Himations and fancy hairdos: a note on 1 Peter 3.3

Elizabeth Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At 1 Pet. 3.3, Peter describes and criticizes elaborate female hairstyles and adornment. His criticism has been interpreted as a call for women of the Christian faith to adopt modest, undecorated forms of dress. This short study contends that Peter’s criticism of the female hairdo, ἐμπλοκής τριχῶν, and associated costume, may not be limited to admonishing fashionable Roman female dress. Peter’s criticism may, in fact, relate to a rejection of Roman female attire connected with ritual. Examination of the similarities of the hairstyle that Peter mentions to the infulae and vittae, with which Roman women supposedly adorned themselves, supports this contention. Infulae and vittae are hitherto unstudied adornments within current available commentaries on 1 Peter and, as shown in this brief explanation, are certainly worthy of further consideration in relation to this portion of the text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-241
Number of pages5
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Female costume
  • infulae
  • matrona
  • palla
  • vittae


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