Clothing and Style

General Clothing

Clothing in the time of Jesus was very different than what we generally see today. Men on the norm would wear a tunic, which is a shirt like knee length garment made out of linen and/or cotton and was tied around the waist. And on cooler days a heavier cloak might be worn, a garment typically made of wool, to help keep warm. Woman would typically wear a shorter tunic as an undergarment and an outer robe that would stretch down to their feet. And lastly leather sandals would be worn by the higher class individuals because of the dirt roads. An interesting fact tied to the leather sandals was as a guest arrived at a host’s house the host would have their servant wash the feet of the guest to welcome them to their home. (Strauss,  A passage that could be viewed as contradicting is  John 13:1-17. In this passage, it was the night before Jesus was to be crucified. Gathered together with the twelve disciple, Jesus was sharing one last meal with all them. At one moment in the meal Jesus reached out and proceeded to grab a towel, a water basin, and began to wash the disciples feet. Shocked, the disciples urged Jesus to stop because of how degrading this task was. Jesus answered: “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”


Greek/Jewish Style

Within the Greek culture it was common for men to be clean shaven and wear their hair short. Also, women often times wore extravagant jewelry and cosmetics. It was not common for Greek women to cover their heads or arms, as they would tend to wear their hair in elaborate hairstyles. In the Jewish culture men wore long beards and kept their hair long. Women would wear their hair long and unveiled only if they were unmarried. A married woman who wore a veil in public symbolized modesty and showed respect to her husband by doing so. If a married woman did not cover her head in public, it was a sign of promiscuity or prostitution. For example, Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, and dries them with her uncovered hair. Instantly the pharisees who were with Jesus began to pass judgement on the women because her uncovered head revealed that she was immoral and sinful. One of the pharisees even said in verse 39, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She is a sinner!” This scripture goes to show how important head coverings were for Jewish women to wear, and why it was so important for them to be dressed to their standards.


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