BAG give related words: arsenikos, arsenokoitein, with an important but
dated reference to D.S. Bailey. The translation, "a male who practices
homosexuality, pederast, sodomite" is not much better than Liddell &
Scott's ("sodomite"), but L&S provide a much greater wealth of
references for all arsen- compounds, including those that might be
considered semantically related to arsenokoites, under the Attic arren-:
arrenomanes "mad after males (of men)", arrenomiktes "arrenokoites",
arrenomixia "sodomy", arrenopiptes "one who looks lewdly on males",
arrenothelus "hermaphrodite, of both sexes". Larry Hurtado is right that
L&S 9th ed. w/supplement 1968 is dated, but only in needing updated
additions. Dan McDonald points out that L&S is "primarily a classical
lexicon" but one should notice, for example, that in the above entries
there was at least one 11th century A.D. reference! The important thing,
for a scholar looking at a controversial word, is to LOOK UP the sources
referenced in L&S or BAG and verify the contextual meanings so that you
can eliminate any bias in the dictionary (and, naturally, insert your own :).
Nigel Turner's words are not very useful: "It is, however, important to
recollect that when we are examing words in any given environment we need
above all to be aware of the system of thought that lies behind their use
-- in our case, the Christian system of thought." After all, the
Christian system of "thought" is unavailable for examination except as
*text* in words or physical remains; there is nothing "behind" them since
they are all that there is. Interpretation is the unavoidable task.
Some main scholarship on arsenokoites is:
Boswell, J. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. (Chicago,
U of Chicago P, 1980). The original statement by Boswell.
Boswell, J. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. (New York: Villard,
1994). Pp. 219-220 n4 contains a brief rebuttal to some of the criticisms
W. L. Peterson, "Can ARSENOKOITAI be Translated by 'Homosexuals'?",
Vigiliae Christianae 40 (1986), 187-91.
W. L. Peterson, "On the Study of 'Homosexuality' in Patristic Sources,"
Studia Patristica 20 (1989), 283-88.
R. Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality: Contextual Background
for Contemporary Debate (Philadelphia, 1983).
J. Wright, "Homosexuals or Prostitutes: The Meaning of ARSENOKOITAI [1
Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10], Vigiliae Christianae 38 (1984), 125-53.
And after all that, I'm still up to a look at Leviticus 18! We can
discuss it here because the LXX/Septuagint is a fairly literal rendering
of the Hebrew:
Lev. 18:22 Kai meta arsenos ou koimEthEsE koitEn gunaikos.
The first thing you should notice is the absence of the phrase "...
man... as with a woman" usual in most English translations. The
KJV "mankind...womankind"and many other English translations
rendering it "man...woman" do not do justice to the contrastive
pairs emphasized in the NRSV. In Greek, they are:
arsEN (male) vs. thElus (female)
anEr (man/husband) vs. gunE (woman/wife)
The word koitE often renders "marriage bed." It is unmistakeable that
Lev. 18:22 is contrasting the use of "arsenos" (not andros) with that of
"gunaikos" (not thElus). It is forbidding a husband to sleep with a
*male* on the bed of his wife, a specification of adultery, not a general
condemnation of homosexual behavior.