The Bible and “Homosexuality”

The debate among Christians regarding the LGBTQ community continues to rear its head, most recently among the UMC denomination, where it was decided that people from this community are not qualified to minister in the temple.

Traditionally, 6 verses have been used to set the case against queer sexuality (Lev 18:22, 20:13, Rom 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9-11, 1 Tim 1:8-11, and Jude 7). Each verse will be addressed individually, as well as collectively, below. I am using a combination of historical, and linguistic criticism to suggest an adaptation of terminology. Much ground is lost in this discussion because many translations use modern glosses and many commentators use modern methods of exegesis to understand these texts, when the texts themselves are not written in a manner that follows current exegetical models, nor does it suffice to define their terminology using [modern] words which all have their own ideological baggage and historical biases attached to them. The “rules” of biblical interpretation are varied, and not subject to any one particular method (on this, see Kugel, J. “How to Read the Bible”).

With 6 verses (2 in the Hebrew Bible, 4 in the New Testament) from 66 books in the Protestant Bible, 73 books in the Catholic Bible, 79 in the Orthodox, and 81-86 in the Ethiopian Orthodox, there is an elephant in the room. The simple fact of sparse reference to something usually creates more difficulty in the translation. This is apparent for the New Testament texts, as well as the Hebrew Bible. The meager percentage of texts that seem to talk about “homosexuality” (roughly .0001% of the protestant canon alone) ought to be enough to give any translator pause when addressing the texts in question.

Aside from the fact that these verses do not seem to say what is typically represented (detail on this below), the manner in which religious dogma has been asserted because of them is both unfaithful to the “literal” reading of the text, as well as to the general call in these same texts to care for the outcast. When a target language becomes unfaithful to the meaning it intends to express, adjustments in translation are necessary, especially when those translations are loaded with ideological weight. The purpose of this essay then is to propose an adaptation in translation of these verses in light of the evidence to be presented.

A preface to the discussion is the recognition that there are three sets of texts being examined.

  1. The Hebrew/Jewish texts known as the Tanakh to Jews and the Old Testament to Christians. I will use Hebrew Bible (HB) to refer to this collection of scriptures.
  2. The Christian texts, including the Septuagint (LXX). The LXX is largely based on Hebrew manuscripts which are now lost. In many places, it matches our current HB closely, in other places it diverges significantly (on this, see Tov, E. “Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint”). In addition, there are various manuscript traditions within the Greek translations, which account for further variant readings. Since the New Testament writers almost certainly used the LXX in their quotations, and considered it scripture (McLay 2003), it is necessary to consult both sets of texts. For the purposes of ease in this study, I am using the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) for the HB, and the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) for the LXX. Where necessary, I will address the Hebrew (BHS) and/or Greek (Gottingen/NA28).

The Hebrew Bible/LXX

Leviticus 18:22

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (NRSV)

“And you shall not sleep with a male as in a bed of a woman, for it is an abomination” (NETS).

NRSV is smoothed over for English readers, as are most translations. If we followed the Hebrew text directly, we’d end up with something more like:

“and with zkr not you will lie like her lying, a woman (or, the lying of a woman), to’ebah it”.

NRSV translates zkr “a male”, and to’ebah “abomination”. zkr frequently has a connotation of either a firstborn offspring, or a male in some way set apart—as in the males taken aboard the ark, the males chosen for sacrifice, and the firstborn males offered to Yahweh. The “adam” (human) is zkr in Gen 1 before he is iysh in Gen 2 (HALOT, 271-272).  HALOT (271) notes that the general meaning of zkr is “phallus”, and Ezekiel 16:17 uses a form of zkr to describe what the Israelite women were doing at Yahweh’s altar; “they made male images and played the harlot with them” (NRSV). In modern terms the text could just as easily be translated “they made [cast metal] sex toys and used them in front of the altar”. The difference in “male” and “phallus” is a single vowel; from zakar to zakur.

