Beards and the Fathers

I knew there was something unnatural about the clean-shaven craze of the 20th century!

The vigilante currently sports medium length hair with a Texan horseshoe mustache.  I sported a goatee for thee years before deciding to mix things up.

Tertullian:

“This sex of ours acknowledges to itself deceptive trickeries of form peculiarly its own–such as to cut the beard too sharply, to pluck it out here and there, to shave around the mouth.”

Lactaniius:

“[T]he nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength.” (On the Workmanship of God, Chapter 7)

Augustine:

“The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.” (Exposition on Psalm 133, 6)

Clement of Alexandria:

“But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! […] For this is a meretricious and impious form of snare. For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with a shaggy chest – a sign of strength and rule. […]

“This, then, the mark of the man, the beard, by which he is seen to be a man, is older than Eve… In this God deemed it right that he should excel, and dispersed hair over man’s whole body. Whatever smoothness and softness was in him He abstracted from his side when He formed the woman Eve, physically receptive, his partner in parentage, his help in household management, while he (for he had parted with all smoothness) remained a man, and shows himself man. […]

“Wherefore males have both more hair and more heat than females… It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the Word), if it is to attract men, is the act of an effeminate person,— if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society. […]

“Let the head of men be shaven, unless it has curly hair. But let the chin have the hair. But let not twisted locks hang far down from the head, gliding into womanish ringlets. For an ample beard suffices for men. And if one, too, shave a part of his beard, it must not be made entirely bare, for this is a disgraceful sight. The shaving of the chin to the skin is reprehensible, approaching to plucking out the hair and smoothing. For instance, thus the Psalmist, delighted with the hair of the beard, says, ‘As the ointment that descends on the beard, the beard of Aaron.’ Having celebrated the beauty of the beard by a repetition, he made the face to shine with the ointment of the Lord.” (The Instructor, Book 3, Chapters 3, 11)

I wonder what Clement would think of men who shave their chest…

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