> Shaving the heads of reprobate women is an ancient tradition.
I Corinthians 11 vv 5ff (Jerusalem Bible translation.)
For a woman, however, it is a sign of disrespect to her head [= her husband
[sic] (What if she is unmarried ???)] if she prays or prophesies [in public]
unveiled; she might as well have her hair shaved off. In fact, a woman who
will not wear a veil ought to have her hair cut off. If a woman is ashamed
to have her hair cut off or shaved, she ought to wear a veil.
Ask yourselves if it is fitting for a woman to pray to God without a veil;
and whether nature itself does not tell you that long hair on a man is
nothing to be admired, while a woman, who was given her hair as a covering,
thinks long hair her glory ?
The whole passage needs to be considered, not just these excerpts.
(I can remember the fuss in the 1960s when young men began to grow their
hair long! Only equalled by the fuss made in the 1920s - so my mother told
me - when young women began to cut their hair!)
BTW in England it was more usual for witches to be hanged. It was wives who
had murdered their husbands who were burnt - right up to the 18th C.
(Catherine Hayes, 9 May 1726 - see Newgate Calendar.) It was called petty
treason - crime against the "head" of the marriage as opposed to high
treason which was the crime against the Head of State.
Does anyone know if adulterous wives when burnt were also shorn ? The New.
Cal. does not give that kind of detail. And was not cutting hair short
common for other forms of execution ? eg the guillotine ?
Presumably the reason was part ritual humiliation and partly practical: the
long hair might tumble out of the cap and get in the way of the rope, axe or
blade and upset the executioner's expertise.