While it is true there are no vowels in the manuscripts of the HB, it is unlikely zakur is in sight for Leviticus, and especially in 20:13. However, there is another point to be made here; context. Milgrom (2008, 1530) notes that this particular “prohibition” comes at the end of a long list of prohibited sexual liaisons between family members. Further, the HB never proscribes female/female sex, nor does any other culture in the Ancient Near East (1568). The fact that lesbianism was well enough known in the ancient world, and yet completely unaddressed here cuts this particular proscription in half. That is, it doesn’t apply to female/female acts at all (see also pp. 1568-1569). In short, the absolute maximum we can say about Leviticus 18:22 is that it is forbidding familial male/male relationships of any kind, specifically the kind listed just before v22, which means “homosexuality” is not salient to this passage, but rather incestuous male/male intercourse.

The LXX falls under the same understanding of a prohibition of male/male incest when taken in context of the familial prohibitions preceding v22. The wording of the NETS is more indicative of the problem facing the “literal” reading of this passage. That is, “as in a bed of a woman” creates a bit of ambiguity. Some scholars have offered that the issue here is the one “lying the lyings of a woman” or “being the receptive partner” (on this, see Walsh, 2001), making it so that only the receptive partner is being castigated. The point in this line of thought is that the prohibition is limited to the receptive partner alone, which reveals the societal foundation of the law. That is, it is to’ebah for a man to act like a woman in bed. The reasoning for this is varied, with the majority of scholars arguing for a patriarchal understanding. Meaning, in the Ancient Near East,  women were lower on the social ladder than men, so for a man to act like a woman, even in bed, is to’ebah.

This verse in the LXX is considered by some to be the ground for Paul’s use of the term “arsenokoites”, taking the words for “male” (arsenos) and “sleep with” (koite) and combining them. However, Martin (2008, 39) aptly summarizes the problem with approaching words through the sum of their parts. That is, etymology is not a determination of “meaning”, rather both context and usage are. Martin’s example that “understand” neither means anything to do with “under” or “stand” should suffice as an example of this phenomenon. I will address arsenokoites in more detail below.

Leviticus 20:13

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (NRSV)

“And he who lies with a male in a bed for a woman, both have committed an abomination; by death let them be put to death; they are liable.” (NETS)

There are two Hebrew words of import here; iysh and zkr. The text in BHS reads:

“and an iysh which he lies with zkr like the lyings of a woman to’ebah they did, the two of them, dying they will die, their blood is in/on them”.

If the proscription applies to any male/male liaison, one might expect the same words to be used for “man” or “male”. Meaning, why iysh and zkr, rather than zkr and zkr, or iysh and iysh? zkr matches Lev 18:22, where iysh is missing. Yet again though, we find this proscription at the end of a list of prohibitions on incestuous relationships. Going further, 20:15 notes that it is an iysh who has sex with an animal who is to be put to death, forgoing the use of zkr. Yet again, it becomes necessary to consider an alternate translation for zkr in Lev 20, possibly “male family member” (see Milgrom, 1786). Further, these regulations are only binding within the borders of Israel, but nowhere else, (see 18:26 and 20:24-30), and so Milgrom, “Thus…it is illegitimate to apply these prohibitions on a universal scale” (1750).


Regarding to’ebah (abomination), it should suffice to show some of the various things which were to’ebah. Various sex acts fall under the category of to’ebah, as do myriad cultic offenses. In addition to the prohibitions in Leviticus, the following are to’ebah:

      • it was to’ebah for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews (Gen 43:32)
      • shepherds were to’ebah to Egyptians (Gen 46:34)
      • the sacrifice to Yahweh was to’ebah to Egyptians (Ex 8:22)
      • Isaiah called the incense offerings of Exodus to’ebah (Is 1:13)
      • dishonest measures are to’ebah (Dt 25:16)
      • idols are to’ebah (Is 44:19)
      • lying lips are to’ebah (Pr 12:22)

In short, to’ebah is a category of cultic impurity which is separate from the category of “sin” as it will come to be expressed in the later writings, including the New Testament. The various punishments meted out for to’ebah acts are almost wholly ignored in the modern era, this can be evidenced by the fact that neither Christianity nor Judaism actively put to death children who talk back, people who commit adultery (by far the highest numbers would be among this group), nor do they cut the hand off any woman who rescues her husband from an assailant by taking hold of the assailant’s testicles (Dt 29:11). There are plenty of perceived prohibitions found among the texts in question which seemingly nobody has any qualms not following, nor endorsing. Why then the continual, radical enforcement of exclusion of LGBTQ persons from any aspect of participation?

