Does περιβόλαιον mean "testicle" in 1 Corinthians 11.15?
In a recent provocative article ("Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Corinthians 11:13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering," JBL 123/1 (2004): 75-84), Troy Martin provides a new translation of a famously difficult verse. Arguing that περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11.15 means "testicle", Paul is saying that a woman's hair is given to her "instead of a testicle". Paul is assuming ancient attitudes to the body, according to which hair is "part of the female genitalia". However, the lexical basis for Martin's case is not strong enough to justify the new translation. Neither of the texts adduced by Martin (Euripides, Herc. fur. 1269 and Achilles Tatius, Leuc. Clit. 1.15.2) is speaking about περιβόλαια as "testicles", thus the interesting contextual material from ancient medical sources are not relevant as background to interpreting Paul. The conventional translations, according to which a woman's hair is given "for a covering" or "instead of a covering", are preferable.
Monday, February 02, 2009
SBL International Paper Proposal Accepted
I was happy to hear yesterday evening that my paper proposal for the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting in Rome (30 June-4 July) has been accepted. I submitted it to the Paul and Pauline Literature section. Here is my title and abstract: