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Church fathers' opinion on earrings

The vast amount of church fathers held an unanimous view on wearing earrings and makeup. Simply, they all condemned it. One of the earliest accounts is from Tertullian (160 - 220 AD), in his work 'On the Apparel of Women'. Clement of Alexandria (150 - 215) also introduced very explicit content on the matter. The firm stand indicates that they themselves didn't invent such sociological norms, but rather, learned them from their masters, from the Bible and earlier bishops.

In addition to Tertullian and Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Prudentius, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Commodianus and later many others, such as St. Bernard (d. 1153), have denounced the use of excess apparel, including also earrings. Let's see what exactly they wrote.


Ambrose of Milan

Ambrose, Seven Exegetical Works, p.166

And so the gods of the nations are there, where no fruit is. There the earrings of the pagans are buried, and they gave them to Jacob so that now they could grow used to hearing a new language and could forget the old sheep of unbelief, and so that their ears could become deaf to sacrilege and be purified for grace.

Ambrose, On Repentance, Ch.9

88. And so one may see those walking in other attire, who ought to be weeping and groaning because they had defiled the robe of sanctification and grace; and women loading their ears with pearls, and weighing down their necks, who had better have bent to Christ than to gold, and who ought to be weeping for themselves, because they have lost the pearl from heaven.

Ambrose, Letters

It was not however unadvisedly that he (Aaron) deprived the Jews of their rings and earrings; ... Fitly also are the earrings taken from the women, that Eve may not again hear the voice of the serpent.


Chrysostom

Chrysostom

He denounced the use of earrings, which would have maintained a thousand of the poor.

Chrysostom, Vainglory and Children

Many also hang golden earrings on their children. Would that not even girls took pleasure in these; but you inflict this outrage on boys.


Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria, The Paedagogus, Book II, Ch.13

And let not their ears be pierced, contrary to nature, in order to attach to them ear-rings and ear-drops. For it is not right to force nature against her wishes.

Clement of Alexanria, the instructor, p.315

Ear-rings

The Word prohibits us from doing violence to nature by boring the lobes of the ears. For why not the nose too? -- so that, what was spoken, may be fulfilled : "As an ear-ring in a swine's nose, so is beauty to a woman without discretion."


Commodianus

Commodianus

Ye stain your hair; ye paint the opening of your eyes with black; ye lift up your pretty hair one by one on your painted brow; ye anoint your cheeks with some sort of ruddy color laid on; and, moreover, earrings hang down with very heavy weight. Ye bury your neck with necklaces; with gems and gold ye bind hands worthy of God with an evil presage. Why should I tell of your dresses, or of the whole pomp of the devil? Ye are rejecting the law when ye wish to please the world. Ye dance in your houses; instead of psalms, ye sing love songs.


Cyprian

Cyprian, Treatises, Treatise IV (On the dress of virgins)

Is it God's will, that the ears should be pierced, with which pain is given to innocent infancy, ignorant of the world's evil, in order that in time to come, from those scarred and traversed ears may hang the precious beads, ponderous in their cost, if not in weight?

Cyprian, Treatises, Treatise IV (On the dress of virgins)

Wound not your ears, circle not arm or neck with precious chain, fetter not ankles with golden bonds, stain not your hair, and keep your eyes worth of seeing God.

Cyprian, Treatises, Treatise VI (On the lapsed)

Studded with gold, and pearls, and gems, still thou art unsightly, if Christ's beauty is wanting. Now at least desist, in this time for sorrow, thou who stainest thy hair, and thou who edgest the eyes with a painted line of black, now at least wash thy eyes clean with tears. ... It is thy own soul, wretched woman, that thou hast lost; the spiritual life gone, thou for a while leadest on a life of thy own, and movest about, wearing thy death upon thee


Eusebius (Apollonius)

Church History

Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet stain his eyelids? Does a prophet delight in ornament?


Jerome

Jerome: The mask of Antichrist

Such adorning is not of the Lord, it is the mask of Antichrist. (about rouge/makeup etc)

Jerome, Letter 130

I shall say nothing of your costly earrings, your glistening pearls from the depths of the Red Sea, your bright green emeralds, your flashing onyxes, your liquid sapphires — tones which turn the heads of matrons, and make them eager to possess the like.

Jerome, Letter 107

Do not pierce her ears or paint her face consecrated to Christ with white lead or rouge. Do not hang gold or pearls about her neck or load her head with jewels, or by reddening her hair make it suggest the fires of gehenna. Let her pearls be of another kind and such that she may sell them hereafter and buy in their place the pearl that is "of great price." Matthew 13:46


Prudentius

Prudentius

Hence comes a crop of sins and the sole root of evil, for the love of finery, that like a pander unlooses the restraints of modesty... For woman, not content with her natural grace, puts on a false and adventitious beauty, and as if the hand of the Lord who made her had given her a face that was unfinished, so that she must needs further embellish it with sapphires mounted on a circlet round her brow to crown it, or surround her chaste neck with strings of glowing gems, or hang a weight of green jewels from her ears, she even fastens the little white stones from sea-shells in her hair to brighten it, and her braided tresses are held in place with bands of gold. It were wearisome to detail all the profane trouble matrons take, who colour the forms which God has dowered with his gifts, so that the painted skin loses its character and cannot be recognised under the false hue.


