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I have seen in translations this being translated as "head covered"

From the perspective that it does not mean "head covered" what would the next best translation be?

What is the best translation of κατὰ κεφαλῆς in 1 Cor 11:4?

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This might also be of interest: To cover, to remain concealed, or against the covering? –  maj nem ɪz dæn May 19 at 12:39
    
This is not a duplicate question, because the other question would explain what a head covering is. The other post of interest is my question. And it has been altered to the point that the origin of my question was lost. I would rather the reference to 1 cor 11 was not included. Because a master of Ancient Greek could just tell me the best translation. My personal opinion is that 11:4 does not reference a man not covering his head. I need the most applicable translation for κατὰ which usually is translated as against. That does not mean it is the common usage though, that is why I ask experts. –  Only he is good. May 19 at 23:42
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sounds good, that's why I only commented and didn't take any additional action - I wasn't sure. Thanks for clarifying. –  maj nem ɪz dæn May 20 at 2:42

2 Answers 2

  What is the best translation of κατὰ κεφαλῆς in 1 Cor 11:4?

The best translation of κατὰ κεφαλῆς would be (covering-)over the head.

First, we see the exact same Greek prepositional phrase occurs in the Septuagint in the following verse.

Esther 6:12 (LXX)
12ἐπέστρεψεν δὲ ὁ Μαρδοχαῖος εἰς τὴν αὐλήν, Αμαν δὲ ὑπέστρεψεν εἰς τὰ ἴδια λυπούμενος κατὰ κεφαλῆς.

Esther 6:12 (NASB)
12 Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.

In the context, Haman was "mourning," and so he covered his head with something.

The prepositional phrase also occurs in the Textus Receptus version of the Greek New Testament. Since the KJV and Luther Bible translators used the TR, the following verses provide more perspective.

Mark 14:3 (ScrTR)
3 Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς καὶ συντρίψασα τὸ ἀλάβαστρον κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ κατὰ τῆς κεφαλῆς.

Mark 14:3 (KJV)
3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

Markus 14,3 (LUTH1545)
3 Und da er zu Bethanien war in Simons, des Aussätzigen, Hause und saß zu Tische, da kam ein Weib, die hatte ein Glas mit ungefälschtem und köstlichem Nardenwasser, und sie zerbrach das Glas und goß es auf sein Haupt.

The German provides nuance that does not appear in English: that is, the preposition auf here takes the accusative (instead of the dative) and so the idea is not so much as on (dative), but onto (accusative).

In conclusion, based on these references and suggested translations, we may translate the phrase κατὰ κεφαλῆς in English as (covering-)over the head.

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The question specifies not meaning "head covered". Like what is the next best translation. Could I perceive that you think your translation for κατὰ would be "over"? Yet I do appreciate the extra references. –  Only he is good. May 20 at 11:11
    
@Onlyheisgood. I can only give you the meanings based on usage of the word in other contexts. You can always check the lexicons. What I tried to give you is the meaning associated for those people who would understand that word from reading Scripture in Greek. –  Joseph May 20 at 13:38
    
Hermeneutics is the theory of text interpretation. I feel this website fails in this category and is improperly labeled then. Because I know that κατὰ can mean down, on, or against. What I do not know is what is most common, and each version sends a completely different explanation of verse 1 Cor 11:4. Down meaning not to pray to women. ON undetermined. Against possibly against a leader in the group, or praying against the will of God. That is why the Hermeneutics is so important to me. –  Only he is good. May 21 at 2:22
    
OR possibly "over his head" that has its own meaning to. –  Only he is good. May 21 at 2:31
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This may be akin to asking what would be the next meaning of the word "Up" if up doesn't mean up. I think what the poster is really looking for is a way out of having to wear a head covering, and here it is: In Biblical times, only prostitutes would let their hair be uncovered. Against the backdrop of social customs, This is the modern day equivalent of saying "Don't show up to church in a G-string and pasties" –  James Shewey Sep 1 at 23:33

For a careful examination of the extra-biblical and potential biblical evidence, I recommend A. Philip Brown II, "Chrysostom & Epiphanius: Long Hair Prohibited as Covering in 1 Cor. 11:4, 7," Evangelical Theological Society 15 Nov. 2011: 1-15

Brown argues that the more plausible understanding of this expression is "having [long hair] on his head," with the bracketed text understood. Brown acknowledges that the case isn't irrefutable, but his thorough review of the evidence and his cogent arguments are convincing. Short of some new evidence appearing, Brown should probably have the last word in this debate.

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Hello, and welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! This answer would be most helpful if you could summarize the arguments offered by the resource you cite. You may want to check out this post which summarizes our philosophy on what it means to show your work. Would you be willing to expand a little? –  Susan Sep 1 at 23:52
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Hello, Andy, and welcome aboard - please feel free to browse and contribute more posts. We like to see original analysis, because with so much written in academia, one can "cherry pick" the particular bias for which one is particular. So we ask you to provide YOUR analysis from the texts (and feel free to use academic sources). The point here is that YOU provide us YOUR analysis based on the primary source material at hand. Commentaries are not primary source material, and thus our preference for direct analysis of the Biblical texts. Thanks! –  Joseph Sep 2 at 12:04

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