I have to thank Dan Lewis for telling me about Bruce Winter's excellent study, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change. This book places the specific difficulties and conflicts in the Corinthian Christian communities within the broader context of Roman law and Greco-Roman culture.
This book is particularly helpful on the issue of veils (head coverings) that the apostle prescribes for women (more precisely, wives) and forbids for males in I Corinthians 11:2-16. While my youthful understanding of this passage focused on the issue of the length of women's and men's hair, the actual meaning of this passage concerns wearing or refraining from wearing veils in public places (including meetings in house churches). The passage addresses both men and women (wives) arguing for head coverings for wives along one line of reasoning and against head coverings for men along an entirely different line of reasoning.
Winter's After Paul Left Corinth has led me into further study and I thought I might share a brief bibliography for interpreting I Corinthians 11:2-16 with you. Some of these resources are free; others can be purchased via Amazon or other book sellers.
Let me begin by highly recommending three books:
Bruce Winter, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change (Eerdmans, 2001). See especially the chapter on ""Veiled Men and Wives and Christian Conscientiousness." Available at Amazon.
Bruce Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities (Eerdmans, 2003). Available at Amazon.
E. Fantham et. al., Women in the Classical World (Oxford, 1994). See especially the chapter on "The 'New Woman': Representation and Reality." Available at Amazon.
The following journal articles and conference presentations are available free as Internet downloads:
Benjamin Edsall, "Greco-Roman Costume and Paul's Fraught Argument in I Corinthians 11.2-16", Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. Available here.
A. Phillip Brown , "A Survey of the History of the Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11.2-16", Paper presented at the Aldersgate Forum. Available here.
Mark Finney , "Honour, Head-Coverings, and Headship - I Corinthians 11.2-16 in its Social Context", Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Available here.
David W. Gill , "The Importance of Roman Portraiture for Head-Coverings in I Corinthians 11.2-16", Tyndale Bulletin. Available here.
Troy M. Martin, "Veiled Exhortations Regarding the Veil - Ethos as the Controlling Factor in Moral Persuasion". Available here.
Troy M. Martin, "Paul's Argument from Nature for the Veil in I Corinthians 11:13-15", Journal of Biblical Literature. (This one is a little off the wall, but interesting nevertheless.) Available here.