Originally Posted by Steven E. Webster
Some scholars (I think of Dominic Crossan, for instance) don't think the real Paul was as sexist or "rigid" as you allege. There is a very strong case that such things as "women should be silent in church" etc. were not by the real Paul, but by person(s) writing in Paul's name.
Crossan argues that there was a strain in early Christianity (which Paul may be reflecting here) that believed that gender differentiation into male and female was not the original condition of humanity (this is an interpretation of the "second" creation story in Genesis). The original "Adam" was not differentiated into male and female until after the "operation" that created Eve.
This is an interesting theory but this is the apostle Paul
, the man who wrote 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, "Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering." His rigid gender boundaries came out of his roots in Judaism. Take these texts out of Judaism Pseudo-Phocylides
212, "Long hair is not fit for boys, but for voluptuous women." See also Philo, Laws 3:37 and Gleason 1995, 69 on the Stoic perception of hair as a gender signifier.
I'm not buying Crossan's argument at all.