"Did St. Paul mean "testicle" in 1 Corinthians 11:15?"


The title is kind of a rhetorical question really. I often like to use the following scenario as an example of how things could sometimes get really weird in biblical scholarship (or scholarship in general really) - where even the most trivial of matters and the precise meaning of a given word could be up for debate. I could easily give this thread a subtitle: “One of the most trivial issues in biblical history.”

To summarize, a scholar named Troy Martin had argued that the word περιβολαίου (peribolaiou) in 1 Corinthians 11:15 does not mean ‘covering’, as it is commonly translated, but ‘testicle’.

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

(1 Corinthians 11:2-16 ESV)

Nevertheless, there have been people who have found his supposed evidences and his conclusion quite questionable.

…So yeah, that’s the issue. For us non-experts it does really look like a waste of time, but these are people who kill time doing precisely this sort of stuff. :cool: :wink:


Nice example. :thumbsup:

But seriously, such fruits are not only found in remote forests. My New Jerusalem Bible - a work which I otherwise revere - has a truly weird footnote on Genesis 4, in which it is argued that Naamah may have been the “ancestress” of the “world’s oldest profession”, simply because her name means “pretty” and the passage may have been a polemic against city life. :wink:

closed #3

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.