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Why monks had that haircut

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Published on Dec 26, 2018

There was a lot of thought behind the style — and controversy.

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What was the deal with that monk haircut? In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards explores the history and controversy behind the style.

Known as "tonsure," the typical monk hairstyle has many variations throughout religions. The particular hairstyle worn by Christian monks has its own variations and controversies as well. Three different types of tonsure were popular: a coronal tonsure, a Pauline tonsure, and a third Celtic tonsure that came to represent the differences between the Roman Catholic and Celtic Catholic church.

The winding path of this tonsure is a new way to look at the division within the religion and the unpredictable ways something like hair can represent faith.

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