The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church...? - R.C. Sproul

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A Critique of Bruce Winter’s “Roman Wives, Roman Widows” (Part 2)

[Note: This is a response to pages 78-81 in Roman Wives, Roman Widows (Eerdmans, 2003) by Bruce Winter. The content appears under the heading "The Significance of the Veil in Marriage." For part one of our response which deals with pages 81-83 (The Significance of the Removal of the Veil in Public) please click here.]

In Roman Wives, Roman Widows, Bruce Winter seeks to make a case that a woman wearing a veil communicated that she was married, faithful and modest. He begins his case by linking the veil to marriage through various historical sources. He mentions that Plutarch believed that “‘veiling the bride’, was in effect, the marriage ceremony” 1) Bruce Winter – Roman Wives, Roman Widows (Eerdmans, 2003) Page 78 and that “other writers in the early Empire confirm that the bride’s veil was an essential part of her apparel.” 2) Ibid Winter, by pointing out this evidence, seeks to convince the reader that the headcovering women were removing in 1 Corinthians 11 was their “marriage veil.” By taking it off they were identifying themselves as independent and immodest women.

The Connection between “Marriage” and the “Veil”

It would be helpful for us to now take a look at the original writings that Winter puts forth to support the connection between marriage and the veil. He references the writings of Plutarch, Juvenal and Tacitus. Read more


 Bruce Winter – Roman Wives, Roman Widows (Eerdmans, 2003) Page 78