Responding to novel misinterpretations of Genesis 19:5 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.[i]
By Matthew J. Bell
According to a recent article appearing in the leftist Huffington Post, one Adam Phillips[ii] argues that “The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality. …”[iii] Phillips sketches his ahistorical interpretations to half a dozen of the Bible verses that condemn same-sex sexual activity. I will here look at defending the received interpretations to two of those six passages: Genesis 19:5 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.[iv]
One point should be made by way of a preface, however.
The Bible’s positive doctrines concerning marriage are always presented given in relation to men marrying women. This is important to emphasize. The historic Christian teaching concerning marriage – namely, that it involves persons of opposite gender – “…follows …from the whole scriptural vision of what man and woman are, of what sexuality means, and of the nature of morality.”[v] The foundation of “opposition” to homosexual sexual activity is that such activity militates against every positive statement regarding human sexual function and marriage made in Scripture. This point is so strong that we may say:
“If the classical texts on homosexual acts were to be removed altogether from Scripture, the immorality of such acts would still be an obvious implication of the biblical view of sexuality.”[vi]
The chief, but not sole, textual basis for this positive doctrine is set forth in Genesis.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.[vii]
This foundational principle is repeated by Jesus.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”[viii]
“[T]he story of Lot at Sodom is probably intended to condemn inhospitality rather than homosexuality.”[ix]
Towards this conclusion, several Scriptures are sometimes cited. For example, in an allusion to the account of Lot in Genesis 19, Hebrews 13:2 exhorts readers:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[x]
Ezekiel 16:49 is also quoted.
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”[xi]
It is then remarked that “homosexual sex” is not enumerated in the brief list of Sodom’s sins and that the men of Sodom displayed a decided lack of hospitality toward the strangers.
However, this hardly settles the matter. For one thing, ending the second quotation at verse 49 truncates Ezekiel’s discussion of Sodom. Verse 50 continues with the comment that the people of Sodom:
“…were haughty and did detestable things before me.”[xii]
Jude 1:7 might provide insight into what these “detestable things” were, more precisely.
“…Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. ...”[xiii]
This reference to Sodom’s “sexual immorality” comports with the account given in Genesis 18-19. Here are a few relevant bits from chapter 19.
[T]wo angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
The key point of dispute is verse 5. The men of Sodom call out to Lot. The Original and True Douay Old Testament gives the verse as: “And they called Lot, and said to him: Where are the men that came in to thee at night? bring them forth hither that we may know them.”[xiv]
Responding to an author who holds that “know them” should be understood to mean “get to know them” in the sense of “interrogate them,” Gregory Koukl writes:
Though the [Hebrew] word [yada] does not always have sexual connotations, it frequently does, and this translation [i.e., have (sexual) relations with] is most consistent with the context of Genesis 9:5. There is no evidence that what the townsmen had in mind was a harmless interview. Lot’s response – “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly’ – makes it clear they had other intentions.
In addition, the same verb is used in the immediate context to describe the daughters who had not “known” a man and who were offered to the mob instead. Are we to understand Lot to be saying, “Please don’t question my guests. Here, talk to my daughters, instead. They’ve never been interviewed”?
Yes, they were prideful, gluttonous, lazy, and inhospitable. Yes, they seemed to be rapists who humiliated their victims. Yes, they lacked love and mercy. But they also had what Paul called “unnatural passions”. They rejected the natural sexual function of human beings, and exchanged that function for unnatural, homosexual ones.
This element of sexual perversity simply cannot be explained away. And the crux of the sexual perversity was the homosexual nature of the sex acts.
