Re: a few responses lumped together (Jim and Burgy take note)

From: bob_miller (
Date: Mon Mar 24 2003 - 17:22:04 EST

  • Next message: Don Winterstein: "Re: YEC and interpretations (was: Re: asa-digest V1 #3214)"

    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
    sodomite, homosexual"

    George Lamsa's translation gives " 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)."

    Bob Miller

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Robert Schneider" <>
    To: "gordon brown" <>; "John Burgeson"
    Cc: <>
    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
    > Sodom.
    > 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_,
    > 341-348).
    > 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

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Mar 24 2003 - 23:32:53 EST