Leviticus 20:13

Jim West jwest at Highland.Net
Thu Jan 20 15:32:19 EST 2000

At 01:54 PM 1/20/00 -0500, you wrote:
>This verse against homosexuals is appropriated in Rabbinical Jewish
>teachings and is supposed to be the "end all be all" to questions of
>homosexuality and its sinful nature. However, I saw an interview with a
>Biblical History professor at Harvard Theology(his name slips my mind) who
>was disputing the Hebrew of the verse. He was saying something to the
>effect of the verse being mistranslated, out of context, "before its
>time," etc.

this passage has to do with sexual relations that are outside the bounds of
marital relations.  in fact, taking into account the context, it is not a
prohibition of homosexuality per se but a prohibition of sexual conduct (of
any sort) extramaritally.  In other words, sex with someone besides the
marriage partner is here prohibited (other sections of leviticus talk about
the limits and boundaries of the marriage partner).
it does not, however, speak to or about premarital or nonmarital relations.
i realize we often interpret it in that light- but i think that is eisegetical.

>Can anyone shed some light on this? What would be the best translation of
>the verse, and does it expressely forbid a man->man sexual relationship?

It forbids man to man relations when one of the men is married.
At least thats the way i see it.
So please dont anyone accuse me of anything here.  I am merely stating what
i believe to be the correct exegetical procedure and not offering a moral
judgement on a lifestyle (which in any event would be QUITE out of place
here since we none of us are the moral judges of any other).




Jim West, ThD
jwest at highland.net

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