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Chapter XXII.—Answer to the Foregoing Arguments.

They who make this concession 8874 ought to reflect on the nature of the word itself—what is the meaning of “woman” from the very first records of the sacred writings. Here they find it to be the name of the sex, not a class of the sex: if, that is, God gave to Eve, when she had not yet known a man, the surname “woman” and “female” 8875 —(“female,” whereby the sex generally; “woman,” hereby a class of the sex, is marked). 8876 So, since at that time the as yet unwedded Eve was called by the word “woman,” that word has been made common even to a virgin. 8877 Nor is it wonderful that the apostle—guided, of course, by the same Spirit by whom, as all the divine Scripture, so that book Genesis, was drawn up—has used the selfsame word in writing “women,” which, by the example of Eve unwedded, is applicable too to a “virgin.” In fact, all the other passages are in consonance herewith. For even by this very fact, that he has not named “virgins” (as he does in another place 8878 where he is teaching touching marrying), he sufficiently predicates that his remark is made touching every woman, and touching the whole sex; and that there is no distinction made between a “virgin” and any other, while he does not name her at all. For he who elsewhere—namely, where the difference requires—remembers to make the distinction, (moreover, he makes it by designating each species by their appropriate names,) wishes, where he makes no distinction (while he does not name each), no difference to be understood. What of the fact that in the Greek speech, in which the apostle wrote his letters, it is usual to say, “women” rather than “females;” that is, γυναῖκας p. 688 (gunaikas) rather than θηλείας (theleias)? Therefore if that word, 8879 which by interpretation represents what “female” (femina) represents, 8880 is frequently used instead of the name of the sex, 8881 he has named the sex in saying γυναῖκα; but in the sex even the virgin is embraced. But, withal, the declaration is plain: “Every woman,” saith he, “praying and prophesying with head uncovered, 8882 dishonoureth her own head.” 8883 What is “every woman,” but woman of every age, of every rank, of every condition? By saying “every” he excepts nought of womanhood, just as he excepts nought of manhood either from not being covered; for just so he says, “Every man.” 8884 As, then, in the masculine sex, under the name of “man” even the “youth” is forbidden to be veiled; so, too, in the feminine, under the name of “woman,” even the “virgin” is bidden to be veiled. Equally in each sex let the younger age follow the discipline of the elder; or else let the male “virgins,” 8885 too, be veiled, if the female virgins withal are not veiled, because they are not mentioned by name.  Let “man” and “youth” be different, if “woman” and “virgin” are different. For indeed it is “on account of the angels” 8886 that he saith women must be veiled, because on account of “the daughters of men” angels revolted from God. 8887 Who then, would contend that “womenalone—that is, 8888 such as were already wedded and had lost their virginity—were the objects of angelic concupiscence, unless “virgins” are incapable of excelling in beauty and finding lovers? Nay, let us see whether it were not virgins alone whom they lusted after; since Scriptures saith “the daughters of men;” 8889 inasmuch as it might have named “wives of men,” or “females,” indifferently. 8890 Likewise, in that it saith, “And they took them to themselves for wives,” 8891 it does so on this ground, that, of course, such are “received for wives” as are devoid of that title. But it would have expressed itself differently concerning such as were not thus devoid. And so (they who are named) are devoid as much of widowhood as of virginity. So completely has Paul by naming the sex generally, mingled “daughters” and species together in the genus. Again, while he says that “nature herself,” 8892 which has assigned hair as a tegument and ornament to women, “teaches that veiling is the duty of females,” has not the same tegument and the same honour of the head been assigned also to virgins?  If “it is shameful” for a woman to be shorn it is similarly so to a virgin too. From them, then, to whom is assigned one and the same law of the head, 8893 one and the same discipline 8894 of the head is exacted,—(which extends) even unto those virgins whom their childhood defends, 8895 for from the first 8896 a virgin was named “female.” This custom, 8897 in short, even Israel observes; but if Israel did not observe it, our Law, 8898 amplified and supplemented, would vindicate the addition for itself; let it be excused for imposing the veil on virgins also.  Under our dispensation, let that age which is ignorant of its sex 8899 retain the privilege of simplicity. For both Eve and Adam, when it befell them to be “wise,” 8900 forthwith veiled what they had learnt to know. 8901 At all events, with regard to those in whom girlhood has changed (into maturity), their age ought to remember its duties as to nature, so also, to discipline; for they are being transferred to the rank of “women” both in their persons and in their functions. No one is a “virgin” from the time when she is capable of marriage; seeing that, in her, age has by that time been wedded to its own husband, that is, to time. 8902 “But some particular virgin has devoted herself to God.  From that very moment she both changes the fashion of her hair, and converts all her garb into that of a ‘woman.’”  Let her, then, maintain the character wholly, and perform the whole function of a “virgin:” what she conceals 8903 for the sake of God, let her cover quite over. 8904 It is our business to entrust to the knowledge of God alone that which the grace of God effects in us, lest we receive from man the reward we hope for from God. 8905 Why do you denude before God 8906 what you cover p. 689 before men? 8907 Will you be more modest in public than in the church? If your self-devotion is a grace of God, and you have received it, “why do you boast,” saith he, “as if you have not received it?” 8908 Why, by your ostentation of yourself, do you judge others? Is it that, by your boasting, you invite others unto good?  Nay, but even you yourself run the risk of losing, if you boast; and you drive others unto the same perils! What is assumed from love of boasting is easily destroyed. Be veiled, virgin, if virgin you are; for you ought to blush. If you are a virgin, shrink from (the gaze of) many eyes. Let no one wonder at your face; let no one perceive your falsehood. 8909 You do well in falsely assuming the married character, if you veil your head; nay, you do not seem to assume it falsely, for you are wedded to Christ: to Him you have surrendered your body; act as becomes your Husband’s discipline. If He bids the brides of others to be veiled, His own, of course, much more. “But each individual man 8910 is not to think that the institution of his predecessor is to be overturned.” Many yield up their own judgment, and its consistency, to the custom of others. Granted that virgins be not compelled to be veiled, at all events such as voluntarily are so should not be prohibited; who, likewise, cannot deny themselves to be virgins, 8911 content, in the security of a good conscience before God, to damage their own fame. 8912 Touching such, however, as are betrothed, I can with constancy “above my small measure” 8913 pronounce and attest that they are to be veiled from that day forth on which they shuddered at the first bodily touch of a man by kiss and hand. For in them everything has been forewedded: their age, through maturity; their flesh, through age; their spirit, through consciousness; their modesty, through the experience of the kiss their hope, through expectation; their mind through volition. And Rebecca is example enough for us, who, when her betrothed had been pointed out, veiled herself for marriage merely on recognition of him. 8914