Theodoret of Cyrus

Theodoretus (Theodoret), Bishop of Cyrus:

Not impossibly the discontinuance of the use of cosmetics may have helped, if not caused, the cure.


Archeological evidence: Catacombs of Rome

Catacombs of Rome:

The simpler manners of the Christian women, as compared with those of pagan faith around them, is indicated by the conspicuous absence of the rouge pots and jars of cosmetics, and many other articles of luxury...(p.388)


Middle-ages

This is being researched more thoroughly. Please leave a comment for us at the end of the page in case you've got relevant information to sharem thank you!


Bernard of Claivaux

Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153):

Oh! how lovely the flush with which the jewel of inborn modesty colours a virgin's cheeks! Can the earrings of queens be compared to this?

You see women of the world burdened, rather than adorned, with gold, silver, precious stones; in short, with all the raiment of a palace. You see how they draw long trains behind them, and those of the most costly materials, and raise thick clouds of dust into the air. Let not such things disturb you. They must lay them aside when they come to die; but the holiness which is your possession will not forsake you. The things which they wear are really not their own. When they die they can take nothing with them, nor will this their glory go down with them. The world, whose such things are, will keep them and dismiss the wearers naked; and will beguile with them others equally vain. But that adornment of yours is not of such sort.


Martin Luther

Luther's commentary on the first twenty-two Psalms

So, when a harlot is adorned with gold and jewels it of necessity follows, that it is she that sins, and not the goodly ornaments that she wears.


Lutheran Catechism

Even Martin Luther, in the Large Catechism, the sixth petition, mentions "superfluous finery". Superfluous means unnecessary. Earrings are unnecessary for the everyday life.


1700-1800's:


John Wesley

John Wesley (d. 1791)

I do not advise women to wear rings, earrings, necklaces, laces (of whatever kind or color,) or ruffles which little by little may easily shoot from one to twelve inches deep, neither do I advise men to wear colored waist- coasts, shining stockings, glittering or shining buckles or buttons, either on their coats or on their sleeves, any more than gay, fashionable and expensive perukes.


Christian magazines of 1800's

Christian Cynosure, Oct 09, 1890

One thing more, earrings are a relic of barbarism. Whoso pierces the flesh in one place might as well in another, and so hang gold encrusted with gems from the lobe dividing the nostrils. Physical mutilation ought to be relegated to savages, among whom it originated.
Hester M. Poole in the Union Signal


Methodism of early 1900's

The Methodist hymn-book illustrated, 1906

Dr. George Smith (History of Wesleyan Methodism, ii. 612) tells of a girl, called Mary, employed in breaking copper ore at one of the Cornish mines. She was converted at a revival service. Next morning the change in her bearing made her friends say, Mary is converted. No, said one of her friends who knew her love of finery ; she is not converted : look at those fine large earrings in her ears still ! If she had been converted she would not continue to wear them. Without saying a word, the girl laid down her hammer, took out the earrings, and broke them in pieces, singing

Neither passion nor pride
Thy cross can abide,
But melt in the fountain that streams from Thy side.


Ancient Egypt

18th dynasty (1549/1550 BC - 1292 BC) is according to the biblehub timeline, close to Exodus. Remember that Joseph was a bishop of all Egyptians since 1886 BC (biblehub timeline) until his death. The Middle Kingdom existed around 2055 BC - 1650 BC. Then: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." (Ex.1:8) History proves that earrings weren't common until the birth of Moses:

Only a few examples of earrings date to the Middle Kingdom, but they become much more common in the early 18th Dynasty. Possibly earrings were introduced from southwest Asia during the Second Intermediate period. In the New Kingdom earrings were worn by both men and women. Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, p.386

It seems like the custom of wearing earrings was gaining momentum slightly before Exodus. Perhaps we're witnessing a similar issue today, as earrings are accepted by the vast majority? No exodus, but the end of the world? Remember the end-time Rebekah mentioned earlier.


Not all sects accept wearing of earrings

summer services
Laestadian Lutheran festivals

The world is packed with people who assume wearing makeup and earrings is just okay. However, there are sects such as Deeper Christian Life, Lutheran Laestadian etc. who don't participate on such vices. That's the testimony for today's secular people.



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Posted October the 10th, 2018; biblenanalyses.com texts are all public domain free for all to copy and utilize.

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