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Sunday, May 24, 2009


On BNET, Gary Jepsen has a 9 page article in which he attempts to prove that arsenokoites (in 1 Cor 6:9), refers to homosexuality in general.

As usual with christian scholars, Jepsen fails miserably in his attempt to make the Bible say that God condemns loving homosexual partnerships.

Because I cannot post a response to his article without joining BNET, I am posting my response here.


Your article, while interesting, makes as many leaps of illogic as you accuse Dale Martin of making. For example:
"The best we can say after examining Martin's argument regarding later material is that arsenokoites might have been occasionally used in texts considerably later than Paul to designate homosexual rape or sex by economic exploitation. On the other hand, it may also have been used to refer to homosexuality in general"

Is it possible you are unaware that the arsenokoit stem was never used in antiquity "to refer to homosexuality in general." To assert that "homosexuality in general" may have been its meaning is irresponsible (and also wishful thinking).
"Thus, it is no stretch to see how Paul, who undoubtedly would have been familiar with these verses from the Septuagint, could have from their influence put the two words together to form a new word, arsenokoites, and as he did so, clearly had in mind "a man bedding a male as a female" (Lev 20:13)"

That is such an odd and off-base conclusion, given the fact that Philo and other first century Jews viewed Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (and Deuteronomy 23:17) as presenting Moses' (and God's) prohibition of shrine prostitution.

“(40) And I imagine that the cause of this is that among many nations there are actually rewards given for intemperance and effeminacy. At all events one may see men-women [androgynes] continually strutting through the market place at midday, and leading the processions in festivals;

and, impious men as they are, having received by lot the charge of the temple, and beginning the sacred and initiating rites, and concerned even in the holy mysteries of Ceres

[Ceres is another name for Cybele, the fertility goddess first century Romans referred to as the Mater Deum or Mother of the gods]. Remember, Philo lived from 20 BC to AD 40. He probably wrote this around AD 35.

(41) And some of these persons have even carried their admiration of these delicate pleasures of youth so far that they have desired wholly to change their condition for that of women, and have castrated themselves and have clothed themselves in purple robes...

[Philo here describes the castrated Galli priests who served Cybele or other fertility goddesses worshiped in Rome].

(42) But if there was a general indignation against those who venture to do such things, as was felt by our lawgiver..." [Moses was the Jewish Lawgiver. Philo refers to Moses' writings in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:17]

Philo, The Special Laws, III, VII, 40-42.

If historical facts (instead of anti-gay hysteria) guide our understanding of the meaning of the arsenokoit stem, we have no historical, factual reason to believe that the Greek word, arsenokoitai, ever referred to homosexuality in general, since it was never used that way in antiquity.

Since you believe the arsenokoit stem did refer to homosexuality in general, please present some ancient references where that is the case.

Of course, you are unable to present even one ancient reference where the arsenokoit stem referred to homosexuality in general.

The reason is, our ancient ancestors never used the arsenokoit stem with that meaning.

Based on historical usage, we have every reason to believe the arsenokoit stem referred to shrine prostitution (based on Philo's first century understanding) or rape, (based on its usage by Aristides, AD 126), within 68 years of Paul's writing of Romans.

Nothing in the Biblical text implies or compels a conclusion that the arsenokoit stem ever meant homosexual.

Rick Brentlinger


Gay Christian 101 - Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay and Lesbian Christians

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