Rom. 1:26-27

     Boswell's interpreted this passage to refer to heterosexuals who had 
abandoned their personal natures or behavior in favor of homosexual-looking 
behavior, not actual homosexuals, who would have no heterosexual 
natures to "exchange" or "give up."  Others had made this reading before 

On the other hand, what no one, even Boswell's detractors, have asked is: 
why would a heterosexual want to "give up" and "exchange" a genuinely 
heterosexual orientation for homosexual-style behavior?  The answer might 
have been more obvious to ancients than it is to us.

...kai tEn antimisthian hEn edei tEs planEs autOn en heautois apolambanontes.

_Antimisthian_ refers to payment for services rendered; it is the object 
of the participle _apolambanontes_, "taking, receiving."  It is also the 
object of _edei_ usually rendered in this passage as "what was due" or 
"what was proper," but this is a mistranslation since its use elsewhere 
as an agentless imperfect refers to binding requirement and absolute 
necessity; the reason it is not usually translated "it was required, 
necessary" here is because the context has usually not been seen to 
support it as it does elsewhere.

_PlanEs_ is usually rendered "error" but its use in the NT seems to 
require the understanding "deception" - it is a deliberate act of 
deluding or misleading someone else.  When it used of the person 
deceived, it is usually in a passive construction (where someone else, 
perhaps not named, can be assumed to have deceived or tricked the person 
in question).  Here it is ambivalent, perhaps deliberately so: are the 
persons in question deceiving others by their behavior or are they 
themselves tricked into behavior not characteristic of them?  But the "en 
heautois" not to mention the "en oreksei autOn" strongly implies they 
were more the ones deceived.

"...and receiving the payment that was required [necessary] for their 
deception [to deceive them] in their own minds."

All together,

"On account of this God handed them over to dishonorable passions.  For 
in addition their females exchanged their characteristic behavior for 
that which was aside from what was evident; likewise the males also set 
aside their evident enjoyment of the female and were made to burn in 
their longing for one another, males earning dishonor among males, and 
receiving the payment that was required to deceive them in their own minds."

These visibly heterosexual males then would be changing their behavior in 
order to make money, as male prostitutes.  It may be that this is fact 
what the *females* are guilty of (homoiOs), in which case their "exchange" 
may not even involve lesbian activity of any sort.  If this is true, it 
would put Paul back in line with almost every other ancient writer in 
non-criticism of lesbianism.  Commentators have often puzzled over why Paul 
alone should have condemned the phenomenon of lesbianism, especially so 

Of course, even with my translation, it is still possible to conclude that 
Paul is here referring to all of those people we would now consider 
homosexuals.  In that case, though, it would be necessary to assume that 
Paul was ignorant about homosexuals, in the manner of the later John 
Chrysostom.  John Chrysostom was genuinely mystified about why homosexuals 
did what they did - he thought that they were just very confused 
heterosexuals who did not really enjoy homosexual behavior, and who for 
some reason couldn't tell the difference between pain and pleasure, 
dishonor and honor.  Paul, though, here clearly indicates the individuals 
are enjoying their behavior; for this and various other reasons, I would 
continue to give Paul credit for discerning the issues involved.  That 
he was misunderstood is ironic, but not at all unexpected: as I said before, 
cf. his splendidly unsuccessful attempt to prevent Christian anti-Semitism 
in the same letter to the Romans.  Paul's use of words which had special 
meanings in pagan Greek and Jewish Hellenistic philosophy (like _phusis_) 
especially influenced misunderstandings of this passage almost from the 
beginning of the Patristic writers.  Only the NT usage bears him out.

Greg Jordan