[b-greek] Re: arsenokoiths

From: Stevens, Charles C (Charles.Stevens@unisys.com)
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 13:37:52 EDT

On 26 September 2000 at 6:22PM, Ben Crick writes:

<< With all due respect, Jim, your post reads like special pleading. In the
 Sibylline Oracles 2, 73 ARSENOKOITHS and ARSENOKOITEIN unambiguously refer
 male homosexuals. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiq 7:2 has ARSENOKOITAI as
 synonymous with PAIDERASTAI.>>

As others have pointed out, your citations are generally considered to
*postdate* the Pauline use of this term and may or may not be using it in
ways that Paul intended when he used it.

But more importantly, and with all due respect, I would contend that
PAIDERASTAI clearly connotes an age difference at the very least
etymologically. If indeed ARSENOKOITAI is to be taken as intended by Paul
as synonymous with PIDERASTAI, then the practice being condemned by Paul in
these passages is what would be described as "statutory rape", "child
molestation", "perpetration" or even "contributing to the delinquency of a
minor" itoday, not necessarily consensual relationships between two peer
adults who are of the same sex. Your own citations support this.

Note that I happen to agree with you that ARSENOKOITAI does indeed have
something to do with sexual activity between males. But I have not *yet*
seen any evidence that leads me to believe that the relationships and
interactions that Paul intends to bring into view with the use of these
terms in these passages is anything but a particular aspect of the culture
of his time, and that aspect had more to do with exchanging the willingness
to be used sexually for the opportunity for influence and material gain.

The "sugar daddy" syndrome is no less offensive to the average homosexual
person today than it was to Paul, regardless of whether the person being
given the opportunity to be with the "movers and shakers" in exchange for
sexual favors is, or was, female or male. And most homosexual people I know
regard the tenets and goals of the "North American Man-Boy Love Association"
as no less disgusting than it is to society at large.

The main point: To assert that Paul intended to describe all "members of
the gay male community" (as that community would use the term today) as
ARSENOKOITAI (and/or MALAKOI and/or PAIDERASTAI) may well be no less
"special pleading" than that of which you seem to accuse Jim.

The definition of "homosexual" in a handy "Webster's Ninth New Collegiate
Dictionary" is "of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct
sexual desire toward another of the same sex". "Pederast" in the same
dictionary is defined as "one that practices anal intercourse esp. with a
boy"; the etymology is given as "lover of boys".

Perhaps the definition of the word "homosexual" in your dictionaries
differs, but that given above is is pretty much the accepted definition for
the word on this side of the pond. Note that the term does NOT include
any requirement that the desire be acted upon, that if it is acted upon that
it be manifested in any particular way, that it be targeted toward any
particular age group, or even that that desire be acknowledged.

PAIDERASTAI and its English cognate "pederast" both include the clear
indication of a significant age disparity, and seem to have acquired a
specific indication of a specific sexual activity in the process (I don't
know how far back that goes in the etymology). .

I remain unconvinced that what Paul is condemning in these paasages is
correctly taken as being all those who meet the above-cited definition of
the word "homosexual". The latter group include those who are celibate and
those who despite their temptations choose to be in monogamous heterosexual
relationships as well as those who find child molestation, sexual
perpetration and statutory rape as abhorrent as most of us do.

Are people that meet that definition to be considered unconditionally
incapable of inheriting the Kingdom of God in this passage regardless of how
successfully and prayerfully they overcome temptation in this particular
area? Such is what you seem to assert, and I am saddened by that

        -Chuck Stevens

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