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Old 04-03-2011, 09:49 PM
On The Wheel On The Wheel is offline
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Uncut hair in church history

I'm looking for documentation concerning the "uncut hair" doctrine in church history. I'm not looking to discuss the scriptural issues, as that has already been done here multiple times.

Up until recent times, it seems that long hair has been the accepted norm for Christian ladies since the time of the Apostles. However, did ladies ever trim it in any way while still leaving it long? It has been stated that the "uncut hair" doctrine is a new one. That would mean there is documentation that shows this. Anecdotal information is welcomed, but I would really like someone to point me toward the correct historical or theological research.

My own research shows that the "uncut hair" doctrine is indeed an anomaly in our time. But that research may be incomplete.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:57 PM
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

In Numbers chapter 6 we find the vow of a Nazirite in which a man or woman would not cut their hair for a designated time of consecration. This could be for a specified time period or could be for life. After the time of consecration the hair would be shaved off and offered as a sacrifice to the Lord. Since the vow was for both men and women, and since the vow was to let the hair grow, it seems to me that both men and women would be cutting/trimming/altering the length of their hair before the vow was taken and again after the vow was completed. So, in my opinion, there is nothing under the law which said a woman could not cut/trim/alter the length of her hair when she was not under that vow.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:57 PM
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

Quote:
Originally Posted by On The Wheel View Post
I'm looking for documentation concerning the "uncut hair" doctrine in church history. I'm not looking to discuss the scriptural issues, as that has already been done here multiple times.

Up until recent times, it seems that long hair has been the accepted norm for Christian ladies since the time of the Apostles. However, did ladies ever trim it in any way while still leaving it long? It has been stated that the "uncut hair" doctrine is a new one. That would mean there is documentation that shows this. Anecdotal information is welcomed, but I would really like someone to point me toward the correct historical or theological research.

My own research shows that the "uncut hair" doctrine is indeed an anomaly in our time. But that research may be incomplete.
I did a quick search. I'm not sure about the doctrine but the practice is mentioned in a book: "A history of private life: from pagan rome to byzantine" it mentions "women's hair was kept uncut" in atleast one culture(pg. 454). The reference is somewhat vague though.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:06 PM
Sweet Pea Sweet Pea is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

I was raised UPC and I remember very well as a child that most of the women in our church trimmed their hair and lots of the little girls had bangs. (That was in the days when the ladies all had the "rolls" at the end of their hair hanging down - don't know how else to describe it.)

I was old enough to know the difference when with the installation of a new pastor and change in the district regime, that trimming the hair was no longer permitted. This would have been in the late 50's or early 60's - before everyone started wearing their hair up in the big hair-dos.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:42 PM
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missourimary missourimary is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

Victorian women, and even women in earlier times than those, would weave locks of hair into jewelry or framed wall art. It's not a highly known practice, but seems to have been common at the time. Here is one example: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11479. Some would say that these are ONLY made from the hair of those who died, but that's incorrect. Also, men AND women contributed locks.

Several stories, such as Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, describe a woman getting her hair cut to sell it to a wig maker. Although in these stories others are shocked that they've cut their hair SHORT, there is never outrage that their hair was on cut at all. Many are considered heroines, and their acts self sacrificing but morally good and pure.

However, though I've never found a website that confirms it, in some studies I did over 15 years ago on women's clothing, there was some evidence that around 1800, some ministers did preach against curling 'love locks' into the hair at the sides of women's faces. Part of their argument appeared to be that the curling techniques used (and the subsequent wiring of the hair to hold the style) broke it off short, if I remember correctly. Of course, the same ministers were preaching against "slit skirts" that showed the under skirt or decorative petticoat (different than an undergarment) and slit sleeves that showed no skin but rather showed a puff of a different colored fabric underneath. They apparently didn't preach against the very low cut, tight bodices that were common at the time or the reactionary fashion in which some younger women refused to wear corsets, however.

edit: Here is another article on hair art: http://indianastatemuseum.wordpress....p-on-hair-art/
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Last edited by missourimary; 04-03-2011 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:21 AM
Pragmatist Pragmatist is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

My mother's experience growing up in the UPC was similar to Sweet Pea's.

They had bangs and trimmed their hair, and sometimes even had "short" hair styles. A new pastor came in the late 60's and uncut hair became the law.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:48 AM
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatist View Post
My mother's experience growing up in the UPC was similar to Sweet Pea's.

They had bangs and trimmed their hair, and sometimes even had "short" hair styles. A new pastor came in the late 60's and uncut hair became the law.
In the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties, women and girls in the UP churches I went to usually kept their hair long enough that it could be curled or rolled and come down to about the shoulder. Some wore bangs. "Long" hair for women was considered "long" because it was longer than the men's styles which were often butch or flat top or greased down and slicked back with a "wave" in the front.

ref the attachments for UPC women's hair styles of 50-60 years ago
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hair003.jpg (28.9 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg hair001.jpg (72.0 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg hair002.jpg (22.7 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg hair004.jpg (18.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg hair005.jpg (31.8 KB, 14 views)
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:04 AM
On The Wheel On The Wheel is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

Thanks for the above responses. They have are indeed a help.

I'm also interested in the historiography of the theology of uncut hair. Most commentaries and bible word dictionaries seem to define the Greek word keirō translated as "shorn" in I Corinthians 11:6 (KJV) as sheering as a sheep or to cut off or cut short. I'm wondering if there have been any actual translators or theologians in bygone eras who have interpreted this word to mean "to trim" only or "to cut, no matter how little".

I realize that arguments from silence are not always the strongest, but in my study of this issue I found something interesting. Rather I did not find something. M.D. Treece, the celebrated conservative apostolic theologian, does not even address the "uncut hair" issue in his translation of 1 Corinthians chapter 11. He discusses the need for long hair, but does not address in detail the linguistic reasoning for teaching a totally uncut hair doctrine, though I'm sure he supports such a doctrine. I found it curiously lacking in his otherwise exceedingly detailed discussion of this chapter. Why would he neglect to take on such an important issue, since there is such heated debate over it? Why not settle the issue by a thorough explanation, citing the major scholars or linguists who agreed with him?

My goal with this thread is simply to find out for certain who else, if any, have ever taught the totally uncut hair doctrine throughout history.

Of course, there are those who have taught against everything, including marriage. I'm looking for more balanced views. I thought this discussion would be useful.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:07 AM
On The Wheel On The Wheel is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

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Originally Posted by Sam View Post
In the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties, women and girls in the UP churches I went to usually kept their hair long enough that it could be curled or rolled and come down to about the shoulder. Some wore bangs. "Long" hair for women was considered "long" because it was longer than the men's styles which were often butch or flat top or greased down and slicked back with a "wave" in the front.

ref the attachments for UPC women's hair styles of 50-60 years ago
Very interesting. I remember seeing similar hairstyles in old family pictures. My family goes back about 4 generations.

Are these actual pictures of UPC women? Do you know who and where?
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:55 AM
sandie sandie is offline
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Re: Uncut hair in church history

Quote:
Originally Posted by On The Wheel View Post
Very interesting. I remember seeing similar hairstyles in old family pictures. My family goes back about 4 generations.

Are these actual pictures of UPC women? Do you know who and where?

Don't reconize the other women in the photos, but the first one is Gene Tierney, next to last is Betty Davis, both were very famous actresses.
I think Sam was just giving examples of the hairstyles of the time, rather then actual UPC women.
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