on how to make another one just like it.

"Well John, I'm not going to ask you which is more incredible, your Primitive Cell story or my Primitive Cell story. I don't think much of the Argument from Incredulity anyhow. But I do want to tell you one more way you are different than this primitive cell I carry around in my pocket. You see, whenever this cell rings, I know somebody else is trying to get a hold of me. There's never any chance that it's just my cell phone calling up its owner for a chat. But you're different, John. You have a built-in capability of communicating directly with your Designer. And he's listening for your call, John. It's why he made you."

John didn't have anything to say in response to that. His cocky attitude was suddenly gone, and as he turned to try to work out the bugs in my primitive piece of shop equipment, I could see that the intricately designed equipment inside his skull was finally starting to process some very important information.

--with thanks to R. Z., who experienced it, B.K., who related the account, and to D.B., who embellished and published it.

Monday, 9 April 2007

More musings on the Lunar Sabbath

I've thought of another couple of implications of the Lunar Week Theory. The first relates to the Long Weekend, and the second to the Lord of the Sabbath.

First of all, I wrote earlier that the Old Testament Festivals seemed designed to coincide with the Lunar Sabbaths, which fall on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 28th days of the lunar month. An exception is the Feast of Trumpets, which always falls on the first day of the seventh month--which, as you may recall, is the day of the New Moon celebration (approximately every other month, it's the second of two days). Thus in addition to the six 2-day New Moon celebrations, the Israelites also got an annual 2-day weekend: the Feast of Unleavened Bread ends with two back-to-back Sabbaths (which makes food preparation a bit of a challenge, unless one eats matzo for eight days instead of just seven).

Given the fact that Jesus celebrated Passover a day before the Jewish leaders did, one implication under the Lunar Sabbath system is that he was also a day early celebrating the Sabbath. Could this account for why he ran into so much trouble with the Jewish authorities for healing on the Sabbath? Actually, since most of these confrontations took place in Galilee, we can't blame a Galilean calendar for Jesus being a day early; we know that it was the Sabbath in Galilee when he did the healing because it was usually in conjunction with Sabbath day services at the synagogue. So we must look elsewhere for an explanation of Jesus' celebrating the Passover a day early. The Lunar Calendar doesn't account for it.

John Chrysostom speaks directly to the problem of lunisolar incongruence in his day, in Against the Judaizers Homily 3:V ( 386 CE):

(5) But why speak of ourselves since we have been set free from all such necessity? We are citizens of a city above in heaven, where there are no months, no sun, no moon, no circle of seasons. If you wish to give exact attention to the matter, you will see that, even among the Jews, little account was made of the season of the Pasch, but they cared greatly about the place for it, namely, Jerusalem. Some men came up to Moses and said to him: "We are unclean through touching the dead body of a man. How shall we avoid failing ill the Lord's offering?" He said to them: "Wait here and let me report it to God." Then, after he reported it, he brought back the law which says: "If any man be unclean through touching a dead body, or be afar on a journey and be unable to keep the Pasch in the first month, he shall keep it in the second."
(6) And so is not the observance of the time annulled among the Jews so that the Pasch may be observed in Jerusalem? Will you not show greater concern for the harmony of the Church than for the season? So that you may seem to be observing the proper days, will you outrage the common Mother of us all and will you cut asunder the Holy Synod? How could you deserve pardon when you choose to commit sins so enormous for no good reason ?
(7) But why must I speak of the Jews? No matter how eagerly and earnestly we wish it, it is not altogether possible for us to observe that day on which He was crucified. This will make it clear. Let us suppose the Jews had not sinned, that they were not hard of heart, nor senseless, nor indifferent, nor despisers; suppose they had not fallen from their ancestral way of life but were still carefully observing it. Even if this was the case, we could not, by following in their footsteps, put our finger on the very day on which He was crucified and fulfilled the Pasch. Let me tell how this is the case. When He was crucified it was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread and the day of preparation.
(8) But it is not possible for both of these to fall always on the same day. This year the first day of the feast of unleavened bread falls on Sunday, and the [Lenten] fast must still last for a whole week; According to this, after Passiontide, after the cross and resurrection have come and gone, we are still fasting. And it has often happened that, after the cross and resurrection, our [Lenten] fast is still being observed because the week is not yet over. This is why no observance of the exact time is possible.