Thematic Elements/Sodom and Gomorrah

While the two verses in Leviticus are the only two in the entire HB which (seemingly) address male/male sex acts, there are also two (again, seeming) thematic addresses toward homosexuality. Those are Sodom and Gomorrah, and the sexual appetites of Egypt. Sodom and Gomorrah is well enough known, and the sexual appetites of their inhabitants on display in the biblical text. The men of Sodom want to rape the angels who come to town, and Lot offers his daughter in their place. Are we to believe that same-sex attraction is repugnant, but offering your daughter to be raped, and likely murdered, is “righteous”? Certainly, Lot is protecting two strangers and the story is more accurately portraying his hospitality, but the events leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Ezekiel, however, handles both cultures in his prophetic critique of their respective demise. Note that from chapters 29-32, Ezekiel never mentions the sexual sin of Egypt as among the reasons for their coming destruction, yet the sexual appetites of Egypt were well-known, and included homosexual sex. On this, Milgrom notes “since the Egyptians do not live in the holy land, their sexual aberrations are not sins against God and, hence, not subject to divine sanctions” (1788). Further, Ezekiel’s castigation of Sodom and Gomorrah was not because of their sexual appetites, which are best described as rapacious. Ezekiel 16:49-50 tells us why the prophet thought the cities were destroyed:

“This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it” (NRSV)

“But this was the lawless act of Sodoma (Sodom), your sister: arrogance. She and her daughters were indulging in excess of bread and in prosperous ease; this belonged to her and her daughters, and they were not holding the hand of the poor and the needy. and they were boasting and committed lawless acts before me, and I took them away, just as I saw.” (NETS)

In either respect, Sodom seems to have been destroyed, according to Ezekiel, for their refusal to care for the poor, and their wanton disregard for the less fortunate, up to and including raping them—which includes same-sex rape. Rounding out Ezekiel’s critique of Sodom is 16:53 “I (Yahweh) will restore the fortunes of Sodom” and 16:55 “Sodom will return to her former state”. In short then, the biblical witness for the destruction of Sodom (and so, Gomorrah) is not “homosexuality”, but an attitude of domination and abuse, and a destruction that will be reversed by Yahweh himself (this will be of import to the discussion of Jude 7).

Shepherds and Farmers

There is another piece of context needed here as well. At the (supposed) time of Leviticus, Israel is nomadic, relying on various reproductive laws for sustenance. When a ram impregnates a ewe, it isn’t just that she will bear kids, but that these kids are able to reproduce and bear more, they can feed people, become the passover lamb, their wool can be used for various articles of clothing, and so on. The flock continues to feed, clothe, and provide sacrifices for the family/clan so long as the flock reproduces. To lose the progeny of one sheep is to lose generations of what that sheep can give. In the same fashion, a farmer who relies on seed, time, harvest, will see his seed go to waste if it is sown “on rocky ground” (to borrow from Jesus). The wasting of seed which could have fed countless generations is to’ebah. The sin of Onan (Gen 38) is his wasting of his seed onto the ground; the idea being that Onan owed it to his sister in law to be her levir—later called “kinsman redeemer”, the family member who upholds the levirate law of providing his brother’s widow with an heir. The story quickly ends with Yahweh striking Onan dead for the waste of seed/refusal to fulfill the law. In short, it was considered “wicked” to waste seed that could have otherwise led to multiplication (“be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”).

Put plainly, the HB simply does not condemn what we have come to call “homosexuality” in the modern era, where two people who happen to share the same sex can mutually fall in love, consensually engage in sexual activity, and share a life together. The two verses which have traditionally been used to condemn queer sexuality, don’t. At best they make a comment about how incestuous male/male relationships are impure according to the cult, a statement I think we’d likely still approve today; don’t have sex with your family members, male or female. In addition, female/female sex acts are left completely out of the picture, and there is ample evidence that the terms used to discuss the activity in question can be taken to mean very specific male/male activity, that of male images, or male relatives; in other words, the HB does not prohibit most male/male relationships, or any female/female relationships (Milgrom 2004, 177). Thus, any translation of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 should take into account the incestuous context in which the terms are situated.

