A Biblical Literalist Perspective on Homosexuality

Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) says “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 20:13 says more or less the same thing. 1 Corinthians 6:9 often loses something in translation, but the term arsenokoitai, which nowadays is often translated with some reference to homosexuality, is literally a compound word made from the roots for “man” and “to lie down.”

It seems clear from these texts that Biblical literalists should have no objection to homosexual intercourse, provided that it is not done lying down.

  • http://afeatheradrift.wordpress.com/ afeatheradrift

    ROFL…somehow I think they will fail to see the humor of it. For a very good and scholarly treatment of the issue see: The Anglican Review SUmmer 2009 -the entire issue, and "Reasonable and Holy" by Tobias Haller, Episcopal priest and blogger. Thanks so much for all your great posts!

  • http://mikew1584.wordpress.com/ mikew1584

    I figure that no matter Paul's views on swishes and man whores, he probably wouldn't have been fond of any kind of homosexual. He does think though that marriage beats burning so he isn't totally anti sex, but wishes that everybody could do without like he does. On the other hand Paul was cool with some stuff that disgusted some of his contemporaries. The author of Revelation (who thinks this is coming straight from Jesus) no doubt lumps Paul in with those followers of Balaam and Jezebel who entice the people of God into eating food sacrificed to idols, and they're perverts too for good measure. John of Patmos doesn't just disagree with Paul's position, Paul is a servant of Satan. Who's side are you going to choose? Balaam A.K.A. Paul, or the spiritually weak minded John of Patmos?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    I always wondered why "literalists" are against lesbianism. Leviticus is pretty clear that the only thing forbidden is male-on-male homosexuality.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15684538621573899774 Meg Leigh

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    John, there's a bit in Romans 1 that they can appeal to. But you may find this amusing: someone tweeted Jennifer Knapp, a contemporary Christian musician who recently made public that she is a lesbian, advising her to read Leviticus 18:22. My response was that "lying with a man as one lies with a woman" was not something lesbians are likely to do… :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03089281236217906531 Scott F

    *Insert your *Baptists-Don't-Allow-Dancing joke here*(I wish I could think of one)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    I'm sorry. I saw your reply late (there's things in my life that actually don't involve the blogosphere) and then I compounded it by not responding right away. But, even if that bastard (sorry!) Paul said something about lesbianism, how does that excuse "literalists" from the contradiction that Leviticus says that it is okay?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    P.S. I loved you later post om the beautiful wedding of those women.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    John, Leviticus doesn't explicitly say it is OK. The question is why, if such relations were objectionable, there is no law about it. And I just wanted to highlight that there is no answer to that question per se, but how we choose to fill in the gaps tells us quite a bit about ourselves, if not about ancient Israel.

  • http://www.dylanstafne.blogspot.com Dylan

    As Fred Clark says on his slacktivist blog (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/06/tf-skip-verse-10.html):"The parallel passage in Luke's Gospel is more fun if you ever have to deal with a ["Left Behind" fan] in conversation. Be sure to use the King James Version when you bring up Luke 17:34 — "In that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left" — and then argue that a literal interpretation suggests that precisely 50 percent of homosexuals will be raptured."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Dylan, that's brilliant! Of course, in some societies two men sleeping in the same bed has no such connotations – much to the shock of visitors from the US and other countries where it does!


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