1 Corinthians 6:9 does not pertain to homosexuality.
The considerations turn on the sense of the two Greek terms that Paul used: malakoi and arsenokoitai. Here is a representative presentation of this objection, with replies interspersed.
a. “Many modern Christians have embraced false teaching about 1 Corinthians 6:9. They arrive at their false teaching by assuming that the Greek words, malakoi and arsenokoitai mean ‘homosexual’. … In the first century AD, no one would define malakoi to mean homosexual. The Greek word malakoi was rarely, if ever, used in the first century to indicate homosexual men and was never used to indicate lesbians. In the first century AD, no one would define arsenokoites to mean homosexual. …Based on the extant Greek manuscripts available to us today, the Greek word arsenokoites was rarely, if ever, used to indicate homosexual men and was never used to describe lesbians. Therefore, when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9 or 1 Timothy 1:10 to ‘prove’ that God is against homosexuality, they are conveying nothing more than their opinion, without any basis in fact.”[xv]
“Most Greek lexicons do not define arsenokoites based on historical usage of that word. …Since the ancients never used the arsenokoit stem to mean homosexual, every Bible translation which translates arsenokoites to mean homosexual is wrong. …”[xvi]
“…Scripture cannot mean now what it did not mean then. Translating malakoi as homosexuals imposes a twentieth or twenty first century cultural meaning on the text which malakoi did not mean in the first century. If malakoi was not a universally understood reference to homosexuals in the first century when Paul used it, then malakoi does not mean homosexual today. The Malakos Word Group[:] 1.The word malaka, with the general meaning soft, is used three times in the New Testament, Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 10:1. It is translated disease in the KJV and sickness in the NAS. The Greek word malaka has nothing to do with homosexuality 2.The word malakos occurs four times, in three verses in the New Testament. In Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25, Jesus uses the word to refer to soft clothing. In the Bible, Jesus never used the malakos word group to mean homosexual. Paul uses malakoi (the plural of malakos) in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Some translations translate malakoi as ‘male prostitutes.’ (NIV, New Century, NRSV, NLT, ISV, WEB).”[xvii]
A chief difficulty with the above presentation is the subtle confusion embodied in the aphorism: “…Scripture cannot mean now what it did not mean then.” This saying, or something relevantly similar to it, is indeed a common rule-of-thumb in Evangelical hermeneutics. Numerous popular-level hermeneutical primers express the sentiment in one way or another.[xviii] William Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. put the point this way: “Our goal [in the interpretive process] remains to hear the message of the Bible as the original audiences would have heard it or as the first readers would have understood it.”[xix]
I do not have any quibble with this principle, expressed this way. I can agree that a text cannot mean for us what it did not mean for its original audience. Hence, whatever Paul meant is what the text means.
However, in this case, Brentlinger goes beyond this basic acceptable guideline. For this point of disagreement, apparently, concerns the question of what Paul meant.
Brentlinger seems to be insisting that Paul’s could not have intended “malakos and arsenokoites” to mean general “homosexual [activity]” in virtue of the fact that there is no recorded use of these words meaning “homosexual [activity]” prior to Paul’s use.[xx]
It is important to see that that this constraint is not the same the standard Evangelical heuristic rehearsed above. The Evangelical principle compels today’s readers to understand Paul’s text the way that he meant it when he wrote it. Brentlinger’s principle attempts to limit Paul’s meaning itself to whatever meaning prevailed in Paul’s day. However, not only is this constraint different from the usual hermeneutical principle, it is also quite unwarranted.
Here is a quick illustration. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “gay” traces its origins back to the 12th-14th centuries, at which time it meant, variously, “wanton, lewd, lascivious” and “full of joy, merry; light-hearted, carefree”.[xxi] According to the same source, at some point between the 1890s and 1940s, the word began to be used to designate “homosexuals.” Now, it seems undeniable that there was an author or speaker who first introduced this latter meaning. Let us call this (seemingy) unknown person “John Doe.” And let us imagine that the word was introduced in a text, call it “Text A.”
Finding Text A, would a reader be justified in arguing: “Well, John Doe’s cannot be using the word ‘gay’ to designate homosexuals because, up to this point, the word has never been used this way”? Apparently not. We are, after all, supposing that John Doe basically originated a shift in meaning.
