From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry Toothman)
Subject: Re: READ 1st COR 6:9 in the Bible!
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 94 17:39:53 GMT
Organization: Mental Health Clinical Research Center
In Article , email@example.com wrote:
>In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com (Fleeb The
>>In article , Ross Turk wrote:
>>>>firstname.lastname@example.org (sgillesp) writes . . .
>>>>>It says it all about queers!
>>>Not that I care what the Bible says, but just to check I looked up
>>>this text that supposedly condemns gays.
>>>"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherir the kingdom of
>>>God? Be not decieved: neither fornicators, not idolators, not
>>>adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind"
>>>Revised Standard Version:
>>>"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of
>>>God? Do not be decieved; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor
>>>audulterers, nor homosexuals."
[lots of stuff deleted]
The following post is quite lengthy, but worth the reading!
This is something I picked up last year on ISCAbbs (whip.isca.uiowa.edu -- a
great internet BBS with a large LesBiGay population!)
Of course these are not all my words.
"THE BIG EIGHT"
There are eight passages in the Bible which have commonly been cited in
direct condemnation of homosexual activity. Other passages are related to or
comment upon them. It should be noted that the sexist bias of biblical
writers is apparent in the fact that only one of these passages perhaps
refers to homosexuality among women. I understanding the basic, universal
application of a passage, we may justly acknowledges our fuller
understanding of the values of every human being under God and extrapolate
from the original sexist application to the basic universal principle before
drawing a contemporary specific application.
Much of the traditional understanding of this passage as a condemnation of
homosexual activity is based upon a mis-translation in the Authorized
Version of the Hebrew word QADHESH. While the female form, qedheshah, was
somewhat correctly translated "whore" the translators chose to render the
male form with the word "sodomite" (itself based upon another
misinterpretation), rather that with an equivalent translation of male
temple servant or prostitute.
The cultures which surrounded the Israelites included fertility cults. It
was believed that by engaging in intercourse in the temple the worshipers
would encourage the gods also to engage in intercourse and thereby keep the
earth fertile. some interpreters point out, then, that while the male
prostitutes mentioned here may have been engaged in homosexual activity, the
focus of condemnation was the pagan practice of temple prostitution which
the Israelites were in danger of adopting. The condemnation applied equally
to both female and male cult prostitutes, regardless of sexual partners.
Other interpreters maintain that there was logically no place for homosexual
activity in a fertility rite and that, based on the evidence, the male
prostitutes where probably engaged in heterosexual intercourse. Whichever
argument seems to be the most persuasive, the fact remains that the object
of condemnation in this pass age is prostitution and ritual prostitution, at
that, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
GENESIS 19:4-11; JUDGES 19:22(related passages-Jude 6-7 and II Peter 2:4,
6-8) The Genesis passage is that occurrence in the story of the destruction
of Sodom which is traditionally interpreted to show that God's reason for
that destruction of Sodom was the depravity of the people of the city,
particularly expressed here in homosexual behavior. The Judges passage
contains similarities to the Genesis account so striking that form critics
presume elements in the Judges account were directly borrowed to enhance the
One major point of controversy in the interpretation of the passage centers
on translation of the word YADHA which literally means "to know." Most
sympathetic interpreters base their understanding upon the work study of D.
S. Bailey. The word occurs, outside of these two passages, 943 times in the
Old Testament and in only ten of these occurrences does it denote
intercourse. The word occurs fine additional instances combined with the
word MISHKABH to mean simply the act of lying. By comparison, the word
SHAKHABH which is the root of MISHKABH occurs fifty time to mean "lie"
sexually. Moreover, in its other uses, YADHA always means heterosexual
intercourse, while SHAKHABH is used of both homosexual and bestial
intercourse, as well as heterosexual This last point convinces some
interpreters that if the writers had intended the meaning of homosexual
intercourse to be understood, they would have used SHAKHABH rather than
YADHA. By inference, they seriously question the traditional interpretation
of YADHA as sexual.
However, other interpreters insist that con textual indications do support
the sexual interpretation. They maintain that if the men were demanding the
presence of the visitors to "get acquainted" with them, and perhaps to
assault them other that sexually, then Lot's offer of his virgin daughters
made no sense. These interpreters are convinced that this offer constitutes
a substitute outlet for the sexual activity indicated by the word YADHA.
The same argument is applied to the word's occurrence in the Judges passage.
