Lev. 18:22

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

>I *have* perused the Hebrew use of issha, and I can only conclude that 
>your criteria for an acceptable context are not the same as mine.  I 
>assume you support the traditional interpretation, something like "you 
>will not lie with a man as with a woman" and interpreted as being a 
>general prohibition against homosexual behavior.  Well, if this is so 
>[assuming, for the sake of argument, what I reject], then you must see 
>that homosexual behavior, illicit, is being contrasted to relations with 
>a woman, licit.  Now you have insisted that issha/gune is *not* to be 
>interpreted as wife, so you are saying that homosexuality is being shown 
>to be evil as CONTRASTED with adultery or fornication between a man and a 
>woman, that is, sex between a man and a woman who, as you say, are NOT 
>married.  Do you see the problem with that?  We could chase issha's and 
>gunE's all through the Hebrew Bible, but I don't think that would do any 
>more to convince you that issha/gunE throughout Leviticus 18 is 
>sufficiently contextualized to need to be rendered "wife."  So I've done 
>my part to present the evidence.

	I see your point that Lev. 18:22 is most probably not referring to an
illicit activity with the words KOITHN GUNAIKOS. I believe we agree that the
reference to lying with a man is referring to illicit activity.  The question
is over what makes the latter illicit.  You maintain that this verse is
referring to commission of adultery with a man and that the illicit aspect is
in the adultery.  Your interpretation depends on understanding the word GUNH
as referring specifically to the wife (or *a wife* in the case of a
polygamist) of one of the males in the illicit union.  My interpretation
depends on GUNH being a general reference.  I do not believe that a
*translation* of "wife" is necessary here to imply a licit (i.e. within
matrimony) relationship.  I consulted more than a dozen translations in two
languages (English and Spanish), including Protestant, Roman Catholic and
Jewish editions, and *all* of them translate "woman" or "womankind" or
something similar in Lev. 18:22.  I know that majority opinion does not
establish the interpretation in biblical exegesis.  But these many instances
where the translation is "woman" rather than "wife" show that translators who
one may safely assume are aware of biblical strictures against fornication
and adultery saw no problem with translating "woman" rather than "wife" here.
 So I still maintain that the lack of either an article or a posessive
pronoun with GUNAIKOS (or with 'ishshah) is fatal to your interpretation.
	It also seems to me that v. 22 is more closely related to v. 23 than with
what precedes v.22 since the phrase 'eni yhwh at the end of v. 21 represents
a terminus to the preceding section.  Recognizing v. 23 as the most closely
related context, and taking into account the lack of any indicators of
specification with GUNH, Lev. 18:22 is most naturally understood as the first
of a series of prohibitions of unnatural sexual acts.

	May I suggest that if anyone wishes to make any further posts on this topic
that he or she post to the B-Hebrew list where questions relating to the
language of the text could be more easily dealt with.  Someone has already
called to my attention an old post of mine in which I called for keeping the
discussion here to the topic of New Testament Greek.  At any rate if any
additional posts on this topic appear here, I plan to post any answer to

David Moore