A member here, Andrew Little (who is a straight ally of Soulforce), posted about this matter on another thread.
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Here is Andy's post in it's entirety.
Please forgive the dry nature of this post. I think it's important. You may not.
Sam, how right you are to question this passage:
1Cor 6:9 has two words that, when translated into English, have been understood to be directed against homosexuality. The Greek the words, malakoi(s) and arsenokoitay, are problematic for different reasons, however.
That word you were talking about in the 1 Corinthians, from what I heard/read means 'men in a bed together,' literally speaking. It wasn't defined as homosexual until the 19th century.
malakos - is an adjective.
malakois appears in Matt 11:8 and Luke 7:25 and is the neuter/plural form of malakos. malakoi appears in 1Cor 6:9 and is the masculine/plural form of malakos. This is the full extent of the appearance of the malakos adjective in the New Testament.
It appears in ancient Greek texts and is understood to mean, variously, freshly plowed (when talking about land), luxurious (when talking about clothing) and is also used to mean temple idol slaves or servants (Homer and others).
The Latin Vulgate Bible, from the 5th century translated malakois (Matt 11:8 and Luke 7:25) into mollibus, which means "luxurious" or "effeminate". It translated malakoi (1Cor 6:9) into idolis servientes, which means idol slaves or servants.
The King James version (1611), which relied heavily on the Vulgate, translated malakois to "soft" in Matt and Luke, as it was referring to clothing. But in 1Cor, evidently not being happy with "idol servants" they translated malakoi into "effeminate". It seems to many scholars that the Latin translators were closer in time and culture than the English translators, so they would have a better idea of meaning. None-the-less, the KJV translation has, of course, stuck ever since.
As far as arsenokoitay is concerned it appears twice in scripture and not at all in classic Greek literature. It is a compound word, not uncommon in Greek. 1 Cor 6:9 uses arsenokoitay and 1Tim 1:10 uses arsenokoitais. The words combined to make the first word are arsen (adjective neuter/singular), o (masculine definite article) and koitay (noun feminine/singular). The second word is the same, except that koitais is feminine/plural.
Now, the first thing is that the Greek language is gender specific. These words have feminine endings which means they refers to something female. The word parts are varied, however. arsen means “male”. o is the male definite article (the). koitey, the root of koitay and koitais, means “bed” or "place where koitus (coitus) occurs" - can we presume "female's bed", since it is feminine?
What was being communicated here? No-one is really sure. The KJV opted for “the abusers of themselves with mankind”. The NIV went with “homosexual offenders”. The NRSV went with “sodomites”.
The notion of "men in a bed together" is not literal at all, but shows the same bias as KJV, by assuming a lot of things that the Greek, or Latin, doesn't say.
But the Vulgate, translated 1000 years earlier, and closer to the original culture, than the KJV translated to adulteri, which means “adulterer” but in the female tense. You could argue that this doubles up on the earlier use of adulterer appearing in the same verse, but that one is male tense.
So which meaning do you want to use? It seems you have quite the range of choices, and biblical scholars can’t agree – can we?
I think, Sam, you show maturity in questioning the use of this passage.
Andy also posted about Leviticus.
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are about adultery
Leviticus (transliterated from Hebrew)
Originally Posted by hillsong2010
how do you reconsile the argument of not lying with a male as a woman? how can we as christians get around that? and the fact that God says and lists homosexuality as a sin that is "abhorant" in his eyes?
18:22 v’et-zacar lo tishcab mish’c’bey ishar to’ebah he
20:13 v’iysh ashere yishcab et-zacar mish’c’bey ishar to’ebah asu sh’neyhem mot yumatu d'mehem bam
Of significance to me, especially if one is going to rely on the actual Hebrew wording is mish’c’bey ishar. The word mish’c’bey is a common plural construct form of the noun mishcav meaning ‘couches’ or ‘beds’. A construct noun denotes something that belongs to the next absolute noun (free-standing, more or less) and is usually translated using the preposition ‘of’. The word ishah (not ishshah) is a common feminine singular absolute noun meaning ‘a woman’, and would be the noun to which mish’c’vey refers. The two words together, then translate as ‘beds of a woman’ or 'a woman' beds'.
The Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate agree and both used the same phrasing, appropriate to the respective grammars of course, to translate these words.
The Greek translated this as coiteyn gunaykos. The word gunaykos is a genitive feminine singular common noun. The genitive case denotes ‘belonging to’ or ‘of’ in the much the same way as the Hebrew construct noun. The word coiteyn (bring to mind coitus) means variously bed, place of marital relationship, place of insemination – in short, place where marital coitus occurs. Therefore, the two words together, coiteyn gunaykos, mean simply ‘a bed of a woman’.
The Latin Vulgate translated this phrase as coitu femineo. Far from the Latin being definitive, interpreting the meaning of coitu and femineo is critical. Coitu can be either a supine verbal form, similar to an infinitive, or a noun. The presence of femineo, an adjective which generally qualifies a noun, is of immense importance. The use of an adjective requires the presence of a noun. The most likely understanding would be that the noun that femineo modifies is coitu, which would lead to the translation ‘a woman’s meeting place’ or, logically, ‘a woman’s bed’.
The other option, treating coitu as a supine verb, would give the meaning we later find in English translations, but would also be grammatically incorrect. The adjective femineo is left without a noun to modify. The rough translation of the two words together into, "to have sexual intercourse like a woman" is very flawed, and inconsistent with the Hebrew and Greek, which were unequivocal.
The entirety of an accurate translation of 18:22, therefore, is:
You will not lie down with a male on a woman’s beds; it is an abomination.
And 20:13 is:
A man who lies down with a male on a woman’s beds – they have committed (done) an abomination. Both of them shall be put (executed) to death; their blood is upon themselves.
What, then, is an abomination? Since in both Hebrew and Greek, "woman" and "wife" are synonymous, the proscription is about a man lying with a man on a wife's bed - bed being held in Leviticus 15 to be virtually sacrosanct. There is a pattern that "spoiling the bed" is one of the ways adultery is described. These are proscriptions, but the action being prohibited is not the male-male sex, but rather the male-male sex occuring on the bed of a wife - it is about the common theme of adultery of a man already in relationship with a woman.
Be the love you seek.
Last edited by Daniel; 05-17-2009 at 07:33 PM.