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

From: Alexanian, Moorad (
Date: Tue Mar 25 2003 - 09:42:14 EST

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    I believe homosexuality was very prevalent in ancient Greece and it
    seems to me that early Christians would have taken a definite opposition
    to such behavior. Therefore, I believe that some knowledge of Greek
    history should make it clear what the meaning of the words are. I do not
    think we ought to rely on present day revisionism to accommodate one's
    own view on the matter. Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: bob_miller []
    Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 5:22 PM
    To: Robert Schneider; ASA list
    Subject: Re: a few responses lumped together (Jim and Burgy take note)

    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

    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

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