[b-greek] Re: ARSENKOITOS

From: Paul Schmehl (p.l.schmehl@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sat Aug 11 2001 - 20:47:25 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Crane" <JoeCrane@NavigatorServices.com>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2001 7:03 PM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: ARSENKOITOS
> The following are direct quotes from:
> Young, James B. De. "The Source and NT Meaning of ARSENKOITOS, with
> implications for Christian
> Ethics and Ministry." The Master's Seminary Journal. Volume 3, #2, Fall
> 1992.
> ".Bailey limits the term's reference in Paul's works to acts alone and
> laments the modern translations of the term as 'homosexuals.' Bailey
> to distinguish between 'the homosexual condition (which is morally
> and homosexual practices.'" (2)
I think Bailey is certainly correct that the term refers to acts or
behavior. The context of both uses of the term is various acts for which
the participants are considered "ADIKOI" (I Cor 6:9) and "ANOMOIS" and
"ANUPOTAKTOIS" (I Tim1:9). Whether or not Bailey is correct that "the
homosexual condition..is morally neutral" is for others to decide, and I
think outside the context of B-Greek.

> "His [Boswell] argument is that the arseno- part of the word is
> not the object of the koitai which refers to base sexual activity. Hence
> the term, according to Boswell, designates a male sexual person or male
> prostitute." (3)
I find Boswell's argument rather strained. He argues that ARSEN is not the
object of KOITAI because even though there are many examples of compound
Greek words using ARREN (the older form of ARSEN) which take ARREN to be the
object of the verbal part of the word (such as ARRENOPOIOS, ARRENOGAMEW,
etc.), there are some examples were the ARREN portion of the compound word
is adjectival (such as ARSENOMORPHOS, ARSENOGENHS, etc.) But this argument
leads one equally to either conclusion, so it is left to the reader to
decide which to choose, which is rather subjective. He tries to strengthen
his argument by claiming that, in general, when ARREN is used, it is
objectival and when ARSEN is used it is adjectival, but this is not
consistently the case, so the argument is weak, IMO.

After arguing this, he claims that the word means "male sexual agents", but
I'm at a loss to know how he gets there from the consituent parts. KOITEW
means "to bed" and was used euphemistically (as well as literally) then just
as it is today. ARSEN, of course, means "male, with reference to his sexual
nature". If ARSEN is adjectival, I'm not sure how you would translate the
compound form. If ARSEN is objectival, the word is easily translated "man
bedder" or "male bedder" or "one who beds males". Given the context of
Paul's use of the term, I would think that "man bedder" is more likely its
meaning, since that is a form of behavior, which fits the context.

> "Both on the basis of the meaning of the terms and of the literary
> phenomenon of a 'catalogue of vices,' Scroggs argues that the Scriptures
> 'irrelevant and provide no help in the heated debate today.' The 'model
> today's Christian homosexual community is so different from the model
> attacked by the New Testament' that 'Biblical judgments against
> homosexuality are not relevant to today's debate. They should no longer
> used in denominational discussions." (6)
Scroggs, of course, is conceding that the term is derogatory or he would not
have to claim it is "irrelevant" today. I don't see how his comments add
anything WRT to the Greek word and its meaning. His translation merely
echos the arguments of Boswell, et. al, without adding any substance to the

> Scroggs translates 1:10 as "male-prostitutes, males who lie [with them],
> slave dealers [who procure them]". (5)

Paul Schmehl pauls@utdallas.edu

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