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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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As the head is the topmost part of the human body, it came derivatively to signify that which is highest, chief, the highest in position locally being regarded as highest in office, rank, or dignity: whence, as the head is the center of the nervous system, holds the brain, and stands above all the other parts, Plato regarded it as the seat of the deathless soul; and it has generally been considered as the abode of the intellect or intelligence by which man is enlightened and his walk in life directed; while the heart, or the parts placed near it, have been accounted the place where the affections lie (; ; ). The head and the heart are sometimes taken for the entire person (). Even the head alone, as being the chief member, frequently stands for the man (). The head also denotes sovereignty (). Covering the head, and cutting off the hair, were signs of mourning and tokens of distress, which were enhanced by throwing ashes on the head, together with sackcloth (; ; , ; ; ); while anointing the head was practiced on festive occasions, and considered an emblem of felicity (; ; ). It was usual to swear by the head ().


1. Ethiopian; 2. Mongolian; 3. Caucasian; 4. Malay; 5. American

The general character of the human head is such as to establish the identity of the human race, and to distinguish man from every other animal. At the same time different families of mankind are marked by peculiarities of construction in the head, which, though in individual cases, and when extremes are compared together, they run one into the other to the entire loss of distinctive lines, yet are in the general broadly contrasted one with the other. These peculiarities in the structure of the skull give rise to and are connected with other peculiarities of feature and general contour of face. In the union of cranial peculiarities with those of the face certain clear marks are presented, by which physiologists have been able to range the individuals of our race into a few great classes, and in so doing to afford an unintentional corroboration of the information which the Scriptures afford regarding the origin and dispersion of mankind. Physiologists have established five classes of heads, corresponding with five great families. 1. The Caucasian family, comprising the nations of Europe, some of the Western Asiatics, etc. have the head of the most symmetrical shape, almost round, the forehead of moderate extent, the cheek bones rather narrow, without any projection, but a direction downwards from the molar process of the frontal bone; the alveolar edge well rounded; the front teeth of each jaw placed perpendicu

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Head'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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