Friday, 6 April 2007

The Wednesday Crucifixion Theory

For some time now I've been working on a post regarding the Lunar Week. It's buried several posts back, so here's a link to help you find it.

I've done a little more research on some implications of the Lunar Sabbath to the chronology of Passion Week, so we'll continue our study with a look at Luke 23:56.

The questions that arise in this passage, which really includes v. 1 of Luke 24, are:

1) How much time elapsed while the ladies were preparing to anoint Jesus' body?
2) Which sabbath is in view here?
3) What is the meaning of the Greek word men used to modify the sabbath of v. 56 (untranslated in most Bibles)?

1. A major argument in favor of the Wednesday Crucifixion Theory is that a Friday Crucifixion would not allow enough time for the Galilean ladies to observe his burial, go home, and prepare spices all in time to rest on the Sabbath which was already drawing on at the time of Jesus' burial. Therefore, Jesus must have been crucified on Wednesday, just before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began with a High Sabbath on Thursday.

There is one problem with this scenario that has been raised before, and it relates to the purpose of the anointing oils & spices that the women were preparing: they were for the purpose of preventing Jesus' body from decaying. Little good would it do to use these ointments unless they were applied as soon as possible after death occurred! Thus the women would have hurried as fast as they could to prepare the spices, but it wasn't quite in time to get them put on Jesus' body before the commencement of the Sabbath.

This argument carries no weight, however, for two reasons.

First, a day and a half is still too long to avoid decay; secondly, Joseph & Nicodemus had already dumped 75 pounds of a myrrh and aloe mixture on the body when they wrapped it for burial, so this point is moot anyway. The women were bringing additional ointments, which could have been prepared at leisure and brought to the tomb after two and a half days. Furthermore, Mark 16 says (assuming that these are the same women) that they bought the spices after the Sabbath, which requires an intervening day between the Sabbath after which they bought the spices, and the Sabbath before which they prepared them.

So, the argument from the Spice Preparation Passages is in favor of a Wednesday crucifixion followed by a High Sabbath, a Friday for purchasing & preparing the spices, and an intervening Regular Sabbath before they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body. This argument rests on two assertions, one of which must be disproven in order to maintain the Lunar Week Calendar:
a) The women of Mark 16 and Luke 23-24 are the same.
b) The tense of the verb hgorasan in Mark 16:1 requires a Sabbath prior to the purchase of the spices

2. The timing of this High Sabbath is problematical, because it indicates that Jesus and his disciples must have celebrated Passover a day early; Jesus' death having occurred the afternoon before the first day of Unleavened Bread, Passover should have been that very evening. This would accord with the Jewish Leaders' reluctance to defile themselves by entering Pilate's judgment hall for fear of missing out on Passover, the day after Jesus himself had celebrated it.

There is only one explanation for these facts as they stand, which is that Jesus and his disciples, being from Galilee, followed a different calendar than did the High Priests in Jerusalem. This makes some sense, as Galilee was so far from Jerusalem as to make it difficult to get news in time for the New Moon celebration each month, and Galilee must have began that month a day before the Priests decided to, based on their observance of the crescent moon. Jesus must have, therefore, followed a calculated New Moon rather than an observed one, so that even while in Jerusalem he declined to follow the official calendar, and observed Passover according to his calculation rather than the Priest's observation.

This raises another question related to the Lunar Week, which we shall address later on.

Now, as we have previously seen, under the Lunar Week Calendar the day after Passover was always the second regular Sabbath of that month. What made it a High Sabbath was that it always coincided with the launch of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So a Lunar Sabbath does not allow for a Wednesday Crucifixion, which requires two Sabbaths during the Three Days in the Grave. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the two Sabbaths fall six days apart, with another Sabbath immediately following under the Lunar Week Calendar; this timetable is not compatible with the Spice Preparation Passages. Either the Lunar Week is fatal to the Wednesday Crucifixion, or the Wednesday Crucifixion is fatal to the Lunar Week.

3. In Luke 23:56 is found the little Greek word men, which is nearly a homonym for the Greek word mhn, which means 'moon' or 'month'. For this reason, Charles Crosby has argued that the verse should be literally translated,

"Returning yet, they make ready spices and attars and the Full Moon Sabbath they quietize according to the direction."