It is true that the principle “a text cannot mean for us what it did not mean for its original audience” demands that if John Doe used the word “gay” to mean “carefree,” then we are compelled even today to read the occurrences of the word “gay” in Text A as meaning “carefree.” However, the principle does not limit John Doe himself to mean by “gay” only what had been meant before him. He is free to originate a shift in meaning.[xxii]
Therefore, the lack of textual evidence cannot prevent Paul from originating a new meaning for the words “malakos and arsenokoites”.
In fact, with respect to the term “arsenokoites,” “…the term …[appears neither] in classical Greek literature… [nor] in the Septuagint.”[xxiii] However, it then seems plausible to maintain that “…Paul could have been the originator of the term.”[xxiv]
“[B]ut, if Paul is the first in extant literature to use this compound term, then it is probable that he, as a Jew, is reflecting the sense of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13…”.[xxv] To put it differently, it is plausible to hold that Paul meant to coin an expression “malakos kai arsenokoites” to designate any (or, at least, any male-male) homosexual sexual pairing.[xxvi]
Against this, alternative meanings are proposed.
b. “Malakoi –[xxvii] The cultural historical religious context of 1 Cor 6:9 was temple prostitution. …English translations did not translate malakoi to mean homosexual until the Amplified Bible in 1958. 3. The word malakoi in New Testament times, was sometimes an epithet for being effeminate, not homosexual. …The remarkable semantic shift in the meaning of malakoi, which by 1958, came to equate malakoi with homosexuality instead of softness, moral weakness or effeminacy, was not prompted by new linguistic evidence. Instead, cultural factors influenced modern translators to inject anti-homosexual bias into their translation.”[xxviii]
Brentlinger complains about a “shift” in translation – from “effeminate” to “homosexual” – that he blames on “anti-’gay’” ideology.
Homosexuality was very common in the ancient world. It was practiced by both males and females (the female version was then known as “tribadism”). Greece in particular had a long history of this. It has been said of Plato’s dialog the Symposium, which is a discourse which revolves heavily around the notion of “love,” that is has mainly in focus male-male homosexual love.
It was a common attitude in the Greek world that males were superior and, therefore, the idea of being “partners” with a female was unimaginable. It was commonly held that for true, reciprocal “love,” a male would need another male, since only males were capable of equality with other males.
However, while it is true that, in general, many Greek (usually aristocratic) men engaged in activities that – by modern reckoning – we would term “homosexual acts,” this generality must be qualified in several important ways.[xxix]
For instance, of the acts that we would today call “homosexual,” the Greeks had a sort of rough-and-ready distinction between respectable and unrespectable acts. Chiefly, even if incredibly, sodomy – in the technical sense of penile-rectal penetration – was anathema.
The passive, male homosexual partner in an anal-penetrative situation was called a “kinaidos.” (This is another indicator that Paul wished to condemn a broader spectrum of conduct than anal-penetration with his pair “malakos kai arsenokoites.” His neologistic phrase is broad enough to forbid the “intercrural” (i.e., “between the legs”) relations that Greco-Romans often viewed as permissible, even when being the recipient of anal-rectal penetration was not viewed as permissible.)[xxx]
Such a person was considered to be “effeminate” in the dual sense of being weak and degenerate. A kinaidos was thought, ipso facto, to be unfit for political office. The reason for this was because it was believed that since a kinaidos allowed himself to be used sexually, he was disposed to allow himself to be used in politically.
We might find this unbelievable today since – collectively – we seem incapable of imagining a situation in which male homosexual sex acts are permissible, but anal-penetrative sex is censured. If anything, though, this simply reveals the limits of our imagination. For it turns out that, during the relevant Grecian period, “respectable” or “allowable” homosexual sex stopped at inter-crural relations.
