This passage has always been one of the most controversial because of its appearance as a “black and white” precept. But what if it was an enigma? A dark saying? What if we paid a little closer attention to the finer details of the text rather than ignoring them? The definite articles in Paul’s writing for example might be taken to mean he is talking about a specific “Man” or “Woman”. Traditional interpretation pays little attention to definite articles, if any at all. To emphasize the contrast, the words with a definite article are capitalized (i.e. Man, Woman, Head). The presence of definite articles as opposed to possessives or indefinites (i.e. a woman, a man, her head, his head) should not be overlooked. Getting the enigmatic symbols right is difficult. We can only speculate. But notice how Paul is using definite nouns with indefinite ones:
For a man [indefinite] truly owes not to conceal the Head [definite], him being a mirror-like-image and glory of Theos, however the Woman [definite] is the glory of a man [indefinite].
Meaning changes drastically just by listening to the small nuances and seemingly insignificant parts of the text. In Colossians Paul speaks of the “son of his love” as “a mirror-like-image of the unseen Theos, firstborn of the whole establishment…” Col. 1:13 literal
For a man is not out from a woman, but a woman out from a man; for indeed a man was not established through the Woman, but a woman through the Man; because of this one the Woman owes to have exousia-authority upon the Head through the Messengers.
1 Cor. 11:8-9 literal
This text is not as black and white as was thought. In fact, it is very obscure. If you have read this before in any context you have probably applied an significant amount of presupposition to the meanings of the words without realizing it simply because it is so obscure. Obscure, dark writings have a way of forcing our minds to “fill in the gaps” of meaning depending on how we were conditioned to think about them. But how do we know what to fill the gaps with? Even the thought that Paul is referring to the narrative of “Adam and Eve” is an assumption, since we have no quote or specific reference by Paul to it. The inherent problem with obscure language is that anyone can build any kind of dogma they wish from it. This is precisely why doctrine, sects, and denominations have multiplied vastly. The more accessible biblical text has become to the masses, the more multiplied the dogmas have become until the point at which it is now—a sea of confusion.
If Paul intended to teach a male-female paradigm here, he did terrible. Exousia-authority is the highest form of authority in the Greek language and means a de-facto rulership or dominance, not a pseudo soft “servant-leadership” idea. The cryptic text might be telling of an authority of “angels/messengers” being placed upon the (governmental) Head a specific “Woman” (a word which in the Hebrew tradition is used cryptically of nations or cities). Angels are defined in one place as “sons of Elohim” in the Hebrew scriptures.
Classical Greek provides plenty of words and means to teach such a paradigm so that this could have been written in a more indisputable manner and a thousand times easier to understand. When one reads and studies a forced euphonic translation of an obscure text, confusion inevitably results because it is no longer possible to add up the actual thoughts of the author (Paul, Jesus, etc.). Their thoughts will seem inconsistent at best or contradictory at worst which is the case with a great many translations and confessions. What was Paul thinking? Paul knows! Elsewhere we have additional thoughts of Paul that we must take into account:
Let the Man [definite] the debt give back to the Woman [definite]. In like manner now also the Woman [definite] to the Man [definite].
This is not written in the customary Greek fashion. NT writers for some reason had a habit of keeping words in a sentence to a minimum a leaving significant objects unidentified.
The Woman [who?] exousia-rules not her own body [her man?], but the Man [who’s that?]. In like manner now also the Man [who’s that?] exousia-rules not his own body [his woman?], but the Woman [who?].
1 Cor. 7:3-4 literal
It is Paul who has in mind the body as a symbolic object referring to a gathered people (i.e. body of Christ). Everywhere important words are used cryptically, and the trouble is knowing when he is using a word cryptically and when he isn’t. Once an author crosses the line into cryptic writing, essentially anything could then be taken to be cryptic unless the author clarifies when he writing cryptically or not. Riddles are the toughest things to figure out for anyone, and scholarly degrees don’t help. In fact, academia will do very well to make us miss the riddles altogether.
Perhaps we read this wrong all along? Perhaps Paul is speaking sequentially? First the Man is in debt to the Woman, then the Woman becomes in debt to the Man? Perhaps the Man rules the body of the Woman first, then later the Woman rules the body of the Man? Maybe—understanding this as an enigma—Paul is speaking of two different men and two different women? Perhaps this is summation of a greater enigma of the Scripture regarding the first woman (a harlot) ruled by the Man, and afterwards, a second Woman ruling the first, as when a maidservant displaces her mistress…
Under a servant when he reigns; and a fool when he is satiated of bread
Under her-who-is-hated when she is being owned (becomes a beulat), and a maidservant when she is taking possession of her lady-queen [a head].
They are four small-ones of earth, and they are the Wise-ones from those-who-are-wise. The Nemalim (clipped-off ones, #5243, 5344) are a people not powerful, and they are erecting in the Harvest their bread.
Prov. 30:23-25 literal
What are you saying Paul?
Some will regard this hunting of pseudo-definition and deep riddle-solving as a complete violation of the whole of Christian orthodoxy. Of course it is. The orthodoxy is a overbearing goddess that seduces people into her lair where they whither away in self-denial and frustration. As long as the grandees keep scaring the common man away from breaking with the traditions and digging into the enigmatic possibilities of the book by holding an abstract concoction of “hell” over their heads, they will continue to slave away in the tar pits of Egypt.
An enigma necessitates the study of every individual word of a given text. The hypothesis that this and other sayings are not what they seem but constructed of an entirely different language or “tongue” (i.e. “man” and “woman” do not mean theologically what we take them to mean socially) is indeed an idea that would undermine the known paradigm of Judeo-Christian orthodoxy, which has always been controlled and dictated by the elite anyway.