Women are not forbidden to prophesy in the Corinthian Church, the only proviso is that they prophesy "with their head covered" (I Corinthians 11: 5). The Epistle makes a distinction between women who cover their head, and women who do not cover their head in Corinth (I Corinthians 11: 5-10). I think the key verse to understanding this is the tenth verse (I Corinthians 11: 10 ) :
"δια τουτο οφειλει η γυνη εξουσιαν εχειν επι της κεφαλης δια τους αγγελους"
This is most often translated English as:
"For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels."
Which, of course, raises two questons:
1) Why are women instructed to cover their head 'because of the Angels'?
2) What type of woman in Corinth would not
have a 'symbol of authority' on her head?
Firstly, why "for the sake of the Angels"? In many Orthodox Churches even today, and especially in monastery Churches, women stand separate to the men, even if they are married to them. The Divine Liturgy is the point where Heaven meets Earth, and Eternity breaks into Time and Space, therefore, the Assembly of the Church reflects the Life which to come. Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
"For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven
." (Mark 12:25). Could Paul be saying to the Corinthians that when they assemble in Church, they must similarly be "like the Angels"? If so, then why would a woman with her head uncovered not be "like the Angels"? The ones who would have their heads uncovered would be the prostitutes, which, as I pointed out in my previous post, would have had a very powerful position in Corinthian society. By ordering prostitutes to cover their heads, Paul would have been curbing their power. They had to prophesy without any appeal to their position of power in Corinthian society.