This is manifest in Plato’s account of Socrates’ interaction with Callicles in the dialog titled, Gorgias.[xxxi] The Sophist Callicles is advancing against Socrates a position of more or less thorough-going hedonism. At one place[xxxii] Socrates basically argues that it is obvious that being a passive sodomite (catamite) could not by any stretch – no pun – be deemed “good.” Callicles is shamed into conceding the point.
Therefore, we say that the main “shift,” circa 1958, that can be adduced from the translation choices made in that era, is a shift in general awareness of the connotations of “effeminacy.” The historical link between allowing oneself to be dominated sexually (by being sodomized) and letting oneself be dominated in other respects (e.g., politically and socially) had arguably been forgotten. Hence, the “shift” occurred in the minds of readers when the general population largely lost track of the connexion between political and sexual weakness.
A malakos is “weak” in an almost masochistic sense. However, for those who, by the 1950s, had begun to view “effeminacy” only in terms of superficial qualities – e.g., characteristics of style and dress, etc. – it was necessary to update the translation with a word that made explicit the full range of meaning designated by malakos. Given the circumstances, “homosexual” is perhaps the best word choice available. Although, I might agree that it would be far better to restore in readers the awareness that political and sexual weakness are directly related.
“Historical evidence – the way the arsenokoit stem was actually used in the first century AD – indicates that the arsenokoit stem referred to: 1. Rape 2. Sex with angels or the gods 3. Anal sex with one’s wife 4. Masturbation[xxxiii] …Arsenokoitai has never been a reference to a lesbian couple or a gay male couple. Instead, in the first century, arsenokoitai referred to shrine prostitution or rape or having sex with angels. That is the behavior Paul was describing when he used the Greek word, arsenokoitai.”[xxxiv]
“Dr. Ann Nyland, Faculty in ancient Greek language and Ancient History in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, the University of New England in Australia, Translator of The Source New Testament and The Gay and Lesbian Study Bible, says about arsenokoites: ‘The word arsenokoites in 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 has been assumed to mean homosexual. However the word does not mean homosexual, and its range of meaning includes one who anally penetrates another (female or male), a rapist, a murderer or an extortionist. When used in the meaning anal penetrator, it does not apply exclusively to males as the receptors, as it was also used for women receptors. …”[xxxv]
We note, at this point, that the semantic range of “arsenokoit” could be summarized by saying that the word has to do with a male misusing his sexual organ,[xxxvi] whether by masturbation or anally penetrating another person – whether the recipient be male, female, or angel; and whether said penetration be willingly or unwillingly (as in the case of rape). These considerations are highly relevant to the issue of why the Bible opposes homosexuality, which we will discuss in the next section.
Finally, Brentlinger lists seventeen words that he asserts “…Paul [could] have used if he intended to condemn homosexuality…”.[xxxvii] These we will now consider.
Number one, Brentlinger lists several words that fairly uncontroversially describe “man-boy” relations: “arrenomanes – meaning mad after men or boy crazy”; “paiderastes …meaning lover of boys”;[xxxviii] “paidomanes – a male mad for boys or boy crazy”; “paidophthoros – a Greek word meaning corrupter of boys”.
From the fact that Paul did not choose any of these words, it appears that the safest conclusion is that Paul did not intend to limit his prohibition to cases in which an older male has sexual relations with a younger male.
Neither did Paul intend to merely exclude extraordinary cases in which a younger male has a more dominant role with an older male. For, number two, Paul ignores “eromenos – a sometimes younger male who loves an older male “.
Number three, Brentlinger lists several words that have to do only with various forms of lesbianism: “dihetaristriai…”; “frictrix…”; “hetairistriai…”; “lesbiai…”; “tribades…”; and “tribas…”. As far as I can tell, nothing follows from this except that Paul had something in mind other than lesbianism, either explicitly or narrowly.
