Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The Christian attitude to head hair for both women and men was established by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor 11:3–16 where he asserted that women should veil their long hair, but for men long hair was degrading. Three centuries later, as Christian monasticism flourished, Augustine of Hippo used Paul’s words to censure monks wearing long hair which, he suggested, was the consequence of their laziness preventing even their barbers from working (Aug. Op. mon. 31; PL, vol. XL,…

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Mc Carthy, Daniel P., “Tonsure”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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