There's a major problem with this theory; it just isn't gramatically possible to translate men as 'moon'. In order for Luke to have meant "lunar sabbath", he would have had to use the adjective mhnion; or even if he wanted to use the noun adjectivally, it would still have to be declined as mhnon. Actually, men here is in its usual usage as the first of a pair of contrast words (men . . . de), used here to contrast the two uses of sabbaton in the same passage:

23:56 "Then when they returned home, they prepared spices and perfumes. And for the Sabbath (sabbaton) though, they did rest, in keeping with the commandment; 24:1 but at the crack of dawn on the first day of the week (sabbaton), they went to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared."

So there is no cryptic mention of a Lunar Sabbath in Luke 23, after all.

To summarize: Proponents of the Wednesday Crucifixion Theory depend on a calendar that does not follow the Lunar Week, in order to have two Sabbaths fall during the three days Christ is in the tomb. Should the Lunar Week turn out to have been in use at that time and place, the Wednesday Crucifixion becomes impossible.
* * *
In related news:
Liviu Mircea and Tiberiu Oproiu claim to have pinpointed the exact time and date of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.
The pair, from the Astronomic Observatory Institute in Cluj, Romania, say Jesus died at 3pm on Friday, April 3, 33 AD, and rose again at 4am on Sunday, April 5.
They used a computer programme to check biblical references against historical astronomical data.
They said the New Testament stated that Jesus died the day after the first night with a full moon, after the vernal equinox.
Using data gathered on the stars between 26 and 35 AD they established that in those nine years, the first full moon after the vernal equinox was registered twice - on Friday, April 7, 30 AD, and on Friday, April 3, 33 AD.
They were convinced the date of the crucifixion was 33 AD, and not 30 AD, because records showed a solar eclipse, as depicted in the Bible at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, occurred in Jerusalem that year.
This, however, is impossible, because the darkness during the Crucifixion was associated with a full moon, not the new moon required for an eclipse.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Pyramids in the News

The Pyramids of Giza are a source of endless fascination to historians, who have a hard time agreeing on who commissioned and/or built them (and when), who (if anyone) was buried in them, and just how on earth they were built, anyways. One thing we can all agree on is that they are extremely old and represent a level of technology no longer in existence.

New theories about the Pyramids emerge every year or so, and the latest one is just out.

Fortunately, many of these theories are testable.

Unfortunately, the powers that be have their own agenda and don't always allow each theory to be fully tested.

It remains to be seen how this one will pan out.

Head Covering and Symbolism: The Challenge

In the previous post I asked if hair length "is even hinted at as a gender-distinguishing trait anywhere else in Scripture." The Apostle John's testimony in Apocalypse 9:8 is offered in defense of the affirmative.

"And they had hairs as hairs of women, and the teeth of them as of lions were"

First of all, this testimony will serve as no precedent for Paul in First Corinthians, as it was written far later. Secondly, notice that the word here usually translated "hair" is not komh, the "long hair" of 1 Cor. 11:14-15 (and nowhere else), but trixas, the accusative plural of the feminine word qrix--the same word used, but in the nominative, in 1:14 for the hair on the head of the Resurrected Christ. So whatever feature it is that characterizes the hair on these monsters, it is not specified as being length. There's nothing to indicate, for example, that their hair was any longer than the Risen Christ's.

So my challenge stands. Long hair as a distinctly feminine trait is not so much as hinted at outside the Headship Symbolism Passage.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Head Covering and Symbolism

Blogger's note: I recognize here, as elsewhere in this blog, that the English language has changed in my lifetime, and the word 'gender' is now used to refer to what the word 'X35' (read upside down & backwards) used to. This is also for the benefit of screening programs which might otherwise make this blog inaccessible.

It's time to consider some problems with the Figurative approach to interpreting and applying 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, the Headship Symbolism Passage.

First of all, it is apparent on its face that in this passage, the Apostle is giving instructions on how to symbolize the headship relationship between:

- God and Christ
- Christ and the man/husband
- The man/husband and the woman/wife

This is foundational, as Paul mentions it before getting into any actual instruction.

Is there any symbol common to these three relationships? If not, why would Paul put them all together in the introductory verse?

