Here is the little research I have found time for. There is no text variant in verse 16, the Greek says "There is no such custom." As far as I can see, it was the RSV that first brought in "no other practice" and it also used a text variant in verse 10, which is now recognized as being the weaker choice, 'veil' rather than 'power'.
- But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. KJV
If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God RSV
But if anyone is disposed to be contentious - we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. NRSV
If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. ESV
- That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.
On the meaning of verse 10, it appears to me the a woman may have on her head one of several things. First, a sign of her own authority, second a sign of someone else's authority, and third, simply authority, or since it is her own, it is 'liberty, freedom of choice or right to act'. This is the first meaning of εξουσια in the lexicon. This is first and foremost, the most straightforward of all translations.
Now see what Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does with this lexicon.
- Furthermore, it is not at all strained to see exousia in verse 10 as "sign of authority" or "symbol of authority." The standard lexicon for New Testament literature sees such a symbolic understanding of exousia as a viable possibility. BADG, page 278 #5 ....In an example very similar to 1 Corinthians 11:10, Diodorus of Sicily (1.47.5, written ca. BC 60-30) refers to a stone statue that has "three kingdoms on its head (echonton treis basileias epi tes kephales)," but it clearly means in the context that the statue has three crowns, which are symbols of governing kingdoms. We can conclude, then, that it is not at all unusual for something on the head to be a symbol of something else. Recovering
- Various opinions are held concerning the mng. of 1 Cor. 11:10 Many now understand it as 'a means of exercising power'.
- "The veil may also have been simply a symbol of womanly dignity."
There is no discussion in BADG of a woman having a symbol of someone else's authority on her head. However, the quote from Recovering suggests, but does not clearly state, that it does.
Shall we torture the text any longer? Shall we torture the lexicons as well? Not today, but some day, it would be well worth the time to revisit this passage and review the rhetorical questions, the play on words, both 'head' and 'glory', the chiastic structure, and so on.
It is clear, however, that whatever women had, it gave them the right to pray and prophesy in the assembly. The veil had nothing to do with silence, that comes later. The veil is only associated with authority and submission in its association with the argument of the "head" in verse 3. It is only by understanding "head" as an authority/submission relationship that authority and submission are read into the rest of the chapter.
But what is the relationship of God to Christ? Let us remember that Christ submitted unto death. It was the incarnation and death of Christ that was his submission. Is that how we see the man and the woman? Shall the woman submit unto death? Is that the beauty of headship? I do not read authority and submission when this chapter talks about the head.
I read a different relationship altogether, that God gave Christ everything, absolutely everything, because God is the head of Christ.
The submission and death of Christ is indeed part of the Christian story, but it is not under discussion when the Bible says, "The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman, man, the head of Christ, God."