Dr. Bailey postulates that Lot's offer of his daughters was simply the most
tempting bribe he could offer on the moment to distract the men from their
Once more. however, whichever argument about the word YADHA that ones finds
persuasive, the core of the issue in these two stories is not that the
proposed activity was or was not to be homosexual, but that it was to be
abusive The intent to kill is especially apparent in the Judges account.
What seems to have been worse, in light of the Old Testament cultural view,
it was to be abuse of visitors, proving the very wickedness of which God had
already convicted Sodom. The account in Judges emphasizes another value of
the Israelite culture, the absolute dignity of the male sex which was to be
violated by the action of the men.
A clear expression of the biblical understanding of the sin of Sodom is
found in Ezekiel 16:49-50. The sin of Sodom is plainly delineated and is
not specified as sexual at all. In considering the sin of inhospitality, it
is useful to compare Jesus; teaching found in Luke 10:10 - 13. Dr. Bailey
explores many ancient writings which shed light on the interpretation of the
story of Sodom and he show that it was not until the Second Century B.C.
that an interpretation of homosexual behavior began to emerge as the
explanation for Sodom's destruction. This new interpretation was fully
realized in the writings of Philo and Josephus, Jewish historians, in the
first Century A.D. It must be noted that this interpretation did not occur
in writings of the Jewish religious scholars, but of historians and other
non religious writers. The later New Testament writers and the early church
based their anti homosexual interpretation not upon rabbinical biblical
interpretation, but upon acceptance of the writings of Philo. Buy looking
directly at the passages themselves, on may observe that, whether the
proposed activity was to be homosexual or not, the sin lay in the abuse
rather than the choice of partner.
LEVITICUS 18:22, 20:13. *These verses occur in the portion of Leviticus
which is known as the "Holiness Code." These laws were specifically
addressed to the Israelite people who were surrounded my pagan and
polytheistic people and whose uniqueness in worship was constantly in danger
of contamination. The observance of this code was mandated to keep them
separate, to maintain their cultic purity. The word TOEBHAH which occurs in
these passages is translated "abomination" and refers throughout the Old
Testament specifically to practices which were considered to be
characteristic of pagan idolatry. It is a religious designation and refers
to any idolatrous practice, not only to sexual practices.
Paul says that Christians are free from the dead hand of the law. Most
certainly few Christians adhere to much of the Holiness Code in any case,
especially the laws of animal sacrifice, ritual purification and diet. As a
Holiness Code, then, these passages no longer carry the force of law. In
accord with the basic guidelines of the course, it becomes necessary to move
from the meaning for the original readers.
The basic principle which seems to underlie the whole of this code is that
of maintaining a sense of holiness, of being set apart to God. One may see
these always as an example of the necessity for conforming to God's
standards before conforming to the standards which surround one. It may be
useful to remind oneself constantly that God demands one's first loyalty,
just as these laws reminded the Israelites, and that the intrusion of other
values and lessor becomes idolatry.
A more specific application has been suggested, however, in reference to
these two passages, an application which indicates that their focus was not
so much on homosexual activity as on its cultural implications at the time.
Once more, it is important to emphasize the Israelite value of absolute
dignity of the male sex. While women were values in another way, it was as
secondary, as chattel. men were absolutely valuable, in primary image of God.
A common practice in societies surrounding the Israelites was to sodomize
conquered enemies as a way of emphasizing and completing their humiliation.
The conquered became property, to be used and abused at will. To sodomized
a man, then, came to have the meaning of using that man as property in the
same way that a women was property. This sort of use violated the basic
dignity which a man was believed to have. Therefore, one may see a new
aspect in the condemnation of lying with a man as with a woman. In the eyes
of the Israelite culture, this was to treat a man as property in the way one
would treat a woman. It was an idolatrous practice which robbed a man
created in the image of God of his dignity of manhood.
We may draw from the limited cultural imperative a universal dictum based
upon the absolute dignity of every human being created in God's image. That
dictum seems to be that no one is to use another person as property, to
violate their dignity as a human being. This been not be interpreted
sexually, since sodomy is not seen in every culture as a means of
humiliation or abuse.
Nevertheless, it is probably justifiable to understand these two passages,
in their original context and for their original readers, as condemning
homosexual activity in the culture and for their reasons.
