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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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Simplicity of personal attire has been no infrequent accompaniment of moral and religious earnestness, even when not matter of prescription. Two passages of the NT (1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:3-4) warn Christian women against excessive display in dress, fashion of the hair (see the article Hair), and use of ornaments, and contrast it with the superior adornment of the Christian virtues. At the end of the 2nd cent. both Clement Alex. (Paed. ii. 10f. [Eng. translation 11f.]) and Tertullian (de Cultu Feminarum) found it necessary to protest in much detail against the luxurious attire, etc., prevalent even amongst Christians of their day. The better adornment is frequently named in the intervening literature. The righteous, like their Lord, are adorned with good works (1 Clem. xxxiii. 7), and with a virtuous and honourable life (ii. 8). Ignatius contrasts the adornment of obedience to Christ with that of a festal procession to some heathen shrine (Eph. ix.).

The reference to the subject in 1 Peter 3:3-4 has some psychological interest. The adornment which is praised is that of ‘the hidden man of the heart,’ the meek and quiet spirit which is precious in God’s sight, and incorruptible. This use of ‘man’ in the sense of personality suggests the well-known Pauline contrast between the inner and the outer man (2 Corinthians 4:16; cf. Romans 7:22, Ephesians 3:16), and may be a further example of that dependence of 1 Peter on Pauline writings which is now generally recognized (Moffatt, Introd. to Literature of the New Testament (Moffatt).2, p. 330). It has often been maintained (e.g. by Holtzmann, Lehrbuch der NT Theol. ii. 14, 15) that this contrast is a product of Hellenistic dualism. But it can be adequately explained from that Hebrew psychology which is the real basis of the Pauline and Petrine ideas of personality. The heart (or, in Pauline terminology, the ‘mind’ [Romans 7:23]) is the inner personality, as the apparelled members are the outer personality. Both are necessary, according to Hebrew thought, to make the unity of the whole man. See further on this point the article Man.

H. Wheeler Robinson.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Adorning'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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