Re: Lev. 18:22 (LXX)

jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu (Greg Jordan) writes:

>If the Greek, or Hebrew, text [in Lev. 18:22] had wanted to say "one shall 
>not lie with a 
>man/male as with a woman/female" it certainly could have: something like 
>"meta arsenos ou koimEthEsE hOs meta thElus / meta andros ou koimEthEsE 
>hOs meta gunaikos", or in Hebrew "et zakhar lo tishkav mishkevey kaasher 
>et nekeva / et ish lo tishkav mishkevey kaasher et issha" [not sure about 
>my grammar, but you get the picture], but neither the Greek nor the 
>Hebrew say this.  It is much easier to assume that the English 
>translators inserted their own cultural differences, including a 
>different and special bigotry, when they set about translating this 
>passage.  This has already been abundantly pointed out in the use of the 
>"abomination" accompanying this verse.

	It is sometimes difficult to know why the biblical text expresses something
one way rather than another.  Apparently, the writers employed their language
with an almost complete lack of concern for twentieth-century exegetes who
would have to puzzle over their idiomatic expressions more than three
millenia hence. :)  Seriously, the Hebrew writers of the OT have an affinity
for idiomatic and forceful, energetic modes of expression.  Especially when
speaking of matters related to sex, euphemism and idiomatic speech is the
rule rather than the exception.  So it is not appropriate to say that if they
had wanted to say this or that, they would have spoken more directly.  

	You may find it "much easier to assume that the English translators inserted
their own cultural differences, including a different and special bigotry,
when they set about translating this passage."  But that really does not seem
to be the case.  If GUNH were to be translated "wife" here as you suggest the
dilema would arise of whose wife the text is referring to - the wife of the
man addressed in Lev. 18:22 or the wife of the man with whom he lies.  In
such a case, the meaning of the passage would be equivocal and undefined.
 And only the addition of a second-person genitive pronoun (in case of its
referring to the wife of the man addressed) or the third-person genitive
pronoun (in case of the wife of the man with whom he lies) would clarify
enough to make such a construction intelligible.  If, of course, the
reference is general, then we are back to what is really the only logical
interpretation of this passage - a general prohibition to lying with a man as
one might lie with a woman.

	About your implication of bias and bigotry in those who translate this
passage as I have:  well, I try not to come to the text with a preconceived
idea of what it ought to say.  Frankly, I have been amazed at some of the
interpretations I have recently seen given to passages dealing with
homosexual practice.  In my opinion, there is a consistent thought pattern
behind interpretations that avoid the conclusion that the Bible calls
homosexual activity sinful.  The thinking goes something like this: 

 	Some people are naturally inclined to a sexual interest in people 
	of their own sex.  Since they are naturally inclined to this, it 
	cannot be bad. Therefore the Bible, in its references to 
	homosexual practice, must not be qualifying it as sin.

I believe such reasoning is flawed.  Every one of us has natural inclinations
to activities the Bible calls sinful.  Some are especially tempted in one
area, others in another.  But just as the adulterer cannot justify his sinful
actions by saying that he has a stronger sex drive than other men, the
homosexual is not justified by arguments based on a homosexual nature or on
homosexual attraction.

	You imply that I am biased against people involved in homosexuality.  I
respond that I see them as I see others involved in sin - with the same kinds
of problems that sin brings and with the same hope of freedom and redemption
from sin through faith in Christ.  If I were to acceed to incorrect exegesis
so as to not burden certain persons with the Bible's condemnation of their
homosexual lifestyle, I would be doing them an injustice.  I would be
shutting the door for them to the way out of sin.  I don't want to do that;
Christ opened the door to forgiveness and salvation by His death on the
cross.  That door should not be closed to anyone.

David Moore