Number four, Paul ignores the words that Brentlinger lists in conjunction with “transvestism”: “euryproktoi…” and “kinaidos – a word for effeminate (cinaedus in its Latinized form)”. The designation “...cinaedus is not anchored in ...any ...specific sexual practice. ...[A] cinaedus is a man who fails to live up to traditional standards of masculine comportment... Indeed, the word’s etymology suggests no direct connection to any sexual practice.”[xxxix] “The signifiers of the cinaedus...were closely aligned to those of the castrated males, and were most easily seen in cross-dressing or in long-haired slaves.”[xl] But, again, Paul’s avoidance of these terms tends to demonstrate that his concerns were broader than a simply condemnation of “cross-dressing” or “gender-bending” type behaviors.
Number five, Paul ignores the term “erastes” which means, simply, “lover.” As such, Paul avoids using a term that is extremely broad. His aim, it seems, it not a blanket condemnation of sexual relations – period.
Also avoided is the term “lakkoproktoi” which term, according to Brentlinger, is “a lewd and vulgar reference to anal penetration”. Hence, it appears that Paul sought to avoid slang and vulgarity.
The only term remaining on the list is “pathikos” which Brentlinger defines as “the passive penetrated partner in a male couple”. However, several points seem to explain Paul’s avoidance of it. Firstly, I do not find this term listed in the BDAG. “Pathos” is defined;[xli] but this merely means “passion” – a cognate of which Paul used in Romans 1:26 to denote “disgraceful passions” (pathe atimias). Pathikos may either not have been in wide currency during the Koine period, or it may be that the word had connotations to some of Paul’s hearers that the Apostle sought to avoid. To be more specific, Liddell and Scott give the meaning of “pathikos” as merely “remaining passive”,[xlii] which is not particularly evocative. Additionally, Lewis and Short define the Latin word “pathicus” as designating one “who submits to unnatural lust…”.[xliii]
What do these exclusions show?
Firstly, I submit that had Paul used any of the above words, writers such as Brentlinger would certainly not have said, “Oh, I see now that Paul intended to condemn all homosexual behavior – full stop.”[xliv] Rather, it is plausible to think that the reaction would have been to say, “Right: Paul merely wanted to condemn pederasty, all age-discrepancies, lesbianism, cross-dressing, all sexual relations whatsoever, obscenity, strong passions,” etc.
Paul shrewdly avoids giving any of these “outs” to his hearers. With his coinage of the pair “malakos kai arsenokoites”, what Paul arguably condemns is any non-vaginal-sexual pairing – regardless of the ages of the participants;[xlv] regardless of the gender of the passive partner;[xlvi] regardless of whether the passive partner receives the penis anally or intercrurally;[xlvii] and whether or not cross-dressing is involved,[xlviii] the activity is contractual,[xlix] passionate,[l] or especially obscene.[li]
In contemporary lingo, we might say that Paul has disallowed any “top-bottom” combination of anal sexual partners – whether or not the participants are play “strict” roles or “flip-flop” in a “versatile” manner.[lii] Since this condemnation was so sweeping, and so thoroughly foreign to the Greco-Roman culture, it is no surprise that Paul was impelled to originate his own circumlocution in order to capture his intended meaning.
[i] The following is excerpted from Matthew J. Bell, “Blueprint for Opposing ‘Gay’ Marriage’,” privately circulated, Sept. 8, 2013. Interested readers may request my present working draft by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ii] According to the byline Phillips is the “Pastor of Christ Church” in Portland, Oregon.
[iii] Adam Phillips, “The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality. Why Does Franklin Graham Not Get This?” Huffington Post, July 7, 2015, updated July 16, 2015, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-nicholas-phillips/the-bible-does-not-condemn-homosexuality_b_7807342.html>.