New Testament

The New Testament writings contain another 4 verses which have been historically used to categorically condemn queer sexuality. As a matter of keeping things somewhat topical, Jude 7 (Sodom and Gomorrah) will be addressed first, followed by Paul’s statements in canonical order.

Jude 1:7

“Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (NRSV)

We have already dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah according to Ezekiel, and shown that their issue, even when framed as male/male sexual domination, is still an issue of domination, as well as neglecting the outcast. Knight (1995) summarizes the introduction of Jude’s letter as a midrash of known literature (including texts outside the Bible). The midrash is Jude’s “contemporary interpretation” (42) of these texts, including the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Contextually, this has to do with false teachers (see Romans below) and the supposed punishment coming to them from “the Lord” (Jesus? God? Yahweh?). Again, nowhere in this text does Jude say anything about “homosexuality” and only through a preconceived bias is the story able to head in that direction. In other words, Jude’s castigation of Sodom and Gomorrah (note the addition of the surrounding cities) as sexually immoral and in pursuit of unnatural lust is ambiguous, and does not signify that homosexuality is either an aberration or something for which the city is undergoing “a punishment of eternal fire” (1 Enoch). Sexual immorality can refer to illicit male/female intercourse, or any intercourse which was not procreative, while “unnatural lust” can just as easily mean lust which is outside the bounds of the “natural” amount. How one chooses to square Ezekiel’s prophecy that Yahweh would restore the fortunes of Sodom with Jude’s statement that they are undergoing eternal punishment is another matter.

Romans 1:26-27

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (NRSV)

Martin (2006) makes the case that, contextually speaking, “for this reason” refers to idolatry. Because of idolatry, this happened. Jewett (2006, 173) quoting Käseman, notes that the list of sexual vices is presumed to be “the result of God’s wrath, not the reason for it”. In other words, this particular list of vices stems from “the wrath of God being revealed” against idolatry, with the evidence of this “revelation of wrath” being sexual vices.

This may very well be what Paul is intending to say in Romans, but there is also another matter of importance here. Namely, that Campbell (2013) offers a convincing argument for this verse to be within a section of prosopopoeia, summarizing:

“Romans 1:18–32 is an instance of προσωποποιία or “speech-in-character”—what we might call more colloquially a brief moment of “playacting” or “mimicry” or even “impersonation.” Paul does not speak here in his own voice but in the voice of the Teacher. He mimics here that figure’s fiery rhetorical entrance, which is lit—like that of so many preachers—by the flickering backdrop of hell.” (528-529)

In other words, according to Campbell, this particular verse is not Paul’s opinion on the matter of homosexuality at all, but rather his summary of the teaching of his opponent, which he then goes on to counter. This piece is, according to Campbell, enough of Paul’s opponent’s material for the audience to recognize it as such (542). Placed in this framework, Romans 1:26-27 is not an interdiction against homosexuality, rather it is Paul’s quotation of another teacher’s [false] doctrine. Campbell puts it succinctly:

“It is essentially a reduction to absurdity of the alternative gospel of the Teacher, especially in terms of the Teacher’s typical rhetorical opening with ‘fire and brimstone.’” (528).

Campbell’s thesis commands that Romans 1:26-27 be taken not as Paul’s thought regarding homosexuality, but those of his opponent, whose gospel Paul calls false.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NRSV)

Collins (1999, 236) notes that the word used here, pejoratively translated “sodomites” is ἀρσενοκοίταις (arsenokoites), and that this instance in Corinthians marks the first recorded use of arsenokoites. Martin (42-43) provides several extra-biblical references to arsenokoites where the context given dictates that the semantic range is that of “economic exploitation by some sexual means” (42). BDAG (135) lists pederasty as among the range of meanings for arsenokoites, which would fit with the same idea of exploitation. Taken in this regard, arsenokoites is not Paul’s condemnation of homosexual sex acts, but of those who exploit others sexually, most often from a point of financial privilege. This, contextually, leads directly into “thieves, the greedy…”. In other words, arsenokoites is a bridge between sexual vice and economic vice.

