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A few years back there was an interesting topic on StackExchange related to the question of "Does the Bible command women to cover their breasts?"

In studying Genesis 3:21, where God made aprons for Adam & Eve, I can't find any definitive answer to the question of whether aprons, being translated from כתנת (kĕthoneth), refers to also the top of the body or just to a covering around the waist. Considering the warm climate of Eden where fig trees could grow, the former translation of it referring to the covering of the top part of the body seems rather awkward.

A possible connection between the ancient Israelites and the Minoans, who lived in very close proximity, are discussed here.

A PG-13 video of Minoan attire can be found here. As the video. points out, it is difficult to reconstruct the meaning without taking into account and reflecting upon an observer's own social bias (14:23 minutes in). In other words, some people will only interpret the art as myth expressed in art work. While others will depict the attire as exclusively worn by those involved in goddess worship. Still others will interpret it as reflecting both religious and standard everyday fashionable attire, just like modern clergy attire reflects the cultural attire of ancient Rome. The latter seems to be the most natural interpretation, in my opinion.

If this latter interpretation is true, than what is rather shocking about Minoan fashion attire is how out of place it seems in our culture. (Well, at least in most traditional settings.) For example, I would feel uncomfortable showing that video for a Bible class with men present. It might cause them to stumble with lust being stirred up.

Also, if the latter interpretation is true, is there any Biblical, or extra Biblical Jewish tradition, that would indicate the ancient Israelites dressed differently than their neighbors - i.e. the ancient Minoans?

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    I think in most hot environments toplessness was common when women worked outside. And when that's the case, it would not be seen as erotic nor immodest. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_nudity
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 13 '21 at 1:16
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    @Nigel, I don’t know if that’s the case. In Greek culture there was the chiton, a finely woven, lightweight, translucent dress worn by sophisticated women. And in Africa and other places both men & women once went around without much on their bodies.
    – Jess
    Nov 13 '21 at 2:38
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    @NigelJ In the bush of Sierra Leone women strip to the waist at the community laundry, i.e. a wide spot in a stream, and the youngsters, both boy and girl are with them. When groups of men come upon them, neither group is uncomfortable (unless it's American missionaries, in my experience!). It is entirely cultural. Nov 14 '21 at 0:34
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    @MikeBorden What troubles me most is the concept of some kind of idyllic paradise where natives go bare and and are (supposedly) 'innocent'. That undermines the truth of Adam's transgression and the truth of inherited sin. It is a myth. It is not real.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 14 '21 at 16:59
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    @NigelJ No one is talking about an idyllic paradise. But cultural standards do vary. In many places where women go topless it is highly inappropriate to not have shin-length skirts. Even Western/Anglo culture has oddities. What's acceptable at the beach is very inappropriate anywhere else (for both women and men.) A miniskirt is seen as much more sexy than shorts of the same or even shorter length. Some mothers breastfeed in private, others in public. And there can still be sin in all this. But there doesn't have to. In a tropical agrarian society women's toplessness doesn't have to be erotic.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 15 '21 at 0:28

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