περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.
Post Reply
Matthew Longhorn
Posts: 174
Joined: November 10th, 2017, 2:48 pm
Contact:

περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Post by Matthew Longhorn » April 29th, 2019, 9:44 am

Firstly, apologies if this post is t appropriate for this forum. It pertains to Classical Greek primarily but with a view to understanding a possible parallel usage to a proposed interpretation of Greek word in 1 Corinthians 11. I also apologise if people find the topic distasteful. I can only recommend reading the articles to see that this is a thoughtful case being proposed by Martin

Text of 1 Corinthians 15 involved: Ἐν ὑμῖν αὐτοῖς κρίνατε· πρέπον ἐστὶν γυναῖκα ἀκατακάλυπτον τῷ θεῷ προσεύχεσθαι; ⸆οὐδὲ ἡ φύσις αὐτὴ διδάσκει ὑμᾶς ὅτι ἀνὴρ μὲν ἐὰν κομᾷ ἀτιμία αὐτῷ ἐστιν, γυνὴ δὲ ἐὰν κομᾷ δόξα αὐτῇ ἐστιν; ὅτι ἡ κόμη ἀντὶ περιβολαίου ⸂δέδοται [αὐτῇ]⸃

I have recently read both of Troy Martin’s articles in JBL 123:1 and 132:2 on the use of περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15 (yes I really do spend too much money to access odd stuff like this). The second was a response to Goodacre who wrote a rebuttal in the same journal. I have read Goodacres response and feel that Martin does a good job on his second article rebutting Goodacre’s arguments.

In short, Martin argues that the text draws upon ancient medical beliefs about hair being hollow and drawing seminal fluids into it. On this view, what the woman’s hair is replacing is its male counterpart - the testicles. For a man to have long hair would bring shame as it is reversing the natural direction of the processes involved. For a woman to pray with her hair uncovered would be shameful as it is viewed as part of their sexual apparatus.

I am not asking for input on the theology or the medical background but rather about two other instances of περιβόλαιον that he believes have the same euphemistic meaning. The above is context for the question

Achilles Tatius (Leuc. Clit. 1.15.2)
“(αἱ τῶν πετάλων περιπλοκαί, τῶν φύλλων περιβολαί, τῶν καρπω·ν συμπλοκαί). He portrays this erotic garden by allusions to male and female sexual organs. The term περιπλοκαί alludes to the female hair, the term περιβολαί to the testicles in males, and the term συμπλοκαί to the mixing of male and female reproductive fluid in the female. Achilles Tatius’s description of this garden associates female hair and the testicle in males”

Euripides (Herc. fur. 1269) “ἐπεὶ δὲ σαρκὸς περιβόλαιʼ ἐκτησάμην ἡβῶντα, μόχθους οὓς ἔτλην τί δεῖ λέγειν). A dynamic translation of the first clause would be: “After I received my testicles (περιβόλαιον), which are the outward signs of puberty.” In this text from Euripides, the term περιβόλαιον refers to a testicle.”
According to Martin the use of the plural περιβόλαι is evidence against a fleshly clothing metaphor as they are in the singular where elsewhere employed.


The key point here is that Martin believes the uses to be euphemistic and not dictionary definitions. The reference to body parts being what drives the interpretation in each passage, and this applies to 1 Corinthians - it not being dependent on other instances such as he cites; these citations however help support his case. The lack of use of the standard term for testicle is related to the fact that it can also mean ovaries and Paul would need to ensure a distinction is made.

I was wondering whether those with more classical training have read these articles and /or have any thoughts on his references to the classical literature.
0 x



Matthew Longhorn
Posts: 174
Joined: November 10th, 2017, 2:48 pm
Contact:

Re: περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Post by Matthew Longhorn » April 29th, 2019, 2:43 pm

For those interested, the first article by Martin can be found
https://www.academia.edu/2998266/Does_p ... nthians_11

Goodacre’s response can be found here
http://markgoodacre.org/peribolaionJBL.pdf

You will have to pay on JSTOR for the response of Martin to Goodacre
0 x

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2787
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 29th, 2019, 5:24 pm

I’ve read all these articles and Martin is wrong, terribly wrong here.

At a conceptual level, the metaphor of “covering” for testicle does not work because a testicle is not a covering. It does not have the function of covering, nor does it look like a covering. If there is some metaphor for testicle, one would expect something more apposite like ball, stone, nut, etc., basically anything that looks like a testicle or can be hidden away. On top of that, Martin cites nothing in the Greek medical literature suggesting such a transferred for “covering.”

If “covering” is a metaphor for any body part, it arguably fits a different body part, the scrotum, but Martin fails to adduce anything in the Greek medical literature showing that (or even contemplating that) women have the equivalent of a scrotum. In fact, Martin’s conceptual confusion between a testicle and a scrotum dooms the entire exercise.

Goodacre’s basic response, among other things, is that Martin has misread the dictionary entry for covering on the Euripides citation, and that the Euripides passage does not refer to a testicle. Martin’s rejoinder is basically a long penis joke that fails to engage Goodacre’s point. The singular vs. plural distinction is grasping at straws.
1 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3576
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 29th, 2019, 9:06 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 29th, 2019, 5:24 pm
If there is some metaphor for testicle, one would expect something more apposite like ball, stone, nut, etc., basically anything that looks like a testicle or can be hidden away.
I hope this doesn't get conflated with another recent thread. I know someone must be desperate for something to present at SBL, but ...
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Matthew Longhorn
Posts: 174
Joined: November 10th, 2017, 2:48 pm
Contact:

Re: περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11:15

Post by Matthew Longhorn » April 30th, 2019, 3:55 am

Thanks for the decent response Stephen and for treating it as a genuine question. I will go away and do some more thinking with your response in view
0 x

Post Reply