Problematic to this passage also is the translation of μαλακοὶ (malakoi). Malakos, notes Martin (44), is abundantly attested in the ancient world, and is used to refer to soft clothing, the delicacy of gourmet food, and the lightness of the wind. Malakos is used of people who don’t want to work at all, or of those who don’t want to do hard work, or even of those avoiding difficulties like philosophy (44-45). In other words, malakos means something more like “soft” than strictly the receptive partner in male/male sex. Collins states further that malakos was used as a pejorative for the passive sexual partner in homosexual activity, often young boys; pederasty (236).

Are we to assume that in a pederastic relationship, where the balance of power is decidedly in favor of the older, presumably more wealthy parter, that the malakos, the one being exploited sexually, is “a sinner”, simply because they are the penetrated one? Or worse, are the victims of pederasts “unable to inherit the kingdom”? Further, Martin notes that there was an available word in Greek which meant “penetrated man” (kinaedos, 44). Yet, there is never a time when Paul, or any other biblical author for that matter, uses kinaedos to refer to the passive sexual partner in a male homosexual relationship.

Thus, it would seem that the only word suitable to translate malakoi is the word already used in most older Bible translations, “effeminate” (47). To be in the position of being penetrated was malakos because women were penetrated, and in the ancient world, women were inferior (48). In addition, the range of what makes one “effeminate” is, understandably, wide-ranging and culturally relative. For Paul and his contemporaries soft clothing, smelling nice (i.e. bathing more than once in a while), long hair, smooth movements are all things that make one malakos in the ancient world. Sorry man-bun wearers. You’re malakos. Do you bathe every day? Malakos. How about brushing your teeth daily, or more than once a day? Malakos. Shaving and splashing a little cologne or aftershave on your face or clothing? Malakos. Do you eat gourmet food? Malakos. Ballet is also malakos, which is not to say bad, but graceful. Hopefully, the point is taken. There are too many potential options for malakos which have nothing to do with sex to make it a strictly sexual term.

All things Are Lawful

Pertinent to the discussion of Corinthians is Paul’s statement in v12.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” (NRSV).

While the traditional view is to make v12 the beginning of a new section in the letter, it can just as easily be the closing of Paul’s list of vices. While it is true that Paul says “not all things are beneficial”, something’s lack of benefit doesn’t negate the legality of it. In other words, Paul says, fairly succinctly, “nothings is off limits, though the benefits can be debated”. Further, Collins states that the problem of Corinth was not their rampant sexual desires, but just the opposite, an “avoidance of sexual activity” (240), to which Paul presents his argument. It should also be noted that Paul’s preferred stance toward all sexuality and marriage was abstinence, and that marriage should only take place if one is unable to bridle their passions (1 Cor 7). In fact, Paul lets us know in 1 Corinthians 7 that “it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman”. Do we affirm this passage as fervently as the preceding?

1 Timothy 1:8-11

“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (NRSV)

Again, we find arsenokoites being translated pejoratively as “sodomites”. And again, the the vice list dictates that the activity in question has an exploitative context. Meaning, here in Timothy, the vice list goes from the godless, to people who kill, to those who exploit others sexually, to those who exploit others socially. Again arsenokoites is used as the bridge between sexual vice and economic exploitation.

The idea that arsenokoites has a strict meaning of “[any] male/male sex” does not have the backing of either linguistics or history. Instead, the language is, as it is elsewhere in the Bible, forbidding domination, exploitation, and at other times, being controlled by lust or a desire for more. In this regard, greed can also be expressed as either an economic or sexual vice.

Paul and the LXX

A part of any discussion on Pauline thought will be Paul’s use of LXX translations in his quoting of scripture. This is nothing new or profound. There are times, however, where Paul’s quotation of the LXX proves a problem. In Romans 3:14, Paul makes an explicit quotation (“it is written”) of Psalm 9:28 (HB 10:7), which has been taken as a proscription against “bitterness” (whatever that means). An issue arises when comparing manuscripts as the HB says “His mouth is filled with cursing, with deceits (a) and oppression(b)”, while LXX says “him whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness(a) and deceit(b)”. While the LXX has “deceit”, the word there isn’t used to translate “deceits” in the Hebrew. Rather, the translator used “bitterness”. To make a long story short, the LXX translator simply made a mistake with the Hebrew text and translated it incorrectly based on the similar consonants found in the Hebrew words for bitter (mrr) and deceit (mrm), thus altering the Hebrew text of the Psalm. While this is not the case in every instance where Paul quotes the LXX, it does create a precedent regarding his use of the LXX.