[iv] The other four verses are treated elsewhere (e.g., see note i) and, as time permits, I will post fuller defenses of them here. For example, regarding Leviticus 18:22 Protestant apologist Gregory Koukl can be quoted to great effect. “Context is king here. Note the positioning of the verses. The toebah [abomination] of homosexuality is sandwiched between adultery (18:20), child sacrifice (18:21) and bestiality (18:23). Was Moses saying merely that if a priest committed adultery, had sex with an animal, or burned his child on Molech’s altar he should be sure to wash up before he came to temple?” (Gregory Koukl, “What Was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?” Stand to Reason, Mar. 8, 2013, <http://www.str.org/articles/what-was-the-sin-of-sodom-and-gomorrah>.) In order words, the prohibition of sodomy is not, in the first place, a matter of hygiene, diet, or ceremony. Sodomy is a moral abomination that “cries out to heaven for vengeance.”
[v] Ronald Lawler, Joseph Boyle, Jr., and William E. May, Catholic Sexual Ethics, Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor, 1985, p. 199.
[vii] Genesis 2:23-24, NIV.
[viii] Matthew 19:4-6, NIV // Mark 10:7-9.
[ix] Richard D. Mohr, “Homosexuality, Prejudice, and Discrimination,” William H. Saw and Vincent Barry, eds., Moral Issues in Business, third ed., Belmont, Cal.: Wadsworth, 2007, p. 499. Cf. Richard D. Mohr, “The Case for Gay Marriage,” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, vol. 9, no. 1, 1995, reprinted in Robert B. Baker, Kathleen J. wininger, and Frederick A. Elliston, Philosophy of Sex, 3rd ed., Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998, pp. 190ff.
[xiv] The King James Version renders what was said as: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
[xv] Rick Brentlinger, “Does 1 Cor 6:9 mean I can’t be gay AND Christian?” GayChristian101, <http://www.gaychristian101.com/does-1-cor-69-mean-i-cant-be-gay-and-christian.html>.
[xvi] [Rick Brentlinger?] “Define Arsenokoites This word DID NOT refer to homosexuals in ancient usage,” GayChristian101, <http://www.gaychristian101.com/Define-Arsenokoites.html>.
[xviii] See, e.g., Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1993 and Henry A. Virkler, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2001, etc.
[xix] Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Dallas: Word, 1993, p. 11.
[xx] Brentlinger further approvingly quotes James Barr: “The main point is that the etymology of a word is not a statement about its meaning but about its history... [I]t is quite wrong to suppose that the etymology of a word is necessarily a guide either to its ‘proper’ meaning in a later period or to its actual meaning in that period”, The Semantics of Biblical Language, Oxford University Press, New York, 1961, p. 109; quoted by [Brentlinger?] “Define Arsenokoites…,” loc. cit. Brentlinger seems to miss the fact that it is he who is attempting to limit Paul’s meaning by asserting that pre-Pauline etymologies must determine Pauline usage.
[xxi] Douglas Harper, “Gay,” <http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=gay>.
[xxii] Of course, there is no guarantee that this meaning shift will become widespread, nor even that it will be comprehensible. But if such a meaning shift were not even possible, the word “gay” would not now mean “homosexual” since there was a past time in which there was “no textual evidence” that it meant anything other than “carefree.”
[xxiii] David E. Malick, “The Condemnation of Homosexuality in Corinthians 6:9,” Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 150, no. 600, 1993, p. 483.
[xxiv] Malick, op. cit., p. 482, n. 15.
[xxv] Malick, op. cit., p. 484.
[xxvi] Paul’s mention of lesbianism in Romans 1 was very rare for the period. But “…if Paul spoke about female homosexuality whereas the literature of his day did not, why was he not able to speak about make homosexuality in a similar way?” Malick, “The Condemnation of Homosexuality in Romans…,” op. cit., p. 340.
[xxvii] Brentlinger himself notes: “…that malakoi means male prostitutes in Paul’s usage is highly unlikely since Paul has already mentioned pornoi, meaning male prostitutes, in this vice list. Because Paul’s reasoning is tight and his writing style spare, it is unlikely Paul would repeat himself by using malakoi with the meaning of male prostitutes”, [Brentlinger?] “Malakoi…,” loc. cit.
