From: bob_miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Mar 24 2003 - 17:22:04 EST
Gordon Fee discusses the difficulty with arsenokoitai being translated
homosexual, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians but rejects Boswell's
conclusion. He states that the word appears in a list heavily weighted
toward sexual sins and "Although one can not be certain, it is very likely
that the NIV is moving toward a proper understanding by translating 'male
prostitute' and 'homosexual offender,' with the proviso that 'male
prostitute' most likely denotes a consenting homosexual youth."
Strong's Lexicon gives "one who lies with a male as with a female."
Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Sematic Domains gives, "male
homosexual, one who takes the active male role in homosexual intercourse."
New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries gives, "a
George Lamsa's translation gives "...men who lie with men."
A Translator's Handbook on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul
Ellingworth and Howard Halton gives, " Sexual perverts (RSV) translates two
Greek words which refer respectively to the 'passive and active partners ...
in male homosexual relations.' (Barrett)."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Schneider" <email@example.com>
To: "gordon brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "John Burgeson"
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2003 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: a few responses lumped together (Jim and Burgy take note)
> Gordon's memory is correct: the Greek word rendered as "homosexuals" in
> NASB is "arsenokoitai." It is composed of the noun "arsen" meaning "male"
> and the noun "koite," which refers to the "marriage bed" in Greek drama.
> classical Greek "koite" is used in a bad sense to denote (I love this old
> word) "chambering" or "lavisciousness." Paul uses the pl. "koitai" in
> 13:13, where the RSV translates it "debauchery" and the KJV "chambering."
> So, it appears that a word ending in "-koitai" refers to those who fool
> around in the chamber, i.e., in bed.
> Then, the question is, does "arseno-" refer to men who fool around in bed
> with whomever, or men who fool around in bed with men? John Boswell, who
> made a study of the matter, prefers the former interpretation; he asserts
> that there are no compound words in Greek in which "arseno-" as a prefix
> demonstrably objective," i.e., denoting the object of an action, etc.
> he interprets the word to refer to a male prostitute, "capable of the
> role with either men or women:." He supports his interpretation by noting
> that in the vast literature on homoerotic sexuality in classic Greek, this
> word is never used to connote sexual activity between men; also, neither
> Josephus or Philo, Greek-speaking Jews use it when discussing the story of
> Even more interesting, in his survey of the church fathers' comments on
> homosexual behavior, none of them, in their condemnations of homosexual
> and relations, used "arsenokoitai" as a term to refer to same sex acts
> against men. Even John Chrysostom in his comments on I Cor. 6:9 and I
> Tim.1:10, where the word also occurs, does not say a thing about sexual
> activity. "In fact, on several occasions Chrysostom copied out the list
> sins from Corinthians and actually ommitted the one word which is claimed
> mean homosexual"; considering that elsewhere Chrysostom referred to same
> sexual activity as "the worst of sins," it is inconceivable that he would
> have omitted "arsenokoitai" if he understood it to refer to homosexual
> activity. (Boswell, _Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality_,
> While "arsenokoitai" has a long history of being translated in I Cor. 6:9
> with such words and phrases as "liars [i.e., those who lie--in a prone
> position] with mankind" "sodomites" "abusers of themselves with mankind,"
> may be that the translators should reconsider these renderings, given the
> history of this rather rare word. It may be, as Boswell suggests, that
> Paul was referring to male prostitutes who serviced either sex.
> Bob Schneider
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