Jesus’ Thoughts on the Matter

This section could just as easily remain blank, as Jesus never addresses homosexuality in any direct or passing reference whatsoever. Jesus’ statement about marriage being between a man and a woman is a statement of what the law says, not a statement of his denial of same sex unions ad infinitum. Many will take using Jesus’ silence as an argument from silence and quickly reply “Jesus doesn’t address it because everyone knows it is wrong”. To which the only reply necessary is that Jesus does address things like caring for the outcast (Matt 25), giving to the poor (Mark 10), feeding the hungry (Luke 14), and lusting after another man’s wife (Matt 5), all of which are things that “everyone” knew. Further, Jesus has a Greek disciple in Phillip, a culture known for their open and flamboyant sexual appetites, and yet again, remains curiously silent. If Jesus thinks the practice “an abomination” in every iteration, it makes little sense for him to not warn his disciples in some way. In this case, silence is the argument.


With regard to the term “homosexuality”, which by nature means “same sex [attraction]” (including female/female), there is simply no evidence to support this term being in sight for the HB, or the LXX. It can be said that Leviticus is not prohibiting all male/male intercourse, but very specific, incestuous male/male intercourse. In short, Leviticus could just as easily be interpreted “and all those acts of incest listed above cover the males in your family too” (Milgrom).

The same can be said of the NT writings, where Paul’s use of a term he may have coined (Collins) never has the connotation of “homosexuality”, but rather points toward [male] domination of others sexually and economically. In other words, again there is not sufficient linguistic or historical evidence to translate arsenokoites as “homosexual”, and so the two NT verses which use this term could just as easily be interpreted “sexual exploitation” (Martin).

There is a matter of concern for Christian theology here, especially in regard to to’ebah and cultic impurity. Namely, that Peter’s vision of the “unclean” lowering before him, and God’s subsequent reply to “call nothing I have made clean unclean” (Acts 10) disallows Peter, and so Christians, from expressing things as to’ebah before God. In other words, “unclean” (abomination), is no longer a term fit for Christians to use of other people.

The time has come for the Christian church to embrace its mistakes in regard to the LGBTQ community, just as it has in regards to slavery, and the subjugation of women (some). Ancient people wrote ancient things about ancient practices, many of which are not best summarized with strictly modern terminologies. Language use changes, and context dictates meaning, more so than dictionary or lexical definition. The adage “words don’t have meanings, meanings have words” fits for this discussion. The category of same-sex, mutually consenting, love-based intercourse that the modern era calls “homosexuality” is not within the range of meanings for either Leviticus or the New Testament writings. What is in range, however, are actions of incest, sexual domination/exploitation, as well as sexual and economic privilege. Insisting that certain words be translated specific ways to uphold ideological bias is unfaithful to the text, unfaithful to the pursuit of truth, and unfaithful to the core call of these texts – to love the other.


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Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: SESB Version. (2003). (electronic ed.) Stuttgart: German Bible Society.

Collins, R.F. (1999). First Corinthians. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN; The Liturgical Press.

Campbell, D. A. (2013). The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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Jewett, R. (2006). Romans. Hermeneia: A Critical Commentary Series. Fortress Press.

Knight, Jonathan. (1995). 2 Peter and Jude. Sheffield, England; Sheffield Academic Press Ltd.

Martin, D. (2006) Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation. Louisville, Kentucky, USA: Westminster John-Knox Press.

McLay, R.T. (2003). The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research. Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Milgrom, J. (2008). Leviticus 17–22: a new translation with introduction and commentary (Vol. 3A). New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

— (2004) Leviticus, a Continental Commentary. Ausburg Fortress Press.

Rahlfs, A., & Hanhart, R. (Eds.). (2006). Septuaginta: SESB Edition (electronic ed.).

Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

Tov, E. (2003). The parallel aligned Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek texts of Jewish Scripture. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Walsh, J.T. (2001). Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13: Who Is Doing What to Whom?. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 120, No. 2, pp. 201-209 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature

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