Talk about opening a can of worms. The question seemed simple enough.
One of my sisters in Christ has been given task of speaking on the topic of the Biblical history of hats. She asked me to help and I thought of contacting you. She is looking for answers to questions like:
When did the church women start wearing hats in service?
What was the reasoning behind the decision to where hats in service?
Who made these decisions?
We have read 1 Cor 11 where it speaks about a woman being covered in service and that her LONG hair suffices as a covering. I also believe women wearing a hat was required in the Mosaic law, but I am unsure. If you have a reference for that I would appreciate it as well. David
There are two basic beliefs or interpretations of this.
Here are the two sides with links to sites representing both. The links open in separate windows.
The command for a woman to cover her head is (a) symbolic and/or (b) refers to her hair not an actual hat or veil.
A well presented argument for this is on a page on the Bible Tools Site titled Men and Women, Hats and Hair.
The other side: The command for a woman to cover her head is (a) of God, (b) refers to an actual veil or hat and (c) is still in force.
A good argument for this viewpoint is on the Biblical Research Site titled Myths About The Headcovering.
The question comes up then. Did the Torah or Old Testament have the command that a woman, or man, was to cover his or her head during prayer or while out? No. It is found in the Talmud. It is considered tradition not law.
Again a good site explaining the head covering from a Jewish standpoint.
And finally here are paintings of early Christian women with head coverings.