[xxviii] [Brentlinger?] “Malakoi…,” loc. cit.
[xxix] For the following points, see K. J. Dover’s seminal study, Greek Homosexuality, London: Duckworth, 1978.
[xxx] “Intercrural” (def.) “between the legs.” Intercrural sex occurs when the “top,” or active-dominant partner, places his penis in between the legs of the “bottom,” or passive-submissive partner.
[xxxi] 494e ff.
[xxxii] Loc. cit.
[xxxiii] Brentlinger, “Does 1 Cor…,” loc. cit.
[xxxiv] Kam, “Does the Bible say homosexuals will go to hell?” GayChristian101, <http://www.gaychristian101.com/does-the-bible-say-homosexuals-will-go-to-hell.html>.
[xxxvi] Or being generally abusive, as in cases of murder or extortion.
[xxxvii] “What words could Paul have used if he intended to condemn homosexuality?” GayChristian101, <http://www.gaychristian101.com/what-words-could-paul-have-used-if-he-intended-to-condemn-homosexuality.html>.
[xxxviii] Brentlinger’s enumeration of “paiderasste” is both apparently redundant as well as disingenuous. The “paid-” component clearly hearkens to the word “child,” paidiwn.
[xxxix] Craig A. Williams, Roman Homosexuality, 2nd. ed., Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2010, p. 193.
[xl] Ray Laurence, Roman Passions: A History of Pleasure in Imperial Rome, New York: Continuum, 2010, p. 85.
[xli] Op. cit., p. 748.
[xlii] Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, with Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, A Greek-English Lexicon, revised ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940, online at: <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dpaqiko%2Fs>.
[xliii] Charles Short and Charleton T. Lewis, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 1314.
[xliv] Thus, Brentlinger disingenuously titles his article “words that Paul could have used to condemn homosexuality,” leaving readers to believe precisely what I just submitted is implausible – namely, that the selection of any of the avoiding words would have been taken by Brentlinger as conclusive evidence of a total prohibition of non-vaginal, penile sexual activity.
[xlv] This is arguably why he avoids all age-tinged terminology, like paiderastes.
[xlvi] This is arguably why Paul does use “malakos kai arnsenokoites,” since the first conjunct, designating passivity, could apply to anyone who “bottoms” anally, whether catamite men or women; and the latter conjunct, arguably is only meant to broadly designate a “top” man who actively engages in non-vaginal penetration, whether of a male rectum, female rectum, or even his own hand.
[xlvii] This is plausibly the reason that Paul avoids the term kinaidos, which term might tend to give the false impression that Paul is leaving side intercrural sex.
[xlviii] This is evident in virtue of the fact that Paul avoids all of the terms that designate transvestism.
[xlix] Again, it is reasonable to hold that Paul’s odd coinage is intended to avoid leaving readers with the impression that he is merely condemning temple prostitution.
[l] The word pathikos might tend to give the impression that the trouble lies with wayward passions when, in fact, what Paul is condemning is any form of “ectopic” (non-vaginal) penile sexual activity.
[li] Hence, Paul avoids lewd and crude references which, if used, might leave readers with the false impression that what is condemned is some improper way of approaching non-vaginal penile sexual activity, rather than all forms of non-vaginal penile sex – period.
[lii] The “top” is the active, penetrating partner while the “bottom” is the passive, receiving partner. To “flip-flop” means to switch roles. Interestingly, construed this way, Paul’s condemnation arguably would even apply to persons – male or female – who use sexual “toys” or other objects to anally penetrate people. Further, we see that use of terms like pathikos and kinaidos would allowed cases of “flip-flopping” to slip through the cracks, since both of these latter terms tended to mark out “strict bottoms,” that is, persons who habitually play the passive rôle. Paul can therefore be read as forbidding any non-vaginal “bottoming” – even if it is an “experimental,” one-time thing, as opposed to a “lifestyle.”