To begin with, let's look at some of the symbols depicted in Scripture and see if any of these apply.

1. Clothing. This is one of the first symbols encountered in Scripture. Clothing, we are told in Isaiah 61:10 and Revelation 19:8, can symbolize righteousness and/or salvation. God provided clothing to Adam and Eve, inter alia, for the reason of demonstrating their own lack of righteousness and external need for salvation.

What sort of clothing did Jesus wear? Well, to begin with, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes. The reasons for this are not given in Scripture, but it's apparent that this was the customary attire for a newborn in that culture, and God's approval was on Jesus' initial conformity to the clothing norms of his culture. Does this specifically symbolize in any way the Headship principle? Not apparently. Nor at any time, in mentioning Jesus' clothing, do the Scriptures hint that what he wore was at all extraordinary or meant to symbolize in any way his unique relationship with God; contrast this with the specific mention of his cousin John's unusual clothing and dietary habits.

So there's nothing inherent anywhere in the Scriptures to support the idea of a symbol that is part of one's clothing being used to depict the Headship principle. This is significant, given that clothing is a large part of the Tabernacle cultus described in such minute detail in Exodus and Leviticus.

2. Painful Childbirth and Arduous Agriculture are given in the same chapter of Genesis as symbols of a sort; symbols, like clothing, of mankind's new sinful state. Unlike clothing, which does not appear as gender-specific in its first mention, these symbolic curses were directed at the woman and the man respectively. But could these represent in any way the Headship principle? No, because, being intricately related to the curse of sin as they are, they can't represent the sinless unity between God and His Son.

3. Marriage, which has its origins in the first chapter of Genesis, is later depicted as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and his Body, the Church. Now we're getting close, because in Ephesians chapter five, Paul directly compares the unconditional subjection of a wife to her husband to the unconditional subjection of the Church to Christ. But note that this symbolism does not directly parallel that of 1 Corinthians chapter eleven; the church is not at all in view in that passage. In fact, the usage of 'man' and 'woman' in verses 11-12 clearly shows that more than just the marriage relationship is in view here; men and women as entire gender classes are the subject. Correlating with Paul's prohibition just three chapters later against women teaching men*, woman in general are depicted here as being in subjection to men in general, not just each woman to her own husband. So marriage, which is not the universal experience of either gender class, can't be the symbolism being portrayed here. Neither, then, could it be any symbolism particular to marriage, such as a bridal ring or dress.

4. Hair is an interesting symbol in the Bible, as it too is not gender-specific in its first mention–which doesn't come until the third book of the Bible, where in Leviticus 13:29-33, shaving off the hair is prescribed for any person, male or female, diagnosed with a leprous spot on the head or chin. In the next chapter it even specifies shaving off the eyebrows! Contemporaneous with the Torah narrative, Job is said to have shaved the hair off his head in mourning for his great loss (Job 1:20). Women are categorically commanded to shave their heads in the case of a slave concubine, in Deuteronomy 21:12.

At this point we must digress, as the question arises as to whether hair length is even hinted at as a gender-distinguishing trait anywhere else in Scripture. The first mention of long hair is in Numbers chapter six, in the instructions for a Nazarite–remember, these are specified in verse two as applying to men and women indifferently. The Nazarite is to let his or her hair grow long during the duration of his or her vow, and shave it off for a burnt offering at the completion of the vow. If there is no difference here between man and woman, how could hair length symbolize a difference between the genders?

We now come back to First Corinthians Eleven. Paul clearly feels here that there is should be a gender-based difference in the hair length of men and women respectively, and he considers the reasons behind it to be patently obvious.

Whence obtained Paul such an opinion? Certainly, as it has been shown, not from Scripture.

What, then, could Paul point to as a symbolism of the relationships between God and Christ, Christ and man, and man and woman? He uses a head covering: the visible presence of it for the ultimate relationship, and the visible absence of it for the penultimate relationship--both pointing, in a symbol, to the invisible submission of the Son to the Father within the Godhead.

*8/09/2110 I erred in writing this. Like many patristic authors, I quoted from memory. Lest any read into this a new interpolation in 1 Corinthians 14, I should have specified the location of this prohibition as 1 Timothy 2:12.