Shorn Hair

Well, this question often comes up in the term searches, so I’ll just answer it quickly.

Is cutting your hair in any manner the same as shorn hair?

“Shearing” means to cut something very short. If I shear sheep, I put one blade of the sheep shears against the skin and cut as close as I can without nicking the animal. (I sometimes fail at that, and their lovely white delicate skin gets a nip, which is why there is Blu-Kote.)

“Shorn” is the old past tense of “to shear.” We say “sheared” now, but “shorn” is still correct if archaic.

“Shorn” hair is cut close to the skin, like a man’s military haircut.

Why was this wrong for women? Women were to embody their virtue of being women, as God made them. There may be an implication of peace in this, that women were the guardians of peace in the community. They were protectors of their children and hearth, but were not to fight and risk losing their lives, or their children would not be nursed or fed.

Those who did not go to war did not cut their hair short. Women, priests, Jewish men 2000 years ago; all exempt from military service, and this was indicated by long hair. Orthodox priests in the most traditional churches still do not cut their hair or beards. Some of them achieve impressive masses of locks!

For women, it was also a sign of modesty, that even if she were caught naked, she would be covered by her hair as by a veil or cloak. It suggests that Jewish and Christian women regarded modesty as a virtue missing amongst their pagan neighbours.

So should Christian women cut their hair short? Obviously, I don’t. I don’t cut mine at all. I would say the reasonable interpretation for women who are not bound to a rule or ordnung is that they may trim their hair, they may even cut it fairly short such as shoulder length, but it should always be modest and feminine, and accompanied by appropriate modesty of the body. We are not objects on display, after all; we are honoured members of the body of Christ, daughters of the king, children of God.

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