As to the distinction between “women” and “virgins.”


Gen. ii. 23. In the LXX. and in the Eng. ver. there is but the one word “woman.”


These words are regarded by Dr. Routh as spurious, and not without reason. Mr. Dodgson likewise omits them, and refers to de Virg. Vel. cc. 4 and 5.


In de Virg. Vel. 5, Tertullian speaks even more strongly: “And so you have the name, I say not now common, but proper to a virgin; a name which from the beginning a virgin received.”


1 Cor. vii. 34 et seq.




Mr. Dodgson appears to think that there is some transposition here; and at first sight it may appear so. But when we look more closely, perhaps there is no need to make any difficulty: the stress is rather on the words “by interpretation,” which, of course, is a different thing from “usage;” and by interpretation γυνή appears to come nearer to “femina” than to “mulier.”




Or, “unveiled.”


1 Cor. xi. 5.


1 Cor. xi. 4.


For a similar use of the word “virgin,” see Rev. xiv. 4.


1 Cor. xi. 10.


See Gen. vi. 2 in the LXX., with the v. l. ed. Tisch. 1860; and compare Tertullian, de Idol. c. 9, and the note there. Mr. Dodgson refers, too, to de Virg. Vel. c. 7, where this curious subject is more fully entered into.


i.e. according to their definition, whom Tertullian is refuting.


Gen. iv. 2.


i.e. If married women had been meant, either word, “uxores” or “feminæ,” could have been used indifferently.


Gen. vi. 2.


1 Cor. xi. 14.


i.e. long hair.


i.e. veiling.


i.e. “exempts.”


i.e. from her creation.


Of the “universal veiling of women.”


i.e. as above, the Sermon on the Mount.


i.e. mere infancy.


Gen. iii. 6.


Gen. 2:27, Gen. 3:7, 10, 11.


Routh refers us to de Virg. Vel. c. 11.


i.e. the redundance of her hair.


i.e. by a veil.


i.e. says Oehler, “lest we postpone the eternal favour of God, which we hope for, to the temporal veneration of men; a risk which those virgins seemed likely to run who, when devoted to God, used to go veiled in public, but bareheaded in the church.”


i.e. in church.


i.e. in public; see note 27, supra.


1 Cor. iv. 7.


i.e. as Muratori, quoted by Oehler, says, your “pious” (?) fraud in pretending to be married when you are a virgin; because “devoted” virgins used to dress and wear veils like married women, as being regarded as “wedded to Christ.”


i.e. each president of a church, or bishop.


i.e. “are known to be such through the chastity of their manner and life” (Oehler).


“By appearing in public as married women, while in heart they are virgins” (Oehler).


Does Tertullian refer to 2 Cor. x. 13? or does “modulus” mean, as Oehler thinks, “my rule?” [It seems to me a very plain reference to the text before mentioned, and to the Apostolic Canon of not exceeding one’s Mission.]


Gen. 24:64, 65.

Next: Of Kneeling.