I CORINTHIANS 6:9; I TIMOTHY 1:10 Both of these verses occur in the context
of lists, one by the Apostle Paul of people who are not, by their actions
part of God's realm and the other, by the unknown author of the epistles to
Timothy, of people who are law breakers. The references which traditionally
are supposed to refer to homosexual activity consist of two Greek words.
Modern scholars can only surmise the precise meanings of these words, for
there is little objective evidence relating to their use and meaning in the
forms in which they are found here.
The first word is pronounced ma-la-kee (sorry, the Greek lettering is not
possible here), which comes from a root word ma-la-kos which literally means
"soft" (as in clothing) or sometimes "effeminate." (It should be noted that
in the Greek mind the word "effeminate" did not equal "homosexual," any more
that what society today commonly considers "effeminate" can be construed to
equal homosexuality) This word occurs only in the list in I Corinthians.
In the form used, scholars fell it may most accurately be translated
"catamite." Once again, one may note that a reference to a form of
prostitution has traditionally been construed as a reference to
homosexuality in general. And it should also be noted that the word catamite
does not necessarily connote a homosexual individual.
The second word, which appears in both passages, is even more difficult to
translate in precisely the way the writers assumed their readers understood
it. The word is (ar-sen-o-kee-teh). At best we surmise that this refers to
the active partner in anal intercourse. It is highly probable, according to
scholars, that his word also contains an implication of prostitution, and
certainly implies use of the other person. However, the word "sodomite" is
not a valid translation (even in the common usage of the word). This word
applies both to homosexual and heterosexual anal intercourse. It seems to
refer to an act, then, which involves abuse or use of persons as objects.
There was no Greek word which was equivalent to the English word
"homosexual." There were a number of Greek words for people who engaged in
certain homosexual practices. Had the writers meant specifically to
indicate homosexual activity, then, there were certainly more exact words
they were likely to have used.
In summary, neither of these words refers to all homosexual individuals.
Furthermore, neither of them refers to homosexuality apart from
heterosexuality at all. They are both words which indicate use of one human
being by another, even abuse. they occur in lists of such practices of use
and abuse, and the teaching of Scriptural, as in Leviticus, is a reminder
that Christians are to relate to persons in love and not regard persons as
objects to be used.
ROMANS 1:26-27 The first important issue which arises in the passage centers
upon whether verse 26 addresses homosexuality among women. The Greed word
(meh-teel-lax-ahn) only specifies that the women to whom Paul refers
"changed" their practices. It does not specify what the new practices were,
nor whether they were heterosexual or homosexual. The reason for believing
that the practices were homosexual come from the first word in verse 27. In
Greek, the word (oh-mee-os), translated "likewise," has the effect of an
equals sign. Since the practices to which Paul refers in verse 27 are,
indeed, homosexual, the word indicates that the practices in verse 26 were
also homosexual Verse 26, then, is the only reference in the Bible to
homosexuality among women.
In characterizing these homosexual practices, Paul uses the Greek term
(pa-ra-phee-seen), translated "against nature." This phrase must not be
confused with the same phrase as used in traditional theology in
condemnation of homosexuality. In theological terms, the contra
naturam(against nature) argument is based on human biology, not religious
tradition. Anything which was contrary to Jewish religious tradition was,
in Paul's writing, contra natural. This characterization corresponds to the
meaning to TOEBHAH, abomination, in the Old Testament. The violation of
Jewish tradition has the impact in Paul's thought of idolatry, exactly the
problem he is discussing.
Paul uses the word (a-phen-des) of the action of the men in verse 27. The
word is translated "leave, give up, abandon." Some interpreters approaching
this passage, then, have explained that since Paul was talking about people
who leave heterosexual practices which are natural to them for homosexual
practices which are not, people for whom homosexuality is already a basic
life patter are not leaving heterosexual practice and are not included in
There is ample evidence to support the fact that homosexual activity, like
heterosexual activity, is of inherently neutral ethical value. Sexuality
may be used my an individual to either good or evil purpose. Homosexual
activity occurs quite as "naturally" as heterosexual activity in a context
of caring and loving relationship. Both are equally subject to biblical
values and guidelines. Some homosexual activity undoubtedly falls into that
lustful and idolatrous characterization which Paul makes in these verses.
So would some heterosexual behavior Other homosexual activity certainly
incorporates the knowledge of God's love, the affirmation of the other as
God's child, the intent of expressing communication and love through
sexuality. It is evident that Paul, in writing this passage, had no
experience of or was unable to acknowledge the reality of loving homosexual
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